The Answers to The Samin Quiz

1. In seventh grade, Samin was caught cheating on a test at school. Her teacher told her parents that if she had spent as much time studying as she had making her cheat sheet, she would have gotten an A+. In what subject was the test?

A. Pre-calculus
B. Biology
C. Latin
D. Spanish

C. Latin. In order for me to attend the middle school I did, I had to take Latin. I HATED it, and didn't even try to learn it. So I made an intricate cheat sheet, and was promptly caught. But the guy in front of me was cheating, too! I ended up taking Latin for 4 years, and I grew to love it, and my teacher.

2. Samin has a birthmark on one of her hands, and people often confuse it for a burn. What is the shape of the birthmark?

Bonus: On which hand is the birthmark?

Right hand, right triangle

3. What is the most delicious flavor of ice cream Samin has ever tasted?

A. Mulberry from Chez Panisse
B. Mexican chocolate from Mitchell’s
C. Macapuno from Mitchell’s
D. Fior di latte from San Crispino in Roma

A. Mulberry. Though as we all know, I LOVE ice cream pretty much more than anything. Even I had a tough time deciding which was my very favorite flavor, but I think mulberry wins because I associate it with so much happiness--we had mulberry ice cream sandwiches at a CP party at Bob's one year, and the year before that we had teeny tiny mulberry ice cream cones at the 30th b-day party (one of the best days I'll ever see), and before I left for Italy, the pastry chef made me a mulberry ice cream bombe. You can't really top that.

4. Samin now laughs about having burned a crucial element of a meal prepared for which celebrity guest at Chez Panisse?

A. Former President Bill Clinton
B. Paul Newman
C. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
D. Senator Hillary Clinton
E. Sean Connery

D. Senator Hillary Clinton. Jeez--it was pretty much the worst week of my CP career. I was burning and ruining things left and right. We were making a BBQ dinner for Hilsy in the GGP, and I scorched the sauce. It was awful.

5. In her sophomore year of college, Samin described a friend of hers who liked to spontaneously burst out into song as having “Musical Tourette’s.” This phrase is now widely used in her circle, but who was the original diseased friend?

A. Chad Smith
B. Phil Dwelle
C. Melissa Canales
D. Thirza Young

B. Philip Dwelle. A friend from high school was visiting for a couple of days in January, and I think she spent a car ride with Philippe. The next day, she commented on his tendency to break into song at the most random moments. I said, "Yeah, well, he just has musical Tourette's." And it stuck.

6. Who is Samin’s favorite staff writer at the New Yorker?

A. Calvin Trillin
B. Malcolm Gladwell
C. Marc Singer
D. Tad Friend

B. Malcolm Gladwell. Though I adore Calvin Trillin, Malcom Gladwell writes in a way I've never seen anywhere else. He also always seems to have the best subjects for his expository pieces.

7. In trying to figure out what the eff she is going to do with herself, Samin has considered many graduate school paths. In which program has she NOT been interested?

A. M.A. in Journalism
B. Ph.D. in English
C. MFA in Creative Writing
D. M.A. in Education

D. M.A. in Education. First, it was the Columbia School of Journalism, then it became Yale for a Ph.D., and finally the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Now, who knows?

8. What color is Samin’s Kitchen-Aid mixer?

A. Copper
B. Stainless steel
C. Orange
D. Pistachio

D. Pistachio

9. What does Samin almost always say food needs more of?

A. Salt
B. Fat
C. Spices
D. Love

A. Salt. If you have EVER had a meal with me, you know.

10. Samin is convinced she could live with a very sparse kitchen, consisting of only three items. What item could she live without?

A. Cast-iron pan
B. Sharp, heavy knife
C. Mortar and pestle
D. Spanish cazuela

D. Spanish cazuela. Though I love cazuelas and have even toted several across the world on my back to have in my kitchen, I'd have to say that my top three items are the others.

11. Which does Samin love more—olive oil or butter?

I know I'm going to get a lot of backlash for this, but the answer is butter.

12. In her sophomore year of college, Samin taught a De-Cal course. What was its subject?

"Journal Your Ass Off" was the official name, though we spent an awful lot of time talking about cheese as I recall.

Bonus: Where did the class take a “field trip” to in April?

Ben and Jerry's on Oxford St., for free cone day.

13. What is Samin’s favorite local farm?

A. Frog Hollow Farm (Farmer Al—peaches and other stone fruit)
B. Fresh Run Farm (Peter Martinelli—shellbeans, greens, strawberries)
C. Cannard Farm (Bob—pretty much everything)
D. Star Route Farm (Warren and Annabelle—greens)

C. Cannard Farm. Though picking from amongst the farms must be like picking a favorite child, I heart Bob, and the way he looks at farming.

14. When did Samin get her first cell phone?

A. Summer of 2002 in Berkeley
B. Fall of 2002 in Italy
C. Fall of 2003 in Italy
D. Summer of 2004 in Berkeley

A. Summer of 2002 in Berkeley. I was well behind the trend at any rate, but when I moved out of my apartment and bounced from house to house that summer before leaving for Italy, my family felt it necessary to be able to reach me, so they all chipped in and got me a phone (the only decent cell phone I've ever had--I am about to throw mine out the window!).

15. Which city has Samin NOT visited?

A. Houston, TX
B. Venice, Italy
C. Washington, D.C.
D. Lahore, Pakistan

B. Venice, Italy. I went to Houston as a child for a wedding, to Washington D.C. three years ago for a wedding, and to Lahore two years ago for another wedding. But I still haven't been to Venice.