Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Interview, by Jumbo Empanadas


Brilynn, of Jumbo Empanadas, had the results of a very cute 'meme' posted on her blog, and I just felt like joining in.

In this one, one blogger 'Interviews' another. Brilynn provided the following questions for me:

1- What 3 people, alive or dead, real or fictional would you like to have over to dinner and what would you serve them?

Oooh...this question always gives me pause. There are so many people, and I know as soon as I settle on my three, two more will come to mind.

Well, best way to deal with this is to break it down.

First, my three fictional guests.

Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Hercule Poirot.

I've been a mystery-lover, and crime buff, since I could read. Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie and 5-Minute Mysteries.

They're all slightly peculiar men, but I think that with great genius comes some...quirks. They got the job done, and despite their odd ways, each managed to sustain something resembling a long-lasting friendship.

And all three, at the very least, knew a good deal about food, and in some cases, were obsessed with it.

For these gentlemen, I'd have to serve some sort of roast beast. A turkey, perhaps, or maybe beef. There's be wine-reduction sauces. Maybe some blue cheese smashed potatoes, five-spice powder roasted carrots. Fresh-from-the-oven rolls. And a jewel-toned cherry pie for dessert, with home-made ice cream.

Next, the 'no longer with us' guests.

My Dad, My Grampa, and Louis Jordan

That's an odd group, for sure.

I'd like my dad to be there, mainly because I've never met him. I've been piecing together his life over the last thirty years, but if you imagine this as a puzzle? I'm lucky if I have the border complete.

My Grampa? I miss him. That's easy. He was my father-figure growing up. He and my Grammy made sure I knew I was loved, and wanted. I can't express how important that was to me.

And while dinner might start off awkwardly, I think Louis Jordan would fit right in. I discovered Jordan, and his amazing musical style, about a decade ago. His life ended in poverty, which is troubling, but to have known him at the height of his career...I just know the man had some colorful stories to tell.

For this group, I'd go home-style. Maybe my Grammy's Irish stew, and lots of buttered bread. Or, pan-fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob. Oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Dinner with the Living

Jasper Fforde, Bif Naked, Joss Whedon

Jasper Fforde is my favorite living author. His mind, I've discovered, works a bit like mine, and the worlds he's created...Swindon in the '80's, the Book World...are fascinating places. I'd jump at the chance to talk to him.

Bif Naked is a singer/songwriter I discovered via Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She appeared in an episode, and one of her songs is on the soundtrack. Her music, her lyrics...are so full of passion and energy and beauty and sadness. In just a few years, I've become such a fan. She's simply one of those people I'd love to know. And there's some hurry-up to this: A couple of years ago, Bif (real name, Beth) was diagnosed with a blood clot that's a bit too dangerous to try and remove. So, she's living each day, as one of her songs states, like it's her last one.

Joss Whedon. Oh, I fully confess to bowing down to the greatness that is Joss Whedon.

He's a three-generation TV guy. And he created one of the best television shows in history, with the stupidest name. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This show was so...clever, so frakkin' brilliant (if you'll allow me to cross shows for a moment). Well-written, observant, meaningful. The metaphor 'high school is Hell'...loved it. Lived it. Only, in my case, the demons were actually people.
Whedon is about more than just Buffy, too (Toy Story, anyone?). And ten years or more of his work makes him more than qualified for a dinner with friends.

For this group, I'm going totally American. Big, thick, burgers loaded with toppings. Super-crispy French fries. Tall, cool bottles of Pepsi-Cola. And enormous ice cream sundaes for dessert...sliced bananas and strawberries, chopped nuts, M&M's, colorful jimmies, hot fudge, butterscotch and caramel sauces, whipped cream (from a can, because that's how they'd do it in an old soda shoppe), and a cherry on top.

2- You've been blogging for almost 3 years now, that's a long time. How have things changed in the food blogging world over those 3 years?

Actually, I've been blogging even longer than that...I started August 2002, here. I later discovered the world of food blogging, and eventually stuck a toe in the cyber-waters.

Well, there's certainly a lot more of us these days! So many, I barely have time to browse through my favorites, or discover new ones.

There's definitely more sub-categories now, as well. One person talks about wine, another about dining out, and another still about eating locally.

I think there may even be a glut of food blog events, too...there's so many, I can't keep up, despite the efforts of various sites to keep a calendar for us.

And spamming...oh, wow. A year ago, I'd never imagine a food blog, for crying out loud, could be spam-central. Today, we all find ourselves requiring password verification and in some extreme cases (mine, I'm afraid), moderation. When I started, the only people leaving comments on your blog were PEOPLE. People who were interested in the recipes you made, the experiences you shared. Now, we have to guard ourselves against refinancing and growth supplements.

