By Ruth Kinane
September 22, 2020 at 01:31 PM EDT
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Credit: Eva Kolenko

Ayesha Curry has a lot on her plate.

Growing up in a house where dinner conversation doubled up as a therapy session means that the cookbook author and television host cannot overstate the importance of family mealtime. Now a mother of three, Curry, 31, sees sitting down to eat is “a way to press the pause button.” “It's a built-in excuse for togetherness — and a way for me to yell at everybody to put their phones down,” she tells EW.

In order to get everyone to the table, Curry’s had to conquer some quick tricks in the kitchen. Now she’s sharing those secrets in her second cookbook, the aptly titled Full Plate (out Sept. 22). “Life’s gotten so busy and the book really reflects that,” she says. “I wanted to share quick, easy, accessible, but still delicious recipes and focus on dinner this time round.” Crammed full of sheet-pan dinners, sweet treats and even quick-to-mix cocktails, the book is perfect for anyone who prioritizes time spent at the table over time spent at the stove. As Curry says, “We can still find ways to keep the nostalgia and routine of cooking dinner for the family, even if we’re busy.”

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Because she's not busy enough already, we made Curry answer some silly culinary questions as part of EW's Playing With Food series.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: If you had to identify as a type of cheese, which would it be?

AYESHA CURRY: If we’re going unprocessed, I’d be Gruyère because it’s a little sweet and sometimes salty. As it gets older, it starts to change, and I feel like I’m changing on the daily.

What’s on your cooking playlist?

My background is Jamaican, so I love old-school reggae, like Bob Marley. It’s so chill and Zen, and it makes the kids that way as well.

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Which three fictional guests would you invite to a dinner party?

Andy Sachs’ boyfriend [Adrian Grenier] from The Devil Wears Prada so I can eat the $8 worth of Jarlsberg he puts in that grilled cheese. Ed [Kel Mitchell] from the movie Good Burger so I can try the special sauce. And Loretta Devine’s character [Ma’Dere Whitfield] in This Christmas so she can bring her “Sock It to Me” cake.

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What’s your favorite food scene?

It’s the chaotic kitchen scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding, when they’re preparing a meal for Julia Roberts’ character [a food critic]. The scene is a part of me now—we go to restaurants and my family stares at me, waiting for my reaction [to the food].

Credit: Everett Collection

What would be your desert island food?

Plantains. Jamaican plantains. I might not survive on that island. It'd be like when Billy Bob Thornton tried to survive off of potato chips in his younger days and got really sick — I think I read that somewhere.

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Do you any defining moments in your life that are related to food?

So my husband's dad gave me this southern seasoning — this was over a decade ago when Stephen [Curry] and I hadn't made it official yet. His dad knew I loved to cook and was crazy about this southern seasoning — it has charbroil in it, it's dark in color. I think it's called Southern Flavor. Anyway, I made this chicken dish [for Curry] and I was like, 'Well, let me just use the Southern Flavor seasoning, and that's the day he asked me to be his girlfriend officially. The dish must've been great.

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You’re Canadian, so Taste, Binge, Trash: butter tarts, Bloody Caesar, poutine...

I would taste the butter tart, binge the poutine, and trash the Bloody Caesar.

The Full Plate is out now.

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