Interview with Danielle, Fashionable and Fabulous Friend and Gourmet Cook
Why talk about Danielle?
Danielle is known as the fashion maven of her community. She is funny, slightly outrageous, educated (Nurse Practitioner), mother of 3 wonderful children, and married to Russ, a gerontologist in the Veterans Administration . She is tall, blond and has a classic style. She unapologetically overdresses for church but, then, that is the point. Known as the cook to go to for great vegetarian recipes, she will unabashedly ask friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers or even restaurant chefs for their best recipes, which she recreates with amazing success at home.
Me: How did you first get into fashion?
Danielle: Well actually I was born wearing Manolo Blahnik shoes in the aisle in the lingerie department upstairs in Nordstroms . (just kidding, she didn’t say that. I, the author, was putting words in her mouth because it’s late at night and it seemed funny at the time.) What she said WAS: I have always loved clothes. (surprise surpise) My mother has an exquisite eye for clothing, and dressed me very well. (I added that because we were interrupted by 5 and 6 year old boys with a playmobil emergency so she never finshed her thought. I know her well enough I thought I could finish it for her and she wouldn’t be offended. If you don’t hear from me again, you will know I was wrong.)
Me:How did you first become interested in cooking?
Danielle: Well I always wanted to cook with my grandma but she would say, “you have the rest of your life to cook, go out and play”. When I was older, in college, I noticed how happy home cooked food made people. Especially the boys. (she did say that. I swear she did, and she would). They would all gather around you if you had food. So I started to cook. With reckless abandon. (sorry, last comment by author again).
Me: Was your grandma a good cook?
Danielle: Yes .
(an example of deadend questions for the how-not-to-interview class someone will ask me to teach someday)
Me: Fashion and cooking would seem to some, especially those who just polished off the freshly baked batch of cookies, to be mutually exclusive. How do you balance the two competing interests?
Danielle: I tell people, I like fashion more than cooking, but not more than eating. I cook for others and dress for myself. I make sure that house guests always take home food when they come by.
I also like cooking because the fatter I make everyone else, the better I look (she says as she wickedly dishes me up a plate of brownie cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup drizzled on it. I know, I know, you want the recipe.)
Me: What is your favorite dress?
Danielle: My next one.
Me: Where do you like to shop?
Danielle: Love Neiman Marcus for fancy Christmas dresses. And, of course, Nordstroms. ( I’ve heard of it).
Me: How is fashion like a man?
Danielle: You should change it every season (she says who has been married 25 years)
Me: Any parting fashion advice?
Danielle: Always, always have a dress waiting in the wings.
She pulled out dresses from her attic that her mother had worn in the 60’s. Exquisite dresses with beading, hidden pockets, lining and details they don’t do in China. She showed me a photo of a dress she still had herself, from the 80s. She had worn it to a wedding.
“I love clothes”, she said. “ I still have some of my favorites in the attic.” She picked up a photograph of a younger version of herself with 80’s big hair in a romantic, polkadot, off the shoulder dress.
“I remember where I wore stuff, to a wedding or party, and I thought, ‘ I was so right on’!!”
And she was and is.