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A., that she developed what she calls her "Mac Gyver cooking style." "I'd sometimes come home from school and make bean-and-cheese enchiladas and put them in the oven and have a hot meal for my mom when she came home from work. She worked hard for everything I had." Padma matched that work ethic in the kitchen. I would mix cream of potato soup with alphabet soup, a can of each, and add diced jalapeños to it. If it wasn't for the alphabet letters, people would think it was homemade." Perhaps because of those humble beginnings -- with a can of Campbell's finest in one hand, a spoon in the other -- Padma doesn't take herself too seriously, especially in the kitchen. We'd show up reeking of cigarettes and whiskey con Coca-Cola." Her modeling career began with an encounter in a Madrid café and burgeoned over meetings in tapas bars across the city, where she fell hard for simple, classic Spanish dishes like , an egg-and-potato omelet that Padma has been known to pack for picnics with men.
But she would love it if some man would reciprocate.
The way to this woman's heart -- maybe any woman's heart -- is through the sensual red zone known as the kitchen.
So now I have a mission, which I undertake for the benefit of mankind: to find out what to feed an exotic creature like Padma.
She has an award-winning cookbook and one of the most popular cooking shows on cable (), and her ex-husband is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
She is 15 IQ points smarter than the average human and three heart palpitations more beautiful than the average supermodel, with soft, cappuccino skin, deep, burrowing eyes, and more pleasing curves and stunning vistas than the Pacific Coast Highway.
"My classmates would show up with these very neat peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off and I would show up with this very pungent curry, and they'd be, like, 'Ewww, that's gross!
"My mom would make me drink four 8-ounce glasses of milk a day for protein," she says.
In American classrooms, Padma was that exotic girl with the weird lunches.
"Being from India wasn't that cool when I was young," she recalls.
Her eyes soften and her lips curl into a sly smile: "If only I had this many fluffers in the kitchen.
I'd have them poof up my salads." If Padma's really looking for help tousling her arugula, I'm sure I could work something out.