“As you can see, I like an ordered and spare, but not sterile, space. I can OCD-up a desk like nobody’s business, arranging the position of a stapler or my stationery until they are just so, but I also like color and texture. My desk at our new food52 office near Union Square is all white, which I like because any color I add is my own to choose, but it also means I have to be more prudent. I’m a devotee of the cherry-red Swingline stapler, which I’ve had in every office for the past decade. The teapot and ceramics are from Pearl River. The photos are of my husband and twin son and daughter.
I adore this large food52 photo by Sarah Shatz — she took it as a theme shot for a “Holiday Breakfast” contest theme. Everything in the photo is from my house and many are beloved tabletop objects. For instance, the egg holder is actually a wood-paper napkin ring my mother bought for me in Germany. The chocolate pot comes from my husband Tad’s family. The plate and cup are from Heath Ceramics in California.
On the far left of my desk is my fur hat, which I wear pretty much nonstop from November through March. It was gift from my husband, who bought it from FurHatWorld.com (seriously).
My desk at home is a little more cluttered than I’d like it to be. I’m a warring combination of pack-rat and minimalist. The desk itself is an outdoor patio table given to us by my mother-in-law. Its marble top reminds me of blue cheese, and although I love the look and worn matte texture, marble tops are cool and I find that after working for a while, the chill seeps into my arm bones! Next time: more forgiving wood.
You’ll notice the Swingline stapler again. And maybe you’ve seen that Italian tape dispenser which I saved up money for and bought at Moss. To the right is a moon cake mold, given to me by my father-in-law (cool gift, right?), a bread stamp from Italy (that’s the wood item with the fish handle), and a photo of my mother-in-law and husband, Tad.
The train is from my kids — they like to deliver tiny objects to me when I’m in my study, and I keep them either displayed or collected in a special dish. The chair was given to us by Tad’s parents, and they were scandalized when they saw that we’d recovered the drab needlepoint seat with that bright pink-and-white print! I love being surrounded by cooking objects like the sieve, the mortar-and-pestle, and the blanc-mange mold. The paintings are by Tad’s great grandmother.”
Amanda Hesser has designed a seventeenth-century-style herb garden at a French château, developed the Twitter app Plodt, and appeared in Julie & Julia, playing herself. She began her career as a kitchen runner and bread truck driver in college, then picked grapes in France, made pretzels in Germany, and cleaned rabbits in Italy. As a longtime staffer at the New York Times, Hesser has written more than 750 stories, created the columns Food Diary and Recipe Redux, and was the food editor at the Times Magazine, where she launched T Living. She has written the award-winning books Cooking for Mr. Latte and The Cook and the Gardener, and edited the essay collection, Eat, Memory, based on a column she conceived for the Times Magazine. Her latest book is The Essential New York Times Cookbook. She is also the cofounder of food52.com. Hesser lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Tad Friend, and their two children.
- Flavor: Meyer lemon
- Tool: bone-handled fork
- Apron: No
- Desert island meal: mangosteens and a stiff drink
- Would like to have dinner with: Tina Fey
- Doesn’t like: caviar
- Kitchen store: Rose and Radish, San Francisco
- Place: Blue Bottle on Linden Street in San Francisco
- Book: Cooking in Ten Minutes by Eduard de Pomiane
I’m a warring combination of pack-rat and minimalist.
I grew up knowing what good food is, and I later realized this was very lucky.
The 1970’s were the decade of new and inventive desserts.