Dishing with Phoebe Lapine

Phoebe Lapine is a goddess in the (pint-sized) kitchen. At 28, she’s published a cookbook (In the Small Kitchen), mastered healthful and delicious cooking, and saved many lost gluten-intolerant souls with her popular blog Feed Me Phoebe. We sat down in her adorable apartment to eat some risotto and talk about how she likes to party.

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People often ask me how I ended up in the food biz. The answer is simple: boredom. I was so starved for creativity at my first corporate job that I ended up starting a blog on the side. I got my start in the cooking world in the least professional setting – my 6 x 4 foot kitchen – feeding friends chili from a pot, using a measuring cup instead of a ladle. My first site was a how-to by life example, inspired by nights like these.

Growing up, I had two important food mentors. One was my mother. The other was my kitchen fairy godmother, Ina Garten. My dad and Ina have been friends since high school; my most vivid cooking memory is helping her make German Chocolate Cake for my dad’s 50th birthday. She swept through our kitchen in Westchester assessing platters, grabbing small silver serving bowls that hadn’t seen the light of day for years. I remember she whipped out a large tin of caviar from her supply bag, which we ate with potato chips and champagne. Well, the adults had the champagne.

What’s your entertaining style?

Rustic, casual, relaxed.

5 essentials for a party at home?

Beautiful platters for salads and sides. Rustic cookware that can double as serveware — I love cast iron skillets and terracotta casserole dishes. Great wine, preferably served in something casual like jam jars. Good tunes.

Do you have any favorite stores or sites to find inspiration, goodies, or for last minute pre-party purchases?

I love Provisions, Food52’s shop. I always end up impulse buying.

Favorite cocktail to serve (or drink) at home?

A Patronata – tequila and Limonata soda mixed. You can throw in mint or basil to add some freshness.

When you arrive at someone else’s party, what’s the first thing you notice? It’s okay to be a li’l judgemental.

Lighting and music.

What always has to be in your fridge?

Dijon and lemons.

Best hostess gift you’ve given or received?

I love when people give me honey from their favorite local farm. I like to give homemade trail mix or these gluten-free oatmeal cookie bites.

If you could party with one person – living or dead – who would it be?

I’d love to have a cozy meal with Gabrielle Hamilton and Ruth Reichl. In terms of partying, I think Owen Wilson’s character in Midnight in Paris pretty much lived my party fantasy.


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