Globavore interviews: Alyssa Pinsker

Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

My next Globavore Interview is with Alyssa Pinsker, freelance writer and author of  GIRL GONE GLOBAL, the story of her search for love and a spiritual home as a frequent traveller and expat in three continents.  She’s based in India now. More detail after Q20!

  1. Who are you and how does food play into your travels?  I’m a writer, teacher and performer and lifelong foodie.
  2. You’re at your favourite eatery with three companions (fictional, living or dead).  Where (and when!) are you, and who are you with?  I’m in Florence with Gertrude Stein, Anaïs Nin and Oscar Wilde and we are drinking hot chocolate at a café. Present day I’d be with Gary Shteyngart, Junot Diaz and Roseanne Barr (I am a fan of her later career).
  3. What are your favourite foods?  Desserts, healthy foods and anything new to me!
  4. Is there anything that you’d never eat? What is it and why?  I don’t want to try raw horsemeat that is marinated by being placed under the saddle of a horse on a long journey — a delicacy I learned about in Italy. I don’t want to eat monkey or lamb brains, something I just heard of in India, basically meat which I wish I could avoid completely but always wind up succumbing to chicken.   Ed’s note: Yikes. Horsemeat marinated under a saddle?! 

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

  5. What do you crave but can’t get whilst on the road?  How do you satisfy the craving?  When I leave America I always crave “pub food” like nachos and cheese, really good burgers, wings, also popcorn with butter and a lot of the healthy foods back home like raw juice and smoothies. I try to find the real deal, like I just found brunch here in Pune, American style brunch, or make replicas in my hotel from the market.
  6. What food are you embarrassed to admit you like to eat?  Probably “pub food.”
  7. What / where do you dream of eating, but haven’t yet had the pleasure?  All of the multi-starred places like Per Se, and the ones by invitation only.
  8. Strangest meal?  I ate blowfish in Japan which is technically poisonous, and an Italian guy I dated prepared me wild boar, which he very casually prepared with “rocket” (arugula.)     Ed’s note: Mmmmm … arugula is my favourite lettuce!
  9. Ever had food poisoning while traveling? Any advice to share?  I have had food poisoning and one thing I just learned is that Indians in India also often get food poisoning which made me oddly feel better. My tip is to prepare your own food as much as possible, eat food which has been cooked or boiled to death and order super simple foods when in doubt: boiled vegetables and plain rice for example.
  10. Have you fallen so much in love with a foreign dish that you learned to make it at home? What’s the story  When I lived in Paris I ate a lot of Moroccan food and I learned to make couscous with what I call Moroccan soup — the secret is mixing sweet and salty flavors! I perfected the Indian chai by buying my tea leaves from Munnar and one of those tea strainers. I make shakshuka which I learned to make in Israel, and it’s so simple and amazing — harissa is the secret ingredient. Also miso cucumber is the easiest dish ever, take a seedless cucumber and coat it in miso paste — so delicious!

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

  11. What’d the first thing you eat after returning home from a long trip?  Salad, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit are not always as plentiful abroad as they are back home, or maybe they are but just not as easy to prepare. I miss raw food and juicing a lot.
  12. Favourite foreign ingredient you wish your home supermarket carried?  I just bought hing because I knew it wouldn’t be back home, it’s an essential ingredient in Indian cooking. I found crème de marron — chestnut  paste from France — which is an amazing jam. I miss more the prepared foods from France, Japan, India, Italy and Israel like these miso rice balls which were sweets in Japan.
  13. Country / city where you’ve found the best food? Details please so we can check it out too!  Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Florence, Italy (best chocolate gelato and hot); Israel all.
  14. Country / city where you’ve found the worst? What made it so awful?  England, the stereotype is true.
  15. What are your favourite markets for a) eating b) finding unusual things and c) for photography?  I belonged to the infamous Park Slope Food Co-op for over ten years and only recently resigned, they literally had every ingredient for every favorite dish I’ve mentioned and at a low price since we are a co-operative in which working for three hours a month gives a steep discount for organic, local and international yumminess. It’s infamous for its cramped space and bitter regulars. Therefore my favorite are any and all in Paris, Florence, and India for photography.
  16. If money were no object, where (and what) would you eat?  I’d try every five star and must-fly-in-to-a-private-Island-by-helicopter-and-need-an-invitation-type places.

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

    Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

  17. Do you have any food regrets? I regret having more than a taste of exotic foods, because over-indulging is not truly appreciating them! I also once vomited from eating a bacalaito in Puerto Rico on a girls’ trip many years ago and the only reason I think I ordered it was because I was so proud that I could pronounce it and order in Spanish.
  18. If you could invent any ice cream flavour, what would it be? (yes, I am looking for ideas to add to my ice cream repertoire!)  I know a pro ice cream inventor and maker, it’s not me, she hosts Yum’s the Word, a storytelling show I performed at once in New York.
  19. What do you love and hate about food writing (yours and/or in general)?  I hate the constant temptation of over-eating, and I love everything else. Also free food is not enough pay, being a food writer/reviewer is work!
  20. You’re having surgery tomorrow and there’s a reasonable chance you’ll lose your ability to taste (oh the horrors!).  What would you choose as, essentially, your last meal?  Real chocolate gelato and buttered popcorn (air popped and raw butter with Himalayan sea salt).    Ed.’s note: how does raw butter differ from regular? 
Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

Photo via Alyssa Pinsker

Alyssa Pinsker is a writer, performer and teacher living currently in India. She writes features and reviews for Cosmopolitan, Frisky, New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Press, Huffington Post, Forward, Jerusalem Post, Resident, Chevrolet and more. She’s an occasional commentator for Huffington Post Live and the BBC World Service. She is also a model, actress, professional storyteller, former stand-up comic and NBCC book reviewer.  Her memoir, GIRL GONE GLOBAL, details her search for love and a spiritual home as an expat in three continents and a traveler to over thirty countries. She has lived in India, Israel, France, Japan, Switzerland and of course, New York.  Alyssa’s website is AlyssaPinsker.com Find her on social media at:

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