Get to Know Us: Marisa McClellan, In a Pickle Columnist

Editor's Note: You already know Marisa from her pickling column here and her popular Food in Jars site. While we know she loves her jams, pickles, and other jarred treats, today's your chance to learn more about her. Like how she microwaves a bowl of queso once a year. Take it away, Marisa!


Name: Marisa McClellan
Location: Center City Philadelphia
Occupation: Food Writer and Canning Teacher
Website/Twitter: / @foodinjars

Guilty pleasures? I lead a life, both online and off, that involves a lot of healthy, homemade foods. I don't use much in the way of processed foods or pre-made stuff. However, about once a year, I break down and microwave up a bowl of queso. The kind you make with Velveeta and a can of Rotel. There's nothing redeeming about it, but it is SO good.

Describe your perfect meal. My perfect restaurant meal is a plate of the fish sauce wings with sticky rice and a mound of green papaya salad at Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon. Preferably eaten with my husband, parents, sister and her family.

What food won't you eat? I don't do shrimp, but that's only because I stop breathing normally when I eat it. Everything else is welcome on my plate.

Favorite food person? Laurie Colwin. She loved food deeply and had that unique ability to write about home and kitchen in a way that made it both universal and so personal.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? My very first sentence, when I was just learning to talk, was "More mayonnaise, please." I think that says it all.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? They all benefit from my obsessive behavior, so they're on board. It does sometimes frustrate my husband that our fridge is constantly bursting with food, but truly, having too much to eat isn't actually a problem.

Favorite food sites or blogs (besides SE)? I adore Molly Watson's site The Dinner Files and Kaela Porter's Local Kitchen.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? I'm really lucky in that I have friends who have worked as restaurant critics. Though they're both currently out of the game, either David Snyder or Joy Manning.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? I like breakfast best. My current favorite is a slice of homemade whole wheat sourdough with peanut butter and a smear of my damson plum jam.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I cook all the time. I write about food for a number of sites and publications, and do some recipe consultation for restaurants, so I'm constantly in the kitchen. Soup is one of my specialties. My current favorite is a tomato-based vegetable soup with some local pork sausage crumbled on top.

If you woke up tomorrow as a food, what would it be. I think I'd like to be an apple. Fresh, crisp and sweet.