5 Questions With Alison Roman

Travel changes the way you see food, doesn’t it?

I’ve never looked at a dried chili the same way after I get back from Mexico. It kind of ruins you, but it also encourages you to find better ingredients and to source things here, but also to understand that some things are best to be enjoyed in the places you find them. If we could bring everything from every other place to where we live, what would be the point of traveling? That’s what makes it so special for me. It’s constantly inspiring.

What excites you about Vietnam?

Vietnam has been on my list of places to go for a really long time. And it’s not just because of the food but their use of ingredients that I personally love cooking with. They’re big on herbs, and lots of fresh citrus and really clean flavors. And the fact that it’s so different – how the food in one city is so radically different than the food in another city – that’s really interesting to me. I’m really looking forward to figuring that out.

What’s your favorite food you have to convince people to try?

Constantly it’s anchovies. Which is annoying, because they’re in a lot of food you don’t think they’re in. I think the idea of small, salted cured fish really freaks people out. I’ve cooked for people that I’ve snuck them into a dishes a million times. And they always think “this is so delicious.” It’s because it’s full of anchovies.

What’s your favorite go-to comfort food?

It’s absolutely pizza. In any form: high-brow pizza, low-brow pizza, expensive pizza, cheap pizza. Sometimes I’ll get a whole pizza for myself and I can’t eat it, so I freeze it and reheat it. Pizza in any form is the probably the food that makes me feel the best on the inside. At least emotionally speaking.

Let’s talk about smells. What’s your favorite smell?

I love the smell of laundry. Which is tragic because I’m actually allergic to laundry detergent. But when I walk by a place that’s doing laundry, it does it for me – because it’s really amazing. To pick one thing in the food world would be really limiting. A perfect peach is great, but so is raw garlic to me. But that feels a little cheesy, so I’m going to go with laundry.