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Nothing beats a killer cookbook, and Molly Baz knows it. The New York Times best-selling author is back with her sophomore title, More is More: Get Loose in the Kitchen, and we’re thrilled to report that its contents and flavors showcase Baz at the top of her game. The tome further cements her status as the people’s salt queen and an eminent modern voice that belongs in every home kitchen. Ahead of her new cookbook’s official launch, we chatted with Baz about her creative process behind developing More is More, her pro tips for hosting a fabulous dinner party and more.
What was your creative process behind More is More?
It all started during a meal at a dive bar where I was served something mediocre. My instinct was to immediately get to work to zhuzh it up and make it more delicious than how it was served. My husband was like, “Are you fucking crazy?” as I was whipping together a tableside mayonnaise/hot sauce mixture to dip the calamari in, followed by me asking the waitress if she had any fresh black pepper and if I could get some extra lemons for my drink. But only because I wanted the lemon to squeeze over the calamari because there wasn’t enough acid in the dish. And as I was casually going about my business of fixing the meal, it dawned on me that having the wherewithal and balls to not accept mediocre food — not just in a restaurant but in your home as well — is a mantra I live by. And that’s More is More to me.
From there, it became clear that all the recipes needed to filter through this philosophy. I hit the kitchen and worked on developing the meat of the book for around nine months. I spent the following few months shooting and styling. I do most of my work from my home kitchen. I would set aside development days and just go to town working on five to seven recipes at a time. Then I’d invite people over for dinner because I needed a place for all that food to go. There were always a lot of hungry bellies around me during this process. We then edited and refined for almost a year, making the creation of this book nearly a two-year process.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?
People love to ask this of cookbook authors and I totally get it, but I’d be lying if I said I had one favorite. It totally depends on my mood. I feel like every time I open the book now there are recipes that catch me off guard and that I haven’t made in more than a year that end up sparking some wonderful memories in me. So, I cannot and will not pick one. That being said, I will share a few of my favorites.
I love the cold-fried chicken sando with chili crisp mayo. This takes my party chicks recipe and deploys it to a day-after delicacy in the form of a sandwich. I’m a cold-fried chicken freak. I also really love the crispy potato skins with fried-herb aioli. One of the simplest recipes in the book with the biggest and baddest flavor is the miso-glazed chicken and leeks. And in the “Carbs” chapter (which is a big section of More is More, because most people truly just want new carbs recipes), I’m obsessed with the ramen noodles with shrooms and soy butter.
What’s the No. 1 takeaway you hope home cooks get from More is More?
Confidence. I hope that cooks walk away from this book with an “I don’t give a fuck, I got this, I’m the boss of my kitchen” attitude. And I hope that mindset can empower home cooks to influence the way that they eat. I’ve included tons of tips and nuances throughout the book that are easy ways to elevate a meal from good to really freaking great.
I also hope readers feel encouraged to take the kitchens by the reins and that these recipes and insights support them in finding their way to a delicious meal — through the art of seasoning, getting to know their stoves better, finding the multitudes of a single ingredient coaxing big flavors from their pantries and not being afraid to just go for it.
Any pro tips for hosting a fabulous dinner party?
My favorite thing to do at every dinner party is have some tableside preparation up my sleeve. One example that comes to mind is going around the table with sliced steak and pouring au poivre sauce out of a beautiful gravy boat onto each plate.
In More is More, I created a tableside steak tartare where you prepare all the individual components ahead of time, curate a cart with all of the goods and seasonings to dress it, and offer guests a “to-order” tartare, allowing them to choose their own adventure. I love an interactive dinner party and a showstopping moment like that.
Does Molly Baz have a go-to party trick?
I’m going to answer this as college-era Molly Baz, because people used to love this trick. When I was in undergrad, if I truly wanted to get the party started, I would crack open a beer and pour it over my head. People would get really hyped up, and it would always be the reason that any party went off the charts. And I want to be very clear that I have not done this in 15 years.
Do you have any life advice to share?
There’s so much I’ve learned over the course of my career. My biggest takeaway is realizing that you actually can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t try to do it alone. I think a lot of people see the career I’ve built and wonder how I do it all. And to that I reply that I don’t do it all alone and that there’s a team of incredible people I’ve cherry-picked from my life experiences to make it all happen alongside me. It would’ve been next to impossible to create the career I have all by myself. I really, really value the sounding board I have around me, and my brand wouldn’t look, feel or thrive the way that it does today if it wasn’t for all of those people.
Finally, what’s the funniest thing you’ve heard lately?
Brian Jordan Alvarez’s “Sitting is the Opposite of Standing” has sent me into absolute shambles on the floor just cackling. It’s the greatest song that’s ever been written.