How do you get the timing right?
Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru. Jennifer is currently Food and Entertaining Editor of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, Former Contributing Food Editor of, the recently folded (March 2009), Condé Nast shelter magazine Domino, and her first book, Real Life Entertaining, was released in May 2006 by HarperCollins. She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and has appeared in, among others, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle, The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Travel + Leisure, Ocean Drive and Food & Wine. In 2007, Paper Magazine named Jennifer one of its 30 most beautiful people.
Entertaining is in Jennifer Rubell’s blood. Her uncle, the late Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, treated Jennifer as his own child, taking her along to parties with Halston, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, and inviting her to every major event at Studio 54, starting at the age of 7. Her parents, world-renowned contemporary art collectors Donald and Mera Rubell, became famous in the ‘80s for the Whitney Biennial after-party they hosted at their Upper East Side townhouse. With artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol roaming around the house, Mera turned out bowl after bowl of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, with Jennifer at her side learning the Rubell family style: personal, unconventional and decidedly hands-on.
Jennifer Rubell: Yeah well I have the timing silver bullet which is such an easy, obvious trick that it’s kind of life altering. It was life altering for me when I realized it. You can serve everything at room temperature and serve one dish hot. And it means that everything will be ready. And then that one dish that has to be hot, when it’s ready the meal is served. And in order to do that, you just need to make sure to conceptualize the meal properly. So you can’t serve a meal where you have mashed potatoes, and steak, and you know, two other things that are disgusting when they’re cold and feel like those can be at room temperature. Room temperature mashed potatoes are really dodgy. But if you . . . Usually what I’ll do is I’ll have a few different vegetables, or grains, or pasta or whatever. And then I’ll have the protein – whether it’s meat or chicken or whatever – cooked hot. The other way to get the timing right is to cook a lot of things in one pan. And I love cooking in the oven when I’m entertaining because then the whole thing is in the oven, on its way. People come and everything you’ve had to do is done and all you have to do is pull it out of the oven. Well you can get a lot in there. You can . . . I never roast a piece of meat or chicken without throwing in some potatoes, and some other root vegetables, and almost having . . . practically having a whole meal in the oven.
Recorded on 12/13/07
Serve everything at room temperature, and serve one hot dish.
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