Sharyn of The Kale Chronicles, whose blog I do enjoy reading so much each post, has kindly given me the Food Bloggers Unplugged Award! Thank you so much, Sharyn, for honoring me with this award and for being such a supportive reader and commenter of my blog. This award is involves answering some food related questions about yourself, and then you pass the baton to 5 other food bloggers you’d like to know more about, so here goes!
1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
I’ve always had a talent for being able to “taste” recipes before actually trying them and “dissect” dishes that I eat in restaurants—to the point of telling you all the ingredients in them—much to the amusement of my friends. After reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Delimma and Barbara Kingsolvers’ Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I became more and more interested in the foods we eat, grow, and cook. I joined a CSA, which challenged me to try eating and cooking vegetables I hadn’t tried before, and I built a raised-bed organic garden of my own. A couple of years ago at a dinner party some good friends suggested that they thought I should be a food reviewer, or perhaps think about starting a blog. I shrugged at the time, but one day the middle of June 2011, and for no particular reason, I felt inspired to check out wordpress templates, named myself and I finally took the plunge. I’ve been having a blast with it ever since, getting to “know” so many great people and learning new things all the time!
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
All kinds of people and things inspire me. My “Mamaw” was, and my mom still is, my first inspiration, both great home cooks. Also, we traveled a lot when I was a kid and my parents encouraged me to taste and try different foods in all the countries and locales we visited…that made a big impression. I’d say that Julia Child was my first chef inspiration because I remember watching her as a small child with my parents when she first started her show on public broadcasting. My dad would always mimic her wonderful high voice, and of course we all know her sign off…”This is Julia Child, Bon Appetit!” made even more famous on Dan Ackroyd’s Saturday Night Live skit. Jacques Pépin was also an inspiration and watching him and Julia together later on was such a treat. I learned a lot from those shows, long before the Food Network was born.
3. Your greasiest, batter – splattered food/drink book is?
Hmmm…The Silver Palette Cookbooks are the most splattered and war-torn, while Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home has been my fave for a while now…but my own collection of recipes are hand-written in an absolutely tattered, battered, somewhat disgusting-looking and completely falling apart notebook! You can see some of my favorite cookbooks in the Bookshelf section of this blog and read a bit about my cookbook addiction here.
4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
This is a tie. In the south of France in a little town called Mole, my husband and I had dinner on the terrace of a restaurant overlooking a farm that I believe was named La Ferme du Magnan. Everything they served had been grown and picked, harvested or slaughtered that day and it was the freshest food I can ever remember eating. The mussels, which were opened and grilled in the shells on a huge open air grill, were to die for. And in the town of Chania, Crete, I had the most remarkable and memorable dish… a Cretan Hot Pot, made with local pork, local greens, fresh thyme and hard goats cheese melted on top, and cooked in a clay pot. It was gooey, stewy, savory with a hint of sweet, served very hot. Never had anything like it before or since and I’ll never forget it…and also I can’t replicate it.
5. Another food bloggers table you’d like to eat at is?
Oh, my! So many great options out there! Well, I do have to say that if I got the chance to dine at John’s table with his Aunt Zia in the Bartolini Kitchens, and enjoy some of their family recipes, I know that would be such a great meal, and I’ll bet I could wrestle Max for my dinner and win! Also I’d like to sit at the table of Greg and Katherine at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide during their massive Thanksgiving feast. Having appetizers and a wee glass of homemade wine or some homemade bread and honey at Cecilia’s farmy in The Kitchen’s Garden would be pretty sweet…especially if Daisy, Mia, Ton Ton and the rest of her gang were on hand. And enjoying any part of a Moroccan feast at Eva’s Kitchen Inspirations would be so deliciously authentic it would almost be like taking a trip to Morocco! And for dessert, that raspberry chocolate layer cake at City Hippy Farm Girl looks pretty awesome or something from Savory Simple would do quite nicely, I think.
6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
I don’t think this qualifies as a gadget, but if Santa was feeling really, really generous and money is no object, a total kitchen remodel is needed!
7. Who taught you how to cook?
I learned the basics from my mom, who let me make cakes, cookies and brownies with her and then by myself, from the time I was old enough see the top of the kitchen counter. I have fond memories of making homemade candy together including hand-painted marzipan and our family recipe for chocolate covered fondant. Even before that, I sat on the washing machine and watched her cooking at the stove. Later in life I learned a lot from watching PBS shows as stated above, a whole lot from reading and making Bon Appetit’s recipes, and also reading lots and lots of cookbooks and watching the original Japanese version of Iron Chef and some other food shows. But really, learning to cook is an ongoing process, so I’m still being taught, so to speak.
8. I’m coming to you for dinner what’s your signature dish?
A signature dish? What’s that? Perhaps if it’s winter and I was in a comfort food mood, you’d most likely get my Holy Mole Chili with jalapeno cheddar cornbread, an arugula, fruit and nut salad with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and a hot fudge sundae with the Best Chocolate Sauce and/or brownies. If it’s summer we’d have grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle Orange Sauce, sweet potato fries and my black bean mango salad, with homemade sorbet, or possibly an ice cream bombe for dessert. But if it’s a really special dinner party, one of my favorites to make is Jacques Pépin’s stuffed seafood bread and either Frozen Grand Mariner souffles or Molten Chocolate Cakes…you’ll have to wait for those!
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Cheese dip and homemade cookies…in that order but not necessarily at the same time.
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I really, really, hate english peas. They literally gag me. Also, I’m generally an extraordinarily patient person…except in the kitchen. I have no idea why, except maybe I need a bigger kitchen…Santa?
Finally…tag 5 other food bloggers with these questions…like a hot baked potato…pass it on.
So many I’d like to know more about out there. Okay, here goes my 5 and hopefully you haven’t been tagged yet, Yummy Chunklet, City Hippy Farm Girl, Chica Andaluza, Profiteroles and Ponytails, Just a Smidgen….cheers!
And while I’m talking so much about myself, I’m gonna point out my Bits and Breadcrumbs Facebook page to the right. If you like, please join me there by clicking the “like” button!