Sunday, December 19, 2010

Author Interview - Krystle Nicole Russin Who Wrote The Non-Diet Real Cookbook

Today I have a special guest author on my blog: Krystle Nicole Russin , author of The Non-Diet Real Cookbook: Easy Recipes to Stay Skinny Eating Anything You Want and Learn How to Cook!

Hi Nicole and welcome to Read A Review!
Thanks. I’m happy to chat with you!

Could you tell my visitors a little bit about your book? There are a lot of diet cookbooks out there, so what makes yours different?
My book isn't actually a diet book, which is the cool part. It's a regular recipe book written with an introduction explaining how to eat properly and be rebellious the right way when you want to cheat on your healthy habits. I don't make an effort to cook disgusting, exceedingly low calorie paper waste imitating food like most diet books. I teach you how our emphasis ought to be the importance of natural ingredients, learning how to order at restaurants and knowing how to cook normal food for yourself. Many people are middle aged and cannot cook for themselves, living off takeout and frozen junk food. Cooking your own food is relaxing, happy, exciting and fun. It heals whatever troubles you.

Food truly brings people together. Sometimes, I’ll look back and think, “What do I really have in common with that person?” Why did or do we ever talk nonstop about anything? I realize half the time I talk with people not about life stuff, movies, sports and that, we’re talking about food. Someone went to an amazing restaurant out of town. We’ll talk about it. Someone grills fish with his family. I just ate here. We just had BBQ somewhere years ago and remember how good Stubb’s BBQ is, recollecting on good times. It’s that kind of food that makes people feel really great.

I dream of cooking for my own family one day, always have. I knew I wanted to leave something for people in terms of valuable knowledge. People sometimes make fun of me to the point of ridiculousness or make up dumb rumors about me. I feel like saying, “What do you want me to do?! Give up my life forever and sell drugs for a living?! Gosh!” When it’s not people saying mean, untrue things about me, people want to say I look bad, I don’t do this or that in work. There’s always something supposedly wrong with me. Truth be told, I don’t know when I am going to die. I feel like I have an idea but it’s uncertain. I always have in the back of my head this feeling like, what if I died sometime soon in a tragic moment? What if something bad happened to me and I leave nothing, absolutely nothing of a legacy left for people and all people ever say about me is something untrue, or that I’m this airhead who doesn’t do anything of intellectual value?

A cookbook is not a huge legacy, I know that, but it is something I feel like I ought to leave for people. Women and men should not go through bad self esteem issues and feel unworthy of eating. Food is precious. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous sometimes, so much so I’ll often photograph it on my Blackberry when I order a decadent dessert. I am so obsessed with food. I’m in love with it and I want everyone to share my love for it. Food has to be one of the few things I love so much in life. I actually cried when I wrote my cookbook at times because I was so stressed about stuff and it made me feel better that I knew I wrote an excellent soup recipe rather than being a waste to society. I think all the time if only someone were to read my cookbook and enjoy my food as an alternative to eating disorders, cutting, crying or whatever their personal issue is, it makes me feel really good. I’m not a cutter, but that’s an example. I, like everyone else, have my own issues going on and mean stuff that’s been said and done to me and I can’t do anything about it but cook my heart away. It definitely helps.

How did you get the idea to write The Non-Diet Real Cookbook?
Several things. I was, firstly, disgusted how whenever I go out, I see women eating the most horrific food, not eating their dinners at restaurants or plain old throwing up while I use the restroom. I’m talking women nearly six feet tall picking on a 375-calorie salad. Women don't eat anymore and stay the same size! Come on! I went to a family acquaintance’s apartment once. The woman had laxatives in her bathroom regularly every time I visited. It's sick.

Men, on the other hand, eat normally just alternating how they eat, when, what foods they consume and so on. Men don't freak out nor do experts tell men to cut out every food from their lives as they recommend women. I was telling someone earlier today, look, if you order Popeye's fried chicken, which is frozen, fast food and fried in disgusting, ancient Roman ruins' grease, sure you'll get fat. Buy a fresh chicken, make your own chicken fingers, cut up homemade potato wedges and do biscuits at your own house instead. It's all based on real food with fewer fat calories and more vitamins and nutrients.

Farmers for years have cooked real food. Same goes for people with private chefs or eating out at high end establishments. You don't see them looking obese for the most part. They eat cheese and fatty foods in moderation, all home cooked. Earlier, you can eat a quick breakfast and at lunch, a salad or cup of soup. Don't stress yourself eating too little of portions with huge calories. Natural food is always lighter. I want food to stop being about social divisions. Too many cookbooks assume they're made for the rich, poor, white, black, Middle America, sophisticated. People can be broke and want French food or rich and eat soul food. I write recipes for everyone. In fact, the Midwestern recipes I grew up eating are based on Irish and African-American food.

