Seeley deBorn has a Ph.D. in Parapsychology, and previously worked as an architect, a foreign ambassador, and a nude model. She lives in a medieval castle on an island named after her favorite food. Seeley plans one day to sail around the world, again. Until then she is content to read, write and master the art of the human trebuchet.
Getting to know Seeley Q&A
What’s your favorite food?
Favourite food... um, can I pick a kind of food or does it have to be one specific thing? Kind of food, I have to say Indian. I could eat lamb korma, butter chicken, and bhartha as long as I have naan. Plus, if I’m eating this it means someone else cooked which means I don’t have to wash dishes.
If I had to pick one item, well, bacon obviously. It’s perfect crumbled in salad, in a sammich with cream cheese (bacon and cream cheese sammich: food of the freaking gods I tell you), or just to nibble on while I’m deciding what to make for lunch. There is always cooked bacon in my freezer waiting to be nibbled on.
What is your least favorite food?
Oysters. Well, mussels, clams, and geoducks too (bivalves in general, I guess), but definitely oysters. The mere typing of the word makes me a little nauseated. I almost picked one up once (it was battered, deep fried and dipped in a spicy sauce... all things I like), but the moment I thought about putting it in my mouth I started gagging. Literally. I have witnesses.
And Brussels sprouts. Not food. Likely poisonous. I’m sure my mom spent every Easter trying to kill me with them.
What is your go to cookbook or recipe resource?
The cook book I use most is Kitchens for Kids by Jennifer Low. It’s a kid’s book, yes, but it’s brilliant in its design, its styling, and the genius of the recipes. Kids love cooking, but they want to make chocolate chip cookies now, and tomorrow they want to make sugar cookies with icing and then peanut butter the next day... So this book makes tiny batches of cookies easily consumed immediately after baking and if you do the dishes that night no one will know that you made and ate all 9 shortbread cookies... um...
A lot of people talk about their mom and her cooking with those happy little comfort food stars in their eyes. Me, I learned to cook from my dad. Granted he’s a real meat and potatoes guy, but he knows how to combine flavours. Meat and potatoes at his house never just tasted like plain old meat and potatoes. He also baked, a lot of the time using his mom’s recipes. Except for Welsh cakes; she never would tell us how to make those. I inherited her hand written recipe cards and I’m still not convinced the entire recipe is in there. He also showed me how to cut a frozen turkey in half with a bandsaw and roast it on its side so the stuffing wouldn’t fall out, and how to mash sweet potatoes with a power drill.
What do you enjoy cooking most?
I like baking. Cookies, cupcakes, scones, muffins. They’re small foods, they’re great for sharing, and there really is something very satisfying about making food for other people. In the summer when I have the time, I make cookies every week and take them to work. Everyone smiles when they take one. They say thank you. It reinforces basic human contact and interaction.
Most of all though, I like making biscuits. Plain old baking powder biscuits. I learned to make them during that food bank era, since I got flour, margarine and powdered milk on a regular basis. I had no idea how to make bread (still can’t manage the yeast as well as I’d like) and the old Purity flour cook book that was in the cupboard of that house when I moved in had the corner of the biscuit page marked. Of course, biscuits are just a starting point. Recipes are just variations, and biscuits are infinitely versatile.
It’s amazing what’s possible with just a few basic ingredients.