Tag Archives: food writing

To food blog?

I read Orangette’s latest post a few days ago and it got me thinking. Orangette is one of the last remaining blogs that I love to read. Like read read. I love the way Molly writes about food, but mostly I love the way Molly writes about her life. And I love how the two mesh together in various ways. I find with lots of food blogs nowadays, it is all about lifestyle, with a heavy dose of very beautiful pictures. There is less of the grittiness. Less of the real. Everything is curated. And quite frankly, it is rather exhausting. So now, rather than reading about people’s lives, I am reading their projected existences through their pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love these food-photography-lifestyle blogs. But I miss those other blogs, the ones that were about life and writing and food. And didn’t really have fabulous pictures and often featured ordinary, slightly mucky kitchen tables. Maybe they are still out there but got lost in the ether that is the very full food blog world? (If you know of any, send them my way – Rachel Roddy’s Rachel Eats used to be one but now it’s in The Guardian instead, which is great by the way but not really the same). So Rachel and Molly are the two I read regularly. But that isn’t really enough to feed by habit.

So I have begun to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, I should write the blog I want to read instead? I used to write a little about my life but I have always been quite guarded about it. And when my PhD came to an end I moved into just curating reading lists because that was all I could manage in amongst all the other things I was doing. I’ve tried writing snippets elsewhere, starting other projects and then abandoning them because really, this is the space I like to write in. So hello *waves manically*, here I am.

I have no idea how this might work yet but I thought I would start with some info on where I’ve been the past eighteen months or so, when all there has really been here is the reading lists (and let’s be honest, there is quite a lot of me being random on those lists but not much detail). The short version is I finished a PhD, got an office job, developed a bout of anxiety and depression, busted the ligament in my knee (surgery next week), got a new job (as a researcher and it is AWESOME), signed a book contract, started to recover from anxiety and depression, started knitting and took up yoga and swimming. Of course there is a much longer and wordier version of this story but that’ll do for now.

In amongst all of that I have been baking (several birthday cakes, one wedding cake), trying not to drive A- mad with my weirdness (almost 3 years together), and I’ve bought an ice cream machine (finally!). I also recently took ownership (rental-ship?) of an allotment in Sneinton in Nottingham. My mother (and pretty much everyone else) is convinced it needs an army of gardeners and a lot of money. It’s only a half plot and is mostly covered in bindweed so I will have to make it work as I have neither an army of gardeners nor tons of extra cash. I am also about to become immobile for around 6 weeks while my knee recovers from its reconstruction. But I went to the site the week before last and the robin came over to say hi so I think I am going to like it there.

Mostly I am learning to do what I can and not stress to much about the rest. This is very difficult. A lot of what I may write about is how difficult it is to give up perfectionism for sanity. I am also busy writing a book. My kitchen table currently looks like this:

Mucky kitchen table masquerading as desk

Tonight for dinner I made what effectively turned out to be a spiced beef pizza but which was supposed to be this. Mine looked nothing like the picture but it was delicious. I also didn’t really follow the recipe, and apparently my pide folding skills need severe work but more on that some other time. I ate some of it (it feeds a small army) with tomato salad, while watching Wimbledon (Nadal v Young) in the dying light of a summer day.

More soon. x

 

Reading List (23/5)

I loved this essay on experimenting with carrot cake making.

That whole ‘give up avocado toast and you’ll have enough money to buy a house‘ argument is doing the rounds again.

Histories of food photography.

I have all three of these books on my list of summer reads.

I agree with this: you should always have cookie dough in your freezer. Plus the dark chocolate, pistachio and smoked sea salt cookie recipes looks divine.

I read and really loved The Only Street in Paris. I fell in love with the rue des Martyrs when we visited Paris two years ago and ventured onto the street in search of Rose Bakery. I was instantly charmed by the independent shops, and all the bakeries. I desperately want to plan another trip to Paris, and stay on the street!

Focusing on what is under your control might help you make the best of things.

I just bought an ice-cream machine and this new book. So far I’ve managed to mess-up some salted caramel ice-cream by creating burnt caramel ice-cream and messing up the custard! But I’m determined to persevere. The rewards are worth it. Bring on the warmer weather.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (16/5)

Ice cream

A multi-course menu based on food trends over the last 140 years. Please can we do this for a supper club sometime?

This video of animals visiting a bucket of water.

A mother lamenting dinner times.

Realities of food industry work.

Diversity in restaurants. Why do we not see and hear more voices from women and people of colour when it comes to fine-dining and haute cuisine. An article to make you think. And reassess your ideas.

Food and politics in France.

Food52 needs your dessert recipe help!

These buttermilk pancakes. For the weekend, maybe.

Filo pastry ideas, courtesy of Ottolenghi.

The Joy of Cooking.

Guidelines to a braai. Now I am a little homesick.

Food and politics in Australia.

On excess in the food world.

A manifesto for this year, and every year, when things are hard.

 

Reading List (9/5)

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Funniest explanation of British food. For Americans.

An exercise in self-compassion.

A food writing programme in upstate NY. I interned here a few years ago, and it was fab. If you are looking for some food writing/food media training, this programme looks fantastic.

Why creativity is important for young people.

The importance of wild and heirloom varieties of crops for biodiversity and the food system.

Learning to forgive oneself.

‘A cookbook is a confection of imagined greed, virtual travel and convivial conversation, and only secondarily – if at all – a practical manual for preparing meals.’ Fabulous review.

Growing cacao pods in London.

