Meet & Eat: Leah Douglas, Serious Eats Intern

Note: Please give a warm welcome to one of our summer interns, Leah Douglas. You may already know her around these parts as teenagefoodie. She's been part of the SE community for awhile, but now we get to have her in the office too! Leah has wasted no time interviewing many interesting movers and shakers in the food community, and introduced us non-Rhode Islanders to coffee milk. Say hello to Leah! Erin

20100610-leahdouglas.jpgName: Leah Douglas
Location: NYC; Providence, RI
Occupation: Student (and SE intern of course!)

Guilty pleasures?

Tasti-D-Lite. Without a doubt. Although I suppose its sugar-free, fat-free status deems it "guiltless" (sure), so in that case I will expand to include any and all soft-serve. Also cake. Little burnt bits (of anything). I take pleasure in eating as many as 5 or 6 apples a day, but then feel guilty about the sheer ridiculousness of such a lifestyle. Whipped cream. I can't seem to think of anything not food-related. Either I am a pristine individual in my non-gustatory pleasures, or I'm overly conscious of regrettable food activities. Most likely I'm just forgetting something.

Describe your perfect meal.

Any meal spent eating halfway decent food with wonderful people is perfect. That being said, nothing beats summer grilling nights at home, when my dad contemplates medium-rare steaks while the rest of the family whips up side dishes made from farmers' market-fresh ingredients. Tomato salad, fresh corn with butter, crusty bread, roasted beets. Eating outside, eating well—that's the life.

What food won't you eat?

Tricky, very tricky. I've never turned anything away. Recently I did have a pickled lime from the bottom a Vietnamese limeade that was really, truly not fun to eat. I don't think I'd bite into one of those again.

What would you like to try but haven't yet?

Tripe. Sweetbreads. A good soufflé. Food from most small- to medium-sized countries. House-made ketchup. Grits, done right. Aspic. Pho. A true mole sauce. I could go on endlessly. Time to stop typing, and start eating.

Favorite food person?

Ina Garten. And Thomas Keller. Ina for her endlessly calm demeanor and simple, nonchalant approach to the kitchen. Thomas for his endlessly calm demeanor and ridiculously ingenious and complex approach to the kitchen. (By the way, can anyone say power couple??)

When did you first realize you were a serious eater?

When I started abandoning birthday parties in favor of a meal at a special restaurant with my family on the big day. Barely aware of the foodie world, I blindly picked Blue Hill as the first transition dinner. I was sold.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions?

They love all parts of it—the recommendations, stories, onslaughts of baked goods heedless of caloric content, hearing impassioned speeches about the food issues of our time. Hm. Perhaps I'd better check in with them first.

Favorite food sites or blogs?

Well, my No. 1 is obvious. I'd hate to single out any particular site as exceptionally good or bad, but I love anything with information about policy or the nitty-gritty of global agricultural systems. What can I say; I'm a nerd!

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours?

Serious Eats!

And what's the best recommendation they've ever given you?

The suggested lunch deal at Del Posto was so great that I e-mailed Ed a thank-you—and from there, started the conversation that led to my internship. I don't think a more productive recommendation has ever been given!

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it?

A typical day sees me running around like a crazy person, so I generally spend only one meal a day with another person, talking and laughing over a shared table. Whichever meal that ends up being, it's my favorite.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make?

I love to cook, but I've always been a baker. My signature "dish" is a pumpkin chocolate-chip cake. Oh, yes. It is good.