A Conversation with… Anahad O’Connor

Please welcome Anahad O’Connor to The Secret Ingredient blog, as he answers some questions about what he likes most about food and nutrition. Anahad is the co-author of one of my favorite Morrow Cookbooks, The 10 Things You Need to Eat, which presents ten super-healthy foods and gives us no-fail, delicious gourmet recipes that we can prepare in our homes. Anahad writes for the New York Times, so you can learn more about his interests by checking out his archives there, too.

Mission: Healthy living and eating. I write about health and try to inspire others to eat well.

Experience that changed your life: Losing my father to diabetes in college.

Mantra: Try everything at least once. (Well, almost everything!)

Works: at the New York Times, as a writer and author.

Lives: to the fullest.

Plays: hard.

First taste memory: My first bite of a real New York City slice of pizza, at Famous Ray’s in Manhattan. So delicious … nothing like it!

Favorite food or meal? Grilled wild salmon with honey mustard sauce and sauteed spinach at Gennaro on West 92nd Street.

Signature dish? Hot and spicy veggie stir fry with salmon and low-carb noodles in garlic sauce. I cook it all the time.

Cooking and food philosophy? Make it good, make it healthy. It’s not hard to make great-tasting healthy food. Step One: Eat plenty of lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs, beans, etc.), fruits, veggies and whole grains. Step Two: Use lots of herbs and spices to season your food.

Best culinary vacation you’ve ever taken? Driving from Tuscany to southern Italy, and along the way eating the best pasta in the world paired with the best wines.

Salty, sweet, sour, or spicy? Spicy!! Extra, extra spicy!

What music, if any, do you listen to when you cook?
I like jazz on in the background when I cook. Or R&B, so I can sing along.

Favorite movie about eating or food?
Sideways! The plot doesn’t revolve around eating per se, but it’s all about wine, and no great meal is complete without a perfectly paired wine. Barbarescos, Barolos—anything from the nebbiolo grape—and cabernet francs are my favorite.

Culinary heroes? Dave Lieberman. That dude can COOK! [Dave Lieberman is Anahad’s co-author for The 10 Things You Need to Eat—TSI.]

If you could have dinner with 3 people—living or dead, of course—who would they be? Thomas Jefferson, Paul Giamatti, and Salma Hayek.

Something about yourself that would surprise people?
I once spent a summer pedaling across the country for charity, riding my bike from New Haven to Seattle. And when I’m not cooking or writing, I’m lifting weights or training martial arts, mostly Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai.

Is there any one person (aside from yourself) you think of pleasing with your cooking? My friends.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? An astrophysicist. I love studying and reading about the cosmos. The universe is a vast place, and I love thinking about all the supernovas, black holes, quasars and galaxies that exist billions and billions of light years away from Earth, many of them very possibly harboring intelligent life.

Is there a particular ingredient, herb, or spice that’s really inspiring you right now?
Berbere. It’s a North African spice—really a blend of spices—that’s used heavily in Ethiopian cooking. It’s very tasty. It can add tons of flavor to stews, meat, and veggie dishes. I often make a large batch of lentil stew with tomato, diced onions, garlic and berbere, then store it in my fridge and eat it throughout the week as a snack or side dish. It’s an easy and delicious way to get lentils—one of The 10 Things You Need to Eat—into my diet. I highly recommend it.

Check out Anahad and Dave’s YouTube channel to watch them preparing foods from their book.

Buy the Book
Comments
One Response to “A Conversation with… Anahad O’Connor”
  1. Markus says:

    i’d fuck him, but only with a condom, because it sounds like his ass has been all over the place. besides, with all those veggies in his gut, i wouldn’t wanna end up with sh*t on my dick!

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