Rachael Ray: Hey, Candy, I'm a big fan of your reporting. I watch CNN every night, and am so excited to peek inside your fridge. I hear you're a vegetarian. How long has it been?
Candy Crowley: I was on the campaign trail covering George H.W. Bush and grabbed a bite to eat at a little restaurant down South. I ordered venison, but there was just something about how the meat looked. That was the last piece I ever put in my mouth. I've been vegetarian ever since.
RR: I eat less meat and more organic produce than I did five years ago. Has healthy food become more accessible?
CC: My two adult sons ate much better than I did as a child. I was born in the Midwest, where "salad" was cherry Jell-O with bananas in it. Now children are more aware of healthy foods.
RR: Do you think a slow economy will drive us back to the kitchen?
CC: It leads people back to comfort food. I'm a mac and cheese freak. Homemade or from the blue box, I'm not picky!
RR: Have you ever shared a burger--yours veggie, of course--with the Obamas?
CC: I've eaten with some first families, but it's not usually just us. I once shared a 20-person Thanksgiving meal with the Reagans. I've also eaten plenty of corn dogs at state fairs with presidential candidates on the trail.
RR: You're a fan of Greek yogurt, too. I love the stuff. What are your top go-to foods?
CC: I'm a grab-and-go girl. My worst-case-scenario day involves waking up at 4:30 a.m. and getting home after Anderson Cooper's show at 11 p.m. My staples are Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein shakes and peanut butter. Sometimes I even forget to eat. My BlackBerry beeps at dinnertime as a reminder.
RR: I hear you're the reigning champ of the annual CNN Chili Cook-Off. What's your secret?
CC: My chili's won the veggie division two years in a row. It's actually really easy to make! They're serious about the competition around here. I won bragging rights and trophies.
RR: Thanks for sharing the award-winning recipe here--I guess we got a real news scoop out of this interview! Are there any foods that make you cringe? Mine's mayo. But we made up over deviled eggs.
CC: I'm a vegetarian who doesn't like eggplant parmesan. Isn't that awful? I'm also sick of portobello mushrooms. People are like,"A vegetarian's coming to dinner," so they serve those.
RR: I've got some recipes for you! So, if you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
CC: I think every journalist wants to figure people out. I'd love to have William Faulkner, Beethoven and Bach over. I want to find out what makes those guys tick!
Get Candy Crowley's Ridiculously Easy Vegetarian Chili recipe.