the just one question project: question five.

the just one question project: question five.

Why did this post take so long for me to publish? Lots going on plus me fleeing the entirely too-cold Midwest for the warmth of a Florida beach. I’m home again, and semi-ready for action. The last question asked you to compare yourselves to celebrity chefs or cookbooks, or to tell me who you aspire to be (and for bonus points, you could compare some of the rest of us to famous chefs or cookbooks). Here are your answers: this was harder for everyone than I meant it to be, but in retrospect, asking a bunch of regular people to compare themselves to famous ones doesn’t always go smoothly. I loved your answers, and I also enjoyed seeing the contrast in who you most identified with versus who you aspired to be.  Let’s take a look: this first chart shows who you compared yourselves to, and also who your fellow bloggers compared you to:

the just one question project: question five.

I’ll admit, I don’t know all of the famous counterparts here, but I read a little about the few I hadn’t heard of, and I can’t wait to learn more about each of them. You did a superb job of comparing yourselves: from what I gather.

Some of you chose to write about who you aspire to be rather than who you identify with currently (although some of you did both). Here are the results:

the just one question project: question five.

I loved seeing these especially, because I feel like it shows a baseline of where you’re headed in the future, and how you approach food, in general. Sometimes it’s easier  - and I’m completely guilty of this – to see ourselves in light of who we most want to be versus who we “are” because we tend to sort of second-guess our talent. You should know that for a lot of you, who you “aspire” to be reminds me an awful lot of who you already are (in a food way) at least in my opinion.

In other news, I’m dealing with a bout of writer’s block. If you look back through the years here, this happens around this time every year: evidently late winter/early spring is difficult for me in terms of finding inspiration and writing. It’s my black hole: my most disliked point in the year, in general, but especially with food. I wrote this post many times: first I was going with the “I’m taking a break” idea, then the “no I’m not, I will persevere” idea, but I’ve landed at this: I’m slow-blogging. This is painfully obvious, as my last post was two weeks ago, but I’m going to continue to slow-blog and take the pressure off. Self-imposed pressure, I might add, because I like to hold myself to two posts per week, and I’ve mostly been able to maintain that without a hitch. I’d rather slow it down than take a blog break, because it gives me time between posts to formulate a decisive plan and gather my thoughts versus rushing headlong into the next thing. So no break; just me clogging up your feed a little less than usual. Unless, of course, a massive amount of inspiration strikes, and then you’re really in for it.

Here’s the next question, and consider it a rather selfish one on my part: I want to know how you tackle “blogger’s block.” Call it what you want: blog burnout, lack of inspiration, lack of motivation, a gross inability to put words to paper (screen?), it happens to all of us, and I know many have had similar experiences to the one I’m going through. What do you do when faced with writer’s/cooking block? How do you know when to push through it or take a break? What’s your best piece of advice for getting back on track? That’s a lot of questions folded into one, but I want to hear about that whole picture: how you get from a routine, to burnout, to dealing with it in a constructive way. Go! We’ll make these due by the end of the month or thereabouts, because I really want you to think about this one. I have a feeling I’ll be hearing from almost all of you.

Here are the answers, peppered with my own comments:

Kim, Cravings of a Lunatic:

If push comes to shove and I have to pick a person/chef/cookbook I identify with it has to be Sunny Anderson. She has this great zest for life but she can toss out zingers with the best of them. She seems so real and just a bit of an edge to her. Not a cookie cutter type of celeb chef which I dig. Her food is fabulous but approachable. You won’t need a cooking degree to follow her recipes. It’s real food with real ingredients for real people. There is nothing that grinds my gears more than a cookbook that has ingredients that are impossible to find. Unfortunately I live in the culinary black hole so it’s hard to find normal ingredients, let alone fancy stuff. I have her cookbook, Sunny’s Kitchen, and it’s wonderful. Easy to follow recipes that will make your belly happy. That’s what cooking should be.

