Twenty Questions with Behind the Skillet
We’re so thrilled to have one of our very first contributors as our featured blogger this week! Behind the Skillet hosts simple yet delicious recipes, and Julie’s photography is gorgeous and inspiring. Drop by and pay her a visit – you’ll be glad you did!
How long have you had a food blog (or other foodie type site)?
I started my blog in February of 2008 but I don’t think it was until about one year ago that I really got it rolling (it definitely took a long break while I was moving from Seattle to Germany!)
How would you describe your site to new readers?
Anything but Gourmet! Just simple, budget-friendly recipes featuring real food made from scratch. I am learning just like everyone else – and I value simplicity and hate wasting food so the recipes and photos you see will usually reflect that.
What made you decide to start your site?
I really needed to do something to force myself to do two things 1) eat at home to save money and 2) challenge myself photographically. So I decided to start taking photos while I was cooking dinner and put the photos and recipes online. I really had no idea at that time that there was this whole wide world of foodie sites! I have learned so much since then.
Is there any personal meaning behind the name?
I originally started as just Behind the Lens (my current photo blog) and it was mixture of a photo blog and a food blog, as time went by I decided to separate the two and make my food blog be only about food. I called it Behind the Skillet to keep with the theme J
What advice do you have for new bloggers?
Do what you love and keep it real.
What’s the best thing about being a food blogger?
Learning ! I have learned so much about cooking, food, and photography through my blog. It has really been the catalyst to push me to try things I never would have considered before.
What the worst?
Sometimes it adds a lot of complexity to my already busy schedule. It takes me a lot longer to cook something when I am stopping to take photos every 20 seconds J
What food blog inspires you the most?
That is so hard, there are so many I love. SmittenKitchen was the first one I discovered and I find myself cooking recipes she features all the time. But I am also an avid reader of David Lebovitz, I enjoy his sense of humor and he is an expat like me! Some of my absolute favorite photography and writing is on Bread & Honey, she definitely keeps it real and I love her subtle and simple photos – not a lot of styling or high-key lighting.
What camera do you use?
A Canon 50d (used to be a 10d, and maybe someday if I am lucky it will be the 5d), almost exclusively with the Canon 50mm 1.8, and occasionally with a 28mm macro and always on a tripod. In my old kitchen there wasn’t room for a tripod and me in the kitchen, there were no windows, only a horrible florescent light and to top it all off I had no flash. I got really good at holding very still and all my photos were at weird angles! I like my setup now much better J
Do you have any formal training in the field of cooking?
Absolutely none at all. I didn’t really grow up with parents that did much of it either – we ate a lot of condensed soup recipes and the like. I was a notoriously picky eater growing up as well. When I moved away from home to Hawaii I started really broadening my horizons with food (Kalua pig! Taro! Chicken long rice! Lau Lau!) and it wasn’t until after traveling to India that I really came to love and appreciate all food the way I do now. When I got married I was given a bunch of kitchen tools and gadgets so I started trying to actually use them! I am definitely learning as I go.
Do you watch a lot of cooking on TV?
I used to when I lived in the United States and had TV. It has been a year and a half since I watched anything but I used to love watching Food Network – that is definitely how I learned a lot of very basic cooking skills – Alton Brown taught me how to use a knife J
Do you have a favorite chef, celebrity or otherwise?
Right now my favorites are the two brothers who own the Italian restaurant around the corner from my house! They immigrated here from Italy in the 1970s and their pasta is to die for – I never knew a simple pomodoro sauce could be so amazing.
How challenging has it been to find a loyal reader base?
It is definitely hard – there are so many food sites out there competing for people’s attention. It has also been a learning curve me figuring out how to get the word out about my site – and also understanding what makes a good blog and what doesn’t.
What types of food do you enjoy preparing most?
Definitely soup – I love making it and eating it! If you look at my blog you will notice I cook a lot of vegetarian dishes as well – I definitely prefer anything vegetable based, though I do cook meat as well.
Do you have a signature dish or two?
I don’t know since I hardly ever make anything twice! Probably my Chili or my Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies.
Favorite kitchen gadget?
That’s a tie between my garlic press and my immersion blender (since I make so much soup!). If a Santoku knife can be considered a gadget, than that as well. If I had a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer I promise that would be my favorite…you know just in case anyone wants to give me one J
If you could choose to be any food, what would it be?
A guava, because then I would be back in the islands I love so much and get to live high up in the trees J
If you could banish just one food from the earth, what would it be?
Does Anise count as food? Even the smell of it in food puts me off. I have tried learning to love it but I think it might be a losing battle.
What’s the one super power you wish you had?
Control over space and time – then I could go back in time and undo the mistakes I make as I am cooking J
What’s your favorite thing about “Refrigerator Soup”?
I like the nice big photos, the simple layout and the way you feature certain recipes at the top of the site. The page loads fast as well, which isn’t always the case with photo sites!
To see more of Julie’s fabulous food photography, delicious recipes and to subscribe to her blog, please visit her at Behind the Skillet.
To learn about how you can get Featured, please email us at twentyquestions [at] refrigeratorsoup [dot] com. Note: Priority is given to those bloggers who consistently submit photographs, so please keep that in mind before inquiring. We are not adding to the schedule at this time as we are currently booked through mid-March, 2010, but welcome inquiries from those interested in being featured (we will respond to those inquiries sometime in February).
Featured bloggers from weeks past…