When Ree sent me an advance copy of her newest book, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier”, about two months ago, I had big plans. I was going to pick a recipe and attempt to make it, on video, and show the disastrous results. But, life got in the way and before I knew it, her book was already out on shelves. Plus, the only cooking utensils I own are to-go menus and my phone. And a microwave, if that counts. So I decided that instead of making the recipes, I would just interview Ree instead. And being the gracious person that she is, she also agreed to give away signed copies of her books plus a cool extra! You can find more details about the giveaway after the interview.
I love redheads. They are, by far, my favorite of the Lord’s children. Unfortunately, they’re the Lord Satan’s children. They say that all redheads are crazy. And by “they”, I mean me. A little crazy is good, but sometimes a redhead is too far along the GCS or ginger craziness spectrum, and it gets frightening. Where do you fit along this scale, and how does your crazy manifest itself?
Ree: I am definitely crazy, but not in any fun, fiery redheaded ways. I don’t have a temper, I’m not mysterious or unpredictable, and I’m not demanding or moody or prone to histrionics.
What I am is addicted to Real Housewives and American Chopper, afraid of the phone, content never to leave my house if I don’t have to, and incapable of listening to people eating cereal.
I don’t know – the woman who sat on the floor of a limo and showed that she could lift her foot above her head seems like she can be a fun crazy redhead!
Mayonnaise is one of my four food groups. I have tried Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise, normal Hellman’s, Duke’s, and have yet to come across the world’s best mayonnaise. Do you make yours from scratch? If so, how? If not, what’s the brand that you prefer? Also, do you judge me for sometimes licking the spoon after scooping mayonnaise onto my plate to dip chicken tenders in?
Ree: You are my brother in mayo. I love it more than most things, and I love a lot of things. I have made my own mayonnaise, but on a daily basis, I passionately reach for Hellman’s. It is head-and-shoulders above any other storebought brand (though I don’t have access to Duke’s) and it completes me. I dip my fries in mayo, then ketchup. It’s important that it be done in that order.
I sometimes swirl the ketchup and mayonnaise together into what Will Ferrell calls “fancy sauce” in Step Brothers, but there’s nothing better than the undiluted taste of mayonnaise on almost any food.
Ree, your book is full of great, easy-to-follow recipes. Since I received it, I’ve been meaning to try out one of the recipes, but I keep getting distracted on my way to the grocery store and end up eating bar food and having a liquid dinner. So I’ve decided to hire a Peruvian housekeeper named Marta who will be preparing all my meals for me, and probably cutting them up and feeding them to me. Which recipe would you suggest we try first?
Ree: I feel a strong urging in my spirit that you would love—and that Marta could easily feed you—my Rigatoni and Meatballs. The meatballs can be easily halved or quartered, and the rigatoni can easily be speared with a fork. And you will have leftover meatballs, which you can heat up the next day, then violently smash between two pieces of bread for a meatball sandwich. And the next day, you can slice the remaining leftover meatballs and lay them on top of a frozen cheese pizza before baking. Meatball pizza is one of the true joys in life.
Plus, there is no end to the immature jokes I can make about balls! You’re a genius.
What’s the worst meal you’ve ever made and how badly did you screw it up? Would you make it again?
Ree: In my twenties, I was cooking a delicious vegetarian pasta sauce that involved shredded carrots, onions, diced tomatoes, and one essential ingredient: white wine. I found I was out of wine, so I used beer instead. It did not work. I still have nightmares about the final result.
I think that “delicious” and “vegetarian” are mutually exclusive words. But you know what’s not mutually exclusive? Me and porn! How’s that for a segue?
I’m not a huge, huge fan of porn, but when I watch it, I like amateur porn. However, your photography of your food is very professional and it’s my favorite kind of food porn. I’m very conflicted. Do you have any advice?
Ree: Could you repeat the question?
Okay, never mind…I’ll try to plow through it.
On the food porn front: I’m glad you like my food photos. They have come a long way. The photos in my early food posts can only be described as grody. But I’ve improved over time. My style of food photography is to get way up in the food’s business, and to take photos from the perspective of the person doing the cooking (as opposed to someone watching someone doing the cooking. Wait…what?) I just cook, picking up my camera and snapping as I go. So I think it gives people the sense that they’re there doing the cooking, too.
I feel funny in my pants. All that plowing and getting up in their business . . . which brings me to my next question.
What would you suggest is the best technique for cooking bacon naked, so as not to have any unfortunate grease burns?
Ree: Hold on. I need to get a mental picture of this.
Okay, I’m back. And I have some advice: Please don’t cook bacon naked.
Well, that’s no fun – who wants to put on clothes to cook? Isn’t the whole benefit of cooking at home that it’s something that you can do naked? I still can’t go to the McDonald’s in Altamonte Springs after Nude Drive-throughGate 2010.
When I finally make it over to the ranch to visit, what meal can I look forward to eating? What is a favorite of your boys that you make more frequently than others?
Ree: I’m looking forward to your visit, and I will greet you with an authentic country feast of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy. It will make your heart both sing and palpitate.
That sounds fantastic. As long as there’s lots of mayo on the side! And now, for a bonus question!
Who’s your favorite male blogger on the Internet today?
Ree: Adam A-VIT-able. I was intrigued with his funny and provocative writing, but meeting him in person and discovering that he was considerate, kind, and soft-spoken cinched it for me.
(By the way, please don’t post that he’s considerate, kind, and soft-spoken in person. He doesn’t really want that information getting out.)
And now I know what kind of crazy redhead you are – the kind who can’t keep secrets and who ruin carefully constructed facades! Thank you for the interview, Ree!
And now for the giveaway! There are several ways you can enter, and each way gives you one chance to win:
1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite meal to make or eat, and/or;
2. Share this post on Facebook and comment with the link, and/or;
3. Tweet this post and comment with the link, and/or;
4. Email me a photo of you, posing just like me in the photo in the beginning of the post!
On Tuesday, May 1st, I’ll draw names at random. Each of the FIVE winners will receive both of the following:
- A signed copy of Ree’s book “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier”,
Good luck, and thanks again to Ree for taking time out of her schedule to answer my questions. If you are a blogger who has written a book, I’d love to interview you as well! Contact me through my site for details.