Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lynn Andriani (GSAS '04), Food Editor at Oprah.com

Food blogs are all the rage today. Whether we are taking photos of our food or sharing recipes, we are a nation obsessed with food. If you've ever visited Oprah.com, you've most likely seen the work of Food Editor, Lynn Andriani (GSAS '04). We had the chance to ask Lynn a few questions and even get her to reveal her favorite "go-to" recipe, fried squash blossoms. 

What memories do you have of your time at NYU? Were there any professors who had an influence on you as a journalist and editor?

Two big ones: the police ride-along I did in Harlem for Writing, Research & Reporting (I got to wear a bullet-proof vest! Which, thankfully, turned out to be unnecessary); and going to Todd Gitlin's Ethics in Journalism class on the morning of September 11--we knew a plane had hit the World Trade Center but we didn't have any details, so he taught class--and then, when it was over, we realized what had happened, and how the world had changed. All of my professors influenced me, but none as much as Ellen Willis. She was such a brilliant journalist, relentlessly curious and always pressing us to dig deeper, find out more, and question everything.

What are your current responsibilities as Food Editor at Oprah.com?

I write about food and cooking for Oprah.com, covering everything from birthday cakes to what to cook for dinner when you're on vacation.

How has food blogging changed the way we talk about and interact with food?

I think it's gotten more people interested in food and where it comes from, which is awesome. It has also brought some insane recipes that might not have otherwise seen the light of day into the national consciousness (ahem- bacon explosion).

Do you find there is one food topic that is more popular with your readers than others?

They love breakfast and midnight snacks. They're also really into easy desserts and the fastest dinners on the planet.

I love your twitter background image of various cookbooks. What cookbooks are on your "must-have" list.

Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and at least one book by Lidia Bastianich. For desserts, I think Dorie Greenspan's books are fantastic.

Who are some the people you look up to in the culinary world? 

My mom. She's an amazing home cook and taught me how to make the most delicious meals with the simplest ingredients. Food writers I look up to are Mark Bittman, Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser and Harold McGee.

What is your favorite summer meal? Do you have a go-to recipe that you wouldn't mind sharing?

Fried zucchini flowers; tomato and mozzarella salad; and a pasta with pesto.

To make the zucchini flowers, rinse them well (inside and out), pull off the stamen, and pat dry on paper towels. Make a batter: use about a cup of flour (seasoned with salt & pepper) and a cup of milk, and whisk until it's smooth and slightly thick. Stuff each flower with a spoonful of whatever cheese you like--ricotta is really good, but I used Cowgirl Creamery's "wagon wheel" cheese recently and it was fantastic. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Dip stuffed flowers in batter, let the excess drip off, and fry, about 2 minutes per side, until golden. Sprinkle with sea salt, let cool slightly on paper towels and enjoy.

Can you name a few of your favorite places to eat in NYC.

I love A Voce, Lupa, Esca, Parm and the Bar Room at the Modern. And City Diner on Broadway & 90th St. because they make a great BLT and don't care when my kids (who are 1 and 3) rip up the place mats and make a mess dipping their fries in their matzo ball soup.

What are your thoughts on the current cronut craze?

It sounds great. However, I will never taste one because I am the most impatient person ever. I'm cool with an everything bagel with cream cheese from Tal Bagels, or a pretzel croissant from Birdbath Bakery.

What advice would you give to aspiring food writers?

Write and read and eat and cook A LOT. And don't take it too seriously. It's just food!

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