A notoriously good cook and healthy eater, Rachel Berkman is a third-year at the University of St. Andrews, originally hailing from the Big Apple. Rachel’s flat at 4 Hope Street is a destination for stressed and time-crunched friends looking for cookies to help power through an IR study session or a healthful meal to combat the fish and chips that make up the majority of their diet.
Hayley Daen: What was the last thing you ate?
Rachel Berkman: “Pie sampling” at Serious Eats. Talk about a sugar crash….
HD: What is your favorite food location?
RB: Hands down, home in NYC – anything I want, whenever I want it. Borough Market in London is great, too. Frankly, you’ll eat well wherever you are by visiting food markets; it’s my favorite part of travelling.
HD: Close your eyes. What do you want to eat RIGHT NOW?
RB:Whatever Pam and Marilyn have on the menu today at The Mountain School in Vershire, VT. Farm fresh… plus butter.
HD: What would you order for your last meal?
RB: My mother’s tomato sauce. I like to stand over the pot she leaves on the stove, dipping clumps of leftover spaghetti.
HD: What’s your guilty pleasure food?
RB: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chocolate milk, pizza, grilled cheese, milkshakes, burgers… the modern American diet.
HD: What is your dining hall go-to?
RB: Don’t go.
HD: What’s the best dinner party you’ve ever hosted?
RB: Thanksgiving for 30 homesick ex-pats (and some curious foreigners). I had boxes of root vegetables and three (!!!) turkeys delivered from local Scottish farms. My roommates and I left the door unlocked all weekend … hungry friends dropped by for leftovers!
HD: It’s late night, and you’re leaving the bar. What are you craving?
RB: Salty, sweet, and water. Last night, I alternated between spicy pickles and chocolate. Got the job done.
HD: Did you ever steal your roommates’ food from the fridge?
RB: No … I love grocery shopping too much.
HD: Best hangover cure?
RB: Get up and start your day.
HD: Favorite cookbook?
RB: Barefoot Contessa Parties! taught me how to prepare a meal.
HD: What are your favorite sites you visit often?
RB: Food52, Grubstreet, NY Times Sunday Style, NY Times Travel, Zagat, Baking the Book…and BGSK, of course!
HD: How about a favorite dessert?
RB: Fruit crumble (whatever’s in season) and vanilla ice cream – never gets old.
HD: Do you have a signature dish?
RB: Signature dish … tricky question, since I’m a “pinch of this, pinch of that” kind of cook. I use whatever is on hand – leafy green veggies, quinoa, lentils, fresh ginger, coarsely ground black pepper, sea salt, cilantro, red pepper flakes, almond extract, peanut butter, and olive oil.
HD: Last one. What’s your biggest early kitchen disaster?
RB: In highschool, I tried to make Bellinis for a family reunion. Teenagers shouldn’t bartend.
Hayley Daen is a sophomore at the University of St Andrews, where she lives in a dinky apartment right across from Tesco, which makes throwing impromptu tea parties a snap.