Lucinda Scala Quinn: You Are What You Crave

Lucinda Scala Quinn: You Are What You Crave

Mad Hungry Cravings book coverCooking show host and author Lucinda Scala Quinn dishes on her new cookbook Mad Hungry Cravings and shares the recipe for a mouth-watering—and healthy!—alternative to french fries.

Zola: You grew up in a big Italian family. What was a typical staple of your family meals?

Lucinda Scala Quinn: So many, but my favorites included spaghetti, bracciole, meatballs, and escarole.

Zola: Say you want a night off from cooking—who in your family steps up?

LSQ: Luckily everyone pitches in, and my husband cooks regularly.

Zola: Who’s your favorite chef? How about your favorite cookbook?

LSQ: I am a devoted fan of home cooking so (really!) my favorite chef is the best home cook. The cookbooks I use the most are by Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, and Diana Kennedy.

Zola: Between TV, radio, books, and your family, you must always be on the go. What’s a quick snack you love to have on you?

LSQ: Dates, nuts, and a nice, sweet orange.

Zola: Do you listen to music or watch TV while you cook?

LSQ: I listen to music constantly. It’s one of my favorite things to do, especially while cooking and definitely while entertaining.  I have very eclectic taste.

Zola: What’s your favorite recipe in Mad Hungry Cravings?

LSQ: Probably the potato poppers—a healthy (non-fried) riff on tater tots. They are made in the oven, and I’d put them up against french fries any day! But it depends on what I’m craving. That’s the beauty of this recipe collection—there’s something for every mood along with the tools to help you cook whatever you’re craving at home.

Baked Potato Poppers

Makes 24 poppers


  • 2 large russet (baking) potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Ketchup


STEP 1  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with a rack in the middle position. Put a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat. Peel and grate the potatoes, and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with boiling water by two inches. Let stand for 10 minutes.

STEP 2  Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze the potatoes to remove excess moisture, and transfer back to the large bowl. Add the four, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg yolk and fold into the potatoes.

STEP 3  Spread the panko on another rimmed baking sheet. With wet hands, pinch off tablespoons of the potato mixture, form into balls, and coat with the panko crumbs.

STEP 4  Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Quickly transfer the poppers to the baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown and crispy. Serve with ketchup.

This article originally appeared on Zola Books.

Kelly Gallucci
Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of, where she oversees Bookish's editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors like Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, and Sabaa Tahir. She's just coming off of moderating an author panel at New York Comic Con. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and binging Netflix with her pitbull. She is a Gryffindor.