"When I create a recipe, I look at the primary ingredient and try to think outside the box," says cookbook author, food stylist, teacher, and caterer Rori Trovato. "But I also think about how I would like to eat that particular food. I put the two together and decide how I might get someone else to try it."
Over the years, Rori has developed a lion's share of the recipes for O, The Oprah Magazine and says that every time she writes a recipe for a home cook, she hopes she is "making an itty bitty contribution" to getting people back into the kitchen.
"When I teach, students often tell me they know nothing," she continues. "With a little prodding, I discover there's always something they know. They might recall a dish their mother or grandmother cooked or something they tried when they were first married."
She is endlessly fascinated by what she calls the genealogy of cooking. How we cook is based on what we've been taught as children, Rori says, whether we realize it or not, and cooking styles can be traced through a family's generations. For example, Rori says, Thanksgiving is our one true culinary tradition in America, and she would hate to see it change. But except for a turkey-with-all-the trimmings feast, she is all for experimentation in the kitchen.
"Listen to your instincts," she suggests. "Do not ignore what you like. If you don't like something, you probably won't be good at it."
She tries to make the recipes she writes accessible to home cooks, and she urges you to follow any recipe closely until you feel proficient. When you do, she says, go with your heart and taste buds to cook food as you like it. Most of all, she hopes her readers will want to cook.