Big Salad
Big Salad Podcast
Caroline Chambers Reveals Her Dinner Party Secret (Plus, Anton and Joanna Do a Podcast)

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Caroline Chambers Reveals Her Dinner Party Secret (Plus, Anton and Joanna Do a Podcast)

The cookbook author on family-friendly recipes and the perfect cool girl starter pant. And Anton shares what it's like to be a kid these days.

Hi! Ever since our podcasting equipment arrived, my 10-year-old son Anton has been itching to record an episode. This week, we sat down for a chinwag, and guys, his raspy voice is my favorite. He answered my pressing questions (and a few reader qs), including how to spend a rainy Saturday, what gifts to give kids for the holidays, and how to feel better when you’re sad. (Here’s the transcript, too, if you’d like.)

A few links from the episode: a mini basketball hoop, the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, a coin bank, and his favorite home-cooked dinner.

Speaking of family meals, Toby and Anton have historically not loved soup, but when I made

turkey and white bean chili this week, they wolfed it! They’ve also devoured her chicken flautas and mushroom gnocchi. Her newsletter has truly crowd-pleasing recipes and Trader Joe’s hacks for busy people. She really gets it.

Caroline lives in California with her husband and three sons (ages four, three and one). She and I agree on how sweet boys really are: “Every time you post about your kids — like when Toby showed up at the restaurant where you were eating with your friend — my heart swells. There’s this expectation that boys will be tough and macho, but they’re actually so tender. I love the little boy dynamic crew we have.”

Here, Caroline shares 12 things that light her up…

  1. Family recipe: The thing I make most is my Healthy-ish Bolognese. It has pounds and pounds of hidden vegetables — carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, and cauliflower rice. Cauliflower rice is one of my best tricks for getting veggies into my kids’ bodies: anytime there’s ground meat — in burgers, pasta sauce, etc — you can swap in cauliflower rice, since it takes on the same texture and color.

  2. Most popular recipe she’s ever shared: Spicy (or Not) Salmon Tempura Crunch Bowls. I had this recipe in my head for a few months, and then I cooked it for lunch with girlfriends. My friends lost their marbles over it! I lost my marbles over it. It’s delightful.

  1. Conversation starter: When my friends and I have dinner parties, we do ‘Table Talk,’ where everyone answers the same question. We recently did, ‘Tell us about your middle name,’ and people had all these stories. With couples, a fun one is ‘What's something about your partner that none of us know?’ For girls’ dinners, we ask about first heartbreak, first sex, worst sex. Also, we play The Apocalypse Game: If we all end up on a piece of land, what do we each bring to the group? (I’m always the chef, and my husband is security.)

  2. Kitchen tool: I’m obsessed with this fish spatula. The name is the worst marketing because you’re like, no, I don’t need a fish spatula, but you DO need a long skinny perfect $16 spatula. For chicken and veggies and fish and potatoes and pancakes and cookies, just use the fish spatula as a wedge and nothing will stick to the pan/sheet/grill.

  1. Groceries: My kids and I love snacking on Trader Joe’s mochi rice nuggets. And I swear by Trader Joe’s holiday vegetable hash. Just add olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast it for 20 minutes — it’s delicious. For dinner, I serve it with chicken thighs and feta sprinkled over top.

  2. Beauty product: Are your lips slowly turning flesh-colored?? Is this a thing that happens as you get older?! Every day that goes by, my lips turn more the color of my face. I’m obsessed with Merit lipstick in ‘baby’ — I don’t feel like I’m wearing lipstick, it just feels like what my lips should look like. Plus, it’s very moisturizing.

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Big Salad Podcast
Life advice, fun recommendations, and dating gossip — from Joanna Goddard and the Cup of Jo team.