I also really dig Michael Symon, his book Carnivore runs a close second in terms of how I cook on a daily basis. I love to grill and to me there’s nothing like a great steak done right. He has such a laid back, easy way about him. I watch him on The Chew and the man never gets flustered or riled up if a recipe goes south for some reason. He rolls with it and makes it work. He has this knack for letting the food tell the story and lead the way to the finished dish. Every single recipe I’ve tried of his has been a huge hit. And the man knows meat, his approach to beef recipes is always spot on. He’s someone you just want to hang with and fire up the grill while you gab. I’d love to meet him some day.

As soon as you asked about other members and who you would relate them to my mind went immediately to Rachael aka Movita. I love this woman so very much. So I pondered heavily about this and was stumped because I was so focused on her hilarity. No one out there is as funny as she is so it’s too hard to pull a comparison in the food world. She makes me think of Lucille Ball, smart as a whip and funny as hell. Then it hit me to just compare her cooking style and the person who immediately came to mind is Christina Tosi of Momofuku fame. There is nothing similar in terms of recipes but it’s their imagination that I think makes them similar. Rachael has this amazing imagination and playfulness about her. Her family and friends are so important to her life and recipes, she goes back to childhood for a lot of her blog posts. Christina’s approach is similar, her whole empire is built on this foundation that comes from her childhood. They are both equally brilliant and imaginative.

When I think of Isabelle I always think of Dorie Greenspan. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know Izz outside of blogging. I make treks up to Toronto a couple of times a year so I always plan a visit with her while I’m there. We’ve had some amazing foodie fun days together. We went to see Lidia Bastianich Live, we’ve done farmers markets and dinners. Izz is an absolute hoot. She’s just this really unique character, part throwback to the days of Lucille Ball and part contemporary woman moving her way through life. I simply adore her. She’s absolutely brilliant, sit next to her at a food conference and she’s the one asking the questions that everyone will remember a year later. She is seriously passionate about food and life. I think her talent far outweighs my own yet when I’m with her she’s just this down to earth, gracious person who is so easy to be around. I’ve heard Dorie is the same way, brilliant yet approachable and real. They both make recipes that are sublime, there’s always an element I would never have thought of. There’s an excellence to both of them. They make you want to be better in the kitchen and that’s always a good thing.

As you can tell my faves always tend to lean towards people who are hilarious and real. I can’t help it, that’s who I’m drawn to.

People, Kim pounced on this question: I’ve never seen a response hit my inbox so fast. Kim, I loved that you compare yourself to Sunny Anderson: that just seems dead-on. You’re so bubbly and fun, and that’s not always easy to come by when there’s serious cooking and baking business going on, but you keep it sassy. 

Monica, Playing with Flour:

I love this fun question! My initial reaction was “I can’t wait to read the answers”, quickly followed by “I can’t answer that because I can’t think of anyone I resemble…” Well, I won’t wimp out and I’ll take a stab at it. I admire and enjoy watching plenty of chefs/cooks/cookbook authors/personalities for very different reasons but when it comes to picking someone who reflects my culinary “style”, I thought of Claire Robinson. She had a show on the Food Network called “5 Ingredient Fix” (there’s a book now, too) and it was really the show I thought of because it essentially sums up my preferred style of cooking on a day-to-day basis. I like a short ingredient list. A recipe with a long grocery list is one of the things that turns me off and intimidates me the most. I’m up for a project once in a while but in general, I prefer simple recipes that can be cooked in a relatively short time with a short list of ingredients (particularly on weeknights). So while I don’t know very much about Claire Robinson, she and her show came to mind.

If we’re to go into people/food styles we admire, I have to say I love many of Giada de Laurentiis’ recipes – her food is fresh, beautiful, and do-able. I’ve enjoyed all her recipes that I’ve made. On the dessert front, I love David Lebovitz. I’m a bit of a cooking show junkie so I have a lot of favorites – everyone from the Pioneer Woman to Ina to Ellie Krieger and, of course, Nigella, who I could listen to and watch all day (reality shows excluded). They all have different styles and perspectives to offer and I enjoy learning something different from many of them. On a practical level, I like Everyday Food (Martha Stewart) type recipes – again, it’s about simple – and good – for me.

