Last week, my friend and fellow blogger, Libby Elder of Lemony Thyme asked me to participate in a Blog Tour. I didn’t know what a Blog Tour was at the time, but she assured me that it was going to be fun and at the end of the tour, there would be cake! All I had to do was answer 4 simple questions about my “writing process” and then introduce the world to a few blogs out there that inspire me. So, since there was a promise of cake and it’s always fun to share about other bloggers whom I admire, I took the bait. The first thing I thought was, “do I even have a writing process?” I mean, if “writing process” is defined by banging my head on my computer keyboard several times while a plaintive moan issues from my throat, then YES I do have one of those! I just wasn’t sure if that process would be very helpful to anyone else, let alone me.
First, let me tell you a little bit about Libby. Libby is someone I really admire and over this past year, we have bonded over a mutual love of fresh herbs–to this day, I always think of her when I pick lemon thyme from my herb barrel! She’s been blogging for about 2 years–actually exactly 2 years today–Congratulations Libby! And in that time, she has published literally hundreds upon hundreds of recipes. She writes her blog posts in a way that is easy and elegant and she just does this thing with cheese that will make your eyes roll back in your head! She is truly an artist in the kitchen and I consider her “expert level”. So, when she assured me that I, the girl with keyboard indentations on her forehead and one year of blogging experience under her belt, would have something useful to share about blog writing, I had no choice but to trust her and surge forward with this post.
1. What am I working on?
I probably should be working on a post entitled “Learn From My Fail” because that has described my recent shenanigans in the kitchen! Example: pizza. I promised myself that I would blog about pizza again, since over the past year, I’ve learned better techniques for pizza dough. I got all excited to do this over the weekend and made what would have been the Best Pizza Ever. And then I burned it beyond recognition! Seriously. Burnt black. Since it’s officially summer I am working on recipes and techniques for the grill–fish, pork loin, hamburgers and of course, pizza.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know if this is different from other blogs, but I really try to blog from a place of honesty. My food is real–sometimes it’s not pretty, but it always tastes good. I have unrealistically high standards for the dishes I post here, and that’s the reason that I average about one recipe per week. So many dishes just don’t make the cut! I also try to give little tips and tricks so that you don’t have an epic fail while preparing something. Let ME fail so that you don’t have to!
3. Why do I write what I do?
Everyone who blogs about food loves food, that’s a given. But, I write as a way to create a food legacy where one didn’t exist before. I didn’t come into blogging with a weathered recipe box filled with time-honored techniques and kitchen wisdom. I have a great foundation of basic cooking techniques that I learned from my mother; but my mother didn’t inherit those lessons from her mother–she was completely self-taught. She also didn’t write many of those recipes down. A few months ago, she and I went through her old recipe file that she’s had since I was about 6 years old. While it was really fun looking through old clippings from Redbook and Reader’s Digest, I realized that only a few were recipes that I remembered from my childhood. In a way, I guess it was like an analog version of Pinterest–filled with all the recipes she wanted to make, but just didn’t have the time. So, I write in order to repair a fracture in our family’s culinary history–to finally put in writing those recipes that never made it into the recipe file. Even though I don’t have children to pass these recipes down to, I just felt the need to at least document the things we love to eat because it’s so important to me.
4. How does my writing process work?
I write every day for my day job, but it is a very different process. My work writing is very much about stating the facts and writing them in a concise way that everyone can understand regardless of educational background. But whereas my work writing depends on stating facts, laws and conclusions, food writing has to convey a mood, a story, a flavor. This is by no means easy for me and sometimes I struggle to remove my brain from “work mode” and get into food writing mode–hence the head banging. The first paragraph is always the hardest so a lot of times, I will start in the middle and work my way backwards! Then I go back over what I’ve written and I take out all the superfluous words because if there’s one thing I know about reading on the internet, is that people don’t like to read a lot of words.
I have a really good friend who is a novice cook in every sense of the word. Over the years, I have seen her bork up so many recipes, that when I write a recipe, I am writing it with her in mind. I try to think of all the ways a recipe can go horribly wrong, whether by misinterpretation or simple lack of technique and I try to make sure that I write a recipe that’s fairly goof proof.
Blogs that Inspire Me
Now, I want to introduce you to a couple of bloggers that really inspire me. The first is Prashanthi Pathak of Yummily Yours. Prash has only been blogging for a short period of time, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at her blog. She is an expert at Vegetarian and Indian cuisine and she does an amazing job at demystifying a food culture that can seem very complicated. Prash makes Indian cuisine easy and accessible, but that’s not the only thing she does. You may have seen her Hasselback Zucchini with Garlic recipe floating around the internet. I mean, everyone has done Hasselback potatoes, but the fact that she used zucchini is a testament to how creative she is. Her blog can be found at http://yummilyyours.com
Next is Christine Arel of No Gojis No Glory. Christine writes with an infectious enthusiasm and her recipes are so trustworthy–meaning, when I read them, I know that they will work. I love that her blog focuses on healthy eating, but does not subscribe to a diet “dogma”. Her recipe for Maple Chicken Sausage with Cinnamon Apples was my first taste of her work and I immediately made that recipe for our Mother’s Day brunch this year. So delicious! Her blog can be found at http://www.nogojisnoglory.com.
I hope you will take a moment to visit Lemony Thyme, Yummily Yours and No Gojis No Glory as they are wonderful and amazing blogs that deserve every bit of recognition I can throw at them!
So, there you have it! Now, I will be waiting for that cake I was promised. Bring it on!