Q&A | Jeanne Kelley

Photo of Jeanne Kelley by Sharon Suh.

Fellow Rizzoli author Jeanne Kelley, whose book Salad For Dinner (ranked #1 in its category!) just came out last month, was one of the star food editors when I started as an assistant at Bon App├ętit Magazine. She would walk into the office from her home in the East Hills of Los Angeles (full of goats and chickens and all sorts of coolness!) with these great tomboy style outfits on and a certain laid-back cool girl vibe that I couldn't get enough of. I'd go on more here, but her Q&A really says it all.

If not in Los Angeles, I would live in...Mexico.

My dream holiday would be to...drive to South America. I've been to many amazing places from Timbuktu to Sumatra, but I've never been to South America. I think driving there from Los Angles and camping out along the way would be an adventure of a lifetime—and it might take a lifetime.

My current obsessions are...

Food: Oh so many food obsessions! Growing salad greens, especially arugula is one. Freshly grown greens are really amazing— just the tiniest amounts of good vinegar, olive oil and salt is all they need, and I eat them with everything. I'm also really excited by cooking with wood fire. I built a cob oven in my community garden with the LA Bread Bakers and learning to fire it up and bake pizza and bread, it's been a blast. I'm putting a Santa Maria style barbecue in my backyard so I can grill over wood too. I've always loved bonfires, so now I can cook and enjoy flames at the same time. And bread! I've been baking bread with sourdough starter and California grown Sonora Wheat from Whole Grain Connection.

Music: Singing songs of heartache with my husband on guitar because singing love songs would be corny.

Fashion: Blue shirts. They're all I want to wear lately.

Retail Store(s): Retail stores make me uncomfortable. I prefer thrift stores because I enjoy the "hunt." It's like therapy for me—when my world gets hectic and my mind is overloaded and I'm not solving anything, I know that I can quickly rifle through a rack of crap at the Goodwill or Salvation Army and find something beautiful. And I have found some really lovely stuff: silk batiks, lizard skin belts with sterling buckles, perfect Lucien Pellat-Finet cashmere sweaters, a Catherine Malandrino dress with tags that fits perfectly, the never worn Irish Fisherman's sweater that I lived in this winter.

I channel my childhood self when I...swim. I love to jump and dive, body surf and waterski. I feel just like a little kid when I goof around in the water.

The fictional character I most relate to is...Alice, but without the pinafore.

If I had to be outdoors all day I would...wear a hat. I have a new Panama with a cocoa brown grosgrain ribbon that is so totally sharp. I'm sure it's a mans hat—but it fits perfectly.

My favorite quality in a man is...character.

My favorite quality in a woman is...character.

I'm terrified of...the diamond lane freeway overpass that connects the 110 S to the 105 W (The Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange).

My dream car is a...bio diesel-fueled Mercedes Gelandewagen for the drive down to Patagonia—but not for the streets of Los Angeles—that would be silly.

My cocktail of choice is...silver tequila on the rocks with a healthy squeeze of a backyard Bearr's lime or Meyer lemon.

My celebrity crush is...weary. I've grown so tired of the current celebrity-crazed culture. It's not like I don't appreciate great musicians, actors, athletes, statesmen, writers, artists, but there is just so much mediocrity being celebrated—especially in my field, where all you need is cleavage and a recipe ghostwriter and you too can be a star!

The beauty product of choice is...Weleda Skin Food. Is smells like a Gin and Tonic.

My friends and I like to...gather for meals.

If I could go back in time for one decade it would be...to Ancient Greece—I'm really curious as there are no photos, but do I have to stay for 10 years?

As a teenager I was totally into...baking cookies AND the local Los Angeles music scene. So many clubs, so many bands, so many magic cookie bars.

I tend to splurge on...beer. $15 six-packs and $10 four-packs are super pricey, but they bring me joy.

My aversion to anything prissy...is what makes me have Tomboy Style.


self help said...

"but there is just so much mediocrity being celebrated—especially in my field, where all you need is cleavage and a recipe ghostwriter and you too can be a star!"

don't hate on giada like that! haha.

Amy Turman said...

Growing her own arugula? A girl after my own heart!!

mon amy

jean_adelene said...

rad! very envious of her perfect chambray shirt. anyone know where i can i buy one similar?

courtney said...

I have such a girl crush now. Her answers made me laugh, and she seems so down to earth. Off to check out Salad for Dinner...

Kathleen said...

great post and love the video...I am going to check out her book...thanks!

Sarah @ Designs Good said...

I would love to be her neighbor. So many cool interests, and cool projects--so inspiring. What a rad lady!

random article said...

I completely agree with her comment about thrift stores vs. retail. Therapeutic!

K said...

Oh man, thrift stores and fresh grown salads on the eastside ... the recipe for a great life!

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

I'd also like to befriend her! I thought I loved GW, Sal Army; BUT really want to be thorough. That video...drool worthy, from her Wellies, her setting, her menu, her man - the whole video...delightful!!!

MT said...

Nice, Jeanne! Love the Giada comment. So true.
Check out what I'm doing here:

Anonymous said...

I love the special carpool lane that connects the 105 to the 110! In fact, I always feel wistful when I drive alone and can't take it.

Anonymous said...

not really tom boy outfits but what ever floats your boat i guess