Monica, that you compared yourself to a multitude of people is perfect: you really do have an excellent mix of style and approach and you don’t try to pigeonhole yourself into one thing, and I love that about you. I can see all of these people reflected in your approach, for sure.

Deb, East of Eden Cooking:

What a delicious question! I’m at the bakery counter and I can’t decide. All the sweets are so tempting. When it’s my turn, I fret and fumble and take home an embarrassingly huge pink bakery box of goodies. Returning home, I have regrets. I wish I would have gotten more of this and why did I let that go stale?
Alas, I do not resemble anyone famous but there many chefs, cookbooks, bloggers and family that inspire and motivate me in my own little kitchen universe.
I can’t just pick one. There are just too many choices! But here are my top three. (Although if you ask me the same question next month, I may have a different response!)
First I must credit my Mom. She was fearless in the kitchen. She would tackle any recipe or idea, just because she wanted to. If she thought she could do better, she would remake the recipe over and over again until she was satisfied. She enlisted my help in the kitchen at an early age. We just went for it! If I suggested a new recipe or technique she’d help me make it happen. It took a lot of work and creativity to feed a family of six on a very limited budget. She never failed at keeping her family nourished.
Second is Ina Garten. When I had lost my will to cook (and create) it was her program that inspired me to return to the kitchen. Her recipes are easy, without any added noise or steps, the flavors are spot on. Wouldn’t we all love her kitchen, TV program and book deals! And the apartment in Paris!
Third would be Nigel Slater for his writing. His joy in the seasons and ingredients shines in every recipe. When I read his cookbooks I want to try every recipe. I aspire to stay in the moment and enjoy the process of creating in the kitchen. He has found that sweet spot.
Deb gets total points for including her mom: yay for moms! Deb, I would have named Nigel Slater as a person you remind me of, due to his intense seasonality and local cooking. He really has found that sweet spot, but I think you have as well. 

Dana, Whisks & Words:

I found this question difficult to answer because I think that the cookbooks and chefs and writers who influence me are awesome. But when I thought about who has had a similar journey or approach – or with whom I identify in some way – I came up with Alyssa Shelasky, the author of the memoir Apron Anxiety. Shelasky didn’t grow up with high cuisine or foodie education; she came to it in her adult years, and in a way, it has shaped her adulthood, giving her a new language and a way to connect with those around her. At one point in her memoir, she has decided to learn how to cook so she can connect with her boyfriend, who was one of the contestants on Top Chef. She knows it’s time to “rise the hell up,” to take control of her life, and in order to do that, she’s going to teach herself how to cook. It’s a fantastic moment, and it’s one that I return to in my own life many times: that moment when I need to pick myself up, brush myself off, and put an apron on and do something. Feed myself. Feed the emotions. And feed the way forward. The recipes she uses in her book aren’t fussy or hard-to-achieve; they’re delicious and practical and tied to her story in really great, purposeful ways, which is the hallmark of a good food memoir.

In my cooking and in my writing, I aspire to keep growing, and I try to channel Tamar Adler, for her practicality, her confidence in using ingredients, and in her spiritual way of approaching food. Nothing is wasted; nothing is meaningless; it all ties together. And I love that cooking-turned-infinite way of thinking.

I also aspire to be like Edna Lewis. That woman was amazing, and I hate that I came to her writing so late. She wrote about Southern food as she knew it growing up, and as she cooked it, and honestly, the South she writes about is completely foreign to me; the cooking and the food and the rituals and the landscape might as well all be from a fairy tale. And I hate that; I feel like I missed it. I feel like I’m trying to chase something down – my own identity, my style of cooking, my voice, my homeland – and Edna Lewis’s writing is a resource by which to do it, though she can’t take me there directly. Her writing is so thoughtful and lush and transporting. If I could write like her, I would be in truly excellent shape.

I’m taking a stab at the extra credit, and I have to say, if Molly Wizenberg and Liz Lemon from the show 30 Rock had a love child who was a blogger, she would be Katherine from Eggton. Her writing cracks me up, her recipes are fantastic, her photographs gorgeous, and I am such a little fan girl of hers. And Liz Lemon’s (by way of Tina Fey). And Molly Wizenberg. I love their whole hypothetical, existing-only-in-my-brain family.

Dana: best. comparison. ever. Katherine is completely and utterly the love child of Molly Wizenberg and Liz Lemon, although I could also see some other Tina Fey characters thrown in there too. Also, you make me want to expand my food reading, because you’re so extraordinarily well-versed in food writers; I would expect nothing less from you. From a writing/focus standpoint, can I aspire to be like you? Cool.

Brianne, Documenting Our Dinner:

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure what my culinary style is because I’m not someone who makes up recipes. My culinary approach is straightforward, though: cook recipes that intrigue me. I cook all kinds of things, but I pretty much always have to have a recipe to go by. So I’d have to pick a cookbook. If you read my blog, it emerges pretty quickly that I have mad, mad love for the Becker family and the Joy of Cooking. They have recipes for everything. Cakes, pies, pot roast, aspic, couscous, tofu stir fries…where else can you find that encyclopedic variety that satisfies your every whim? And the family blogs about the book every day at their website! I just love them and what they’ve done for me in the kitchen.

Brianne, i had a difficult time nailing you down in my head, but you did it for me with your answer: that’s a great comparison. I went the cookbook route with you: I recently got the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie book, and if you combine that with my Piece of Cake baking book and my Eat Good Food cookbook from Bi-Rite, That, to me, is very you. Although there’s so much more to you, so I think I’d throw Mark Bittman in there as well. You’re all the things, Brianne. It’s worth noting also that you remind me of my vintage cookbooks. Aspics forever! 

Katherine, Eggton:

I aspire to be like Alton Brown. From what I gather, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and his recipes aren’t stuffy or pretentious. He’s a self-professed nerd, which is fabulous. In addition to the fame and fortune that separate us, he has far better eyeglasses than I do, and an understanding of the science of cooking that I admire. For example, he says things like “The *reason* the yeast makes the bread rise is _____” and “if there’s not enough butter in your pie crust, it will ____.” Whereas I spend my time in the kitchen yelling things like “OH MY GAWD WHY ARE MY COOKIES SPILLING ALL OVER THE OVEN FLOOOOOOR?!?” The guy is also involved in conservation issues–I heard him give an entertaining talk about fish once, and how to consume seafood responsibly without screwing with the environment. I think that’s cool–any really good chef should care about where his or her food is coming from and use his or her platform to educate the rest of us about such things.

I still say that Dana’s comparison to Molly Wizenberg and Liz Lemon’s love child is who you really are, although I can completely see you Alton Brown-ing it up because of your cooking style (not stuffy or pretentious) and because I know you want to always know why. An exceptional trait to have, by the way. Certainly in the way you care about environmental responsibility, conscious eating, and knowing where you food comes from reminds me of very much of Mr. Brown. 

Wendy, The Monday Box:

This one is hard for me because I don’t really follow any chefs closely enough to identify their culinary style or approach. Though I have a ton of cookbooks, I certainly don’t have enough culinary skill to identify with any of the authors and I am only familiar with a few of the commercially big tv chefs. Stretching what I little I do know, perhaps Rachel Ray’s unfussy, throw-it-all-together style best reflects my real life cooking. She appears down to earth and at ease with improvising in the kitchen. I hope I come across the same way. As for my baking style (for real life and for the blog) , I try to channel Martha Stewart’s design team for the pretty/cute factor. I definitely do a lot of cute. For recipe experimentation I enjoy channeling Cooks Illustrated on a microscopic test kitchen scale. I think I would most like to be like Alice Medrich, producing a wide variety of approachable, reliably good baking.

And you, my dear Shannon, remind me frequently of Deb Perelman! Her writing always makes me smile. Your writing always makes me smile. Your recipes somehow talk me into trying (and loving) some really weird ingredients. Smitten Kitchen does the same. Neither you nor Deb post about the ingredient of the moment according to the blogosphere. (Thank you.) You both post about the recipe of interest to you at the moment. Most importantly, I know that any recipe on Periodic Table or Smitten Kitchen has been agonized over within an inch of its life and I can therefore try any recipe and know it will work as advertised.

Wendy, thank you for the comparison/compliment: now to translate my agonizing over recipes into a cookbook like Deb did! I think I have a way to go, but I’m hoping to become as good a daily-life storyteller as she is. I love that you mentioned Alice Medrich here: what a wonderful person to aspire to be (and i can see easy comparisons in your style and in your personalities). 

Emma, of agates and madeleines:

I like to think of myself, when I’m in the kitchen, like Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame. Did you ever watch that show back in the 90s? He is insane! Always talking lovingly to his food, and moving in all directions at light speed, with knives flying and food getting chopped up and shit. I do this sort of thing all the time. It is important to clarify that my results aren’t picture perfect like his – often, those flying knives end up on the other side of the room, or on the floor, or in my finger, and my sentences might end more often with “oh shit.” Seriously, look this guy up, I get a kick out of him: ____________ insert link from email

So i watched some Martin Yan videos, and I loved what he said in one of them: “cooking is feeling, common sense, and imagination.” I’ve never seen the show until now, but rest assured, I’ll be watching more of him in the near future. And I can completely see the parallels to you in my head. It’s kind of how i imagine you spending your free time.

Elizabeth, The Manhattan [food] Project:

This was a really difficult, albeit extremely fun, question, and yes, it’s difficult to attempt to compare oneself to a relative culinary god or goddess.

I think today, the cookbook that best reflects the style of food that I like to make most is The Barcelona Cookbook. Barcelona Wine Bar was the restaurant/gateway into adoring Spanish food, and when we moved to New York in 2009 it was one of the few places I was genuinely sad that wouldn’t be within walking distance any more. (Incidentally, when we had to move back to Connecticut, living within walking distance of one of the locations was an absolute must.) Right before we moved the cookbook came out; receiving it as a gift a few months later for my birthday, I found cooking from it was a way to bring a little bit of New Haven and Spain into our little apartment. The dishes aren’t so much simple as they are very well composed: you might need a bevy of ingredients to make one of the recipes, but you can see how each one factors into the final result. I also love how the restaurant group is really invested in a connection to Spain: not only do they take groups of managers and top servers to Spain a couple of times a year, but they have since turned that into a really helpful travel guide and when you go to the places they recommend, you can literally taste the inspiration that has influenced their cooking. It’s that commitment to an authenticity of spirit that continues to resonate with me.

And with that, the chef that I most aspire to be like is José Andrés, because he is just this giant ball of talent and joy and passion. I love how he can vacillate so easily from traditional to modern cuisine and how he can make even the seemingly most complex recipe worth the effort. He is the reason why I have several packets of various powders and gels in order to dabble in modernist cooking, but he’s also the reason why I have a teeny tiny nonstick in order to perfect my tortilla. Made in Spain is also among my absolute favorite cooking shows–and it’s one of the few I actually own on DVD, so if it’s a particularly grey day or I just need a shot of cheerfulness after a long day at work, I’ll put an episode or two on to keep me company while I make dinner.

And how can you not love a guy who loves his giant gin and tonics?

Elizabeth, I can not tell you how happy I am that you mentioned José Andrés. Although you say you aspire to be like him, I want you to know that to me, you are my José Andrés already. What a great way to describe him as a “giant ball of talent and joy and passion.” he IS, isn’t he? I love that man; he’s so talented and his food is so magnificent, but he always looks like he’s just having the best time ever. A frown has never crossed that man’s face. Except maybe when they run out of gin and tonics. 

Rachael, Movita Beaucoup:

I couldn’t pick just one cookbook/baker to best represent my approach to baking, as I have two favourites at the moment: The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook (Griffith and Cheryl Day) and Butter Baked Goods (Rosie Daykin). Each embodies all I believe baking should be: nostalgia-filled and loaded with love. They also most closely resemble the baking I do for my friends, family and clients on a regular basis. It’s how a lot of people in these here parts bake, with no apologies for the copious quantities of butter and sugar thrown into the mix. Old school, homestyle sweets, crafted with ingredients easily found in the baking aisle. Throw in some sprinkles? Don’t get me started…

Shannon, I feel you are best represented by Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook, as you share many of my retro sensibilities, yet have a more elevated approach and style. You’re The French Laundry to my Tim Hortons. (There are more doughnut shops per capita in Canada than anywhere else on the planet. True story.)

Rachael, that is indeed high praise coming from a classically trained baker. I think we both underestimate our elevated approach: I consider your cooking to be vastly more elevated than my own, so I suppose it’s worth a second look for both of us: you do beautiful things, and I feel like I’m slapping cereal bars together most days. Your comparison to the Back in the Day Bakery cookbook is spot-on; I’ve noticed that yes, your part of the world has such a connection to the old ways of doing things, and a real appreciation for homestyle recipes (very much like our American South), and your recipes make me want to learn more about that. And to visit Canada, but that’s a whole other thing. I’m adding Butter Baked Goods” to my cookbook list.

Natalie, Wee Eats:

The chef that I aspire to be? I think we all want to be the next Thomas Keller or Christina Tosi, creating perfect recipes and not caring about how much time or effort goes into them … but will I ever be that careful and thoughtful to go to painstaking efforts to create the perfect recipe? Probably not…. I’m far too absent-minded and disorganized in my own kitchen for that.

The chef I actually am like? I’d say Ina Garten with my jet-setting hubby, garden of fresh herbs and veggies, and gigantic barn/second kitchen….. no wait. Just kidding. Is there a chef that runs around like a crazy person and constantly burns themselves while cooking and realizes halfway through cooking that they forgot at least one ingredient and decides just to “ride it out” to see what happens? One that throws a bunch of ingredients together just because I think they will taste good or just to see how they taste, out of sheer curiosity? Because if so, I would say that I am like that one.

So, not reading too far into the comparison, and going off of the one image burned into my mind of Julia Child flipping an omelette and it crashing everywhere, making a mess, and her just “going with it” anyway on freaking TV (how mortifying would that be?!)… I could say that I am (kinda) like her? Besides ya know, all the spy-hunting, culinary experience, and amazing skill… but in the “roll with the punches” and having fun while cooking aspects? Sure, why not.

Now the BONUS QUESTION, which was my favorite part of this assignment. Which chef do I think that YOU are most like?

Clearly, you are a mini Christina Tosi.

Clearly. And clearly you have been in the cooking wine. Just kidding! You are, to me, very much a little combo pack of TK and Christina Tosi: you like weird as I do, but you also like fancy, which is a pretty excellent mix. Totally who I would have picked for you, not even kidding.

Ashley, Hops:

When I sat down to think about this fun question, I realized I didn’t have just one kitchen inspiration I turned to the most. I have several. Precisely who I turn to for delicious guidance varies, based upon my current culinary desires (if I want sweets, I turn to certain cookbooks or websites over others, etc), how well I know my inspiration’s repertoire (i.e. does this book have that coconut chili braised beef recipe or was that somewhere else? do I even remember what this person makes? sheesh, too many recipes I want to make!), and how frequently I’ve turned to them for guidance in the past (if they’ve helped me well before, I’m more likely to turn to them for help again. tried and true.). Plus I like to jump between styles and types of cooking, which makes me a bit scattered in my tastes and approaches. So…I thought I’d focus more on the who I aspire to be and why, instead of the whose style I reflect most. Yeah, I know, they’re sorta the same thing, but it is easier for me to consider who I’d like to be, rather than who I’m like.

Even after my self-imposed mentality, I’m still torn between three options for which food person I aspire to be. And they’re all incredible options: Alton Brown, Melissa Clark, and Deb Perelman. Why each one? Well…

Alton Brown He strives to understand the why and how of cooking, for the primary purpose of being able to make each dish his own. This means he delves into the scientific principles of cooking and ingredients, which I, as a huge science nerd and biology graduate student, adore to no end. AB makes science easily accessible and memorable with fun models, puppets, and comparisons. I’d love to have his skill at this in both the food arena and in my scientific career. Through his scientific understanding, AB wants to find the best (most delicious, most effective, smartest) way to make food, even if employs an unusual technique or piece of equipment. I love that Macgyver approach (even if I’m too afraid to try it myself) and that rebel I’ll do it my way because it’s going to get the best results attitude. He also covers all types of food – sweet, savory, and everything else.

Melissa Clark After buying her Cook This Now cookbook a few years ago, I’ve come to madly respect this lady. She had an incredible range in what she cooks – savory and sweet, simple and complex – but everything is thoroughly tested (so you get great results) and incredibly well-considered (she suggests substitutions in case you don’t want to track down an ingredient or you’ve got other taste inclinations). Every recipe has additional notes on what she likes to swap in or serve it with. I love that – I can customize or swap with relative ease of mind because I know it’s going to work and taste good. MC is tremendously creative in her flavor combinations and isn’t afraid of adding serious spice to her food. She’s got a relaxed approach to cooking, knowing it’s not supposed to be stressful or dramatic. It’s fun and it’s meant to be shared and enjoyed. Plus I love how her cookbooks tell a short story before each recipe, so you know she understands the power of food and memory.

Deb Perelman She of the fantastic Smitten Kitchen blog, who, in my mind, combines a bit of AB and MC. She thoroughly tests her recipes (like MC and AB) and tweaks them so that they yield the best result for the least amount of fuss (like MC and AB). She covers everything, from sweet to savory to drinks, much like MC and AB. And she shares a story with each recipe, inspiring me to make the food based on her description alone (like MC).

As for my approach to cooking, I’d say I share a few traits with all three of them. I like to make all types of food and drink, so I cover a broad range. I love playing with spices and trying different flavors. I really love understanding the how and why of cooking, especially when it means learning the science behind it…..though I must admit to being lazy at times, or forgetful — I want to enjoy the cooking process and I can very easily lose myself in tangential searches for how and why and the history of ingredient x….

So what’s my answer already? I’d be thrilled to be like any of them, but I’ll go with Melissa Clark today. For the past year, I’ve been trying to really change the way I eat to include A LOT more healthy foods. MC does that, particularly in her Cook This Now book, which was her kitchen diary for a year. However, she doesn’t go to extremes. She still embraces treats and “unhealthy” things, but she balances them with more “healthy” things. While all three of my inspirational chefs do this, MC has been the one I turn to most often for delicious and healthy (and sometimes unhealthy, like her insanely amazing coconut brownies) cooking.

Admittedly, Melissa Clark is not a person I knew much about until you answered this question, but she’s on my list of people to learn more about. If you’re aspiring to be like her, how could I not want to know more? And I think we all had that same feeling: hard to nail any of us down to just one person, as it turns out. Very thoughtful answer, as usual.

Abbe, This is how I Cook:

Well, I don’t think I’m Rachel Ray – don’t smile enough and not young enough - and I’m not Julia – too short for that and she’s dead -  and I’m definitely not Giada – too fat to be her… And I’m not a male, but if I was, maybe I would be that cute blonde, little Aussie that everyone likes whose name I can’t remember…

Nope, I guess I’m Ina. I always wanted a cute little hubby like Jeffrey, and a big beautiful farm house. I can’t analyze nuclear policy, though I can cook and I like what Ina does. She keeps it simple, she’s not afraid to try new things and she loves people. She doesn’t limit herself in what she cooks or how she cooks. She’s not afraid to buy good food from a store and serve it. (But if I had all those quaint places to buy from, I would be in 7th heaven.) The truth is I don’t have even one of her cookbooks, so I’m only going with what I see on the groove tube, but I think Ina and I would get on just great!

