Profile Details

Name

Bonny Wolf

My hometown

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Where I live now

Washington, D.C.

Roots: Tell us a little about yourself

My mother was a very adventuresome cook — unusual in 1950s' America (and the Midwest, no less). She (almost) never made dishes using cream of mushroom soup. She and my father loved to entertain. When they came back from Mexico, they had a Mexican-themed dinner party with a mariachi band. We had a foreign exchange student from Japan so they had sukiyaki dinners made in an electric frying pan at the table. It always blew a fuse. They often had bowls of oranges and lemons as a centerpiece which guests used to make crepes Suzettes for dessert. I thought everyone grew up like this. I was wrong. I, too, love to feed large groups of people in my home.

What is your family’s culinary heritage?

Eastern European Jewish. Not the greatest cuisine. Tzimmes, gefilte fish, brisket, latkes. The tradition has, however, given us the curative chicken soup. I've decided to become Sephardic (Spanish/Middle Eastern). They have much better food.

Best family recipe? Share it!

My mother made the world's best chocolate chip cookies. She claimed to use the Tollhouse recipe but there was a difference. I think she made them thin and baked them for a long time. They were crunchy, not chewy. Sometimes she added chopped nuts. She sent them to me through the mail and they came as a shoebox of crumbs. I miss them.

Favorite childhood food memory

Making "gas company candy." Every month, the Minnegasco Co. sent recipes with the gas bill. This one was for a simple chocolate hard toffee that was simple enough for a 7-year-old (under supervision) to make. We made it a lot.

Favorite dish to share

Chicken a la king. Yes, boring. But incredibly comforting. When my son was born, my mother came to stay for a few weeks and I asked her to make it every night. It's REALLY good over fresh popovers.