Have you ever struggled with your weight?
No, not other than a few bloating issues from (well necessary) allergy medications a few times, but when I was 21, I really wanted to change my body. I mean, before thinking about modeling, I wanted to do it for myself. People always made comments about me being so small "but your butt is huge." I used to get asked if I had butt implants by another person, and a guy, who for some reason I have yet to understand why I valued his opinion, used to say he always looked at how huge my butt was. It really bothered me. I know he meant it as a great compliment, but I never wanted to have an old Hollywood hourglass shape. Not that it's bad. Beyoncé looks amazingly, unexplainably hot, but again, that's Beyoncé and I'm not her. My butt just looked big ugly, not voluptuous!

I pretty much just don't want it for myself. I wanted to look awesome in expensive, tight pants, look good in cheap teen clothes like Rue21, Macy’s juniors department skirts and that sort and wear cute dresses right off the rack, no alterations! I wanted to have a Barbie doll look, not a J.Lo body. I asked some jocks how I could get rid of it and, in doing some crazy looking exercises at the gym about two months, including this weird looking sideways jogging over objects one guy usually trains with, shaved it off. I now am basically really petite for the most part, with a bit of top heavyness in a petite way. So I have the Barbieish shape I wanted, fit in clothes like I wanted and all by not having liposuction - simply doing weird stuff at the gym did it forever. It's great! I used to think as a teen I would one day need to have liposuction on that area. I’m relieved to say the least.

Did you come up with all of the recipes in the book? There are over 300 of them, correct?
Exactly 300. I didn't arrive there on purpose, which is hysterical. I thought I'd have 302 or something. Almost all of them are mine. I credited the people who submitted their own recipes. I included my high school cooking teacher's wonderful, home style recipes also. I am so proud of being from the Midwest. I wanted to share that with people who don't know about our food.

Do you use any of these recipes and if so, which are some of your favorites? I'd probably choose all the desserts! haha
Yes and no. I eat vegetarian food now so clearly, I'm not going to eat a steak. I really love my black bean mushroom burgers. They actually taste like meat burgers, complete with protein. I really did sample all the meat recipes and attempt to write the best meat recipes from foods I loved before I ate vegetarian. On Monday, I cooked a soup from my own book. It felt really good because unlike times I reference Joy of Cooking, I had to find my own recipe! Since I worked on my cookbook, I never read another cookbook but my own. I tried so hard like you have no idea to make my recipes easy to follow and faster than usual. When I ate fish, I loved the fried catfish recipe. I never felt bloated or anything bad either since it's natural. That was my teacher’s recipe, actually, and one so, amazingly, entirely, quintessentially Midwestern.

Could you share a recipe with my visitors? I'm sure they'd love a sample. ;-)
I guess being the holidays and me in the spirit of giving, here’s an eggnog recipe. I love it. If you don’t like 2 percent milk, you have my permission to go with whole milk. Remember, it’s OK to eat fattening egg nog if it’s in moderation.
Divide 3 eggs into 3 yolks and 3 egg whites. In bowl, beat egg whites and 1 tsp vanilla. On stove, boil egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, 3½ cups 2 percent milk, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp nutmeg (optional), ½ tsp vanilla and ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional) about 2-4 min. Remove into bowl. Pour egg whites into main mixture. Beat or blend as best as possible.

You’re going to have to buy my book for the rest! It includes chicken, turkey, a fancy turkey sauce, cookies, quick cheesecake, steak Diane, lomo saltado, plenty of soups, country and high end fish recipes. Egg drop soup, egg foo young, potatoes both country and fancy styles, a bit of Tex-Mex, soul food mac and cheese, French cuisine and a whole variety to choose from! It’s also a bit cheaper than competitors. Mine is $12.99 and though not very elaborate, the content is better. Think of it this way. Most cookbooks are like the men’s magazines sold at rural truck stops. People like them at first for the pretty pictures, but get bored after ten minutes. My book is like Newsweek or The New York Times. Sure, it’s skinnier than the other cookbooks, empty on the sexy food photo shoots, but it has real recipe content and lifestyle advice that lasts a lifetime.

I read that you’re also a singer and model besides an author. That certainly sounds exciting! Would you like to share with us a little about those career paths? How long have you been in each one and what are some of your most memorable projects? What are some of your goals?
I really love modeling hair because hairdressers are perfectionists. Makeup people often just say, “Who cares? It’ll be airbrushed.” Hair people are obsessive. They want this crazy look. They’ll ask me for ideas. They ask how my hair goes and its texture. They want to know how I feel about going outrageous with my hair in a photo. “Are you willing to try this?” Yes, I always am. I am always up for experimentation in any part of my life! I love when I have had tall, ridiculous hair up to the ceiling or Medieval hair. A family member saw me in a hair magazine a few months ago and remembered how I had this psychotic hair! I loved it! I loved that she remembered, because usually people don’t remember much but the fact they saw photographs!

