Food writer and Bon Appétit alum Alison Roman, who will be signing copies of her latest cookbook, Dining In, at City Market at O, dishes on her favorite recipes to make at home, the best thing she ate this past year, and the spots she loves to visit when in D.C.
What I loved about your cookbook, was that it seemed aimed at a much younger audience. But are millennials cooking?
ALISON ROMAN: I'm not sure I intentionally aimed it at a younger audience—I think I'm just a younger person, so that comes across I guess (despite my best efforts!). I think they are definitely cooking! And if they aren't this year, they might be next year. I'm getting a lot of comments that this book has inspired them to start cooking, or start cooking again after taking a few years off from the kitchen. I think cookbooks have a tendency to feel stiff or stuffy or not... well, fun. I wanted this book to come across as casual, relaxed and fun! Which, hopefully gets people cooking, no matter how old they are.
Do you feel, like I do sometimes, that there just aren't enough voices in the food world talking the way we do about the things we eat?
AR: Absolutely. I think there is a general lack of honesty from food writers about how they actually cook and eat. It's one thing to recommend you save all your Parmesan rinds to make stock, but are you really going through that much Parmesan? And are you really going to make stock when you're done? Maybe. But it's also okay to say "I never really got around to that, so I threw the one Parmesan rind into my chicken broth to make it much better. Unorthodox, but wonderful."
I imagine you must have several recipes you truly love in this book, no?
AR: I love them all! Would be impossible to pick one favorite. Depends on the season and how hungry I am.
What's the best thing you've eaten this past year?
AR: I had an amazing tamale on the side of the road in Oaxaca. It had shredded chicken and a spicy salsa verde. It was fluffy and tender and so insanely delicious I could hardly stand it.
When in DC, what are your favorite places to eat?
AR: I've embarrassingly only been to D.C. three times in my life. Once when I was 13, once for a White House tech summit in 2016 (RIP), and once for The Woman's March in 2017. I didn't really get a chance to eat any of those times because the trips were generally 24 hours or less, but I'm looking forward to trying a few places this weekend! Might try to sit at the bar at Rose's Luxury.
Photography by: Photography courtesy Michael Graydon/Nikole Herriott