September Monthly Mouthful
The best thing about being a food blogger is seeing the passion it evokes in other foodies. After all, food is an important topic for everyone and as it turns out, food bloggers are some of the most passionate people I know. In fact, the entire Monthly Mouthful concept is inspired by the unique and interesting passions of food bloggers around the world. But what is the inspiration behind this passion? What dishes are responsible for inspiring this world of food bloggers and making them so distinct from non-foodies?
Inspired by the finale of Top Chef Masters where contestants were asked to cook a dish that represented what made them want to become a chef, this month we asked our favorite food bloggers: “If you had to pick one, what dish or meal is most responsible for your decision to become a chef, food blogger or foodie? Please share your inspirational recipes with us!”
Dan from Casual Kitchen:
Definitely my Mole Sauce Recipe. A few years ago, I served it up for a group of friends, and one of them blurted out, “Wow, this is restaurant quality!” I gave out four copies of the recipe that night.
The thing is, this recipe is so laughably easy and inexpensive to make that you can feed 5-6 people for well under $10–and in fewer than 30 minutes’ worth of work! I figured that maybe I was onto something with this easy yet unusual dish, so I decided to make it one of the foundation recipes at Casual Kitchen. Since then it’s become one of the most heavily viewed of all my posts.
Jessie from Cakespy:
I’d say the pivotal dish for me was the key lime bar cookie at Taylor’s, a bakery in NYC which is sadly no longer around. When they closed, it really inspired me to learn how to bake them myself (along with the help of this Martha Stewart recipe) to create that magic at home, and really turned me on to the idea of inventing my own baked goods too!
Anne-Marie from This Mama Cooks:
Why did I become a food blogger? Well, I already had a mom blog, A Mama’s Rant and started to document what I was going to make for Thanksgiving that year (always a big production at my house). I was blogging so much about the food I was planning to cook that I decided to start This Mama Cooks! For a long time, the blog just documented what I was making for my family – everything from dinner to birthday cakes. (I did a lot of cake decorating back then.) Then I got too busy with other work and just occasionally posted on my rather neglected blog.
About two and a half years ago, Alanna Kellogg of Kitchen Parade left a negative comment on my blog. Basically she called me lazy – and she was right! After a lengthy email discussion back and forth, we became good friends (still are) when she inspired me to change my half-dead food blog into a healthy eating, diet and exercise blog, thus This Mama Cooks! On a Diet was born.
In the years since, This Mama Cooks! On a Diet (and its sister site, This Mama Cooks! Reviews) have become my main blogging focus. I love being part of the food and health blogging community and continually find inspiration and friendship in it.
Ruth from Once Upon A Feast:
That’s an impossible question, given I’ve always been into food. But after much thought, I guess it’s Grandma Hazel’s Banana Bread.
When my older daughter went of to university, she’d often call home and without a “hello”, “how are you?”, or “I miss you”, she’d ask for her Grandma Hazel’s Banana bread recipe, which I must have given her at least twenty times.
It made me think about all the recipes I used to ask my mother for, then write them on a scrap of paper and toss them aside when done…only to call her the next time I wanted to make it. My mother died of complications of MS when she was only 54 and I never got a chance to save many of my favorites. So my husband suggested I take a six month sabbatical to write a cookbook Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories with family favorite recipes and the stories that went with them. The blog was just a natural next step.
By the way…that “six month sabbatical” has turned into 4 years of writing about food.
Stef from Cupcake Project:
It’s the cupcake!! Did you have to ask? My goal was to master the cupcake in time to bake around 300 cupcakes for my friends’ wedding. Surprisingly, prior to baking so many cupcakes, I wasn’t really a cupcake fan. Most cupcakes use buttercream frosting (which I don’t like very much) and are a bit too sweet for me. Throughout my project, I’ve grown to love everything about cupcakes. I haven’t gotten sick of them yet!