But one thing that hasn't changed: the goodness, the closeness, of this crazy food blogging world. We're still a great group. Through events like Blog Party & Blogging by Mail, I have made some truly amazing friends, ones I'd have been unlikely to meet otherwise. You guys are quick to offer help and advice, congratulations and condolences, and most of all...support. That, most certainly, has Not changed.

3- Are there any foods that you're embarrassed to say you've never tried?

Hmmm...you know, I can't really think of any. I'm pretty open to trying new things, and have done so for the past five or six years, purposefully. At this stage, I'd have to say no.

4- Do you talk about your blog to friends and family? Is it something that you let people know about when you meet them and how do people generally react when you tell them you have a food blog?

I do. When I first started my non-food blog, it was, in fact, to keep my family and friends apprised of our life. We were 3000 miles from everyone I knew, I was pregnant...and cross-country telephone calls can run costly. I'd seen blogs, from my Internet exploring, and decided it was a good way to keep in touch.

So, I started out blogging with those in my life fully aware of my blogging.

When I started Dispensing Happiness, I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. I didn't know if I should be doing it, actually. So, I don't think I actively told people about it at first, but when dinner and dining must wait till every plate of food is properly archived via digital camera...word gets out.

I do tell people, if the situation is appropriate. I mean, I don't begin a conversation with 'Hey, I blog about food!'. But if the topic does turn to food (and in my world, that's likely), sure, I mention it. If the person shows interest, I'll share the URL with them.

As for what people think? I honestly don't know. I said, long ago, that I don't blog for other people, although they are welcome to enjoy it. I do this, mainly, for me. That may sound selfish, but trust me...it's one of few selfish acts I've allowed myself in over 20 years.

I can say this, though. When visiting my mom, step-dad, and youngest sister Christmas eve, my blog did come up. And my little sister, with much awe in her voice, told my mom about how amazing my photos were...that they looked professional. I think that, in turn, may have impressed my mom.
Which felt like a pat on the back, to me.

5- If you were edible, what would you be made of?

Matt laughed at this one. I'll spare you his comment.

If I were edible...I'd have some sort of hard, crunchy, shell. Not necessarily candy-coated, though. Inside, I'll be soft and gooey...like melted chocolate.

Now, it's your turn. Want me to interview you? Read on:

Directions for the Interview Meme
1. Leave a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Beware, I'm not shy of asking personal questions! Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Make sure I have your email address!

Blog Party#23 is here...and it's out of this world! This June, turn your favorite appetizers and cocktails into Sci-Fi treats. Entries are due Thursday, 28 June (thehappysorceress at gmail dot com)...hope to see you there!

Blogging by Mail sign-ups are going on now! The latest round of goody-swapping is all about My Favorite Things. You have till 5 July to join the fun...

Tagged with: + + +

8 Thoughts for food:

At 4:45 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

I just happened upon your blog this evening and love it.
Interview me please!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Brilynn said...

Wonderful answers, especially the dinner party question!

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Wendy!

Be sure to email me, and I'll be happy to interview you...

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Brilynn! And thanks for some good questions.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

Hi Stephanie,

(Posting a comment after a while)

I especially liked your replies for questions 3 and 5.

5 was a funny one and 3 because that really shows your passion for cooking and what a great cook you are because once you stop trying and feeling bad about your flops, you stop there.

Great going Stephanie... Btw, long time since I had seen Indian food on you blog. Not that I did not like the rest but being an Indian myself and being amazed by your earlier Indian preparations (I think it was when you had invited your father-in-law over for dinner), I am just curious to see more. My God! your culinary expertise list is not just long but wide as well (as it stretches across different countries).

Oops... apologies for my boring long comment!!

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Ravi!

Noooo; not boring! I appreciate you taking the time to write.

We love Indian cuisine. But right now, in the South, it's much too hot for any serious Indian cooking. And unfortunately (for time being), the kitchen is the most well-insulated room in the house!

We have every intention of making huge messes, grinding lots of spices, and perfuming the entire house with Indian recipes again...as soon as the temperatures drop a good twenty degrees!

And I apologize for not replying sooner: we had some electrical difficulties which caused some sparkage. The computer's been unplugged for a while...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

Thanks for your reply. I know you are very prompt in replying to comments and have seen in the past that you reply to every single comment but not seeing a reply to my comment I was wondering if you were too busy. Thanks for not forgetting to reply!

Yes I understand the kind of effort it takes to cook Indian and in summer... ah!! I can imagine!! So maybe I will wait until winter :)

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Ravi, you have my word: should the temps ever dip belowe seventy around here, it's Indian, all the way!


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