Note: Please say hello to Cook the Book contributor Caroline Russock! Every week she sifts through our bookshelf for cookbooks to spotlight, picking recipes each day from cream cheese pie to Welsh rarebit. After graduating from the Pratt Institute with a fine arts degree, Caroline worked in restaurants everywhere from San Diego to Sicily. Without further ado, let's get to know Caroline!
Name: Caroline Russock
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Serious Eats Cook the Book contributor, and restaurant server
Favorite comfort food? I have a soft spot (literally) for anything mushy. Nothing makes me happier than polenta, risotto, and grits.
Guilty pleasures? Bar food. Wings, chicken fingers, burgers. I think it might have something to do with my weakness for ranch and blue cheese dressing.
Describe your perfect meal. This is a tough one, my perfect meal varies too widely day to day. Sometimes it's take-out Sichuan, sometimes it's a lavish multi-course affair, and sometimes it's a great home cooked meal.
What food won't you eat? I have been racking my brain, but really I'll try anything.
What would you like to try but haven't yet? I'm sad to say that I've never had any real southern barbecue. It's long overdue. Maybe this summer will involve a barbecue road trip.
Favorite food person? As far as food writers go I've always really loved Jeffrey Steingarten. I think he's hilarious. I also really like Zane Lamprey. He hosts a travel/drinking/eating show called Three Sheets that is one of the funniest things out there.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater? I've always been an adventurous eater. My grandparents took me out to eat all of the time and I never ordered off the the kids menu, there was just nothing on it that interested me. I think day that I ate my first oyster (age six) my fate was sealed as a serious eater.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? My family has been dealing with my food obsessions for all of my life; they are used to it by now. I think the majority of my friends are somewhat food-obsessed as well, so it's not really an issue.
Favorite food sites or blogs (besides Serious Eats, naturally)? I spent some time in San Diego, not the best food town and mmm-yoso!!! was my saving grace. It's a great blog that explores the authentic, inexpensive, and delicious foods in San Diego. I am also a big fan of Drawing for Food. Two of my friends in Philadelphia started this blog that combines illustration and food.
Everyone has that one person they call when they need a restaurant recommendation. Who do you call? I am very fortunate to have friends that enjoy eating out as much as I do. If I have questions about a restaurant, chances are one of my friends has already been there.
And what's the best recommendation they've ever given you? The lunch prix-fixe at Del Posto. It is absolutely amazing!
What is your favorite meal of the day, and what's your go-to spot for that meal? I guess I enjoy lunch most of all. Not the quick grab-a-sandwich lunch, but the kind of lunch that lasts until well into the afternoon and involves wine. I really like Lupa for lunch. I'll always start with the treviso with vin cotto, and then a pasta, usually gnocchi or a stuffed pasta like the squash pansotti.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I work at night so I cook, but not as much as I'd like to. I make a mean fried chicken.