Annie from Annie’s Eats:
Of course it is very difficult to choose a single dish that has inspired me. I suppose everything I have made since my very first attempts in the kitchen has driven me to want to become a better cook and baker. However, I do remember one turning point being Valentine’s Day of 2007, a few months before starting my blog. I wanted to make something impressive and new that my husband would love, and I decided on this Grecian Pork Tenderloin. I served it with roasted red potatoes, asparagus, and yeast rolls. The whole meal was fantastic and presented so well I was inspired to take a picture of it. The rest, as they say, is history. Once I began photographing my food I realized that I might actually have something to contribute to the food blogging world, and now here I am two years later loving every minute of it. I still make this pork quite often, as it is ridiculously easy but always a hit with company.
Grecian Pork Tenderloin
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. dried oregano
2 (1 lb.) pork tenderloins
Combine the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and oregano in a large zippered plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake vigorously to combine the marinade ingredients. Place the pork tenderloins in the marinade, and seal the bag once more pressing out all excess air. Refrigerate and allow to marinate 4-8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a baking dish and pour some of the excess marinade over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until cooked through. (Alternatively, this can be cooked on the grill with excellent results.)
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Amber from Eat Your Veggies:
Meals that inspire me to cook… yes meals, because there is no way I could pick just one. And they arent really entire meals either:
2. lefsa (like a thin Norwegian potato tortilla eaten with butter and sugar)
3. monster cookies (gigantic cookies that have m&ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter, oats, and anything else you can think to throw in)
4. my grandma Ronnie’s banana bread (recipe can be found in my blog)
5. mashed potatoes
6. meat dip
A diverse list, I know, but all those foods have something special in common…I learned to make them with family. Whether it was burning my fingertips to a crisp with my great grandma while flipping lefsa on the hot grill, or mashing 5 pounds of potatoes with my mom till our arms ached, all of these foods hold special memories of being with family and that is what has inspired me over the years to keep cooking.
Kris from To Be Mrs. Marv:
My reason for becoming a food blogger was a lot less about blogging than it was about my friends wanting to be able to reproduce what I had cooked for them. I’m not the kind of cook who follows recipes or keeps careful notes about what I do – my process is a lot more intuitive than that. So when people would ask me for recipes, I was pretty much at a loss.
The last straw was when a friend of mine had asked me for a recipe for a green chili stew with fry bread and I barely remembered having made it, and had absolutely no idea what I had put in it so I started the blog to have a place to write down what I was doing and save it for a bigger project I was planning on doing.
I’m so glad that I have these recipes now, there are so many of them that I absolutely would have completely forgotten about if it wasn’t for them being on the blog.
Becke from Columbus Foodie:
For me, it would have to be goulash. My fondest memories of growing up were of my grandmother Oma’s cooking. I grew up in her kitchen, helping her make the dishes from her native Germany. A lot of her recipes were lost to us after she died (they weren’t written down anywhere, and our memories are a bit spotty about the specifics), so a big part of my blog has been about trying to find her recipes. As for that goulash, this is the closest I’ve been able to come, and it is sooooo good!
Jennifer from Domestic Goddess:
One summer when I was about 10, my older sister and I spent two weeks at an historic house in Toronto, learning everything there was to know about keeping a house over one hundred years ago. We learned all about horsehair furniture, spinning wheels and how to mix dough without a KitchenAid mixer. We learned how to fluff a feather bed, how to hang out laundry and how to sit and do needlepoint over tea in the drawing room in the afternoons.
The most vivid memory of those two weeks would affect me for the rest of my life: I recall being in this mammoth kitchen with huge wood tables, copper pots and pans hanging from racks on the ceiling and a gigantic open fire place at one end. I was being handed a recipe for Oatmeal Cookies. We made a batch of these cookies and our teachers informed us afterwards that we were the first kids they’d had who didn’t just pour all of the ingredients into a bowl without reading the recipe…that day, a Domestic Goddess was born.
Allison from Chat and Chew:
If anything, I would like to thank Barbie Friedman, my mother’s friend for introducing me to Mexican food and the power of cilantro. Some people despise the herb but it was the first day I appreciated food!
As always, thanks to everyone who participated! If you were not contacted for this month’s Monthly Mouthful and would like to be included in future Monthly Mouthfuls, please e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Post your own foodie inspirations in the comments section below!
To see a list of all Monthly Mouthful questions, click here.