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“I want these recipes to live and for people to be able to make them,” she said of her pragmatic approach to adapting recipes, adding, “I think if cooks in the early republic would have had a Kitchen Aid blender, they would have used it.”
There are, however, exceptions to the rule.
“The most challenging recipe I’ve made was Abby Fisher’s Maryland Beat Biscuits. The biscuits have to be beaten, with a rolling pin, for at least 15 minutes. It’s hard work,” she said of the painstaking process. “I can’t say I’ve grown to love those biscuits, but I have a little bit more understanding of how hard labor was for the women and men, free and enslaved, who produced food without labor-saving devices.”
Modern conveniences, naturally, made all the difference when she was making her mark in professional kitchens. “Professionally, some of my favorite desserts to make were frozen desserts, like semifreddos and ice creams, that involve fine decision-making and dexterity,” she said of the treats that used to capture her imagination.
After combing through historical texts, Moniz said she’s challenging herself to cook more like our forefathers; she’s currently obsessed with incorporating rose water and caraway seeds into her baking.
Of course, sometimes she prefers to just empty her head and do what comes naturally.
“I like to make cakes — easy and comforting,” Moniz shared.