Several weeks ago, Susan @ The Spice Garden, invited me to participate in "Food Bloggers Unplugged," where bloggers share a bit about themselves and their food (and blogging) inspiration. I've been delighted to get to know Susan and her blog. I imagine Susan's life is much like mine -- living in a rural part of the country and, after working a lifetime, having the time and freedom to do much of what you want, one of which for me is spending time exploring food and writing about it.
So, here I go . . . unplugged:
1. Who or what inspired you to start a blog?
Not a very original or epiphany-like start, I'm afraid. I read Orangette and merely said to myself: "I'd like to do something like that." And after reading a few other blogs and letting a few months lapse, Sprigs of Rosemary was born.
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
Probably my Aunt Mary, although my sister Lynn has a lot to do with it, too. They both were very adventurous in the kitchen, not satisfied with the ordinary and always inspired to try something new. And they always seemed to do it well. I've certainly also been inspired by many a food blogger and a handful of TV cooks. I was watching Rachael Ray when she had just one show and before she became an enterprise. Back then she seemed so fresh and had a free-spirited way of cooking I admired.
3. Your greasiest, batter-splattered cook/drink book?
The first cookbook I ever bought for myself is one I still turn to often. It's Gourmet on the Run, published by Glamour magazine, edited by Jane Kirby. The spine is cracked and it has many smeared and dog-eared pages. I loved the book because more than giving you recipes, it taught a way to cook with charts that showed this could combine with that or that with this. I am a cookbook addict, though, and I'm always adding to my big, fat and still growing collection. (And to think if I didn't weed it out once in a while!)
I was lucky enough to go to London once, the only time I've been outside the country, except for Canada (which doesn't really count -- same continent and all!) and we catch our own walleye there!
The London trip was for business. (Lucky me!) We flew over on the company's private jet (one formerly owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger -- it still had a stenciled "I'll be back!" on the door!) My boss took me to a Russian restaurant where we ate really good caviar, but my most vivid memory is her taking me to Harrod's Where I gazed open-mouthed at the Food Halls. Then she took me to a sushi restaurant there and taught me to use chopsticks, although I could still use some practice. I felt so very cosmopolitan that day!
5. Another food blogger whose table you'd love to sit at is . . .
Very tough question. There really are so many! But if I really, really could only pick one, I'd pick Marie@ Proud Italian Cook because she seems to be equally creative as traditional, making a roasted vegetable tart one day, then hand-made pasta the next. She also balances rich dishes with light ones. Maybe she's a Libra, too!
6. What's one food gadget on your wish list (price is no object)?
I'm really not much of a gadget person. (When you have a small kitchen, you can't afford it!) I have my Kitchen Aid mixer (and a few attachments), got a pasta machine, a new salad spinner I love. I need a new food processor, but I think if I could splurge, I'd get a good mandoline and hope I don't cut myself. Or maybe Wusthoff knives.
7. Who taught you to cook?
My mother taught me all the basics even though she spared me the correct terminology. I learned how to braise, cream, chop, brown, make gravy, test a cake, how to season, plan a meal, etc. I still can't get her pie crust down, though. (She was one of those who didn't need a recipe for pastry!) But the rest of it is self-taught, just from reading magazines and cookbooks and experimenting.
8. I'm coming to dinner. What's your signature dish?
I love to make cannelloni! Making the crepes is a pain, but I love it. The filling I like best is a mixture of spinach, ground beef and chicken livers bound with cream (and a little nutmeg!) Then there's two sauces, a simple marinara and a bechamel, and lots of cheese Delicious, rich, a definite treat.
9. What's your guilty food pleasure?
Chocolate chip cookie dough. Nuff said. I feel guilty just thinking about it.
10. Reveal something about yourself others would be surprised to know.
I wish I could say something like I worked my way through college as a pole dancer, but I don't have very many surprises or secrets. I wish I would have been a librarian. That's it.
In addition to sharing some of your self, part of Food Bloggers Unplugged game means inviting other food bloggers who intrigue you to do the same. That's probably harder than baring your foodie soul, because there's so much inspiration out there, so many new blogs I pop in to see. I have my favorites, of course, and some just seem like old friends (who happen to be good cooks.) And I visit some of the food blogger luminati occasionally, too. But here are a handful of "new to me" bloggers I've been reading routinely lately. Please visit . . .
Melissa @ I Was Born to Cook
Emily @ Life on Food
Heather @ girlichef
Alida @ Alida's Kitchen
Thanks for reading and letting me indulge in a little storytelling! And thanks for the invitation, Susan!