Adair Kerrison, a food science major at Clemson University, knows her stuff. This girl knows what tastes good and can explain the science behind why it does. She has a beautiful health food blog and makes a mean granola. Food world, watch out! She’s a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen.
Hayley Daen is a Junior at the University of St Andrews, where she lives in a dinky apartment right around the corner from Tesco, which makes throwing impromptu tea parties a snap.
Hayley Daen: What is your favorite food location? Describe a food memory from that place.
Adair Kerrison: There is a small, vegetarian restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina called the Laughing Seed Café. I went there with one of my closest friends last summer and came out stuffed with delicious spinach pesto manicotti and mouth-watering coconut cream tart.
HD: I love the Laughing Seed Café. I feel like its health food reputation excuses all indulgences there! What was your favorite food as a child?
AK: Butter. I used to lick the piece of lard off the slice of bread and leave the bread for someone else.
HD: That is truly disgusting. It’s a wonder you’re in such good shape! What was the last thing you ate?
AK: Soy yogurt and fresh berries with a mixture of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Barbara’s High Fiber Cranberry Cereal, and Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Granola.
HD: And how about the last thing you cooked?
AK: Last night, I microwaved a frozen black bean burger and leftover grilled asparagus.
HD: Really harnessing your culinary prowess, huh? Is there an ingredient you swear by in the kitchen?
AK: Fresh lemon juice, not the store bought stuff. It adds a zing to anything (plus it’s a great antimicrobial).
HD: Good to know. Now is there a taste you couldn’t live without?
AK: Ceylon Cinnamon. I add it to hot oatmeal, cereal, coffee, baked goods, breakfast quinoa, and sometimes even dressings.
HD: Mmm me too. I’m a sucker for anything sweet and cinnamon-y. What was your dining hall go-to?
AK: I always trusted the sandwich station to have something edible. I would get a hummus wrap everyday with various veggies depending on what was available.
HD: And what was the most creative concoction you came up with?
AK: A spinach wrap with hummus, guacamole, mixed greens, bell pepper, shredded carrots, and a slice of Swiss cheese…grilled to perfection.
HD: Sounds good to me. I’m jealous–St. Andrews didn’t really have much of a sandwich bar. My choices were probably closer to ‘ham or turkey’ than deciding which fresh veggies to pile into a wrap. What is your drink of choice?
AK: A Honey Latte with almond milk and sugar free vanilla syrup. (Adair is currently indulging in one during the interview).
HD: Yeah, thanks for introducing me to those. My wallet will never be the same. So even though you prefer coffee to Cognac, do you have a hangover cure?
AK: Cereal. There is nothing better than munching on some sweet granola in bed and watching mindless television as my stomach reaches a happy level of fullness.
HD: I feel ya. Carbs always do the trick for me. So tell us–do you drunk eat?
AK: Unfortunately, yes.
HD: And what do you go for when the late night munchies set in?
AK: There is a late night pita restaurant close to my house where I will get a hummus pita. (Sensing a pattern?) Although, after an exceptionally long night, we will go to Little Caesars and pick up a Hot-N-Ready pizza. Nom nom.
HD: Even the picture of health has her moments…good to know. When you cook, do you use recipes?
AK: I started by following recipes verbatim (using all the measuring utensils and timers). However, as I have become more familiar with kitchen tools and appliances, I now add a dash of black pepper or a splash of lemon juice when I feel it’s necessary.
HD: It is an art, after all. Do you have a signature dish?
AK: Not particularly. I am always trying new recipes. However, they normally are dishes that most of my friends find too different or “gross” to try.
HD: You can always cook for me. What is your biggest early cooking disaster?
AK: In lower school a couple of my friends came over for a sleepover. We wanted a late night snack and decided to make Rice Krispie Treats. I accidentally left the stove on as I was combining the cereal and melted marshmallows, which led to burnt Rice Krispies. To this day, my friends still bring up this incident.
HD: Let me amend my last statement. You can cook for me, so long as it’s not Rice Krispie Treats. If you could cook for anyone, who would it be, and what would you make?
AK: I am currently obsessed with the Spork Sisters, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg. They teach vegan cooking classes in Los Angeles. They have great tips for veganizing popular recipes and have an extensive knowledge of healthy ingredients. I steal their recipes all the time. I would make grilled tempeh with an orange-agave glaze and a quinoa and brown rice salad with roasted red peppers, fennel, and basil (recipes of theirs that I’ve tweaked).
HD: That sounds great–I’m sure they’d love it. Ok, last one. What are your top five meals?
AK:1. Cashew Nuts with Tofu from Lemongrass in Greenville, S.C.
2. General Tso’s Tofu and Mushu Vegetables from Red Orchid in Charleston, S.C.
3. Chicken-Fried Tofu from the Hot Bar at Whole Foods
4. Grilled Vegetable Platter with Hummus from Friends in Anderson, S.C.
5. Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream from Spill the Beans in Clemson, S.C.