Paula Wolfert is full of excitement about what she’s up to, and her life has been one big adventure after another so it’s great fun to hear what’s she’s up to.
In fact, you could call her the Nancy Drew of the food world, digging into the mysteries of cooking and unearthing magic to share with her loyal fans. And reading her cookbooks is always a fascinating lesson in cultural anthropology.
Paula is a long-time specialist in Moroccan cooking as well as the foods of the Mediterranean, so it was a natural next step for her to delve into the pleasures and extraordinary tastes and texture of traditional slow-braising in clay cookware. Over the past four decades of culinary research, she has collected dozens of clay pots that line her beautiful Northern California kitchen–each size and shape created for a special purpose.
On a recent afternoon in Sonoma at bram, a cookware shop that specializes in
clay cooking pots, I interviewed Paula about the special pleasures of clay-pot cooking and her latest book, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking. In the first clip, she tells us how she got started and how different pot shapes evolved to prepare particular dishes.
Here Paula and I talk with Ashrf Almasri, the ebullent Egyptian owner of bram:
In this final clip, Paula tells us about a special Moroccan Jewish Sabbath dish that is traditionally long-and-slow-cooked in a clay pot. It will be featured in the revision edition of her classic Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco: