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Catherine O’Hara was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in her hometown of Toronto last weekend. She first got into acting, writing, and improvising at Toronto’s Second City Theatre, and helped found SCTV. Her film credits include Beetlejuice and the first two Home Alone movies.
More recently, she was a member of the ensemble cast of Christopher Guest’s Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your family kitchen?
A: Whenever I somehow got out of doing the dishes.
Q: What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?
A: My mother would often put on the potatoes before she even knew what she was going to make for dinner — yes, we’re Irish so the smell of potatoes on the stove takes me back.
Q: Who is your favourite cook?
A: My mom and dad raised us on beautiful food and honestly all of us are great cooks.
Q: What is your favourite food to cook?
A: Coming up with a delicious salad dressing makes me very happy.
Q: Do you use cookbooks?
A: My sister, Mary Margaret has always been able to spend hours reading recipes. For years, I didn’t get it. But now I’ll read recipes for research and then feel cocky enough to wing it.
Q: How did the first meal you prepared turn out?
A: I can’t remember the first meal I made but the first banana bread I baked refused to cook through and only got heavier. I don’t know how, but I made a door-stop.
Q: What kitchen gadget can’t you live without?
A: I can’t believe how hard I worked before I got a reamer and, later, a small zester.
Q: What traditions from your background involving food do you partake in?
A: I make corned beef, cabbage and potatoes along with whisky soda bread almost every St. Patrick’s Day. It’s scary good but I haven’t quite got down the homemade mustard my parents used to make.
Q: Is there a dish that you prepare that ties into an event?
A: I love the cocktail hour as an old-fashionable cultural event. I love the ritual of juicing limes or mashing mint leaves and serving a serious cocktail with some homemade hors d’oeuvres and sitting and talking about life. It’s a summertime cottage ritual I’m lucky to have.