Laurie David is a global warming crusader. She helped produce Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, and is the author of several similarly themed books. Her latest is The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time.
She’s in my kitchen today, sharing her special secret childhood favorite comfort food and her current multimedia obsessions.
Why is living organic important to you?
Living as organic as possible is absolutely critical not just for my emotional well-being, but for the physical well-being of my whole family. The more you learn, the more you know, the more you have to do to try to guarantee some semblance of clean food, clean water, clean air for your family. Unfortunately, that’s getting harder and harder to accomplish.
What was your favorite food growing up?
Two things come immediately to mind, both of which I’m a little embarrassed to admit. But since it’s just between us, I’ll tell you that one of my favorite treats growing up was having a hot pastrami sandwich with my dad at lunchtime. My mom would cook the pastrami in a skillet, slather tons of mustard on the fresh rye bread, and boy was that delicious. I think the fact that I was eating it with my dad was part of the joy, too. The other thing that I loved from childhood was for very special occasions my family would have a clambake, and I loved everything that boiled in that big pot…the corn, the steamers, the lobsters.
What’s your go-to comfort food now?
I’m a salty kind of girl, so I think anything sprinkled in salt would be considered my comfort food. Of course it’s pretty hard to beat a pot of chicken soup—extra parsnips, please—simmering away on the stove.
What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
I’d have to say my favorite skillet, especially now that I know Teflon is a no-go. I love the retro feel of cooking in a skillet; I love the heaviness and the feeling that it’s had a long life, with lots of tales to tell. My favorite skillet makes me feel like an early settler.
What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?
There are a few things on this list, and ask me next week and I’ll have a few more. Here are some favorites:
1: Loving the Perennial Plate episodes on the Internet. This wonderful chef, Daniel Klein, is telling quick little food stories from all over Minnesota. And they are as sweet, charming, and inspirational as any I’ve seen.
2: Pandora.com—I cannot believe how amazing this invention is. You type in a band you like, and you get hours of music programmed by some Pandora genie without having to buy a CD.
3: I’m currently reading Growing a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister and This Organic Life, which somehow I missed, by Joan Gussow. I read everything Mark Bittman writes.
4: I am currently enjoying, on my iPad, downloaded episodes of Downton Abby with my 15-year-old, who loves it too. And one last thing—talk about an obsession—I pray it doesn’t turn out that these are not good for you, but I cannot stop eating roasted, salted nori. It’s a seaweed snack from Korea, and everyone in my household is addicted to it. And while we are at it, I have to throw in a shout out for my faves and constant companions quinoa, kale, and wheat berries.
What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
Of course, we are grossly negligent on the issue of global warming. Another issue that I think demands immediate attention is the overuse of antibiotics in our meat production. It’s true insanity that we are squandering 80 percent of the precious antibiotics we have developed on animals to try and do what nature never intended—make them grow faster, bigger, in horrific and unsanitary conditions. We will surely rue the day that we squandered these miracle drugs, and that we did such a miserable job taking care of the animals we eat.
Where do you get your news?
I have a date every morning with The New York Times, every evening with Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper, and of course, I surf the Huffington Post regularly. Lets not forget Twitter, and following my favorite enviros, foodies, and health experts.