Nathalie Dupree is the author of eleven cookbooks about entertaining and basic cooking in the American South. She has hosted over 300 television shows on the Food Network, The Learning Channel and PBS. She’s been a spokesperson for Wild American Shrimp, The Catfish Institute and many other organizations. Currently Nathalie is writing for The Post And Courier in Charleston, S.C., as well as Charleston Magazine and other publications. She has been featured in numerous television shows and publications, from Bobby Flay, the Today Show and Good Morning America to Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, and The Washington Post. In 2010 she switched gears and ran for the United States Senate against Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina. She is married and currently living in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Jack Bass. Nathalie Dupree has recently published Southern Biscuits, co-authored with Cynthia Graubart. It is available nationwide.
Hayley Daen: So, I’m curious. If you were a food, what would you be?
Nathalie Dupree: Can’t imagine! A marshmallow?
HD: Mmmm hopefully a homemade one. What is your favorite food location?
ND: I love where I live – Charleston has some of the best American food, but the best meal I ever ate was in a small town in France.
HD: I agree! Charleston does American food really, really well. What is your guilty pleasure food?
ND: Girl Scout Thin Mints.
HD: I actually had to stop buying Girl Scout cookies…way too dangerous. Now, is there anything you won’t eat?
ND: Well, I’m not Mr. Bourdain. I suppose if I were starving I’d eat anything, but eating the weird holds no fascination for me. I certainly eat anything I’m served at someone else’s table, whether here or Asia where they serve eyeballs on a fish.
HD: See, I feel like I should try everything at least once. I don’t know why, I just sort of see it as a challenge. What was the last thing you cooked?
ND: Roast chicken for dinner last night.
HD: I’ve always loved your roast chickens. They are perfect for a nice little dinner party. Speaking of, what’s the best dinner party or party party you’ve ever hosted?
ND: One where everyone came and cooked their dinner before they ate. It was great fun.
HD: Sounds like fun! What do you order when you go to a bar?
ND: Diet Coke.
HD: I actually can’t stand soda. Now, be honest here, when you had roommates, did you ever steal their food from the fridge?
ND: Gosh, no. I don’t think so – food is a control issue, and I would think that would end a friendship.
HD: Imagine it’s late at night, and you’re on your way home from a bar. What are you craving?
ND: Desserts. Chocolate. Or an omelette if I haven’t eaten.
HD: A woman after my own heart. We all know you’re a wiz in the kitchen, but tell us – do you use recipes when you cook?
ND: Sometimes, but not always.
HD: I’m the same way, actually. What was your biggest early cooking disaster? Though I doubt you’ve had any!
ND: When I was living in an International Student House and I cooked for everyone and multiplied by three. Multiplying by three is a disaster…not only did I get the measurements wrong, three times as much fat is not necessary in sauteeing an onion. And cooking times change. I wound up with the fat on the top, then the milk, then a sodden mixture of flour. Ugh. Had to stir it all together at which point it was like a sauce and pour it over some toast rather than eating it as a casserole.
HD: Hey, at least you forged onward! Your worst is definitely many people’s best. Do you have a signature dish? You know, other than toast with sauce?
ND: Either shrimp and grits, or biscuits.
HD: Why am I not surprised? Cake or pie?
ND: Cakes yes, onion tarts, no. Lemon meringue pie, yes.
HD: I can’t resist a good onion tart. Ok, last question. Favorite cookbook?
ND: My own
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.