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Ayun HallidayDescribe your latest project.
Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste is the fourth in a series of self-mocking autobiographies. I thought it was going to be funny essays about food, but after reading a couple, my editor, Leslie Miller, suggested that the real story was how I morphed from a repressed picky eater in white, middle-class 1970s Indiana to the ravenously omnivorous bundle of culinary contradictions that I am today.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
What is your favorite literary first line?
What section of the newspaper do you read first?
What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
I have to admit that I'm rather smitten with some recently purchased summer footwear, that cost me all of ten bucks. Looks-wise, they seem to have been sired by a pair of Converse low tops who were carrying on a clandestine love affair with a pair of Mary Janes. They've got the white rubber toe cap and soles, but instead of laces, a little strap decorated with a rhinestone skull and cross bones. They make me feel like a punk rock vintage debutante and I wish I'd bought fifty pairs because in terms of durability, they're the antithesis of Doc Martens.
Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
On a related note, a friend just gave me a book titled Cartooning with the Simpsons. (She also gave my long-haired daughter an instructional manual called Great Braids! authored by none other than Thomas Hardy! If you loved The Mayor of Casterbridge...) The dedication on the Simpsons book features a picture of the family's cat and reads, "To the Memory of Snowball I: You may be gone, but we still remember how to draw you." That's exactly how I feel about my late cat, Jambo, who continues to figure prominently in my zine, The East Village Inky, three issues after his death.
Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
Do you read blogs? What are some of your favorites?
Food-blog wise, I really like The Amateur Gourmet, The Girl Who Ate Everything, and Cupcakes Take the Cake, even though I'm not particularly keen on cupcakes. I like Written Road, a blog for travel writers, where editor Jen Leo shares her leads and posts inspirational reports from her do-it-yourself book tours. The travel site Boots-n-All provides free blog accounts to its users it's always fun to paw through those at random, get the scoop from the base of Kilimanjaro or a small town in Romania.
But my favorite blog of all, and it's a very guilty pleasure, is D-listed, a snarky celebrity gossip site. I stumbled upon it when I learned that Heath Ledger had moved in across the street and was Googling him so that I'd recognize him if I saw him taking out the trash or something. Oh my god, it is so mean, but the site owner, Michael K. is consistently witty for one so prolific. Half the time, I don't even know who these "celebrities" are, which leads to more Googling. My husband is deeply resentful of my addiction to D-listed as it interferes with dinner and child-rearing.
(I nearly forgot to mention that I've got a food blog of my own.)