1. Name, occupation, and city
Nick Fauchald, editor-in-chief of TastingTable.com, New York
2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?
Last weekend. They’re usually impromptu affairs; I’m not one for planning ahead and sending out invites and drawing up seating charts. If I find myself with a free Saturday or Sunday evening, I call a bunch of friends and whoever’s free shows up a couple of hours later.
3. What is the best menu you've ever made for company?
I wish I kept better track of what I cook, but I don’t. I like the spontaneity of dinner--starting with a pile of ingredients and ending up with something that is more or less tasty. The next day I can’t remember what I’ve served (see next question). But anytime I cook a whole animal--a pig or lamb or goat--the affair becomes more memorable (maybe because it feels somewhat sacrificial?).
4. What's your preference: wine, beer, cocktails?
Yes, please. I almost always make some large-batch cocktail (a pitcher of negronis, say) before guests arrive, so they have something to drink right away. Then I put out a few options for beer and wine with food. Then after dinner I have more time to screw around behind the bar.
5. What's your favorite dinner party soundtrack?
Recently a friend turned me onto Mississippi Records, a Portland, Oregon label that specializes in lost and obscure recordings--everything from old Delta blues to Dutch punk and Thai country. The music’s a good conversation starter and way more interesting than the latest Spoon album or whatever.
6. Some friends are coming over for a last-minute dinner. What do you make?
By nature most of my dinners are last minute, but if it’s truly spontaneous and I don’t have time to shop beforehand, I’ll make a pasta or risotto using whatever fresh produce I have leftover from the previous weekend.
7. Do you usually cook everything yourself, or do you have help?
I’m what some have dubbed an “alpha cook,” so I usually fly solo at the stove. Not that I don’t love company in the kitchen--especially when there are dishes to be washed.
8. Do you ever buy store-bought food, or is everything on your table made from scratch?
I’ll buy bread and dessert. Though lately I’ve been trying to bake more bread--the extra effort always pays off.
9. What do you like to serve for dessert?
See above. If I’m feeling unusually ambitious, I’ll make pavlovas or something that involves whipping lots of egg whites. I love meringue.
10. If you could invite anyone over for dinner (living or dead), who would it be?
My mom and dad (both living)--I still have a huge food debt to repay, and my mom taught me how to be a gracious host.
[Photo: Michael Harlan Turkell]