A Quick Bite With Tamra Davis

A Quick Bite With Tamra Davis

Author, TV host, film, teacher, cook, TV and music video director—just a few small things Tamra Davis has littered on her impressive resume. The mother of two (of Skylar and Davis) who also happens to be married to Mike D of the Beastie Boys, produces a wildly addictive cooking show, The Tamra Davis Cooking Show. She weaves in adorable clips of her kids, fun music (she even includes links to source the music yourself) and easy steps that making cooking (particulary vegetarian) seem achievable—especially when it comes to incorporating kids into the process. She dishes on Count Chocula, being a vegetarian and the best dopamine rushes.

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?

A: I have many early food memories but most of them are cereal and McDonald’s related. I do remember having a home economics class in school and learning how to make a tuna casserole using a can of tuna and Campbell’s mushroom soup. Once my mom discovered I liked to cook she really built my confidence in the kitchen. She wasn’t that good of a cook so I became a capable participant, sous chef and ultimately the pinch hitter when she worked late.

Q: What was your favourite food as a child?

A: Again, a bit junk food related. My mom was into health food, which was pretty horrible tasting in the 70s, so me and my brother would sneak boxes of cereal into our closets and go to our rooms with a nice glass of milk. Then sit in the closet and eat Count Chocula or Quisp. I think i started to develop a better taste for food when I lived in Rome when I was 17.

Q: Is there a food you loathed as a child and have since learned to enjoy? Or maybe you still can’t stand it? Tell us—what is it?

A: The only kind of food I never really liked as a kid was steak. I found the texture of chewing a piece of meat too similar to the idea that I was actually eating an animal. I could eat a hamburger but didn’t like steak. I think that’s why it was fairly easy for me to become a vegetarian. I started to eat fish when I was pregnant and so I still will eat a bit of fish but never red meat. The only thing I miss is bacon. Oh if only pigs grew on trees.

Q: What’s your default, throw-together-and-wow-everyone meal?

A: Thank God I have a few of these because you never know when a group of people will stay for dinner. I love to make a seafood pasta. That’s if i can go out and shop for fresh seafood. I also can make an incredible vegetable pasta that was inspired by a meal we ate at Del Posto. I can make it with any vegetable and I can serve it to any frou frou guest. It may be peasant food but it can go with the best wines. Linguini and Clams, easy. I am also great with sauces, so all i need is a fresh piece of fish and i can whip up a mango sauce, lemon sauce, pesto sauce, mushroom sauce… I think everyone should take a sauce class. It’s the key to making a great piece of protein. Oh, also I can make killer Mexican food. A tostada can be a great quick meal. Or fish tacos….I could go on and on and that’s why I wrote a cookbook because I love to share these simple easy recipes!

Q: What’s the one meal you would love to cook but fear it’s too complicated?

A: Vegetarian and fish featured recipes are usually pretty easy to make. I just don’t have time for complicated. Around the holidays I’ll make a veggie Sheppard’s Pie. I really don’t fear the recipe but the time it takes to make it. I love reading Shirley O Corriher baking cookbooks and would love to make some of her amazing desserts and don’t mind that some are complicated because i would see that as a challenge. I fear making them because I don’t want to eat them and get fat.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to cook or bake with someone else?

A: Making apple turnovers or ravioli with my kids or a girl friend is super fun. it’s like an art project and cooking in one. I have two boys and sometimes to separate them I bring one into the kitchen with me to cook. They love sitting on the counter and helping and I love the peace I get from getting one on one time with my boys.

Q: What do you love most about cooking?

A: I love to eat and won’t eat something unless I think it tastes delicious. Cooking lets me make food that I think is delicious. So it satisfies my palate. I also love to cook for others and get so happy when someone likes the recipe that I made. When someone says they like what you just made them it sends a rush of “feel good” dopamine to your brain. It is one of the best drugs you can get and your own body makes it! It really will help a person out of a funk to cook something and have it be appreciated. That’s why I always encourage moms to cook. There is nothing like hearing your husband or kids tell you it’s delicious and that you are the best cook ever.

Q: What’s your favourite food memory with your children?

A: I’ve been teaching a nutrition and basic cooking skills class to kids up in Harlem. We are working with the 5th grade now. In just a few classes we have totally transformed the way these kids think and experience food. Yesterday a boy stood up in front of class and told me his mom changed the recipe for french toast that she makes him and will make it with whole grain bread. He said now that he has chosen to eat healthy his mom will change what she makes and buys for him. She wants him to be healthy too.

Every time we do one of these classes we have this experience. These are my favorite memories. Changing the way our children eat by empowering them to make better food choices makes me so happy.

Oh now I reread your question and see it says with my children… The nice thing about having filmed them so much for my cooking show is that so many of my favorite memories are now captured on film. I love to watch the show I did called Macaroons. It reminds me of the time when I was just a mom and had all day to spend with my boys, doing mommy things like cooking with them and going to the park. It really does go by so fast.

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1 Comment

  1. yasmin
    January 13, 08:12 Reply

    love her show and what she’s doing with her kids cooking classes. would love to work with her on a project one day. this is a great post/interview with her, congrats!!

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