Grab a seat and hang on tight. We’re heading across the country in order to meet some of my favorite bloggers. It’s a virtual A Cross-Country Culinary Tour.
Hello, my friends. Yes, it’s really me, breaking my rule of taking Sundays off. You have to figure that if I’m pulling away from the family, lake and sunshine, there’s a good reason, don’t you.
And there is. You see, last Sunday, my friend Ramona, the owner and hostess at Curry and Comfort asked if I’d be the next stop on a blog tour that she was a part of.
The tour idea is simple. Somewhere in the past, a blogger decided that she (or he) enjoyed reading other blogs so much that she wanted to tell her readers about those people/cooks/writers. So, wrote about her friends and a bit more about herself to boot. Her friends loved the idea so they did the same thing.
It’s a bit like a chain letter, but a whole lot more tasty.
Ramona was sweet enough to introduce her readers to Taking On Magazines. It was such an honor for me to be a part of her little space on the Internet last week. You see, Ramona is from Sri Lanka and has the whole curry thing down. I’ve seen some of the most amazing dishes come out of her kitchen and am in awe of her abilities.
The Cross-Country Culinary Tour
Before I share three bloggers with whom I am absolutely in love, Ramona’s asked that I share a little about myself and has given me four questions that she’d like me to answer.
So, we’re starting our tour in North Carolina. Buckle up and let’s hit the road.
What Am I Working On Currently On The Blog?
What am I working on? What a timely question because Taking On Magazines is undergoing a total face lift behind the scenes. I’ll have a whole new look and there will be a bunch of new features, including one that is related to the photo above; The Old Mill of Guilford.
I’d love to tell you more about it, but it’s a surprise so you’re going to have to wait and see. Trust me though, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?
I guess I’m different because I have the audacity to review the pros. Just this afternoon Hubby and I were watching the good people at America’s Test Kitchen make a marbled blueberry bundt cake. At one point Bridget and Christopher talked about the fact that she had tried that cake 150 times before hitting perfection.
So, here I am, making the same recipe at home and letting you know how it worked and what we thought of it. Yes, that’s a little different than the norm.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
There are so many reasons that I chose the direction I did. It all started out as a challenge to myself. My aunt gave me a stack of Gourmet Magazines and I decided to work my way through one (February 2009), making every recipe in it.
I remember when I got to the Gumbo Ya-Ya. The first line of instruction says this:
‘First you make a roux. Melt the butter in a 12-quart stockpot. Whisk in the flour and cook until foaming. Cook, stirring often, until dark mahogany, about 1 hour.’
If you’ve never taken a roux to dark mahogany before, it’s easy to think that the authors are just exaggerating the amount of time that a person has to stand in front of a hot stove stirring butter and flour together. No. They’re not. It took an hour. I hated the smell of butter and flour by the time I was done. When I ate the gumbo, it was all I could taste.
As I watched the rest of the family enjoy the meal, I thought to myself, you know; that’s the kind of thing us home cooks need to know. That and the fact that some recipes expect us to use every pan and bowl in our kitchens. That’s when I decided to review instead of just cook.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I am a creature of habit and I think that’s in full force when it comes to writing. Here are my quirks, aka, writing process.
1. I have to have a cup of coffee by me while I work. Therefore, I write in the morning because I have sleep issues and can’t drink caffeine at night. I’m also a coffee snob and so can’t stand the taste of decaf. Ergo, no coffee drinking for me after noon. Therefore,
2. I write in the morning, usually on the same day that the post goes live. It’s the first thing I do after seeing Sophie off to school. Unless I have to take the photos first because it was too dark the night before when I served whatever the dish was.
3. I write in quiet. My office is off limits to any kind of noise (8 year-olds included).
4. I write on the computer. That’s caused several issues when we’ve lost power for some reason or my desktop has just decided to restart for some reason, but I’ve got that whole habit thing going on and can’t get myself to do it another way. Trust me, Hubby’s tried.
5. My desk has to be by a window. I need to be able to look outside. It’s my short break, a burst of renewal. In the winter, I can see the lake. In the summer, our house is visited by Canada geese, deer and the occasional wild turkey (some even not of the human variety). I love my space and can’t imagine writing anywhere else.
And that, my friends, is the end of leg one of this tour. I hope it was more interesting than the biggest ball of twine in the world and that you’re not bored you to tears, because it’s time to pack up the bus and head north along the coast, over the Mason-Dixon line, departing the sweet south and heading to the heart of Yankee land.
Say Hi To Delaware and Pass The Sushi
I’ve never been to Delaware, but I can tell you for certain that if I ever do make a stop there, it’s going to be at the home of Kita, one of my favorite people in the world. I live vicariously through this amazing dynamo.
Kita does everything. Not only that, what she does, she does well; really well. I envy that. She’s an awesome photographer and has just launched her own business. She’s a biker (leg-powered, not gas-powered) and has awed me as much with how fantastic she is when she races as with the photographs she takes to chronicle the adventures. Kita’s also a web site designer and helps run an awesome comic book store.
The kicker? She’s not even 30 yet.
Not only that, my friend has two blogs. The first is Pass the Sushi. The first thing you notice when you visit is that you continuously want to lick your screen. You see that Double Peanut Butter Butterfinger Pie up there? That’s what I’m talking about. I can’t look at her site while Dudette’s around or I’ll be making promises to bake whatever pops up on the screen.
While pies and other goodies like that tug at Sophie, Kita has my heart with her other site, Girl Carnivore. You know me and you know how much I love, adore, crave meat. Girl Carnivore is all about meat; and most of it’s grilled. Be still my heart.
Before we leave the northeast, let’s pause a moment and take in this perfect Char-Grilled Steak. Silence, please.
All Aboard; It’s Time To Visit The Heartland
Oklahoma. Its Cimarron County is bordered by more states than any other U.S. county: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. The place where you can find the most tornadoes in the country. The state from where more astronauts have come than any other.
And, home to Deb of Eliots Eats. I love Deb. I can’t even remember when I met her, but it became obvious early on through our reminiscing about the same old stuff, that we’re about the same age. We share a love for tabby cats, good movies and gardening (though I just watch her garden adventures since my yard is used for raising oak trees).
Deb and I also have the same taste in food. I love what she makes and how much of it is exactly what I would serve. This Guacamole Hummus is a good example. I love it. I even love the fact that she added a little jalapeno. Love, love, love.
Make plans to stop by Oklahoma this week and visit Eliot’s Eats. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Back In Your Seats; One More Stop … To The West Coast!
Yes sir. We’ve cross the country, from east to west and our final stop is in Washington State, home to another of my favorite people, Dionne, owner of Try Anything Once.
The name says it all. Dionne is full of spunk and sass. She’s brave and strong and adventurous. When she makes food, it’s never ordinary. Want an example? Here’s what I mean.
Most people would make chocolate ice cream. Just chocolate. Not Dionne. That’s a bowl of Salted. Caramel. Mocha. Each word deserves to be its own sentence, but joined together, that’s just a bowl of awesomeness.
Dionne has a daughter that’s close to Sophie’s age and I love comparing the two girls and their lives lived on different sides of the country. Try Anything Once is an awesome blog and Dionne’s an even awesommer friend.
There you go, my friends. Our tour is over. Please be careful as you exit your seat and make sure you take everything out of the overhead bins. I hope that you’re hungry now and will take a few minutes to visit my friends. I love all four of them and am blessed to have them in my life.