Food Bloggers: Unplugged


It’s funny, I’ve never really liked the term “food blogger”. There’s something about the term that just seems funny to me. The reality is, however, that I do write a blog about food. Like it or not, I suppose that means I’m a food blogger.

And the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to be OK with being a “food blogger”. I’ve made a lot of great friends through this crazy food blogging world. I’ve been challenged to become a better writer, a better cook, a better photographer, and a more rounded person. It’s pretty great.

So, when I saw this week that a few of my favorite food bloggers were participating in a little thing called “Food Bloggers Unplugged”, I was glad to see that I’d been asked to participate (ahem, thank you Toni and Mari). I think this is a great way to let you know a little bit more about myself, while highlighting a few food bloggers that I love dearly.

With that being said, I’ll jump right into it.

What or who inspired you to start your blog?
My husband. He knew that I’d been contemplating starting a food blog – as I enjoy writing and cooking – but I didn’t have a decent camera at the time. For Christmas that year he gave me a digital camera, along with a stocking full of spices, vinegars, oils, and cooking supplies. It was so stinking thoughtful and I was thrilled to have the tools to start a blog.

Who is your foodie inspiration?
I have so many: Marion Nestle. Michael Pollan. Julia Child. Mark Bittman. But if I’m being really, truly honest I’d have to say Anthony Bourdain. The guy can be a complete asshole, but I adore him nonetheless. I love the way he narrates the world, and he’s opened my eyes to so many interesting cultures and cuisines. Bourdain is a great writer (I’ve read multiple books by him) and I appreciate that he tells it like it is. Plus, he’s funny as hell.

Your greasiest most batter splattered cook book is?
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It’s my go-to reference for all culinary questions and I use it all the time. He’s got all the basics covered (as well as some advanced techniques) and he gives such good practical tips for home cooks. It’s accessible, well-written, and an encyclopedia of wealth. I was given a copy as a wedding present, and I now make it a point to give this book to other couples on their wedding day.

The best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it and what was it?
This is going to sound really strange, but the best thing I have ever eaten in another country is a slice of cold Pizza Hut pizza in Mazatlan, Mexico when I was 11 years old. My family lived in Mexico for 3 months when I was 11 (missions trip with YWAM) and we spent most of our time in rural areas on a small budget. Meaning: we hadn’t had good food in months. We ate a lot of tuna fish sandwiches. At the end of our stay in Mexico, my parents took me and my sisters to the beach for two days. After living very humbly for a few months, I suddenly felt like a queen. I remember we begged my parents to let us order Pizza Hut (and they obliged) and then later on that evening I took a hot bath and ate a leftover piece of cold pizza in the bathtub. After months of cold showers and tuna fish sandwiches, I’ll never forget that one bite of cold pizza. It was utterly precious.

Another Food Blogger’s table you would like to eat at?
There are so (so!) many good ones to choose from, but I’d have to say Heidi from 101 Cookbooks. Everything she makes sounds ridiculously wonderful and I’d just love to meet her in person (and try her food, of course).

What one kitchen gadget would you like Santa to bring you?
A dishwasher. Being a food blogger (and occasional caterer) without a dishwasher is the worst. My husband would readily agree, as he’s usually the one who does the bulk of the dishes.

I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?
That’s a tough question, as I like to make so many different things. Honestly, the one thing I’ve made over and over (and over) again is my Kale Apple Salad. It isn’t fancy but it is delicious, easy to make, and people love it. I bring this salad to most holiday gatherings, and have paired it with a variety of different dishes. It’s always a hit.

What is your guilty food pleasure?
Maraschino cherries. Yes, the horrible neon aberrations of nature that are bleached and soaked in chemicals and then dyed neon red. I am completely aware of how horrible they are and yet, I could eat them by the spoonful. I even made my own maraschinos with northwest sour cherries, but I still prefer the neon ones I buy at the store.

Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn? Before I moved to Portland, I lived in Southern California and worked for an independent record label. Back then, I worked long hours and made very little money, and thus lived off frozen dinners. I’ll never forget the time that I was in line at the grocery store and I noticed that my basket contained Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, bottles of Vitamin Water, a bottle of red wine, and cat litter. I realized that I was on track to becoming the saddest cat lady of all time, so I picked up and moved to Portland and started a new chapter of my life. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

To conclude this post, I’m supposed to describe my ideal dinner party and tag five bloggers that I’d like to dine with. In a perfect world, I’d sit down to dinner with a whole bunch of you (i.e. more than five). There would be a lot of good food, fine wine, and great conversation. I’m quite certain of that.

But, I was instructed to pick just five, and so I have done just that. (I think that this means I’ve ‘tagged’ you to write an Unplugged post of your own, but there is no pressure for you to actually respond. I was in a post-vacation writing funk and needed to get the creative juices flowing. Plus, I’m a sucker for things like this. I mean, who doesn’t want to dream about a giant dinner table filled with their favorite foodies?!)

My ideal dinner party would include…

Sarah of Pearl and Pine: Every time I read Sarah’s blog I have the urge to yell out, “ME TOO!”. We’re strangely similar in all sorts of funny ways. I love her writing style, her honesty, and her quirkiness. Her photos are also stunning. I check her blog on a weekly (ok, daily) basis and I always enjoy her posts. In addition, she’s from Seattle so we often commiserate about the horrible Northwest weather.

Mari of The Unexpected Harvest: It’s probably cheating to say that I’d want Mari at my ultimate table of bloggers, because I get to dine with Mari often. She’s one of my best friends in the whole world and she’s an amazing cook. Mari is also a wine geek and she never ceases to amaze me with her knack for wine pairings. Fun fact: Mari and I have quarter season tickets to the Portland Trailblazers and we have matching LaMarcus Aldrige Jersey’s. We’re nerds.

Kelsey of Happy Yolks: Kelsey is an amazing cook (and photographer) with a huge heart. You can feel her passion for life in every post. Her words are so sincere, and her recipes (and photos) are a thing of beauty. Kelsey inspires me to be a better cook and a better person, and I’d be thrilled to have the chance to dine with her someday!

Kirsten of Food is a Love Story: Kirsten is a new(ish) friend who works in food PR and recently started writing a blog. I love it. It isn’t really a ‘food blog’, which is part of what I love about it. Her love for food is apparent in all that she writes, but her content is varied (and fantastic). She’s funny, sassy, and super talented. Oh, and she likes sports. Girls who love food and sports are the best. (#ladieswhoNBA)

Sarah of Simply Cooked: Sarah’s blog is one of the very first food blogs I started reading. I’ve always appreciated her healthy point of view, and her recipes challenge me to use more whole grains (and less sugar). She’s also in an online book club called the Kitchen Reader and they read books about food and review them. I think a food book club is the best idea ever.

So there you have it. The makings of an excellent dinner party.

(Please note, I didn’t ‘tag’ Christianna of Burwell General Store, Toni of Boulder Locavore, Jacqueline of The Dusty Baker or Sabrina of The Tomato Tart simply because I’d seen that they’d already been mentioned a couple of times on various other bloggers Unplugged posts. I love you all dearly, you’re just too popular. ;) But, I still want you at my ultimate dinner party.)

(I chose not to use the official “Food Blogger Unplugged” image, and opted to use another I liked a little better. Image courtesy of The Calm Before The Storm.)

4 Responses

  1. NubianOR says:

    I totally am in lust Anthony Bourdain.

    No dishwasher? We need to start a collection.

  2. Kiri W. says:

    Great post! :) I love this series, it’s so interesting to get a glimpse at the people behind the blog.
    And I have to say, cold Pizza in Mexico does sound kind of tempting!

  3. d.l.mayfield says:

    that is so hilarious that you picked the mexico memory. anthony bourdain would roll over in his (proverbial) grave! anyways, i just think you are a great writer. you know who else is? gabrielle hamilton–of blood, bones, and butter–i really think you would love that book.

  4. Ann says:

    What a terrific post! Thank you for giving us a small slice of your life. It must have been scary and wonderful to just up and move to Portland!

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