Photo © Jill Grennberg
Pop star Kelly Clarkson on the best mushrooms of all time and the "hippie" way she drinks her fair-trade coffee.
What foods did you love to eat while growing up?
My mom was a single working parent for a long time, so she didn't cook. But my best friend's mom was a great Southern cook—loaded sweet tea and country-fried steak, everything made from scratch. Did you ever see that Stove Top commercial with the kid who always shows up at dinnertime? That was totally me.
How did your tastes change as you became successful and started to travel?
I grew up in Texas: I didn't even know sushi existed. Now I love sushi, I love Indian, I love Thai. I'm all about trying new foods, but that took a while. When I got into this industry in my early twenties, I was like, "Where the hell can I get a good meal?"
What do you cook now?
I hired someone to teach me how to cook recently, because my husband has two kids. We cook a lot at our home near Nashville. We make a gluten-free pasta primavera with vegetables from our greenhouse that the kids love, which is amazing. Any time you get a kid to eat vegetables, you're like, "I win!"
What's your favorite meal?
It's not a meal, but it's a side dish that I can make a meal of. I just learned how to make shiitake mushrooms with a maple glaze, and I can eat a whole bowl of them. It tastes like sugar-coated bacon. It's the greatest thing ever.
For your new partnership with Green Mountain Coffee, you went to a coffee farm in Peru. What did you learn?
It was cool to get behind the scenes and meet these people. It's such intense labor, and time-consuming and tedious, so it's great to work with a company that's promoting fair trade—paying farmers a fair price for their coffee beans. Being in the limelight is a lot of smoke and mirrors, but it also gives you the chance to put a spotlight on stuff that matters to you.
Does the acid in coffee pose any problem for your voice?
I'm not that girl. I grew up in classical music, and everybody would be like, don't do dairy, don't do caffeine, don't do chocolate. And I do all of that! At the end of the day, a voice is like a muscle—some days it works better than others.
What do you put in your coffee?
Vanilla almond milk is my new favorite thing. We're actually making our own, and soaking the almonds right now. We're getting real hippie in my household. We even make kombucha tea.