For this week’s Food Blogger Spotlight, we’ve got a dynamic duo: Casey Barber and Danielle Oteri of Good. Food. Stories. These two ladies bring you a wide swath of food culture, running the gamut of all that is good about the culinary life we love so much. Full of reviews, tutorials and narrative gold, Good. Food. Stories. is all about eating well. Here’s a snippet from their About page:
“Good. Food. Stories. is an online magazine that shares stories of eating and drinking through variety of voices and perspectives. Instead of a singular focus, we cover a gamut of topics including book reviews, restaurant recommendations, recipes and killer ingredients, as well as wide-ranging essays on food. Both a trusty resource and a forum for storytelling, Good. Food. Stories. always wants to hear about how you eat.”
Let’s welcome Casey and Danielle, and as always, feel free to ask questions in the comments.
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.
C: I start to panic if I have fewer than two full bulbs of garlic in the pantry, if I’m down to four eggs in the fridge, and if I’m scraping the bottom of my flour bin. Surprisingly, despite how often I use it, I have been known to run out of olive oil from time to time. I never think to check how much is left in the big metal tin.
D: I always keep garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese. With those three things I can make pasta or gussy up greens.
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?
C: I would like to cheat slightly and choose the “cookbook” that’s actually a massive binder filled with recipes I’ve compiled over the years‚ more than a decade’s worth of tear-outs from magazines, handwritten notes, and printouts from my various online explorations, like the yet-to-be-blogged-about-but irreplaceable pork ragu recipe. It’s way more valuable to me than any of my real cookbooks, none of which I have cooked my way through entirely.
D: Even though I’ve only had it for a few short months, I just love Arthur Schwartz’s “The Southern Italian Table: Authentic Tastes from Traditional Kitchens.” There are so many quick and easy recipes in there, as well as a good array of meatless dishes that actually taste good. Also, being that southern Italian cooking is largely a “cucina povera,” there are plenty of ideas to accommodate a lean budget as well as room for improvisation.
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?
C: It’s always about the ingredients, right? I’m drawn to favorite ingredients prepared with new accompaniments (you would likely be appalled at the number of recipes I have on deck that involve scallops) or one that’s been on my mind. My recent favorite, the potato-fennel hash, came about because the fennel was looking so beautiful at the market that I had to create something with a bulb that afternoon. If there’s a certain level of manipulation involved, I might flip past; there are a number of dessert recipes I haven’t tried because I get frustrated with the multiple chill times I usually find therein‚ but usually I’m up for anything.
D: I don’t like recipes that call for lengthy preparations. A Thomas Keller recipe is not for me. I appreciate process and discipline, but ultimately it just doesn’t speak to my senses. I’m Italian and when Vesuvius blows I rather be drinking wine and eating pasta with my friends than alone in the kitchen tying herb bouquets. I’m happiest when I’m spicing a sauce. I also love the drama of deglazing a smoking hot pan.
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?
C: I feel like I put into and receive back the same thing with the blog: a connection with others who share my all-consuming food obsession. Good. Food. Stories. was started in part to codify all the emails I would get from friends asking for restaurant suggestions, recipe advice, etc. All these people, and new friends I’ve met because of this addiction, have amazing stories to share too and they’ve become part of the “delicious conversations” we’re continuing on the site.
D: Let’s face it: too many people in this world eat just to survive, and eating the way I do, let alone having acess to the inconceivable options for food I have here in New York City, is a tremendous privilege. Food is one of the greatest pleasures in my life and so I always try to impart that sense of pleasure whether I’m making Sunday breakfast for my boyfriend or sharing an experience on Good. Food. Stories.