Today at Celebrate Homecooks series, we have Whitney all the way from Arkansas. Her blog is a journal of Indian food moving towards documenting more of International cuisine she enjoys to cook and eat. It has been so lovely knowing a person across the seas who enjoy the same food as we do at home and grew up eating. Read on more to know Whitney better and what she is whipping up in her kitchen.
Please tell us who you are and where do you come from?
I’m Whitney, and I live in Arkansas. I was born in Alabama, though.
How did you develop your interest in cooking? I grew up in the kitchen watching both my grandmother and mother cook. We would have family dinners on Sundays, and holiday gatherings. Helping in the kitchen was something I loved to do. I learned techniques and traditional family recipes during my childhood, and I think that is what really inspired my love of cooking.
Please tell us about your family background and culinary habits that has inspired your style of cooking. I grew up in the southern part of the United States. Food is a major part of our culture here in the south. My uncle was a chef and taught in a culinary school. He and my grandparents owned several restaurants. I have a love for southern food, but I also love food from other cultures. If you know me, you know I have a passion for Indian food..but I recently branched out and decided to dabble in cuisines from all over the world. My partner is Indian, so that greatly influences my cooking habits. Luckily, he is also a foodie, and is willing to try whatever I put in front of him.
What are your top five must have ingredients in the pantry. And why?
1) Salt – because it brings out the flavors in everything.
2)Do the standard Indian spices count as one ingredient? Lol. I can’t live without my Indian spices. However, if I had to pick just one, it would be a nice aromatic garam masala. I love the way it enhances dishes.
3)dried lentils, because when you need something quick and filling, lentils are the way to go.
4)canned tomatoes, although fresh is best, tomatoes aren’t always in season, so I like to keep canned tomatoes on hand
5)potatoes, I always have potatoes in the pantry because there’s millions of ways to cook them
6)onions, because I love onions
Rapid five :
a. Have you ever had to work with a strangest ingredient in your kitchen? If yes, what was it?
– Strangest ingredient? Hmmm. I don’t think I’ve ever had a strange ingredient in my kitchen. Unfortunately, I don’t live in an area where there are many strange ingredients available. I live my strange ingredient life vicariously through Andrew Zimmern’s show “Bizarre Foods”..lol!
b. Your favorite chef and why?
– Julia Child, because she’s hilarious and the pioneer of women in the kitchen
c. Your go-to week-night meal?
– Hmm. That’s a hard one. Probably dal chawal.
d. Your soul-food?
– Fried chicken
e. Your favorite kitchen appliance?
– My Instant Pot Duo
What, in your opinion, is the most versatile food/ingredient to work with?
Oh my. Probably rice or potatoes.
Have you ever made a mistake in the kitchen?
Please tell us in detail. I make mistakes all the time. Even after I’ve cooked a dish a hundred times. Sometimes I might walk away and forget I had onions sauteing, and I will come back and they’re burnt. Even yesterday I had a pot of water on the stove to boil pasta. I completely forgot about it and came back to realize my water was almost gone. I burn stuff. I over-salt stuff, I make things too spicy. I am definitely not perfect and I’ve definitely thrown whole meals in the trash.
You have to be really proud of yourself. What is your secret to be an amazing home cook?
I put love into everything I make. I love cooking for people. It’s how I show them I love them.
In an era of fast food and take aways, what advice would you like to give people regarding the importance of home-cooked meals?
Home-cooked meals are meals you can experiment with and add your own unique touch. Not to mention, they can be much healthier than restaurant meals. Cooking at home can also create bonding time, whether it be with your kids, your friends, family, or your spouse.
If there is one dish that people should definitely try from your blog or site, what would that be?
Probably my Butter chicken. It’s my signature dish. It’s one of the first Indian dishes I perfected, and everyone always raves about it.
Why not plan your next meal through one of Whitney’s lip smacking recipes from WhitBits Kitchen?