Rachael Ray was already the host of multiple TV shows and the editor of her own magazine (Every Day With Rachael Ray). Now she has turned her life upside down: “My Year in Meals” (Atria /Simon & Schuster, $29.99) documents every meal Ray cooked for a year. And when you flip it over, it becomes “My Year in Cocktails,” with 100 recipes by her husband, musician and producer John Cusimano.
Before she hit the road for a recent speaking engagement, we asked Ray five questions.
Q: You’ve got books, TV shows and a magazine. When you run out of ideas, how do you juice your brain?
A: I always keep these little notebooks with me. I write recipes all day long, so I can go back when I get stuck. … And quite honestly, running, which I started when I turned 40. It really wakes me up. I have to bring my notebook with me to the gym. I’m literally climbing Stairmaster, listening to Foo Fighters and writing in my notebook. I look like a crazy person.
Q: Did you have to hide anything embarrassing in “A Year in Meals,” like the night you ate Frosted Flakes over the sink?
A: No! My husband and I love to cook. None of them were disasters, although there were things I wouldn’t do again. One thing I probably won’t do again – I did days of Christmas cookies last year. I’ve decided I really don’t like baking. It sucked all the joy out of my holiday. I’m going back to the Archway homestyle cookies this year.
Q: So much of your life is in public view. Can you name something we wouldn’t guess?
A: Probably not. I babble on about literally everything. I love to jump out of planes. I take Italian lessons every Wednesday night. My dream job would be rock drummer.
Q: If you had to pick one to give up forever, would it be salt, extra-virgin olive oil or chocolate?
A: Chocolate. … I like dark chocolate, but no big shakes if I gotta give that up. The olive oil gives me a shiny coat, and I am a salty girl.
Q: What do you make when you don’t know what to make?
A: Aglio e Olio [pasta with anchovies and garlic]. You always have it in the pantry.