Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(not so) Frequently Asked Questions

Me in My Natural Habitat

I’ve been dying to write a Frequently Asked Questions post for this blog, but here’s the thing: I have no Frequently Asked Questions.  Dear readers, you either know me too well already or you are incredibly patient to let me tell my stories and share my recipes at my own pace.  In any case, it’s fantastic to have actual readers, even if y’all are better listeners than question-askers.

If I were a reader, I would like to know a few things, like what’s the deal with Matt (is he real?) and is that your real hair color.  At some point, I will write an “About Me” page; for now, those of you who don’t know me as well can read a similar page that I wrote for my running blog, “A Starting Line.”

* Fake Q and A with Rose-Anne * (in which I will ask and answer all of my own questions)

Q: Is Matt real?  Why don’t we ever see him in photos?

A:  Yes, Matt is very real!  And it’s not true that you never see him in photos.  His gorgeous hands are right here.  (Seriously, as a photographer, I think I’m in love with his hands.  I like the rest of him, but oh my, those HANDS!)

Matt is a much more private person than I am, which is why I occasionally post pictures of myself on the internet and he does not.  He’s a really good sport about this blog and his presence within it, but I try to respect his privacy by carefully selecting what I share here.  Sometimes I share too much, but never has Matt been the one to tell me that I shared too much.  He’s very supportive of everything I do, including and maybe even especially my writing.  Secretly, sometimes I think he says nice things about my writing just to win my love!  Though I do love a sincere compliment, and he’s really good at them.

Q: Why does it seem like you see him once in a blue moon?  That’s weird to me.

A:  Matt and I don’t live in the same city, and he is a workaholic.  To be fair, he does have a very demanding job, but secretly I think he loves his job more than me.  Kidding!  (No, I’m not.)  Anyway, I like him enough to put up with his shenanigans, and he seems to like me, so we keep seeing each other…once every blue moon.

(And he is, quite seriously, the most talented home chef I’ve ever met.  His food is unbelievably delicious.  It makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.)

Q: Is that your real hair color?  It sure is odd.

A:  Yes, I know!  I thank my redheaded mother and dominant Irish genes for my orange hair.  I used to be blonde when I was younger, but my friend Lisa and I dyed my hair red when we were thirteen, and it never really went back to being blonde.  It’s a strange coincidence, but it’s a true story.

Q: How many calories do you eat during a day?

A:  I have no idea.  I eat when I’m hungry (which is often) and try to choose foods that are nutritional powerhouses.  That said, I love white rice, potatoes, cookies, frosting, and chocolate sauce.  My sweet tooth will not be denied.

Q: Speaking of calories, what is your height and weight?

A:  Gah, so rude!  I’m 5’1” and weigh the equivalent of 27 Le Creuset 5.5-quart Dutch ovens.

Q: Why do you post so many recipes that are similar to each other?  For example, the baked French toast recipes, your granola recipes, some soup recipes.  Doesn’t that kind of defeat the point of a food blog if you keep repeating yourself?

A:  I think part of cooking is repeating yourself.  I cook what I like to eat, and I blog about recipes and ideas that I want to remember.  It’s true that I am not the most intrepid of cooks or bloggers, but my everyday goal is to feed myself in a healthy, satisfying, and sometimes creative way.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that there is a lot to be learned from tinkering with recipes.  Running frantically from one recipe to the next doesn’t necessarily teach you much about how to cook.  To understand the deep structure or the essential elements of a recipe, you’ve got to mess around with it and, preferably, eff it up occasionally.  Failure is an excellent teacher.

Q: Why do you have two blogs?  That seems excessive to me.  Are you just a total narcissist?

A:  I hope not!  I know that having two blogs is ridiculous, but I really love to exercise and be outside.  Feels Like Flying has given me a chance to explore more of my athletic side, and I’m enjoying the chance to write about things other than food.

Q: Eeny meeny miney moe.  Catch a tiger by his toe.  If he hollers, let him go.  Eeny meey miney moe.

A:  That’s not a question.

Q: What kind of camera do you use?

A:  I have an Olympus Stylus 9000, which is a cute little digital camera that I carry around with me all the time.  It’s easy to use, and I like the photos I’m able to take with it.  It is an extremely affordable camera, and we’ve had a good time together.  It’s the same camera my sister Theresa has.  Seeing the gorgeous pictures she took with her camera inspired me to get the same one.

(And as an aside, it is sixty dollars less now than when I bought mine!  Holy crap.  This camera is practically a steal.) 

Q: Why don’t you have a fancy camera like all the good food bloggers?

A:  I’m too cheap, and I’m very happy with my Olympus.  And who says you have to have a crazy expensive camera to take interesting, beautiful photos?  Certainly not me!

