Alum talks Food Network
Recalls cooking at UVM
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 21:08
Melissa d’Arabian, UVM alumna and New York Times best-selling author, gives the Cynic the scoop on her first cookbook, cooking while at school and winning the fifth season of “The Next Food Network Star.”
The Vermont Cynic (VC): In your new and first cookbook, “Ten Dollar Dinners,” what was your inspiration for making every recipe cost $10 or less?
Melissa d’Arabian: I grew up with very little money and my mom passed away when I was a junior in college — luckily I was very supported by my sorority Alpha Chi Omega. So my inspiration is really that I think we should all be excited about the food we’re serving our family or friends.
VC: So what is the benefit of cooking food for yourself and others?
d’Arabian: It’s really about making people feel good. I believe in cooking for people, not for the plate.
VC: What was your experience like being on “The Next Food Network Star”?
d’Arabian: “The Next Food Network Star” ultimately was a very challenging experience. I came out of it having an opportunity to bring my real-life experience to “Ten Dollar Dinners.”
VC: Did you cook while at UVM?
d’Arabian: I remember when I was at UVM, I was cooking like a crazy lady. I would go around and drop off goody bags to various friends. I was making so much food, I couldn’t eat it all.
VC: How did you manage to cook in the dorms?
d’Arabian: An old friend of mine from UVM just emailed me on Facebook and was saying, ‘Do you remember making beef stroganoff in Hamilton Hall in a hot pot?’ Do you know what a hot pot is? Do you still have those?
VC: I’m not sure if hot pots are allowed in the dorms anymore. What tips do you have for college students trying to cook on a budget?
d’Arabian: Cooking for one person can be kind of tiring, expensive — it doesn’t take any more time to cook for four or eight people than it takes to cook for one. So my best strategy is to cook for each other.
VC: What about cooking for a crush? Is that too old-fashioned?
d’Arabian: I really think that the homemade dinner as a date strategy is so overlooked. If I was dating somebody, I sort of had a rule that it was five or six dates and then I would make dinner for the guy. I will tell you that went a long way to impress people.
VC: Is that how you met your husband?
d’Arabian: My husband and I always talk about the moment that he thought, ‘Oh, there’s really something there,’ and that was the day that I made dinner for him when we were living in Paris.
VC: Do you have a guilty pleasure food?
d’Arabian: Ice cream is so my guilty pleasure. People ask why you pick your different colleges and what are some of your best experiences; did you pick UVM for the skiing? I have to tell you UVM for me was so ideally placed because it was near Ben and Jerry’s.
VC: Any last advice for UVM students?
d’Arabian: Go out there and do life with abandon, because life is in session. If you’re not failing a lot, it’s ‘cause you’re not doing enough.
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