Friday, September 17, 2010

Project Food Blog Challenge #1 - Minx, the Food Blogger

My very first food memory is of eating egg yolk.

My mom would fry up an egg, over-easy, and feed me bits of buttered toast that had been dipped into the runny golden goodness. To this day, I get great pleasure out of the flavors and textures of a humble fried egg sandwich, particularly if it is oozing with butter and yolk.

Eggs, over-easy, on a toasted bagel spread with a little bit of bacon jam.

I was always a good eater. Perhaps too good. Even as a child, I showed no hesitation when it came to trying new things; blood sausage, sauerkraut, bone marrow, and beets were all part of my early childhood diet. Later, exotica like hot and sour soup, fried calamari, and tacos were added and even, on occasion, craved.

Many of my early memories revolve around food: near-daily trips to Siemek’s and the Broadway Market to purchase meat or fresh vegetables for the evening’s meal; family outings which usually culminated in dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant; sharing a thermos of canned tomato soup at the park with my new best 5th grade friend. Visits to my Aunt Stasia’s coffee-scented home always involved a feast of some sort, whether it was braciole and meatballs with pasta, or a simpler but no less hearty spread of fragrant corned beef and roast brisket from Attman’s deli served with rye bread from Levin’s bakery, with ice cream sodas for dessert. The one all-family dinner that my older cousin Johanna prepared provides the vivid memory of my first-ever taste of bleu cheese. Weekly excursions to Baltimore’s once-flourishing downtown shopping district with Mom required a lunch at Hutzler’s basement dining room where I experimented with Reuben sandwiches, chef salads, and utterly inauthentic chicken chow mein with lots of crispy noodles.

I kept a diary during the family trip to London and Paris. Rather than marvel over the castles and museums, instead I kept track of our meals, particularly the scones, full English breakfasts, croissants, and copious sweets we enjoyed. I was ten.

Later, I started to experiment with cooking. I would fry up vegetable tempura for my family while my mother fretted that I was going to burn down the house with boiling oil. A high school French club pot luck inspired me to prepare a rather fussy recipe from Cuisine magazine--one of my favorite reads at the time, along with Gourmet.

A more recent experiment - watermelon and tomato salad with feta.

Looking back, it makes sense that, when I became an adult, I would have something to do with the food world. After graduating from art school, I realized that culinary school would have been a more appropriate choice. By that point in time a back injury and lack of cash prevented me from righting my path. Somewhere inside, however, I held onto the goal of being involved in the food arts. Of being a professional foodie. So I did what I could to keep the dream alive, including throwing theme parties that largely revolved around food and sharing my opinion of local restaurants with all who would listen. I even considered applying to be food critic for the Baltimore City Paper back in 1998, but had missed the deadline by a mere 24 hours.

Soup at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Grace Garden

And then in the '00s I discovered...blogging. MinxEats began in 2005 to fill my need to talk about food. It became a personal soap box where I could share my recipes and dining experiences, both past and present. In 2008, I began recapping my favorite foodie TV show, Bravo's Top Chef, a move that started to get MinxEats an actual readership. Blogging with an audience of ten was fun for me, but having my thoughts read by hundreds of people was even more rewarding. I then started recapping The Next Food Network Star and other Food Network shows because I understood that my snarky sense of humor had appeal. However, while I do enjoy infusing my blog with a good dose of the funny stuff, my real passion is eating good food and sharing that experience with others, either through words, or by cooking for them.

from my Top Chef recaps
I like to think that what sets MinxEats apart from the rest of the thousands of food blogs out there is its well-roundedness. There's something for everyone: those folks who like to read about the local Baltimore restaurant scene get my honest opinion about what’s good and not-so-good; those looking for a recipe or who have an interest in cooking can read about my successes – and mishaps – in the kitchen; and fans (or not!) of food-based reality TV are offered plenty at which to laugh. Recently I celebrated five years of MinxEats and asked readers why they love my blog. While several commenters pointed out that they liked my recaps, I was gratified to see that several others mentioned enjoying my recipes and my views on restaurants.

While I am no closer to becoming a “professional foodie” now than I was five years ago, I feel that my blog has developed my continually-growing interest in food by forcing me to think more about what I cook and eat. And thinking about food makes me want to write about food. It’s a vicious – and delicious – circle that I hope continues spinning along for years to come.


Deb said...

Hear, hear! Kudos to you for making your own path--and allowing the rest of us to journey it with you. Yours is a must-read for me--thanks so much for five great years and best wishes for many more to come!

Sharon Rudd said...

Great PFB post, Minx! Fascinating to hear more of your history and the story of how MinxEats came to be. Good luck!

Unknown said...

got my vote

lynn @ the actors diet said...

great post - good luck in project food blog!!!

umommy said...

as a huge top chef and food network fan, of course I voted for you! good luck!