First of all, a big thank you goes to Nicki Pendleton Wood for the invitation to this tour! Nicki’s food writing can be found all over – maybe even in one of your favorite cookbooks. But she chooses The Project Kitchen as her home base for personal food writing. Check it out for some inspiring recipes, food writing, and some glimpses into her upcoming project, Southern Cooking for Company (where you might see a little contribution from me here and there as well).
What am I working on?
I’m working on ways to make At Home in Any Kitchen more navigable and eye catching. The first year was all about introducing some kitchen basics, like kitchen organization, shopping lists, techniques and methods, flavor profiles, how to entertain, etc.
Now that we’re into a solid second year, I want new readers to be able to find and use those basics first (as needed and sought out), then jump into new content.
I’m also looking to keep things interesting with regular new content that involves fleshing out the bones of this site, while following a seasonal approach to occasions, ingredients, and techniques.
In real life, I’m busy working with catering clients – from brides to backstage – creating menus, keeping up with logistics, and occasionally even plating salads. This means that about 47 minutes of any given day is spent not thinking about food, menus, place settings, or food service. Which gives me plenty of thoughts for the blog. So now I’m trying to carve out a little more time to write those down.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
At Home in Any Kitchen has not been, is not, and never will be – very purposefully – a recipe blog. Occasionally, yes, I will throw in a recipe here and there. But most of those will be more general formulas rather than super tested and photographed beauties that you find in other places.
Why? Because there are a million and fifty terrific recipe sites on this internet. (There are also a few stinkers, so pay attention!)
What am I doing? I wanted to create a place that goes into the basics and the approaches to cooking. I want this to be a resource for people who look at a recipe and wonder what, exactly, is the difference between boiling and poaching. Or for someone who is setting up a new kitchen and wants to make it efficient and conducive to cooking. Or simply for someone who’s new to the whole cooking at home (or on vacation, or at a friend’s house) thing and wants to start out with a little bit of introduction, just to make it less daunting.
Some of my favorite posts, as example:
- You Can (and Should) Make a Weekly Meal Plan
- Hot Sauces
- Planning a Kitchen Library
- How to Cheese Plate
- All the “Entertaining” stuff
But as I look through the old stuff, it’s like choosing between children. So you should probably just start at the beginning and work your way through. In the meantime, I’ll be working on grouping things more elegantly for your convenience.
Why do I write what I do?
Over the years, I’ve found myself fielding tons of questions about the mechanics of cooking, differences in ingredients, where to find recipes, etc. from friends that don’t cook (especially those that love food). Similarly, I’ve done a lot of comparing notes with all of my friends that do enjoy cooking. In poking around the internet, I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of writing that dealt with only that kind of information, so I started At Home in Any Kitchen. The purpose of the blog hopefully is pretty obvious with the title. I want all my readers to feel comfortable and effective in any kitchen they come across.
How does my writing process work?
In general, I like to come up with a monthly production calendar of seasonally-relevant topics, fleshing out those that might take a full week’s series, or creating strategic one-offs here and there. After I’ve divided those up, occasionally I run across some interesting links, discover a new product, or just throw something totally random into the schedule because I want to, and I can.
I try to write totally in my (everyday speaking) voice and keep it very casual but readable. I do find myself editing out the most conversational of phrases (and for some reason, a lot of uses of the word “so”) just to keep the writing clean. I do tend to ramble when speaking every now and then…
Lately, I write when I have a spare hour or two but am trying to get back into a regular routine. Discipline seems counterproductive to creativity, but I find the more I write the easier it is to generate new writing. It’s like training for a sport without all the sweating.
Thanks to all who are reading!
I wanted to highlight the two writers who will be following me on this tour. Next Monday, July 7th, look for posts from Katie on the Map and Dera Frances, two longtime friends who write wonderfully and interestingly about things near and dear to their hearts.
Katie will make you want to throw all the necessities in a bag and run for the next foreign adventure, while Dera often makes me wish I could pack up and move in with her wonderful family, making art and jam and memories.
Katie on the Map: Katie Coakley is a freelance writer who covers travel, cuisine, beer and spirits. You’ll find her SUPing on the Gulf of Mexico or high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado when she’s not glacier climbing in Iceland, diving in Borneo or riding the rails in Vietnam. Follow her adventures online on at Katie on the Map.
Dera Frances: Dera is such a creative soul, writing, photographing, drawing and cooking, to scratch the surface. She chronicles the memories and adventures of those around her at her site, as well as displaying some pretty perfect photographs, especially of her two cute kiddos. If you live near her, she might even take some shots of you.
Thanks again, to Nicki, for the invitation to participate!