Q: Why do most of your posts prior to March 2010 contain no pictures at all?  Don’t you know that pictures are required for food blogs?  Your posts have too many words and not enough photos!

A:  I started this blog because I wanted to find my voice.  I discovered when I was writing and revising my first big research paper that I really missed writing.  At the time, I was already smitten with food writing—Passionate Vegetarian remains one of my favorite cookbooks to read, just for the pleasure of reading—and I had recently started discovering food blogs.  My love for food writing and my desire to share recipes with my friends motivated me to start my own blog.

When I started writing this blog, I just wrote and wrote and wrote.  At the time, I was a frugal graduate student and not all that interested in photography, so I focused on writing.  In February 2010, I finally decided to buy a camera so I could try my hand at photography.  Since then, I’ve grown to love taking photos and sharing them either on Flickr or one of my blogs.

To be honest, I remain ambivalent about if and how to use photos in a post.  I like to read, and sometimes photos are distracting.  Also, I think there are a lot of pretty blogs out there that are not very well-written.  It sounds harsh, but that’s my opinion.  But to each her own!

Q: What were your favorite books of 2010?

A:  I enjoyed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot quite a bit.  I hope to use that book when I start teaching undergraduates.  I thought Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Trouble with Normal by Michael Warner were fascinating reads.  I also liked Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce by Wendy Swallow.  Swallow is a terrific writer, and though her book is a heartbreaker, I couldn’t put it down.

I spent a lot of time reading about marriage last year!  I can be a little obsessive about things, and I guess 2010 was the year that I tried to figure out what exactly marriage was and how I felt about it.

I remain happily unmarried!

Q: What was your favorite cookbook of 2010?

A:  The only cookbook that I bought for myself in 2010 was Ani’s Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo.  It’s an interesting, weird cookbook.  I love her recipe for homemade jam, and I hope to try more of the salad recipes this year.  I also love my adaptation of her teriyaki sauce.  Teriyaki noodles!  Yum.

Now that was exciting!  Happy spring, dear readers!


Jess said...

What a fun post! I just wanted to pipe up and say that I'm totally with you on the tinkering thing. My "different" recipes are very often just variations on a theme, but I learn so much that way. I also appreciate what you said about photos sometimes distracting from the writing. It's something I think about a lot when I'm putting together my own posts.

Rosiecat said...

Oh, yay! Jess, I'm glad to hear about your tinkering in the kitchen, especially because I've cooked so many delicious things from your blog.

And yeah, photos are tough. I like to look at pretty things too, but I really like a good story. I'll take a good story over photos any day, if I have to choose. I suppose an analogy is how I think about people: I'd rather be with someone with whom I can talk and laugh than someone who is so gorgeous it hurts.

Theresa said...

:) I love reading your blogs. Funny coincidence, I was just thinking about hair colors the other day!

Rosiecat said...

Aw, thanks, Theresa! What were your thoughts on hair colors? I like how when I ask Lydia what color my hair is, she just stares at me. Like, "What? I don't know!"

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I read this when you posted it, but forgot to comment how much I enjoyed it. I love interviews, especially self-conducted ones. You know the best questions to ask yourself better than anyone else!

Rosiecat said...

Thanks, Chrissy! You're right about knowing just the right questions to ask. I also like how much fun it is to be snarky while asking yourself questions!

Anonymous said...

RA, I love your sense of humor. I think I will dub it "zany intelligent humor" (ZIH). Your ZIH not only makes me laugh; it also boosts my own confidence, because the fact that I enjoy it means I'm not alone in my own sense of humor.

Also, congratulations on pulling off a successful grant review!

Love, AMPD

Rosiecat said...

Oh, AMPD, I love YOUR ZIH! I think that's why we're friends :-)

Thank you for the congrats! The mock grant review was definitely the highlight of my week.

Theresa said...

I've been looking at hair color lately. Charlie's is so dark, Scott and John are blondes, and I'm on the darker side...but you definitely are the closest to Mom's...even if it came out of a bottle ;-)

Rosiecat said...

Ha! It's true: our faces all look similar, but our hairs(?) are very different. It's true texture-wise too--Charlie and John both have thick wavy hair, whereas you and I have straighter hair. Scott keeps his hair so short now that I'm not sure what his texture is...

And hey! My hair color now isn't from a bottle. It may be lighter these days because we get so much sun down here, and I like to be outside. I'm way too frugal to color my hair ;-) And I actually like the color a lot!

I miss you. Less than two months and we can compare hair color in person!

Theresa said...

I think Scott's hair is like Charlie and John's. It's pretty thick and I think it gets wavy as it gets longer.

Regardless of WHY it's red, it's still way more red than mine. The sun does play a big hand in changing hair colors. I know my tips are usually a different color than my roots and I have never colored my hair.

I miss you, too! You still owe me an email about your December visit :-)