This blog features news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.
Home Cooking with Gayle Price
This week we’re talking with Gayle Price, a co-manager of the Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market. If you’d like to be interviewed for Home Cooking, or if you’d like to suggest someone to interview, please e-mail me.
1. In a couple of sentences, tell us who you are and why you cook.
My name is Gayle Price and I am Co-Manager of the Fredericksburg City Farmers Market. I was fortunate enough to be raised on a farm where my mom often cooked three meals a day, so I grew up learning how to prepare food for a large family. Now, with a young daughter and a partner living at home, it’s important to me that we eat meals together and that we eat healthy meals. Eating out is rarely healthy and is expensive.
2. Describe your cooking style in three words.
Fresh, local, tasty!!
3. How did you learn to cook?
My mom and my two grandmothers definitely showed me the ropes. I remember making noodles with my Grandma Mitchell (my dad’s mom) at a very early age. She would let me stand on a stool next to her at the counter and I would help with everything from tasting to dishwashing, even as a small child. They lived on a small farm and we would gather eggs together, dig potatoes, and tend to baby chicks. My mom taught me how to grow, can, and freeze foods from our large family garden. There’s no way we could have all eaten healthy food if she’d had to buy it all from the grocery store. And my Grandma Hendrix (my mom’s mom) always had good things to eat when I went to stay overnight. She’d have her famous Chocolate Pound Cake, still my favorite, or some other tasty treat she had cooked up. This time of year it would be Apple Waldorf Salad. Now I can my own vegetables and make that great chocolate pound cake. I have yet to master noodles, maybe when I retire?
4. Favorite cookbook (or online recipe source) of all time, or just of the moment?
It’s not possible to pick just one!! I love Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson, America’s Test Kitchen (PBS), and, of course, Martha. But these days I’m most likely to cook from a blog. There are so many great food blogs out there, finding new and interesting recipes is easy, even if you’re cooking for a vegetarian or special diet. I also LOVE Cooking Light Magazine.
5. What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?
Oooohhh! Today I’m making braised short ribs in the crock pot. They’ll be so tender and wonderful tonight when we come home. I wish I used the crock pot more. We’ll also be having roast chicken and pears on Sunday to celebrate a birthday. It’s man-catching chicken if you girls out there need a recipe. Just be careful, he won’t leave after you feed him this. So make sure he’s a keeper!
6. What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?
Again I say, just one thing? I know if I have a chicken in the freezer (I don’t recommend keeping them in the pantry) things are okay. With one chicken I can make multiple meals, enough to last all week. I cook a whole chicken almost every week.
7. What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?
I cook a lot, so I’d have to say my knives. I got a chef-quality set for my birthday and they make life so much easier. I’ve already cut myself twice! But the garlic press is pretty high on the list too. In truth, if you have hands and a pot, you’ve got all the tools you need.
8. It’s 6 p.m., the people in your household are hungry and you just walked in from work and need to get something satisfying on the table as soon as possible. What’s your favorite thing to whip up in this situation?
I’d probably go with breakfast, nothing there needs to be thawed. Quick, easy, filling. If you have eggs on hand, you’ve got dinner.
9. It’s a snowy Sunday, you’ve just done the grocery shopping and have the rest of the day to spend in the kitchen cooking a meal that will bring comfort. What’s for dinner?
Probably Osso Bucco. Braised beef shanks, stewing away in the pot for hours! Yum! And makes the house smell soooo good! On Sunday nights we eat in the living room, a break for the kitchen table, and this one pot meal is perfect for curling up on the couch.
10. What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?
I usually call this funeral food. Deviled eggs would certainly be one, they always get eaten up. But my Hashbrown Casserole is always a hit. It’s not something we would eat at home, but it’s hot, and creamy, and starchy. The perfect comfort food.
11. Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?
I have to say the Fredericksburg Farmers Market, and I’m totally unbiased! Seriously, I don’t know of another place you can go and meet the producer of your food. Plus, you can truly get everything you need to feed your family. Meat of all kinds, milk, cheese, seafood, honey, bread, fruits and veggies, even advice on growing your own or how to prepare an unfamiliar item. But I’m also a sucker for a store or roadside stand anytime we travel. It’s like good barbecue, the best stuff turns up in the most unlikely spot!