Kelsey Banfield is the force
behind the brilliant blog, The Naptime
Chef, and the cookbook "The
Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life." Her site reinforces the
fact that loving good food and cooking at home can coincide just fine with
raising a family — even little ones. Early on, Kelsey realized that the chunk
of time each day when her child was napping was the calmest time to work in the
kitchen, so she began planning for these hours in the day, whipping up recipes
to feed her family. These days on Kelsey’s blog, you can find everything from
family-friendly recipes and food travel articles to mom-friendly lifestyle
Website or blog:
The Naptime Chef
Blogging since: 2009
Where you call home: Southern Connecticut
What’s your earliest cooking memory? We were very close with my grandparents and my
grandmother used to put me in charge of frosting the lamb cake every Easter.
The joke was that my mouth would be filled with frosting and only a little would
end up on the cake!
How would you characterize or describe your cooking style today? Easygoing and fun. I really like to have fun in the kitchen. It is my respite and
my playground. I am constantly trying new recipes and I like to keep it simple.
I subscribe to the idea that a good recipe only news a few ingredients.
Anything more complicated and I am not interested.
What’s your favorite thing to cook at home? Why? I like big family dishes that make the whole
house smell good. Those are the kind you can’t really find at restaurants.
Those are usually things like big vats of soups in the winter and super fresh
pasta with lots of vegetables in the summer. I also like making things my kids
can help with; the more hands in the kitchen the better!
What are three things you have in the pantry at all times? Dried
pasta, kosher salt and canned tomatoes. I mean, that is practically a meal
What’s your “There’s Nothing in the Fridge Dinner”? The one thing you
often whip up with very few ingredients or, perhaps, very little inspiration?
Sometimes I do big scrambled egg mashes. I scramble them up with salsa, or
vegetables, or crushed potato chips and cheese. It is breakfast for dinner! The
other route is tacos. Anything can be warmed up and wrapped in a tortilla with
cheese and called a taco.
What are some of your kitchen goals — skills you want to improve on or
recipes you want to try or master? I didn’t go to culinary school so I am
constantly working on my knife skills. I really want to take a knife skills
class. I also want to work on some richer French classic like cassoulet and coq
au vin. They taste amazing when done correctly. I study the recipes but still
have yet to do them perfectly.
How has becoming a mother changed your experience as a home cook?
There is no doubt that efficiency is the key to kitchen sanity once you have
kids. I plan ahead and now focus on getting things made more quickly. That is
OK though, because I don’t compromise the quality of the food I make, I just
focus on what I can honestly make in the time frame I have.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks and/or food blogs? There
are SO many out there that are amazing. Here are my most favorite books these
Hungry" – An honest look at feeding a family. The recipes are all accessible
for Jam" – A wistful yet practical cookbook with loads of family recipes.
from My Home to Yours" – Dorie is a cookbook goddess and it is
really the only baking book you’ll ever need. Birthday cakes, cookies,
celebration pastries — they are all here!
– Catherine really gets it when it comes to feeding a family!
Simple Bites – I aspire to have a garden
like Aimee's. Her family is brimming with happiness and her food and writing
Me Phoebe – This is my way to live the life of a twentysomething New
Yorker again. Ahh, those were the days.
– There is always a genius recipe that catches my eye! Plus, that Provisions
shop is super dangerous for my checkbook.
Besides other cookbooks or food blogs, where do you draw inspiration
for your cooking?
In the summer, I am all about the
ingredients. That is the most important thing for me. In the winter, I love
rereading all my favorite cookbooks, browsing my favorite blogs and
challenging myself with new dishes here or there.