Lucinda Scala Quinn is the Executive Director of Food and Entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She writes a column for Living magazine, she hosts the weekly food radio show EatDrink, she's a co-host on EveryDay Food on PBS, and her new show Mad Hungry is on weekdays on the Hallmark Channel. I had the opportunity to speak with her by telephone earlier this week and ask some questions about her career, her books, and family holiday traditions.
-How long have you been with MSLO?-
I started with the company in 2001 in the television department. I've worked with the magazine and EveryDay Food, and eventually arrived in my current role.
-Your first book in 1997 was Jamaican Cooking followed by Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen in 2006. What inspired you to write about Jamaican cooking?-
I spent a lot of time there as a child with my family and have so many great memories from Jamaica that I wanted to write about it. I started writing the book ten years before it was published, and the topic wasn't represented at the time. The original book included 150 recipes. In 2006, it was revisited. An abridged version with just 50 recipes was created with new photos and that was Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen.
-In your book Mad Hungry, you mention that parents should "pay as much attention to your child's eating habits as you do to their grades." Can you talk about that and explain how you've done that with your family?-
I really believe wellness starts with what you put in your body. We have concerns about health but don't always think so much about what we eat. This is just as important as all the other issues we worry about when raising our children. My goal was to raise our children to be good eaters and then good cooks.
-Your family must look forward to some great food traditions each year at this time. Can you share some of your family's favorite things you cook for the holidays?-
They really like these mini meatball sandwiches I make. My mother used to make them on Christmas Eve, and now I make them at holiday time. I always make them in advance and have them frozen for easy meals. I also make eggnog on the night when we decorate our tree. On Christmas Eve, I honor the Italian side of my family with Italian food, and on Christmas Day, I make English food in honor of the other side of my family. I do like to indulge in special ingredients for the holidays, but it's mostly about being all together.
-What's next for you? Will there be a Mad Hungry, Two book? And, can you share what's coming up on the Mad Hungry show?-
I am actually working on a second book under the Mad Hungry title. It should be released in the fall of 2012. On the Mad Hungry show, we're working on some less heavy dishes for January, and then we'll cover topics like the freezer is your friend. We're already looking forward to shows for the next holidays like Valentine's Day and Easter. There are always great tips and so many ideas to share.
-And, of course, while talking with Lucinda, I also had to ask what are you reading?-
I read an advance copy of Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton from New York's Prune. It's an edible memoir with fantastic food writing. She's a passionate cook with authentic experience, and she has an extraordinary way with words.
Another book I really enjoyed was Arabesque by Claudia Roden. It's about an area of the world where the food is delicious, and it's full of great photos. Roden always does an incredible job of covering cooking of the Middle East. She's a food writing mentor of mine.
Thank you for participating, Lucinda. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
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