Take a deep breath with me. Ready? Monica Bhide has: written for everyone from The New York Times to Food and Wine to Bon Appetit; published two cookbooks, The Spice is Right (2001) and The Everything Indian Cookbook (2004); written for websites, taught cooking classes, won lots of tasty awards, sipped camel’s milk in Bahrain and talked truffles with a master chef in Mumbai. Not enough? This Washington, DC-area writer also turns out monthly columns and journals at her blog, A Life of Spice. She likes to “eat globally and cook locally,” but as a mom to two small boys, most days she’s just looking for an uninterrupted meal.
How often do you think about eating?
Well, let’s see – it is about 9 am here right now and I am researching cooking schools in India, mixing up three cocktails for an article and wondering why the chicken that I am roasting is not golden enough yet. Work aside, I come from a family officially obsessed with food and I am happy to say that I have successfully passed on those genes to my kids.
I am a Dunkin’ Donuts gal. I fell in love with them when I lived in Boston several years ago. On hot summer days, a caramel frappuccino from Starbucks really hits the spot.
Favorite hometown food?
Honestly? Everything from my mother’s kitchen – her curries, her vegetables, her breads…everything. She is a superb cook.
Ever been served breakfast in bed?
Yes, I am lucky. Ever since my kids were born, every mother’s day, I get breakfast in bed. It is usually bread, jelly, a glass of juice and if I am lucky, I can still eat it when it comes up (they spill most of it on the stairs, as my older one offers to carry the tray).
Your absolutely reliable, go-to dish for entertaining is:
A take out menu? No, I am just kidding. I love to serve my old standby – shrimp curry and rice.
Food that makes you gag?
I gotta say – grasshoppers. Fried or otherwise. And you should see this. (ed. note – this link is not for you if: a) you’re dairy-averse, b) you’re squeamish-averse, or c) you’ve just given birth. Trust me.)
Worst kitchen disaster:
There are so many. I was trying to make a granita the other day and absolutely not paying attention to it, focusing instead on figuring out how my 14-month old had opened the child-locked cabinets. Well, I guess I added a touch too much vodka in the mix – three-quarters of a bottle, to be exact. Oy…that was some dessert.
Three things in your refrigerator right now:
Leftover dinner from last night – sautéed cauliflower with baby peas, a large pitcher of lemonade with mint and something my son swears is going to grow mold if he leaves it outside.
Your idea of a romantic meal is:
Sitting down to a meal without a single kid screaming – I WANT, I NEED, CAN I HAVE…
Secret snack of shame?
I just LOVE chili BBQ chips, and Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream.
Most ambitious thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen:
I once cooked a nine-course meal for 15 people. I am partly insane.
Best restaurant if you’re not paying:
I would love to be able to go to the French Laundry…someday!
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Hey, funny you should ask. I am just writing a piece about cocktails and one of the cocktails a chef sent me is called “The Pursuit of Happiness”- I think that would be me.
Extra Credit: Where is the world’s best pizza?
Hands down – Rustico in Virginia. (these are the guys who make brew pops). I love their all white pizza – yum!