1st September 2016
Photograph: Cem Ersavci
One of the last meals I had with my father at a Thai restaurant owned by his neighbour. My dad was a creature of habit and always ordered the same thing. I wish I had held his hand for longer; I wish I had not complained about the redundant pad Thai; and I wish I had said “yes” when he asked if I wanted another glass of wine.
That was a long time ago, but I remember how much I loved the Cadbury Fruit & Nut chocolate bars that my mother would try to hide from my sister and me. I’d always manage to find them.
I assemble. Pasta and greens, bread and cheese, eggs on anything.
My favourite foods are the ones cooked for me, such as the incredible pie made by my baker friend John [Hinman, of Hinman’s Bakery in Denver] and the roasted eggplant made by my mom.
I have a voracious appetite for news. My soundtrack in recent weeks has been the U.S. political broadcasts streamed on NPR.
In summer, it’s so easy to let the inherent tastes of fresh fruits and veggies shine. All it takes is salt, pepper and oil to turn produce into a meal. I’m exploring different finishing salts – by companies such as Wood + Salt and Jacobsen Salt Co – and seeing what kinds of flavours can be enhanced through their application.
The gigantic Bialetti pan I received on The Martha Stewart Show is my go-to item. It was the audience gift, but I begged.
Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds wrote a cookbook that played off their Queens, NY, supper club called Forking Fantastic!: Put the Party Back in Dinner Party. I have never wanted to cook as much as when I am reading (and re-reading) that book.
Be charming, offer to clean up after, and get someone else to cook for you.
India, because it’s the taste of my ancestral home and a very important part of who I am.
Anything that’s fast and highly processed.
I love the cooking scenes in Like Water for Chocolate.
I don’t have a fixed neighbourhood at the moment, but the 1900 Barker bakery in Lawrence, Kansas, makes these incredible chilled coffee drinks that I am quite obsessed with. I am typically a purist (espresso plus a dash of milk and sugar) but this drink is the taste of summer. Opal basil, muddled blackberries, juniper lime bitters, tonic and espresso. It brings out the more savoury flavours in the coffee and is just spectacular.
I think parents have a much higher threshold for loud children than I do. I prefer quiet dining experiences sans loud kids.
I’m a big believer in paying for good food and the hard work that goes into it. For some, many of my meals would be considered extravagant but I believe in this. No cheap chocolate or bargain coffee for me.
Coffee with milk. And then an early lunch.
Visit Simran’s website: www.simransethi.com
The Gannet Q&A: Yemisi Aribisala – The Nigerian food writer on an unforgettable slice of New York pizza, roasting her own coffee for breakfast, and her biggest food hero
The Gannet Q&A: Adrian Miller – The award-winning soul food scholar on a recipe that reminds him of his mother, a legendary New Orleans restaurant and his most treasured kitchen object
The Gannet Q&A: Diana Henry – The food writer recalls her favourite ever breakfast, sets out her vision for the perfect restaurant and queries people who say they love offal
The Gannet Q&A: Ed Smith – The food writer on his most dog-eared cookbook, an unforgettable meal he ate on 2 April 2011, and the things that annoy him most about restaurants