15 Minutes With: Cristina Moracho

I’m a writer and grant analyst who grew up in Queens and moved to Brooklyn almost six years ago. I was living in Carroll Gardens and one day my roommate suggested we take a walk over to Red Hook because she thought I would love the neighborhood. That turned out to be an understatement. Finally in September 2010 I moved into my own place on Coffey Street. The thrill of finally living here has yet to wear off, and I suspect it won’t for a long, long time.

{Read more about Cristina – including why she hates York Peppermint Patties – after the jump.}

What was the food culture in your house growing up?

My family is Italian, so basically any combination of carbohydrates and cheese was very popular in our home. My mom shopped at the Italian market every week and brought home things like prosciutto and veal cutlets and fresh mozzarella and riceballs. Every Saturday afternoon we would sit around and have a really casual but delicious lunch, picking at a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I became a vegetarian in high school and then I had to fend more for myself. It didn’t go over so well at family gatherings. You can’t turn down Aunt Joan’s meat lasagna without getting some looks. When I started eating meat again a few years ago, everyone in my family breathed a sigh of relief.

One food you won’t you eat?

York Peppermint Patties. I find the combination of mint and chocolate revolting.

Favorite vegetable?

Seaweed counts, right? Everything is delicious when it’s wrapped in nori.

Favorite food experience?

New Year’s Day, 2009: Some friends and I were visiting on a farm in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, owned by this amazing couple, a pair of retired country singers who basically grow and kill everything they eat. A few days before we went, our friend sent us a picture of an enormous buck he’d just shot, still bleeding in the back of his pick-up truck, with the subject “Your New Year’s Day Dinner.”

That was the best meal I’ve ever had: venison jerky, wild duck gumbo, pickled okra, even peanuts they’d grown and spiced themselves. I guess I’ve come a long way from my days as a vegetarian.

Favorite appliance?

My coffeemaker.

Most disastrous kitchen or garden experiment:

I’ve definitely immolated my share of oven mitts, but we don’t need to get into particulars.

Why are you involved in CSAs?

I moved to Red Hook in September and for the first three months I lived on cheese from the Fairway counter. I don’t really cook and generally speaking I find vegetables very mysterious. I’m not one of those people who ever craves a salad. If cheese, dumplings and whiskey were enough to keep a person alive, I would be set for life.

Unfortunately, I’m told this is not the case. There was a night in January when I was sitting down to dinner and I realized I could not actually remember the last time I had eaten a vegetable and that seemed really, really bad. When I heard about the CSA, it seemed like the perfect way to meet a lot of these people I was seeing around my new neighborhood while also rectifying the no-vegetable situation.

What’s the best lunch option near you?

The sandwiches at F&M Bagels really hit the spot.

What inspires you?

My friends. Punk rock. A good story. Jameson.

Your opinion: Does talking to plants help them grow?

Let me actually try growing a plant and I will get back to you.

Do you sing to them?

Any plant I might sing to would most likely experience a greatly reduced life expectancy.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t spend more than you earn.

Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise us.

I used to live on a dude ranch in Idaho.


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