More About the Author
We're Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati. We love good food, we love to cook, and we love Trader Joe's. Time and time again, as we shopped the aisles at Trader Joe's, we overheard people saying, "What do you do with quinoa? How do you use tapenade? What goes well with ricotta-stuffed chicken?" Before we knew it, we were writing a cookbook. That was back in 2007 and we're now up to NINE cookbooks in the series!
Lives in: Leucadia, CA a small surf and beach town in San Diego County with the motto "Keep Leucadia Funky." I live here with my two kids (who love to help me cook) and two dogs (who are fascinated by my every move in the kitchen).
1000-foot view: I'm the girl that gardens outside in her bare feet, sings loudly in the car and shower, cries at sad movies, buys pretty aprons but never remembers to put them on, goes from flip-flips to heels but has on occasion forgotten to change out of the flip flops before running off to a dressy event.
Met Wona: In engineering class at MIT. In a roomful of sleep-deprived students in sweats, she was the only one wearing a sundress and a straw hat, perfectly groomed. I rolled my eyes, never guessing we'd be great friends in no time.
My kids, ages 9 and 10: love that I'm a cookbook author and they pitch the book at every opportunity, including to cashiers at other grocery stores.
Secret talents: I can weld, scuba dive, solve differential equations, and almost got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I haven't done any of these in years and might kill myself if I tried any of them now.
In my free time: I'm doing yoga or pottery. If you flip through our cookbook, the handmade pottery is Deana-made.
Want to learn: To Flamenco dance, speak Italian, and do a cartwheel.
Favorite trip: Two weeks of wilderness backpacking in Alaska, the time that I've felt most alive and connected to nature.
Everyone knows: I'm the worst joke-teller in the universe. I can never get the punchline right or I mess up and say it at the wrong time. Meanwhile, I'm laughing so hard I can't get the words out. Friends and family say the process of watching me tell the joke is the only funny part.
Most influential decade: I now realize that I'm a child of the 80's. My children know all the words to "Video killed the Radio Star." On Halloween, when my son asked me how zombies walk, I did the dance from Thriller.
When I was little: I was a very picky eater. I also wouldn't eat beans because I misunderstood the teacher and thought she said that people were "human beans."
Favorite food TV: Top Chef and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I'm fascinated by people who seem to cook effortlessly in someone else's kitchen.
Worst kitchen nightmare: Last night when I tore open a giant bag of brown rice and spilled the entire contents all over the stove and kitchen floor. I'll be finding grains of rice for years...
Favorite kitchen gadgets: I discovered lime squeezers on a trip to Nicaragua. I have never struggled with a lemon or lime since.
Most requested food I make: Stuffed grape leaves. I haven't come up with a Trader Joe's version yet, but if jars of grape leaves ever show up on the shelves, I'll get to work.
Favorite movies: I'm always game for anything Monty Python or Jim Jarmusch. There are certain movies I could watch over and over again such as "Last of the Mohicans", "Princess Bride," and "Sense & Sensibility."
Favorite desserts: Anything involving dark chocolate, rosewater, or cardamom.
Favorite local eats: Swami's Cafe, Haggo's Tacos, or The Roxy. My kids always vote for sushi.
It surprises people to know that: Wona and I both cooked all our baby food from scratch.
When I need cooking inspiration: I call Wona or my Mom. They're both always exploring new recipes or have some great wow-factor tip on presentation.
If you see me at Trader Joe's: I will occasionally stare at an item on the shelf for minutes on end. I'm not crazy, just trying to come up with a good recipe.