Speaker Interview: Preston Yancey

Preston Yancey

Preston Yancey is a author, painter, baker, and sometimes scholar particularly interested in the dialogue between Christian theology and the arts. He also gets to speak at Allume this fall. Woot! Today Preston is sharing some fun facts with you about himself.


1. What chore do you despise the most?

Folding laundry. I have an inexplicable, psychological aversion to the process of successfully transferring clothes from the dryer to my closet or dresser or even, let’s be honest, the middle of the bedroom floor. My fiancée informs me this will be an untenable position to maintain in our future. We’ll see.

2. If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

I would learn how to actually use Evernote. I’m not kidding. “I will learn how to use Evernote” is my version of the “I will read my Bible all the way through every day this year” New Year’s resolution. Every time I open the app on my computer or my phone I end up just staring at it in bewilderment and panic and then shut it down. I am convinced that I won’t be awriter, italicized and everything, until I learn how to use it.

(I suppose I was supposed to say something like “to speak Spanish” or “to parallel park” or “to not always have to have the last word” but, this is raw honesty.)

3. If you could pick anyone as a mentor who would you pick?

Madeleine L’Engle. She’s one of my patron saints, at least I think of her as a prayer of my prayers with me when I ask God big questions about vocation and work and whether or not to click publish on my latest blog post. Her journals taught me how to tell truth and her fiction taught me how to discern the difference between truth and fact.

4. What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?

Complain about how little free time I have, then watch the latest episode of Veep, Modern Family, or Parks and Rec while menu planning or catching up on all my Voxer messages.

5. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A keeper of my children’s confidences.

6. If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?

Bali. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a summer in the East before and it was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I’m aching to go back to that side of the world and sit in the stillness of the beauty there. And the food. Good Lord, the food.

7. If I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have?

There’s a lot of sun out these days, so let’s pick things up and go sit out on the roof of the apartment building and listen to Juliette Gréco on a record player and drink Greek wine—too white and too bright but light and free.

We’ll have an appetizer of grilled eggplant sliced thin and stuffed with manouri, mint, and baby heirloom tomatoes; salt and bay leaf crusted grilled lamb chops, a salad of watermelon, feta, and black olive, piles of salty roast lemon potatoes, and some homemade pita. For desert, a glass of Campari — or strong Greek coffee, if you’d prefer — and some almond baklava with rose water and orange blossom and honey from the local farm, cut into small bites to savor.

Basically: come over. There’s always something in the works and always room in the apartment or on the roof or in the park or wherever.

8. What are your 5 favorite books?

Right now? Let’s go with right now:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Supernatural Love: Poems 1976-1992 by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Check out Preston’s blog here.

  • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

    Oh, yes, the laundry. I don’t want anyone to see the mountain of clean but unsorted and unfolded laundry in my guest room. And I am terrified that my cats will learn to open doors and get in there and pee on it before I get it put away.

    Also, how would you do a salt and bay leaf crusting on the chops? I always thought bay leaves were inedible. If you chop them finely enough, can you eat them? Or do they have to be fresh instead of dried? I am very curious.

    • http://www.prestonyancey.com/ Preston Yancey

      Bay leaves are a tricky subject. I’m fond of this post for a pretty extensive consideration of them: http://www.home-ec101.com/the-misunderstood-herb-how-to-use-bay-leaves/

      In this case, the whole leaves would be pressed against the fat during roasting, then removed before the final, scorching go under a broiler to get the fat golden. So you would have the flavored infused, without the tough leaf. Probably not as clear as I should have made it in the post!

  • Melanie Dale

    Okay, my new dream is for Preston and Logan to team up, throw a dinner party, and invite me.

    • http://joyfulmothering.net/ Christin

      My thoughts exactly! Puts my food to shame, ha!