Melissa with book

Melissa d’Arabian hosts Food Network’s daytime cooking series Ten Dollar Dinners and Cooking Channel’s lifestyle show Drop 5 lbs with Good Housekeeping. Melissa enjoyed a successful career in finance and strategy before eventually becoming a stay-at-home mom to her four daughters. Eager to share her tried-and-true recipes and tips with today’s diverse families, Melissa competed on and won season five of The Next Food Network Star. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners (Clarkson Potter, 2012).

As Halloween approaches, The Recipe Club has been thinking not only of candy and sweets, but also of the many things that terrify us in everyday life. We’ve partnered with our sister sites at Books for Better Living, Read It Forward, CrafterNews, and Crown, to ask our authors: What five things terrify you most? Today’s answers are from Melissa d’Arabian.

1. Hotel room floors without my slippers
I once considered getting one of those night vision ultra-violet whatever contraptions they use on 20/20 to scout out gross germy fluids. But then I realized that I’m not twelve, and I don’t shop at Spencer Gifts anymore.

2. Artificial sweeteners and fake fats
I can’t stand artificial sugars of any kind, and fats that “don’t absorb” into the system and require labeling about “leakage” scare me.

3. Flying
Years ago, I actually took a class on Fear of Flying (I had to FLY to New York to do it. Frankly, under the circumstances, it would have been nice if they’d come to me!) I still don’t love it. But I have my strategies for managing.

4. Mandolines
I sliced off a small corner of my finger once while shooting an episode of Ten Dollar Dinners (making the Spanish Tortilla, if you must know). I was never able to watch that episode (even writing about it years later gives my stomach the willies). And my mandoline has been sitting untouched in my garage since that day. Handguards, people, handguards!

5. Parenting
If having the well-being of moldable young children (not to mention the world’s future) in your hands doesn’t scare you, then you aren’t paying attention. Parenting is hard, and my decisions are purposeful, deliberate, and well-thought-out. But I might find out in fifteen years that I did it all wrong. Here’s to crossing fingers…