Expert Interview Series: Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook About High-Quality Casserole Bakeware and Accessories
Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook are New York Times best-selling authors, and the dynamic duo is best known together as the Casserole Queens, who are often described as, "Part kitsch, part dish, all apron" - and with good reason....
Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook are New York Times best-selling authors, and the dynamic duo is best known together as the Casserole Queens, who are often described as, "Part kitsch, part dish, all apron" - and with good reason. Their fresh-from-scratch meals have been featured on The Today Show, Epicurious, Oprah.com, and CNN. Crystal Cook recently chatted with us about all things casserole-related.
Who should be visiting the Casserole Queens website, and what can they expect to find there?
Everyone! Casseroles are ideal for college kids, newlyweds and busy families who are short on time, watching their wallets, and looking for meals that will please the masses. Once on the site, you will find links to our books, recipes, videos, blog and more! You can also learn more about engaging with us for private parties, speaking engagements, and recipe testing and development.
What do you wish more people knew about cooking?
That it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive! We pride ourselves on simple and wholesome dishes that are truly timeless and provide a way to put a delicious, from-scratch meal on the table - so that you can actually sit down with your family at the end of the day.
Which gadget do you use the most in your kitchen?
Believe it or not, it may be the forgotten ice-tray. Ice-trays are actually a very clever tool. Call up this old friend and use it for any leftover wine (as if) or tomato sauce. Just fill the ice cube trays and freeze them, then transfer the cubes to labeled freezer bags when done. Each cube is two tablespoons, so two cubes equals ¼ cup. Just place them in the pan while cooking to defrost them as needed.
What are some of the high-quality casserole bakeware items that you enjoy using?
In our kitchen, we celebrate the casserole dish any which way we can. To be completely honest, we have a fairly loose interpretation of what the casserole dish really is. If it all goes in one dish, then it is a casserole! From the old-old school 9x13-inch glass Pyrex, to the highly decorated soufflé dish, Dutch oven, ramekin, or pie pan, it's all comfort, so it's all a casserole!
What are your must-have baking accessories in the kitchen?
Pam cooking spray! There is no easier way to prepare a casserole dish than with cooking spray! We have joked about inventing a Pam holster so that we always have it by our sides!
What does being adventurous in the kitchen mean to you?
Finding exciting opportunities to learn, to try something new, and to be creative. Our specialty is taking tried-and-true family favorites and updating them with a modern twist. We wouldn't be here without a few trials and errors!
Where do you find inspiration for your casserole recipes?
When Sandy and I sit down to write a recipe, we start with what's in our hearts. We draw our best inspiration from the stories, memories, and traditions of our childhood. To us, cooking has become an extension of our families and is a way to showcase our devotion to the ones we love the most. It is a venue that knows no judgment, but lets us express our passion, our creativity and our individuality - no matter how successful or unsuccessful the outcome. (Trust us, even the Queens have disaster moments!)
What sort of gadgets should be on every casserole maker's holiday wish list this year?
It is not so much a tool as it is a dish, but we love a good ramekin! Perfect for individual-size meals and desserts, ramekins can also be used to serve condiments at the dinner table, like dipping sauces, toppings, fresh sea salt, or cracked black peppercorns. They are also ideal for prepping ingredients.
Please share with us anything that you think has contributed to the success of Casserole Queens.
Over the years, we have found that that our mission of bringing families together around the dinner table struck a chord with so many people. Food sparks memories, ideas, and conversations.