Alison Roman, author of "Dining In," and a brand-new New York Times column, is on a mission to make us all better home cooks. Her unfussy and highly cookable recipes have garnered their own cult following – and rightfully so. With recipes like skillet chicken with white beans and caramelized lemon and a rhubarb almond galette, we were thrilled to sit down with the rising food force. Here Alison dishes on her dream breakfast in bed and her industry shaking chocolate chip cookie...
You’re never without a red lip! Is your home decor as colorful? Tell us about your New York City apartment!
Funny enough, I prefer to keep things a little bit cleaner in my home space, using things like plants, wine bottles and flowers to incorporate color. I have a hard time committing to bold colors in the home with the exception of my green velvet couch, which I am obsessed with!
You develop recipes and write about food for a living. What is your favorite meal to make after a long day?
My favorite meal to make after a long day is a meal I don’t have to make – unless it's pasta. My favorite trick is to place an order for delivery to my apartment (pizza or sichuan) and time it so that it arrives at the same time as I do. It’s the best.
How do you unwind when you get home?
I light candles, burn some palo santo and drink wine. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll reorganize something, which always relaxes me (that explains a lot!).
“Dining In,” celebrates home cooked meals. What about home cooking is special to you?
There are a million things that make home cooking special to me, but honestly, it’s an amazing way to connect with yourself, and if you’re cooking for others, connect with them. Cooking requires you to be in the moment: No phones, no social media, no internet. It’s the ultimate self-care.
Bedside tables reveal a lot about a person...what’s on yours?
A book I never finished ("Little Fires Everywhere"), a glass of water for my cat to drink out of, a bottle of water for me, a candle and a clock – which I got to rely on when I'm phone-less.
When you can't sleep, you...
Look at my phone! I am trying to do better, but in all honesty if I can’t sleep, I get up to use the bathroom, drink a glass of water, lay back down and count. It doesn’t always work, but I find that when I can’t sleep its almost always mental. I try to quiet my mind and focus on something other than my thoughts.
Favorite midnight snack?
Eating late at night gives me nightmares, so I try not to eat after dinner. But if there is cheese in my fridge, or ice cream in my freezer, it will be eaten.
How often do you hit snooze in the morning?
At least twice.
You began your culinary career as a pastry chef, so what is your dream breakfast in bed?
Surprisingly, not anything sweet! I much prefer savory breakfasts. It doesn’t get much better than really good toast with lots of butter, a soft boiled egg, plenty of flaky salt and lots of freshly ground pepper or chili flakes. Simplicity is key, but if we’re going all out: Hash browns too (shredded, no home fries in this home).
You’re a tried and true New Yorker (hello, NYT food column!). How has the city influenced your style both through food and personal style?
It’s easy to stay inspired in New York with regards to style and food. There’s always something new around to see or eat. It's extremely refreshing, but it can also be a lot. I’d say that the abundance of variety has actually inspired me to keep things more simple, all around.
We can’t not ask about the COOKIE. What inspired you to “complete an overhaul on the most iconic cookie known to man?”
I was just trying to make a good cookie! I definitely did not see this cookie becoming “The Cookie,” but here we are. I stand by my statement and do think that it’s better than the original. However, it’s not a replacement – just an alternative!
True or false: Eating in bed is a no-no.
TRUE. Unless you’re hungover. Then pizza in bed is acceptable.
Can we be your best friend?