Camping Cooking and Recipes Interview With Michael Natkin of herbivoracious
What inspired you to start herbivoracious.com?
My journey as a cook really began when I was 18 years old. My mother, was dying from breast cancer, and was trying a macrobiotic diet to see if it would help. A friend of mine was vegetarian, and a good cook who showed me the ropes so that I could cook for my family. It didn't take me long to realize that I loved everything about cooking - the smells in the kitchen, the search for great ingredients, reading cookbooks and learning new techniques. When I moved to Providence for college, I was exposed to international cuisines that I'd never seen in my hometown of Louisville. I subsequently worked in a beautiful Zen Buddhist farm kitchen in California and traveled the world, gradually settling into a career as a software engineer, making dinosaurs for Jurassic Park and animation software for Adobe.
My love for cooking only deepened through the years;it was no longer enough
to simply prepare meals for my ownfamily. Unsure what to do next, I started
writing Herbivoracious.comin 2007. To my delight, it turned out that there are
thousands of people who visit daily and share my passion forv egetarian food
that puts flavor and pleasure first.
What's your favorite meal to prepare?
Wow, it is really hard to pick one, but I love to put together a big Mexican feast based around these Enchiladas and smoky cowboy beans with a nice jicama salad
What camping recipes for kids would you recommend?
For a fun camping meal with kids, I love to break out the old pudgie pie and use it for both savory and sweet courses. Maybe grilled cheese to start out, and a simple strawberry pie for dessert.
For vegetarian campers, could you suggest some vegetarian meals/recipes?
Of course with camping recipes, you want to keep things fairly simple so you aren't spending the whole evening cooking and cleaning. If you don't mind bringing some spices, Indian recipes like this chana masala with mushrooms are easy to do. You can always upgrade a camping meal by starting with an appetizer like this bruschetta
What's one food you can't live without?
I wouldn't be lying if I said chocolate! But as far as filing my belly goes, I love all the different forms of rice and beans. Somehow that combination of foods is just so satisfying, I could eat it every day. I love that nearly every culture has a version of it.
What are some camping dessert recipes you would recommend?
Some of the rustic American desserts, like cobblers, crumbles and buckles work really well. They are easy to prepare and don't have to be beautiful to taste great.
If you could learn how to cook any meal from any chef, what meal
would you want to learn how to cook?
I'm really fascinated with the work of Modernist chefs like Wylie Dufresne and Grant Achatz. I'd be happy to learn any vegetarian techniques they wanted to teach!
In 10 years do you see yourself still cooking and blogging?
Absolutely. I have a cookbook coming out from Harvard Common Press in May of 2012, and I look at that as the next step in my evolution as a cook and a writer. I don't know what the future will hold, but I know I'll be cooking!
Thanks Michael for the interview. Please visit his blog @ herbivoracious