Finding Dorie: ‘Creative insubordination’ launched cookbook author on path
Home bakers will know Dorie Greenspan as the undisputed aauthority on cookies but in her latest cookbook, which marks her 13th, she is highlighting the weeknight savoury recipes she cooks at home. Everyday Dorie ($50, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a welcome addition to the days when a simple and hearty dish is what the body is craving.
“I cook simple food and I don’t fuss about the finishing touches that much,” says Greenspan while visiting The Star’s test kitchen with her husband Michael Greenspan. “I think ingredients are beautiful themselves and this is how I’ve been cooking in the last decade. It’s about seeing the inggredients you already stocked yyour fridge with and saving a trip to the supermarket.”
Even though Greenspan has co-authored books with renowned French chefs such as Daniel Boulud and master chocolatier Pierre Herme, as well as the legendary Julia Child, she maintains that she’s always been more of a home cook, one that burned down her home kitchen as a kid.
“It’s an old story, but I burned down my parents’ kitchen at 12,” Greenspan says while rolling up her sleeves to make gingered-turkey meatballs. “I was making frozen french fries and instead of us- ing the oven, I used a pot of oil. I thought that if water boiled faster with a lid, so would oil. The fire went up and burned the cabinets and the ceiling. It wasn’t something you could put out with baking soda.”
In the early ’80s, through a friend of a friend, she got a job as a pastry apprentice at the Soho Charcuterie in New York making chocolate chip cookies and the restaurant’s signature cake. She lasted a month.
“One day I changed the cake recipe and got fired for ‘creative insubordination,’” says Greenspan. “It was a chocolate cake with almonds, raisins and wwhisky. I made it with pecans, prunes and Armagnac. I was bored and I’d been making the same thing every day; I was not made to be in a professional kkitchen. But when I was fired, they admitted the cake was delicious.” The cake can be found in Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours book where the recipe is literally called The Cake That Got Me Fired.
Not suited for the restaurant kitchen, Greenspan pursued food and recipe writing in a way that would work in a mid- 2000s rom- com about magazine publishing.
“I was introduced to someone who worked in the test kitchen of Food And Wine magazine and was asked to write a proposal for a column,” she says. “Instead I just made everything that I thought would be good and brought it to their office.”
Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan visited the Star’s test kitchen and made a turkey meatball soup from her book Everyday Dorie.