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About Gabrielle

I’m Gabrielle, college freshman, and daughter of the wonderful Heide Lang. Food has been my biggest passion from a very young age – as a toddler I would tremble when Mom and Dad brought home pizza, and I would keep eating hot salsa despite the tears running down my cheeks. I’ve matured a little in the past fifteen or so years, but I’ve really just transferred my enthusiasm to more acceptable eighteen-year-old expression styles. I’ll eat anything but bugs, olives and cilantro. My favorite cuisines are Indian, because it’s vibrant, French, because it bursts with smooth, elegant flavor, and Southern because it’s the coziest food in the world.

When I’m not doing homework, I’m almost certainly cooking or eating something. My newest habit, one about which my friends tease me mercilessly, is pie invention (I currently have a banana pudding pie in the works. I’ll post the recipe as soon as I get it perfect), like Keri Russell in Waitress. Almost everything I know about cooking I learned from my mom, and refined through cooking contests with Isabella, my 13-year old sister. I love to make everything, from pots de crème to homemade gnocchi to Thai curry to Southern sweet tea.

I’m only eighteen, so I have less to say about how food, for example, greatly affected my marriage, but I, like my mom (and the rest of my family) am willing to go to extreme lengths for food. My parents didn’t stop their culinary adventures when my sisters and I were born. In recent years, we took a three hour detour to Arcachon, France just to sample the oysters from the famed oyster shacks, and more recently we ate two dinners – one at 3:00 and one at 7:00 – our last night in Nashville so we could stuff ourselves silly at two famed local establishments.

I have to sign off (it’s dinner time) but I’ll leave you with a recipe for my favorite late-night-study latte. It’s called a London Fog, and it’s made with Earl Grey tea rather than coffee. I find Earl Grey is enough to keep me up, but lets me fall asleep when I finish my English paper. On the other hand, if you can’t fall asleep, make it with decaf and the warm milk will have you asleep in a blink of an eye. Click for the recipe.

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Better Together

Some things are just a perfect match: Christmas and cookies, French fries and aioli, Paris and hot chocolate. Finding perfect combinations of things is what makes life, and cooking, so fun.

Our favorite combination isn’t technically food related at all. Mothers and their daughters have been cooking together for countless generations. I’m Heide Lang, owner and founder of The Fig Cooking School. And I’m Gabrielle Siegel, high school senior and her 17-year-old daughter. Welcome to the Fig Test Kitchen.

Years ago mothers and daughters found themselves in the kitchen by necessity, but today we cook to bond and pass on family traditions. Together we cook modern creations, like chocolate and dried fruit in philo pockets, homey favorites, like chocolate chip cookies, and traditional recipes, like Oma’s Nokerln, brought over from Eastern Europe. This blog celebrates both the tradition of families cooking together, and the creativity and innovation that should be found in every kitchen. Our motto at the cooking school is “Find your Inner Gourmet” because we know that everyone has the potential to be a great cook with the right guidance and a good recipe.

In the months and years to follow, we will bring you many posts. Some, like this, will be written as a team, others solo. We will share with you our favorite recipes, ideas for improvisation, food shopping tips, and even tasty travel tidbits from the Middle East to the Deep South to our native New England. We also plan to share with you our journey as we teach Isabella (13) how to cook, and even, Francesca (4), the youngest member of our family.

Before we sign off, we’d like to share one last perfect combination with you, inspired by Liuzzi’s, one of our favorite specialty food stores. It’s a great blend of sweet and savory and is ideal as an hors d’oeuvre or even as a sandwich.

Dolce Gorgonzola (sweeter and creamier than regular gorgonzola)

Fig Jam


Cut the baguette into ½-inch thick rounds. Spread a layer of gorgonzola, and then a fairly thin layer of jam.

So simple, so delicious.

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