How I Learned To Cook

5 questions for Laurie David


I’m fascinated by cooking journeys: Everyone’s is so different; everyone comes to cooking in their own unique way. Maybe you learned with a parent — or maybe you learned because your parents weren’t around much and you had to fend for yourself. Maybe you learned in order to impress a potential partner. Maybe you’re just an overachiever. So, in an effort to quench my curiosity, we’ve decided to start a new series. Each person in the series will answer the same five questions and in the process tell a little about themselves.

We’re doing it a little differently today, starting with the audio above: Mark interviews Laurie David, and Heather Reisman, coauthors of Imagine It! A Handbook for a Happier Planet, which seeks to answer the question on many people’s minds: What can I do personally to help our changing planet?

Following the audio, we’ve got 5 questions for Laurie, who, often in conjunction with Heather, has executive-produced some of the best-known and arguably most important films about the environment, food, and climate, notably Al Gore’s Academy-Award winning An Inconvenient Truth, Fed Up, as well as The Biggest Little Farm and The Social Dilemma. Here she is, Laurie David — Kate

How did you eat growing up?

We had family dinner five nights a week but I don’t ever remember fresh veggies. I do remember canned vegetables, meat, and a salad. I also have strong memories of being forced to eat certain things (peas) and perfecting the pretend chew, then putting it in my napkin as I wiped my face, for disposal in the bathroom. Both my sister and I were geniuses at that!

How old were you when you learned how to cook? Why’d you start?

After college. That is when I had my first small garden, and started making proper meals.

What's something you really love to make?

I love whipping up dinner from just what is in my fridge and pantry. So that is almost always a stir fry or veggie soup. I grow a lot of kale so you can bet that there’s kale tossed in at the end in almost everything I make. 

Is there something you can never seem to get right?

Yes ... following a recipe! I always screw it up, accidentally leave out an ingredient or a step. It happens every time!

 What advice can you offer to your fellow cooks?

Grow your own herbs! They taste better and last longer than anything store-bought.