I have modeled professionally since getting an NYC agency to rep me in early 2009. I mainly model hair and makeup and this area called "beauty." You do stuff from halfway up. I never wanted to do commercial print, which typically gets offered to girls under 5'9". It doesn't appeal to me. Really, if I wanted to be like the Progressive car commercial girl, I would have done so in another lifetime. Modeling is different than trying to make it in say, banking, because it's your image. In journalism, I would never in a million years object to an editor’s suggestions. Editors are the most brilliant people in existence for a reason. They know how to improve your work and ask you lots of questions with the right intentions. Modeling or anything entertainment is the polar opposite. People just want to use you.

In modeling, you should always exercise your right to an opinion once you're established with an agency after a few months to object, "I'm not doing that crap!" and specify what you want to do. I'm not letting anyone chop off my hair into a pixie for hardly any money. Nor am I going to let myself be exploited unless I allow it. Also, I know when I am being ripped off, used and that stuff. I’m not stupid! Nudity is not cool with me unless something is edgy, thought provoking, shocking or wild.

Furthermore, I will not be the cheesy, smiling, all-American type of girl either because I'm not that in real life. Yes, really, I am really super sweet and nice in my day to day existence. I am probably the kind of girl who will be down for you at every moment, the nice girl with the Midwestern values and all that stuff. For example, if I were married, I would protect my husband and stand behind him at all times no matter what he did, unless he’s hurting me physically. I want whoever I marry to be my best friend I can share anything with and we’ll be there for each other. When someone is friendly with me, I will help them out and say, get them a birthday gift they genuinely love. So don’t get what I’m about to say…well…don’t misinterpret my meaning here.

Yes, in modeling, I don’t want to be a fake and rather, I want to model the kind of clothing I actually wear in real life. Also, both extremes of my personality: the super sweet girl who wants to be princess-like and the one who wants to be a bitchy tough chick. I want to be the kind of model wearing kick ass runway boots and hardcore makeup or switch easily to couture gowns and romance and sweetness. I dream of modeling Chanel tweed suits and their sexy fedoras, high fashion in big campaigns. If alternate realities exist, I want to do every piece of work Adriana Lima and Gisele Bundchen ever got with their big campaigns. I want work tall women get, not this nonsense and constantly work towards that. Kate Moss is older and still at it. I have a good two to three years to keep trying and only accepting work I deem fit. I’d love to do a full campaign for Juicy Couture. I love their clothes. Chanel because I’m obsessed with it. You get the point.

Musically? As a kid, I took music. Thank my parents for that. I loved singing by myself but always felt so shy that I never sang in front of others much. I was afraid they’d say I have a bad voice. I sang whispery and nervous. Growing up, I used to admire work by Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Max Martin and all the power producers. Right now, Dr. Luke does a lot of this style of work. I used to wish all the time as a teen, “When I’m not doing journalism or other goals, I wish I can produce music when I grow up.” Since junior high, I’ve loved playing with synthesizers and producing on my computer for fun.

In college, one time I went out to a rock show downtown and met a band’s lead singer. He told me, “Release your own stuff on your own.” I was too scared to do it though. Years later, I moved to New York and met someone else who said the same thing with an emphasis on how managers try to use you and don’t go for a band – bands are a means of splitting up money and yes, it’s possible to be in a famous band and not have earned much from your songs. Go solo. Take insane risks and succeed eventually. Release an album despite being a journalist because nobody else lives your life. So I did and am proud I did. My first album was insanely full of risks. I tried to make it 1960’s and 70’s style but using modern production and people now tell me they really like it. It reminds them of Lou Reed and Andy Warhol’s Factory style band music. I also worked with Dmitry Tursunov’s beats mixing them up a bit for a slightly disco electronica EP. We got really dramatic, down to how the microphones would sound scratchy and how I’d pronounce things differently. I am so happy especially with my “Break the Ice” cover where I get to scream belt like some out of control disco woman.

Long term goals? Huh…modeling, I want to do as I said the super big campaigns where you become the one name girl. Well, in my case, I go by KNR, so I’d want people to say “I love KNR in her last ad!” That they love my work and I love it, and that I love how they love my work because I put in so much effort, right? Musically, I want to release as much as I can throughout my lifetime and sing beautifully and rough. I want to one day, sing in a movie and also sing opera in a movie as well, like full, gorgeous vibrato because I know I can if I practice enough. Of course, I no matter what, want to do journalism all my life intensely.

