Tamra Wilson’s mother hated to cook and take-out in their small Illinois farm town was Dog ‘n’ Suds or Dairy Queen. Somehow Tamra escaped the pre-packed world of boxes and cans to win the Betty Crocker Award in high school. She learned about the greater food world through travel, imitation and (what else) the big orange Betty Crocker Cookbook. She’s a writer at heart and recently published her first collection, Dining with Robert Redford & Other Stories. The Wilsons have lived in North Carolina since 1979.
Favorite Flavor: maple
Who would you most like to have dinner with? Robert Redford
Most Exotic Food I Ever Tasted: Squid cooked with the ink sac. The dish, served in a bowl, resembled a boiled tire. There is probably a name for this; I call it “never again.”
What can you always find in your fridge? Open bottle of Chardonnay, skim milk, leftovers, farm-fresh eggs, home-canned zucchini relish and more leftovers.
If you got to choose your last meal, what would it be? Lobster. I did not go to the University of Southern Maine for nothing.
Best kitchen gift ever received: A handwritten cookbook my Dad made for my grandmother in 1936. The personal notations are priceless.
Most Memorable Kitchen Disaster: Unbeknownst to me, our oven was on the blink when I baked a red velvet cake for a church potluck. Not realizing the inside of the cake was raw (trust me on this), I iced the cake and took it to the picnic where people oohed and ahhed about the unusual “pudding.” After the meal, a large Labrador retriever leaned across the table and gobbled what was left, thus ending further questions about the recipe.