Inside the Fridge: Aimee Thomas
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Inside the Fridge: Aimee Thomas

Inside the Fridge welcomes Aimee Thomas! Aimee Thomas is an actor, writer, and food-obsessive based in Austin, Texas. Told from an early age “if you can read, you can cook,” she started baking in her ‘tweens and hasn’t looked back. Aimee’s role models include a long line of strong women who, in the Southern tradition, had their way in and out of the kitchen. And while Aimee’s first attempt at frying (you mean the oil doesn’t literally boil?) turned out disastrously, she’s found her own frying-free niche. She loves Italian food, baking of all kinds and any opportunity to incorporate the fine, fresh goodness growing around ATX.  (that’s Austin, TX, ya’ll)

Aimee recently returned from Parma, Italy where she attended cooking class at Academia Barilla. In Austin, she has appeared in a number of short films and web series, including Joe Nicolosi’s much-lauded SXSW 2010 Midnight Bumper and the award-winning web series, Cell. Catch up with her on Twitter and on her blog, Actor Aimee.

Below we ask her questions about her grocery shopping and food habits – with actual pictures from her fridge!

Inside the Fridge: Do you love food shopping or dread it?
AT:
Most of the time I enjoy it–I feel like we should be really thankful for the wealth of food options available to us, and I try to attack the chore with an attitude of gratefulness.

ITF: What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?
AT:
Value. Am I getting something fresh and good and healthy for a reasonable price.

ITF: How many do you shop for? Ages?
AT:
Two grown-ups.

ITF: How many times a week do you eat out? (based on 21 meals/week)
AT:
It depends on the week–if we’re both in town, we’ll eat all breakfasts at home, pack our lunches and eat most dinners at home. On average, we probably splurge for two lunches and one-two dinners out per week.

ITF: How do you plan your weekly meals? Create a spreadsheet of fly by the seat of your pants?
AT:
I burned out on pouring over cookbooks for hours + to plan out each dinner and make my shopping list. So now I try to be a little more zen about it. I generally plan 2-3 dinners, counting on leftovers from a couple, then go to the store and try to be fluid about the plan based on what’s there and what’s on sale.

ITF: What is the most coveted food in the fridge right now for each member of the household? Why?
AT:
It’s about to be puddingwiches for my man–he’s a fiend for them in the summertime, so they’ll greet him when he comes home from a business trip. They’re peanut butter and pudding mixed up, spread on graham crackers and stored in the freezer, and they’re inexplicably delicious.

ITF: What brands do you swear by? Why?
AT:
I was surprised to find the HEB house brand to be really, really good for everything from ice cream to canned tomatoes. My guy loves Barbara’s cereals for breakfast, and we’ve both recently developed an addiction to Gamesa cookies–the Anamalitos are awesome.

ITF: What food/s are important when recalling food memories
AT: When I think food memories, it goes straight back to my childhood, mostly my grandmother’s house. The things that leap immediately to mind are the best BLT’s ever with plentiful, thick-cut bacon, tomatoes grown by my great uncle and delivered to my grandmother by the bushel, salt and pepper, iceberg lettuce–sandwiches so juicy they dripped through the white bread down my arms.

I also think cold watermelon in the backyard with my grandmother teaching us to spit seeds–so smart of her to make us eat outside!

And desserts–an oat bar topped with chocolate and nuts that’s amazing, and an angel food cake topped with something similar–rich chocolate fudgy deliciousness and more nuts.

Thanksgiving is the ultimate food memory, and my mom’s recipes are absolutely unbeatable and the go-to’s for my family–my man also comes from a family of amazing cooks, and it was a seriously big deal when I was allowed to contribute for major holidays!

ITF: How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?
AT:
A huge shift from convenience products to scratch cooking and a departure from meats at every meal. Our influences have become a lot more international as well, although the French lamb & prune meatballs I tried recently fell beyond flat. They made the five worst meals ever list, and we hadn’t added anything to that one in years.

ITF: What are your go-to food/nutrition/culinary/cooking website/s, book or cookbook?
AT:
The Barefoot Contessa inspired me to start down this road–her cookbooks are so accessible. I love thepioneerwoman.com–that’s just great eating–and Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. My two newest cookbooks are The Flavor Bible, which has been a lot of fun to play with, and Homemade by Clodagh McKenna–that’s where the baked beans (see below) came from. And one of my best buys ever was a Food & Wine Best Of from 2006 that I found on discount–every recipe in that book has been awesome!

Much of the time now, though, it seems I make up a combination of ingredients in my head and then google it to see if it exists and, if so, how other people did it. Then go from there.

ITF: What was the last meal you cooked from scratch?
AT:
Dinner this weekend–pork chops with lemon and rosemary; sliced tomatoes; fresh corn with queso fresco, lime, chipotle and a bit of sour cream; iron skillet honey cornbread; baked beans from navy-bean-scratch! (that was a first), and leftover brownies my guy made with HEB’s mocha chip ice cream. Hello!

ITF: If one person could cook for you tonight, who would it be?
AT:
Chef Mario Grazia. Because it would mean I was back in Parma at the Academia Barilla, and he would be cooking all of his family’s favorite Piedmont-region recipes for us!

Thank you Aimee!

If you would like to be featured on Inside the Fridge, please email RobinsBite Intern Leah-          Leah@robinplotkin.com

No Comments
  • Aida B W
    Posted at 19:12h, 11 July

    Wow!! I’m getting hungry for dessert when you describe the oat bars full of chocolate and nuts. How about sharing some of your mom’s “unbeatable recipes.” I like the fact that you cook most of your meals at home. Nothing like home cooking.
    Also, thanks for explaining what puddingwiches are. I never heard of that and I”ll have to try some when I make it to Texas.!!!

    • Aimee Thomas
      Posted at 12:03h, 13 July

      Hi Aida!
      You can make Puddingwiches right where you are! They’re super easy, and they satisfy my craving for ice cream sandwiches and cold deliciousness when it’s so hot outside.

      Here’s the recipe–http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Puddingwiches. Don’t cheat and eat them before they’ve been in the freezer for at least 20 minutes or so. They taste totally different frozen!

      My mom’s recipes came from a radio show in Kansas City in the 80’s. I think what makes them special is that she makes them with so much love. The cornbread dressing is amazing–key ingredients are homemade cornbread, sour cream, canned cream corn and sautéed celery and onions in it.

      Thanks so much for your reading the post! Aimee

  • Leah Wakefield
    Posted at 22:32h, 11 July

    I think we’ll all be mixing pudding and peanut butter this weekend. I’m looking forward to trying these as well!