Q: What could you make for dinner from your current refrigerator contents if, say, the in-laws show up unexpectedly?
A: I have soft tacos, Mrs. Renfro’s Roasted Salsa, and Cabot pepper jack and cheddar, so I could do Mexican.
Q: Is anything in there really old or of unknown origins?
A: An extra blue piece of blue cheese. I clean out the home fridge every Sunday; at the bakery, Saturday is the clean-out day, also known as ‘the purge.’
Q: Do you have an item (like Siberian caviar) that would impress a foodie?
A: Truffle butter to throw in pasta or popcorn and jars of black truffle and white truffle spreads from Dean & DeLuca. I ordered those as a Christmas gift for my daughter Jocelyn who is into anything truffle and a budding foodie. For most of her 15 years, she’s said she never would pursue a culinary career. But recently she’s changed to, ‘Well maybe a chef but not a pastry chef.’
Q: Rate your fridge from 1 (an ungodly mess) to 10 (I may have OCD).
A: I’d say 7 to 8 range, but my husband Jeff would say 9. If I see it heading near 6 or south, I will empty it out. I’m so OCD like many pastry chefs. It’s said you’re born naturally to either cook or bake. It’s freedom versus science and measurement. Maybe that spreads into keeping fridges organized.
Q: Any embarrassing fake foods, like Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz?
A: Closest we get is Skippy Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter—I’ll claim that one—and Reddi-wip for my daughter.
Q: Are you fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, et cetera?
A: Milk, eggs, plus most fruit and veggies—the ones that don’t get peeled. Also, Counter Culture Coffee and Rishi Organic Tea, which we serve and sell at the bakery.
Q: Random/unusual items on the door shelf?
A: There’s a shelf devoted to Martini garnishes including Sable & Rosenfeld Tipsy Garlic & Dill Cocktail Stirrers I bought at DeCicco. It’s a pickle, green olive, cocktail onion, and red pepper on a small stirrer. I also have every kind of mustard. I’ll put it on any sandwich, even on egg salad, or use as a dip with Snyder’s Braided Pumpernickel & Onion Twists and Jarlsberg.
Q: Is your family more carnivore or herbivore?
A: My daughter and I are almost-there pescatarians—we’ll eat chicken now and again. Jeff has to have his red meat fix every now and again from Village Market in Chappaqua.
Q: What’s the dairy situation?
A: Despite the fact we’re not really milk drinkers, there will always be organic skim milk—mostly used for lattes. Also Plugra or some other European-style butter in case I get an idea over the weekend. My latest project is a cracker for cheese or hors d’oeuvres. I’ve experimented with Parmesan thyme and Stilton and walnut flavors.
Q: Is every area designated for certain things? Or is it more of a free for all?
A: Designated areas for sure, but it can be a struggle with my daughter and especially my husband. I explain the system to him every Sunday.
Q: Any store-bought sweets?
A: If there are, my family’s probably hidden them from me. I’ll be mad unless they eat my sweets! We do have some of my swirled brownies—caramel, peanut butter flavors.
Q: Any non-food items in there?
A: A Little Miss Gel Pack for Jocelyn’s boo-boos when she was younger. I haven’t had the heart to get rid of it. There are also natural food colorings for the hummingbird feeder—Jeff mixes the food coloring and simple syrup to attract the hummingbirds.
Q: Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32°F and below.
A: There’s almost always ice cream—made from scratch at the bakery. Favorites are chocolate, Rice Krispie treat, and salted caramel.
Q: What’s your favorite thing on the front of your refrigerator?
A: A photo booth snapshot taken at Gotham West Market in the city in the fall of 2014 of myself, Jeff, and Jocelyn making silly faces.