We were so fortunate this week to do an interview with Pam Anderson, the well-known chef, food writer and spokesperson for Carnation. We are pleased to share our question and answer session with you! Pam shares our love for cooking with others, and she especially enjoys cooking with her daughter Sharon, who is in graduate school.
Hi Pam, we’re happy to meet you. As you might know, what we do is encourage women to cook with their friends for the powerful tangible (stocking the freezer) and intangible (catching up on each others’ lives) benefits. Do you cook with your family and friends? Can you tell us a story about what cooking with others means to you?
I’m happy to meet you too and I’m so with you on all the reasons it’s good to cook with friends. I’ve been writing magazine articles and books for nearly 2 decades now, and I’ve always had someone else in the kitchen working with me on those projects.
You really get to know the people you cook with. Sometimes you have to concentrate, but often you can carry on great conversations when you’re chopping vegetables, shredding meat or shucking corn. And since you’re often not looking at one another, it makes it easy to share very deeply.
I’m not still close with all the people I’ve cooked with over the years, but our rich kitchen conversations from the past make it very easy for us to quickly pick back up where we left off.
My daughter, Sharon, who’s in graduate school now, cooks with me on my projects and it’s very special.
Since we make a lot of food in advance with our friends, the freezer plays a pretty important role. Does Carnation Evaporated Milk freeze well? If so, what are the best foods to make in advance using evaporated milk? And, does it matter whether the evaporated milk has a higher or lower fat content?
Like drinking milk, Carnation evaporated milk–cooking milk–freezes very well. Stratas, soups, casseroles are all perfect make-ahead recipes using evaporated milk. Because of the evaporation process, evaporated milk is extra creamy but it actually has 30% less fat that half and half. You can confidently use it cup for cup in recipes calling for milk or half and half. Your readers will love the recipes in the complimentary Full of Flavor booklet at www.TheCookingMilk.com. I’ll be in the Carnation virtual kitchen to welcome them, and I think they’ll enjoy all the information, quizzes, e-cards, and fun the site has to offer.
What are some of your favorite bite size appetizer recipes that use Carnation? Many of our members participate in Cooking With Friends food swaps and like making bit size nibbles.
I like nibbles too””keeps you from overindulging, eh? In that booklet I mentioned there’s a recipe for Thai-Peanut Ginger Wings that my older daughter loves. There’s also a recipe for mini crustless quiches, perfect for a holiday brunch buffet.
We do a lot of cooking with friends for our families, often making large amounts of food together, some for dinner that night and extra for the freezer. What are some of your favorite freezer friendly casseroles?
When I make chicken potpie and lasagna, I always make one for the freezer. It’s what I call my “money in the bank.” And as long as there are no potatoes in the dish, lamb, beef, pork, and chicken stews freeze beautifully.
What are the advantages of using evaporated milk over regular milk in cooking? Can it be used as a substitute for milk in all recipes?
Because evaporated milk is concentrated you get richer, creamier dishes. Its concentrated formula also stabilizes egg-based dishes making custards and quiches less likely to curdle. And as I mentioned earlier, it can be substituted cup for cup with half and half and milk.
Do you have any meals that would benefit from friends cooking together? Also, do you have any dishes that yield larger quantities?
I think assembly dishes are perfect for group cooking projects. It’s funny, my daughter and I were making coconut shrimp the other day. It’s a 3-step process””flour, pancake batter, then coconut. It’s a perfect dish to make with someone. I’m sure glad she was there with me!
My next book– Perfect One-Dish Dinners–is out September 2010 and is filled with recipes that serve 12 which double easily. And check out my website“www.threemanycooks.com where my daughters and I share our kitchen adventures and conversations