An interview with your host!

Host of Reciprocity Radio, Amanda McCleod

Host of Reciprocity Radio, Amanda McCleod

What’s your name?

Amanda McCleod

How do you like your eggs?

Over medium or scramble softly with some cheese and sometimes scallions.

Which kitchen essentials are always on your grocery list?

Lemons, butter, eggs, garlic, an onion, half and half, coffee, a can of crushed tomatoes, parmesan cheddar, dried pasta, kale, whatever vegetables look the best or are in season, wine, avocados, good bread if I stop by a place that has it, Chobani or Siggis yogurt, green juice. 

What is your go to meal, something you could make half asleep or when the pantry is nearly bare?

This cacio e pepe with whatever vegetable I have on hand. Avocado toast. Franny’s Pasta al Diavola. Eggs on toast.

What do you eat when you don’t even want to eat?

Peanut butter pretzels or store bought mac and cheese mix with some broccoli tossed in.

What is a favorite food memory for you?

I remember the first time I had savory breakfast was at my grandmother’s house. Her house always smelled like a fireplace, which is one of my favorite smells to this day. She made scrambled eggs with cheddar and thick cut bacon. Until then I’d really only eaten oatmeal or pastry or cereal for breakfast. I remember on birthdays or a graduation my dad used to make “ice cream pie” which was an oreo crust filled with store bought ice cream (usually coffee flavored) covered in a hard chocolate shell. I think we also used to have pudding pie too, which was just the mix poured into a graham cracker crust. I remember the pizza at a now closed pizza place called Cappricio's was the best I’d ever had and the slices felt larger than my head as a kid. I remember the first time I ever had various types of clams and mussels was at a dinner host by my Italian teacher’s father, a fisherman, on a small island outside of Venice. We had gone there by boat and they served us the day’s catch cooked in lemon, white wine, and herbs. To this day no pasta alla vongole has come close. I had my first ever nectarine while on a hike through the Cinque Terre in Italy. It was transcendent. My first glass of wine, again in Italy, when I was 18 and taking a Catholic pilgrimage. I'd only ever had it at communion before, and I remember its subtle warmth and burn. The first time I had gnocchi by accident in Bologna because the only word on the menu I understood then was "patata". 

Do you have any any secret recipes, either of your own or in your family?

There are a few, but you’ll have to check back in the recipes section for those!

How do you take your coffee or tea?

I make cold brew at home and drink it with a generous splash of half and half.

Do you have a guilty pleasure snack?

Oh, well I do love the McDonalds original cheeseburgers, even though they can hardly be called that. It’s definitely tied to my memory of eating it as a child, and also many trips to the nearby McDonalds after cross country practice. As I mentioned about, peanut butter pretzels. I love anything cheese flavored, and try to keep snacks like that out of my house because I’ll devour them. Homemade rice crispie treats with peanut butter on top, too. Nice dark, crunchy pretzels dipped in a good mustard. 

Dark or milk chocolate, and if dark, what percentage of cocoa?

Dark! As dark as possible. Though I am a sucker for this Chuao chocolate bar with bread crumbs and sea salt that is not too dark.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

This is tricky! I love a good coffee ice cream, but I’m also obsessed with mint ice cream. Most flavors are way too weak for my taste, though the fresh backyard mint ice cream I had at Jeni's in Chicago was very memorable for me. I also absolutely love the peppermint bark flavor that Haagen Dazs does around the holidays. I get it fresh packed from the store down the street and you truly have to pry the pint away from me. The strawberries and cream flavor at Ample Hills is truly divine. I love this dairy-less dark chocolate gelato by Ciao Bella, it's very intense and the hit from the deep cocoa flavor does not disappoint. 

Do you have a least favorite food or dish? 

I do not enjoy barbecue sauce or ketchup. I really don't like cucumbers, but I love pickles. I do not like pears or any variety of melon. I also tend to not like smokey things like Mezcal or a heavy hitting Scotch. I'm not big on Chinese food, but I'd love to have my mind changed about that.