Sorry for missing last week’s Food Blogger Spotlight, but I was on a tropical beach on the other side of the world. I’m going to make up for it today by introducing you to the one and only Garrett McCord, Mr. Sassy-Pants Academic Foodie himself. He blogs over at Vanilla Garlic, a site that you really need to be made aware of.
I can’t even count all of the reasons that I love Garrett – besides the fact that he’s a fabulous drinking partner and quite the Robot Chicken aficionado, Garret is also insanely intelligent and one of the food world’s best up-and-coming writers (just you wait). His posts transcends your standard food blog fare, and instead of just posting recipes, he posts reflections and insights. Like, for reals. I love reading his blog because he’s not just a squawking recipe box. He’s a real person.
We all have staples that we couldn’t live without. What three ingredients do you *always* have in your kitchen and why? I’m not talking snacks like chips and hummus, but rather ingredients you use all the time in your cooking.
I learned to cook in college. When I was the Resident Advisor in one of the dorms, the first floor of the building I took care of was almost all Chinese and Thai. They’re the ones who taught me how to cook for the most part, and as such I keep a very Asian pantry.
Now, narrowing me down to just three things is just plan unfair so I’m going to list six because you can’t stop me: green onions, garlic, chili peppers, curry paste, coconut milk and dark soy sauce. Those basics are enough to get me by on whatever I need to throw together for lunch or dinner.
I suppose I need a good kitchen knife too. Not only will it cut, but I also use it as my bludgeoning tool, whether using the flat side to crush things like garlic or the end of the hilt to tenderize meat or bruise stalks of lemongrass.
Imagine you moved to the smallest apartment possible – a shoebox, really – and you only had room for a single cookbook. Of all your cookbooks, which one would you keep? Why do you love it so?
Oh, oh that’s an unfair question. You suck, Stephanie.
I suppose it would depend on my mood at the time, but I guess with forethought I would go with Joy of Cooking simply because it’s the godly tome of everything kitchen-wise and would serve me the best. Bad part though? No purty pictures to entertain me.
When you’re looking for new recipes (or creating one of your own), what is your number one priority? What makes you pick one recipe over another?
I think what makes me pick one recipe over another is simplicity. Though, every so often, I like to tackle a project like making marshmallows or something that obviously isn’t so simple and requires some techniques, finesse and possibly a hunt for specialty ingredients.
However, when it comes to my everyday cooking I try to look for recipes that allows me to utilize what I already have in my kitchen in new and intriguing ways or can easily be thrown together after picking up an ingredient or two. 101 Cookbooks recently put up a great looking coconut curry lentil soup that I’m planning to make after I pick up some lentils because it looks like something I would normally cook anyways and uses ingredients I usually have on hand in a new way.
As for developing a recipe, well, that’s all kinds of random. I just sort of follow whatever idea or inclination I seem to be obsessed with that week. This can range from simple cookies to elaborate tarts and cupcakes stuffed with adzuki bean ice cream or whatnot. I’m like a racoon finding shiny things and then turning them over in my paws until I get bored with them.
Blogs have the potential to be so many things, from personal journals to outrageous adventure reports. What is the most important thing you put into your blog, and what is the most important thing you get out of it?
I think the most important thing I put into my blog is simply myself and my time. My blog has been a lot of things from a cupcake blog, to a personal diary, to a restaurant review site. I shift its focus to whatever I need it to be and my readers either follow or don’t; some learn to like whatever my content focus shifts too, some eventually stop visiting and some new people find me because of it.
What’s core of the blog though is the fact that it’s fun for me. I want my blog to be a place I can practice my food writing and learn about the things in the food world that interest me. If other people want to follow then I’m honored to have them and value their sharing the experiences with me and their feedback about it.
I think the biggest problem some blogs have is they try to write to cater to their audience and the second you do that – take your own wants and needs of the blog out of the equation – the blog begins to suffer. The blog is a focus on your experiences (let’s admit it, blogs are somewhat based on ego) and how you relate those to others is what makes them so engaging.
Some of my favorite posts from Garrett McCord at Vanilla Garlic:
- Straight, Gay, and Bourbon
- The Rockstar Ingredient Theory
- Rum Soaked Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting
Other posts you might like: