Every so often, we're highlighting a local or regional blogger we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.
Who: Elaine McCardel, of The Italian Dish
I've always loved cooking and feeding people and having everyone around the table. So many people don't know how to cook. Cooking for yourself, from scratch, is not only much cheaper but it's much healthier too. People were always asking me for my recipes. I started the food blog as a way to show people how simple cooking can be. I get e-mails all the time from readers thanking me for getting them to cook and it inspires me to keep writing. I have a quote on my blog from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. It says, "If it doesn't rot, it's not real food". I want to show people how to eat real food.
I painted for ten years and since I did a lot of portrait work, I really got into photography. It was all about natural light and portraying the subject authentically. The same goes for food photography. I love showing the beauty of food. I also use the photography to show people the step by step preparations that are involved in making a dish. It's so much easier for people if they can see it, rather than just reading it in a recipe.
Also, in painting, less is more. You don't want to have so much detail in a painting that your eye has nowhere to rest - the same goes for food. I don't like food that is heavily sauced or complicated. If you have great, fresh ingredients, they should be prepared simply. How much do you have to do to a terrific piece of fresh fish? Not much. If you drown that fish in a lot of sauce, do you really taste the fish?
Where I live in Michigan, the growing season is short but I have resources for locally raised food that I really value. I buy all my eggs from a farm just down the road. The farm also sells wonderful grass-fed beef - some of the best I've ever tasted. I get free range chickens there, too. Five minutes away, there is a shrimp farm where I can buy locally raised, fresh shrimp. No matter where you live, seek out places where you can buy fresh ingredients. A great resource for this is Eat Wild.
Another reason I started the blog was as a way to connect with other people who have a serious interest in cooking. Since starting the blog in 2008, I have met some really wonderful people, received e-mails from readers all over the world and been inspired by other food bloggers every day. I'm constantly impressed by the quality of content that is out there. Blogging has been a great experience for me. It's been a learning opportunity and a teaching opportunity at the same time.
Do you read a local blog that you'd like to see featured? Send 'em our way for a chance in the spotlight.