We all love food; eating it, looking at it; smelling it; you name it, we like it. Many of us record our experiences and reactions too, whether via a camera lens, or a well-maintained blog. But how can one turn one’s passion for food, in the kitchen and on the town, into a job?
I was lucky enough to be treated to a delicious home-cooked meal, consisting of maple-soy glazed salmon, cucumber salad, green beans and….cheddar jalapeno bread by Sarah Spigelman, “Bites” contributor and author of Fritos and Foie Gras blog. As I savored this delicious example of “Jewish-Asian” fusion, I discovered the secrets behind her delicious cooking and passion for eating, and what drove her to success in the food-blogging world.
Betsy L. Mead: How long have you cooked for yourself for?
Sarah Spigelman: I have cooked for myself since I was 19, when I moved into my own apartment and realized that the Snickers bars I ate for my first year of college were not enough to sustain me for 3 more years!
BLM: Did you help out in the kitchen when you were younger?
SS: I LOVED helping out in the kitchen when I was younger! Since I was able to chew, I was my mom’s right hand person in terms of tasting, shopping, and menu planning. She made me wait a little longer before she let me cut things…control freak.
BLM: What’s your favorite thing to cook?
SS: Potato latkes! They remind me of the epic Hanukkah parties my parents threw when I was a kid. I love the ritual of grating the potatoes, slicing the onion, mixing in the egg and the pepper. Crispy potato pancakes laced with sweet onions, all dipped in cool sour cream and sweet applesauce? What’s to hate about that!
BLM: So with your food blogging career, do you still have time to cook?
SS: If anything, I cook more! Writing inspires me and fuels my creative juices – as I write about eating, I get hungry and more ideas come to me. I have been known to step into the kitchen and create Korean fusion dishes at 11 p.m. at night!
BLM: Here’s a tough one: cooking or eating out?
SS: What is this, Sophie’s Choice? I love them BOTH! I would never be able to make really great yakitori at home, just like no restaurant’s roast chicken will ever be as good as my mom’s recipe is, eaten while watching the Real Housewives of Orange County. A place for everything, right?
BLM: Do you try to recreate recipes that you’ve eaten at restaurants? If so, do you have any major success and/or failure stories?
SS: Definitely try to recreate dishes at home! That’s one of the best parts about eating out! My biggest successes are my sticky toffee pudding and potato crusted fish – the secret to the fish is not rinsing the potato slices so the starch releases and they form a cohesive crust. Biggest failure is probably a tequila granita (note to self: If you spend an hour chipping away at ice then pour room temperature tequila over the ice, it will melt…and you will need to imbibe a LOT of tequila to stop the tears of frustration from flowing).
BLM: Any tips for would-be food bloggers and foodies who want to hit the big time?
SS: I need that advice! I still want to hit the “big time,” which, for me, means getting a lifetime supply of Chili-Cheese Fritos. My tips are:
1) Post consistently – at least 3 days a week, to build up readership
2) Get a Twitter account – it gives you the quickest info and connects you to SO many people with similar interests and loves. Also great for readership.
3) Post about what you love. Everyone but me loves healthy eating or making bread. I like fatty foods and making things like kimchee quesadillas. So that’s what I write about!
Betsy is a recent grad who loves Boston’s dessert cafe, Finale, as much as she loves life itself. She craves sugar in general all the time and staves off the effects of her habit by running.