Some advice on potager gardens.

The rise of a superfood.

A conversation about creating a cookbook on Tuscan markets. Trip to Italy anyone?

The importance of dates in Oman.

Chefs making their own pottery for their diners (to eat the food off). This reminds me of the El Bulli retrospective exhibition that I went to see a few years ago, at Somerset House. For Ferran Adria, what you ate off, and the implements you used was just as important as the food you consumed. It is a fascinating way of meshing food with art, in a very logical way.

Brunch ideas.

In a few days last week I read The Roanoke Girls. It was super weird and incredibly disturbing and I had to keep reading it in order to find out what happens in the end. Recommend it for holiday reading or if you’re struggling to read something.

A seriously thought-provoking podcast on grief and recovery between Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I found myself nodding in agreement or thinking, by god, that is a brilliant way to go about things all the way through the podcast. Sad, heart-wrenching and intelligent conversations on recovering from the unexpected loss of a loved one.

Have a good week all! x

Reading List (21/3)

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Jack Russells are just the best dogs. Here is some evidence.

The Two Fat Ladies. I used to love this show. Did you?

Being a mother and working in the food industry.

A woman in farming.

I am listening to Reader, I married him. It is a collection of short stories edited by Tracy Chevalier. All the stories are inspired by Jane Eyre. I am loving them. I don’t normally go in for short stories – mostly because I become attached to the characters and then don’t want to let go (it is a thing). But these are so wonderful and arresting. I particularly loved Grace Poole, Her Testimony by Helen Dunmore and Reader, She Married Me by Sally Vickers. But all the stories have been superb.

A round up of the weekend’s food news and recipes.

Peanut butter brownies.

Lucky Peach is closing.

Persian New Year. I also listened to the Bon Appetit Foodcast talking about Middle Eastern foods. After listening to talk of cooking rice, I finally managed to crack out some decent rice at the weekend, for our vegan cookbook club. (More on that hysterical experience another time.)

This picture of Viennese desserts. Plus the accompanying article.

Omelettes!

This is a beautiful piece of writing that makes me happy and sad at the same time.

Sketching the restaurants of NYC.

A library across borders.

Listening to podcasts is stress-relieving…

Swimming in Snowdonia.

Which bodies can go where‘ – reflections on travel writing. (There’s a number of articles in this series now up.)

Woman, dog, sea

Have a good week! x

Reading List (7/3)

chocolate

Eating cheese is like being on crack. Mmm. And, if you (like me) will continue to eat cheese anyway, the trend of melted cheese. And, just in case you needed any more convincing, cheese-y breads.

Creative curators of book collections‘.

This conversation is one of the most fascinating I have listened to a long time. I love the idea of art and science coming together – through crochet of all things! Their book on the Crochet Coral Reef project looks beautiful, and is now on my wish list.

Margaret says in the interview:  “One of the things about the reef project that I feel is important is that it’s a constructive response to a devastating problem. I think most people, as I am, are completely freaked out about the problem of global warming. What can we do? Can we do anything? […] And the reef project — the Crochet Coral Reef project is a metaphor, and it goes like this: if you look at real corals, a head of coral is built by thousands of individual coral polyps working together. Each coral polyp is a tiny insignificant little critter with almost no power of its own. But when billions of coral polyps come together, they can build the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living thing on earth and the first living thing that you can see from outer space. […] The Crochet Coral Reef is a human analog of that. These huge coral reef installations that we build with communities are built by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people working together. So the project capitulates, in human action, the power and greatness of what corals themselves are doing. And I think the metaphor of the project is, “Look what we can do together.” We humans, each of us are like a coral polyp. Individually, we’re insignificant and probably powerless. But together, I believe we can do things.” 

A hipster food glossary.

If you’re struggling with the news that we’re supposed to be eating 10 fruits and vegetables daily, here are some ideas.

A dishwasher becomes a partner in the Noma empire. And here is the same story in the NYT.

Whales.

I read (and loved) The House of Birds. I found the history of the character Sophia utterly compelling and had several nights where my eyes were closing and I wanted to keep going, to find out what happened. This was a joy to read. I’ve now started Leap In, about a woman learning to swim in the sea and rivers. I love the descriptions of what happens when she learns to exhale and swimming becomes a form of meditation. It has made me want to return to the water.

After weeks of listening to audio books, I’m on a mini break and have returned to my beloved podcasts. I really enjoyed Nathan Myhrvold’s talk on his new bread book.

A Day without Women. Emma Watson on feminism.

Chocolate for breakfast.

Prunes.

spring

Have a good week! x

 

 

 

Reading List (28/2)

Last day in February! Anyone else freaking out?

milk-honey-ice-cream-rye-cookie

A seriously innovative and dare I say it, cool way to present a PhD thesis.

Pistachio cream doughnuts. Like, I’ve always thought doughnuts too much of a faff to make at home (and when I’m in need of a fix I get some from Small Food Bakery instead) but for these I might change my mind.

Myths of academia and life post-PhD. A PhD who works in a chocolate factory.

Cities and green space.

I need to plan another trip to Paris. Soon.

Animal album covers.

Food and Brexit.

On bread and wheat.

I discovered Elly Griffiths by accident – through a bookshop newsletter. I then found her in my library’s audio app and listened to The Ghost Fields over the weekend. It was great, all windswept Norfolk beaches, archaeological mysteries and dysfunctional detectives. What’s not to love? I’ve already downloaded another that I’m listening to on the train in the morning.

Have a good week! x