Hummingbird Beats: Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen is based (and was raised!) in New York.  Even the buzziest hummingbirds are born somewhere. She writes about food, cooks and also does a bit of food television production.  And she keep *quality* bird company: she co-authored Spain: A Culinary Road Trip with Mario Batali and The Kimchi Chronicles with Marja Vongerichten; she assisted Gwyneth Paltrow on My Father’s Daughter and they are currently working together on a new cookbook.  Julia’s work has also appeared in Food & Wine and on, and I am inviting myself to her house for dinner.

What’s in your bag? When you pack for a trip, in your handbag, in the pockets of your jeans…?
No handbag for this lady, but I always keep my wallet in my right jeans pocket (which is really just an old leather card case and a stack of cash), my keys in my left and my phone is usually in my back pocket (if it’s not in my hand).  My suitcase always has gingham pajamas, a toothbrush and Marvis toothpaste, Kiehl’s face moisturizer and my best friend’s mother has gotten me addicted to that Moroccan hair oil stuff.  Always a stack of button down shirts.  A box of Pilot Razor Point Pens.  Of course, my computer (AKA my lifeline).  An extra pair of blue jeans and black ones too and a black blazer in case I get invited somewhere jazzy.

You have 5 minutes to pack up – for a trip of which the duration you’re not sure. What do you take?
I tend to pack the same amount for a weekend as a I do for a few weeks. (I once went to Spain for nearly two months with a carry-on!)  When I’m on the road, I stick to mostly black and navy button downs since I tend to spill whether I’m cooking or eating and this way I can get away with being secretly sloppy when I’m far away from my dry cleaner.

What is your most essential article of clothing?
Steven Alan’s Collegiate Shirts.

What are the top 5 songs you need to have access to hearing at all times?
I’d be real sad without Beyoncé.

What is your preferred hummingbird beat/cities you like to frequent?
London for work.  Paris to escape from London.  And Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard to escape from it all.

What’s something crazy that you did to follow your passion? (Like, did you live out of your car for a month? Drive 10 hours to pick up a certain, weird material you needed?)
I once bought a truffle out of the back of a car.  And I am an expert, truly an expert, at smuggling Veganaise across the pond and I’m afraid I can’t go into any more detail.

What is one tip you have for traveling – a beauty tip, a survival tip, a culinary tip… ?
If you get invited to eat at someone’s house, take them up on it.  If you don’t get invited, invite yourself.

What’s a recent or favorite meal you had while bouncing around the globe?
It involved caviar and paella and spontaneity and I’m still trying to figure out if it was a dream.

Where have you had your best night’s sleep?
Ever?  Probably at Camp Pinecliffe in Maine when I was 11.

Who would you like to travel with – three people (you guys can caravan together or on separate trips)?
That is easy.  My best friend and her mom and my mom.

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