Q & A with Lindsay-Jean Hard

In our July 30, 2019 blog post, we introduced a fresh take on cooking and waste reduction with the cookbook, Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems Into Delicious Meals (Workman Publishing, 217 pages). Learn more about Lindsay-Jean Hard, the book’s author, and her passion for food and sustainability in this Q & A we shared with her.

In the introduction, you credit several cooks and authors as having created timeless and popular recipes. Was there someone in your childhood who inspired your love of cooking?
I attribute this to my father’s parents, Jane and Gil (G.G. and Pop-Pop to me). Their appetite for fine dining gave me early lessons in proper table etiquette and an appreciation of good food. While I ate my fair share of cheeseburgers, I also experienced new dishes. I clearly remember greedily slurping the garlicky butter that my escargot were swimming in and devouring crispy black bean cakes while gazing, mesmerized, at an ice sculpture of a swan across the room. My grandmother had a degree in dietetics, but I don’t remember any heavy-handed discussions on food choices or exercise — she and my grandfather led by example. They were active, trim, and traveled extensively. There were no “health foods” or fat-free dairy products lurking in the refrigerator; I knew I would always eat well when I was with them — like G.G.’s Banana Cake that the Banana Peel Cake in my book is modeled after. They set an early example for me on the value of enjoying all things in moderation.

The influence of your two years living in Japan is evidenced in your tempura, soba noodle, and grilled rice dishes. In what other ways have your travels informed your cooking style?
I find that I grow the most any time I’m out of my comfort zone. Whether exploring a new  spot in my own town or traveling to new places, I try to stay in the moment and take it all in. I never know how that experience might inspire me — testing out a new dish in the kitchen, heading to my art studio to create, or grabbing a pen and paper and writing about it.

This book evolved from your years writing and editing a food blog. Do you plan any additional cookbooks? Any other projects evolving from your current work in the retail food business?
That’s a good question! I’m mulling over a few ideas, but I don’t have anything to announce on the writing front. Cooking with Scraps has definitely impacted Zingerman’s Bakehouse, where I work as a marketer. While they were already focused on reducing waste, I’ve helped in that area. For instance, we no longer peel a lot of produce, like apples and carrots!

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