Super long term from now, I want to make movies. I also dreamed of this as a kid. I remember how I’m so mixed up about my feelings sometimes and unsure, “Why do I feel this way? This doesn’t make sense! I cannot like this person because I’m not like this!” One day, I was goofing around in the library at junior high on my break. I researched the Carmen opera script and read about my favorite old classical song, “Habanera.” I liked it a lot for its catchiness, but I never understood why. I read the translation of the whole opera obsessively. It’s all about this girl who says you can’t make love what you want. Love, infatuation, those things make you feel ways you can’t explain. You like someone because you just do. You can do things you always said you never would because you just do for no reason and no matter what, it’s OK because that’s how love and life go. I knew then, right there, the day I make movies, I’m doing them all leading up to so I can produce my own version of Carmen on the big screen in my 30s or 40s the way I see it.

My version is totally different because it’s based on my life and other people’s stories. I want my own Carmen story to relate to every single person who watches it, whether they’re straight, gay, bisexual or somewhere questionable, old, young, American, foreign, whatever and love her and hate her and relate to this character so much because she is like a real person, just like they are, who’s acted impulsively or based on her feelings rather than thinking what is best for her long term. She basically risks it all in her life in the original opera and winds up murdered out of one man’s obsession with her – because he can’t love her nobody else should – but she lived the way she wanted to live admirably. I guess my favorite lesson from the opera was she’s a bit different than me. I grew up fine in Illinois in an OK lifestyle and went to college, and you know the rest of my life, but Carmen was this tragically poor girl in old Spain. Yet, she didn’t care. She approached guys she wanted to date with this attitude, “I don’t care that I’m a poor, uneducated gypsy girl. I can get any man I ever want in life because I can.”

I like to say I have that same attitude. I can date or choose not to date any single person I want in life, regardless of them being a regular nobody or famous or loaded rich or whatever, because I can. At the end of the day, some ugly hag is probably more famous than I am, but I’m younger and smarter than her. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know what I’m doing. There’s not one reason right now why someone would turn me down unless someone doesn’t like me and vice versa, which then I’d say “like I care” and move on with my life. I hate people saying they can’t date some idiot loser because he’s on ESPN and they’re just unknown girls. Screw that idea. You can date anyone you want and actually, in my experience, nobody’s ever turned me down. They’re intrigued that I don’t act submissive like most girls and realize, yes I look pretty hot in a skirt. I know, using that as an example, surely I don’t have much of a curvy waistline, but I have excellent muscle tone in my legs and work it. I can put on weight or lose weight and still look good in a skirt. Inside, I know how to hold a conversation. I’m not some idiot most guys expect to be. So yeah, I have that going for me. My face isn’t all that hot, actually rather boyish if I have a bun and no makeup, but my eyes stand out really well with makeup. You get the point. Every man or woman should play up their strengths, and I mean that to succeed, beyond love and dating. Look good and try to be your best inside to succeed professionally.

Right. Ignore the hideous senior citizens who claim I’m after them! They’re a bunch of liars, haha!

What new projects do you have in the works?
Well, I’m constantly trying to write about policy issues, media discussion and such in journalism, tennis, sports, you name it. I blog. I regularly keep active in writing. I am also trying to work on a new sound for my next album. It may wind up an EP. Who knows. But I want it to be like early 90’s dance Madonna. I love Madonna. I think people rip her down and say she’s untalented, but who cares? She can hold a note well and she surely knows that intelligence outlasts anything. I really admire Aaron Brown’s old news work, so I’d love to imitate his style for journalism. He did news that was actually news. Now, it’s all YouTube stupidity replayed as news. I really want to get started next summer or fall working on a makeup line with all my effort and if I totally fail, well big deal. I’ll have tried. I really want to create products and be a good role model for girls and young people in general. Not in this cheesy way like so many are. I don’t want to say, “Look at me! I’m so prissy! I’m this nice Christian woman!” Because seriously, the most Christian people are the ones who don’t flaunt it for money. I don’t need to be in the newspaper for doing good deeds. I just want to be the girl who’s saying, “I never compromised myself. I tried really hard to do what I wanted and maybe, yeah, I failed here and there along the way, but I wound up doing really well in the end. I don’t give in to stupid body image ideals because I know I will never be curvaceous enough, tall enough, sexy enough and so on. I don’t need to try to be sexy because someone out there will find me sexy just being who I naturally am. And you know, I’m not the most beautiful girl who ever lived, but I’m the smartest girl, and I sure know how to present myself well physically and intelligently.” That’s hopefully good enough for people. Whoever doesn’t like it can go dissect a donkey. I’m really good at cooking, music, journalism and writing beyond journalism. I try hard and do a good job at everything due to effort. I really love everything I do.

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you on my blog, Nicole. I hope to have you back soon. Good luck with your cookbook and your many career paths!

1 comment:

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