In an exclusive holiday interview with Claire McCaskill, former Sen. Jean Carnahan with Good Food St. Louis asked the following questions of McCaskill and found that she knows her way around the kitchen as well as the U.S. Senate.
- What was your favorite foods as a child? My grandmother’s homemade bread right out of the oven. Artichokes. Leg of lamb.
- Does your spouse have a favorite dish or ethnic cuisine? He makes “one pot grits” with different meats every Sunday morning for our very large family (between us we have seven children and eight grandchildren…and counting). Joe was raised on them. His father was from Georgia. He loves German food. His mother’s family was German and his maternal grandmother lived with them growing up. He looks forward to German Christmas cookies sent to him by his family every year.
- Is there one dish (besides turkey) that always appears on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table? My mother’s oyster dressing, in addition to the other more traditional dressing.
- Can you recall a funny incident regarding food when you were growing up? I remember lots of laughter in the kitchen. It was a place of warmth, laughter, and love.
- If you could order any meal and cost, nor calories counted, what would it be sure to include? Guacamole and lemon meringue pie.
- What’s the biggest disaster you’ve ever had in the kitchen? There have been many failures and scores of near misses. That’s how you learn. And it also helps you leave the written recipes and allow creativity.
- Could you cook when you first got married? Yes! I was raised by a mother, grandmother, and great aunt who were amazing cooks. I started helping in the kitchen when I was very young and was having dinner parties before my 20th birthday, that included steak tartare, cheese soufflé, and pistachio éclairs.
- Is there one food you couldn’t do without? Salad.
- Is there a dish you ate in another country that stands out in your memory, for better or worse? There is something about the bread and pastries in France that haunts me.
- What’s your hot beverage of choice? Good coffee.
- What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? A good knife.
- What’s your favorite condiment, one that would always be found in your refrigerator? Dijon mustard. It can do so much.
- What is your favorite soup? Leftover turkey soup after Christmas and Thanksgiving.
- Have you ever raised a vegetable garden? How would you rank your success? Yes, with mixed results. I have been run over with zucchini, had tomatoes devoured by squirrels, and snow peas to die for.
- When it comes to trying new foods, do you consider yourself adventuresome, cautious, or resistant? Very adventurous. It is one of the joys of life.
- Quick answer: Within five seconds, name the first song that comes to mind that mentions a food item? Hot Chocolate from Polar Express.
- If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be? Jose Andres, my favorite “celebrity chef” and I would never presume to tell him what to make. I would rather him surprise me.
- You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table? If it is truly spontaneous, I would make a big salad with one of my homemade dressings, I would throw together a great soup from the freezer and pantry, and make grilled bread with melted cheese. And then serve some dark chocolate with berries for dessert.
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