Alison Roman

The chef and author on home cooking, not having a plan, and the ritual of rolling a skinny, skinny joint. 


This Conversation originally appeared in Volume Four of our print magazine. You can pick up a copy here or at a stockist near you.

I got interested in cooking around high school. It was a way for me to procrastinate, and it was easy for me to put off doing actual schoolwork for something that was actionable. I liked that I could do something creative and then have something to show for it at the end.

I was doing a lot of writing at the time, as angsty teens tend to do. It was a creative outlet that was just for me—I didn’t show anybody. Cooking was the creative outlet that I had for other people, and I was good at it. I wasn’t bad at school, it just didn’t excite me. Cooking did. I was like, Oh. This is something that I’m not only good at but enjoy doing, and other people enjoy it when I do it, too.

I don’t think I grew up cooking more than the average person. My parents definitely cooked more than we ate out, but there was nothing special about it. It’s not like every Sunday we did this ceremonious thing. But after I left home for college, I started falling in love with cooking. I figured that I could always go back to school, but if I was feeling a deep, burning desire to cook, then I should probably pursue it. So that’s what I did.