This week, the questions put to Thomasina Miers in The Sunday Times magazine 3rd March 2019.
What childhood memories do you have of being in the kitchen?
Growing up, my mum had two dishes that I remember eating (cheese and bacon open flan and boeuf bourguignon) but we never spent any time together in the kitchen. My nan was, and still is a great cook and I remember watching her make food for my grandad. Although I don’t have that many memories actually helping her, I remember having my own wooden spoon which had a circular end!
Who influenced your cooking the most?
In all honestly I have to say Jamie Oliver. It was his shows in the early 00’s that got me interested in food. When I left for uni, I couldn’t really cook anything. I had worked in cafes since I was 14 but it was just jacket pots and fryer food so I never really learnt about timings or ingredients etc. When I met my husband in ‘99, I offered to make him a fry-up one morning even though I didn’t have a clue! I had to ask him to help me because I didn’t even know what to do with the mushrooms! Then, a couple of years later for my birthday, his mum bought me Jamie Olivers Happy Days with The Naked Chef and I made a ‘cress and potato salad’ - I thought I was a culinary genius!! Even now 20 years and three kids later, I refer back to Jamies early books.
What was your favourite childhood dish?
Probably my mums open cheese and bacon flan, which we renamed homemade pizza. However, I used to stay at my nan’s on Saturdays and I always asked for jacket potato with prawns and a massive salad. I LOVED salad as a kid!
What’s your most useful and useless piece of kitchen kit?
I genuinely don't think I have anything that I don’t use all the time, although my husband bought a meat thermometer that has just sat there for years not doing anything.
Which item in your fridge would you rather not admit to having?
Cheese strings or any lazy lunchbox thing that the kids have begged for!
If I wasn’t a cook I would be?
A blogger answering questions aimed at a cook.
What ingredient is underrated?
Lentils! So cheap, so versatile and so easy! We eat them a lot in different guises.
What food is overrated?
Do you listen to music when you cook?
Yes, my kitchen is never silent! The first thing I do when I get downstairs in the morning is put the radio on - it signals the start of a new day. I do love a podcast too - Table Manners, The High Low and This Might Get Weird being my top three.
What food could you not live without?
Preserved food! I love anything pickled or brined. My absolute favourite treat are Umeboshi Plums, which are salt-pickled Japanese plums. They sound all kinds of wrong I know, but to me, they are delicious.
What would your desert island meal be?
Prawn tacos, pico de gallo, refried black beans, with loads of limes, loads of coriander. The tacos must be authentic soft-corn and charred slightly, the prawns will have been marinated in smoked paprika, onion salt and dried oregano. I’ll need lashings of hot sauce and endless Margaritas made with Casamigos Blanco. YES PLEASE!
What did you learn from Wahaca’s norovirus outbreak?
That it had absolutely nothing to do with me, this blogger answering questions aimed at someone else.
If you had £5 to make dinner, what would you buy?
Chilli, lemon and lentil soup.
If you could only have one for the rest of your life, would it be bread or potatoes?
Potatoes! A life without crisps and chips? No, thanks!
What was the first and last cookbook you bought?
The first one I bought for myself was Nigella Lawson How to Eat and the last was Ottolenghi Simple. I’ve just ordered Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat.
What’s your go-to drink?
Water (yawn) but I also love Green Tea (I know)… My absolute favourite tipple however, is a really good 100% agave Tequila or a good Sotol.