Besides it would be much simpler to be Ina than to be Martha!

Curtis Stone? Is that the cute, blond, male Aussie in question? I can see Ina totally with you: in fact, i think that would be my pick if I were to compare you to someone. She’s got variety and a good sense of how to put things together in a fancy but unfussy way, which is very you.

Sarah, The Cook’s Life:

I really identify most with Julia Child. Understand that I am no way saying I am a Julia Child, but I aspire to be more like her. I love her no-nonsense attitude toward cooking and eating. She enjoyed everything in moderation and she approached both food and life with an enthusiasm and energy that I can only hope to copy someday.

Sometimes I identify with Julia more than I do other times, but in an ideal world I would fearlessly debone a duck and then cook it, all while telling everyone how WONDERFUL it will taste with roasted potatoes and a bottle of wine. I totally made that up, but it seems like something Julia would say and do.

I agree with you; just in our talks in real life, I see you as a Julia Child in your approach to food, for sure. I think you care about getting it right, and I think you are extremely no-nonsense in your approach. You’re also a great teacher, and really enjoy helping others in the kitchen, which is very Julia, in my opinion. 

Faygie, Life Tastes Good:

I may be way off the mark here, but I feel that the way I prefer to cook is a lot like Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen) – veggie heavy, light on the meat, and dishes that come across as impressive, but are usually fairly simple to make (very important when you have kids hanging around when you are cooking).

Faygie, you are totally not off the mark: i see you very much like Deb in the way that your recipes are lovely, simple, and loaded with good things. And cake: you always have fun with cake, which is important. I also see your style as sort of Savory Simple-ish, in a way? I enjoy your cooking so much because I know you’re making it for your family, and you’re trying to get the healthy in there (but you’re not going crazy with it, either), so I think that’s why it was the first thing to pop into my head for you. I admire your ability to make gorgeous, accessible food that your kids love. I like your balance.

Shannon, A Periodic Table (that’s me!)

If I’m comparing my current kitchen style to anyone, I’d say it would have to resemble Nigella, although she is much more elegant and beautiful than I am in real life. I love that she’s not classically trained and yet can throw beautiful food together: she’s got such respect for ingredients and unfussy meals and gathering around a table, and I’d like to think i have the same attitude. In the way that I like to mess with things, and find weight measurements to be needless in some cases, I’d say I’m a bit like Christina Tosi; I am never afraid of weird, and I’m cool with clear imitation vanilla and corn syrup if it serves a purpose. I aspire to be more like both of those women. Additionally, I’d love to handle fresh ingredients with the same care and  simple finesse as Nigel Slater and Gordon Ramsay; both of them seem to be able to turn a handful of things into some thing brilliant, and I’d love to think I could do that. Andrew Carmellini is my King of Flavor Layering, and he’s got such a laid-back ease to his cooking, and I really envy that; he mostly seems like an awesome person in general, and I’d love to meet him. Finally, I’m a huge fan-girl of Stella Parks (Bravetart), because she’s mega-talented and uses her talents for good (homemade sprinkles!) and not evil (fussy, ridiculous desserts). She also seems like a very down-to-earth person, which I always enjoy.

44 Comments on "the just one question project: question five."

  1. This post is fantastic! And reading the answers, I was immediately sorry I didn’t take the time to answer this one, so I’ll do it briefly here. I’m not sure I see much resemblance between me and famous chefs / cookbook authors, but I definitely admire many of them and wish to be more like them. A few of my favorites are Michael Simon, Julia Child, and Jamie Oliver. I admire Michael Simon’s down-to-earth attitude. He is incredible skilled, and yet he maintains this humble, approachable, fun personality. It’s clear that he has a great passion for what he does, but he doesn’t get flustered when thing don’t work out. He seems like a genuinely good person. Also, his food is amazing, so there is that. I love Julia Child’s approach to learning everything she could about cooking, and learning to do things the best way that she could, even when that meant thinking outside the box of traditional French cooking. As for Jamie Oliver, I think I relate to him the most in terms of his dedication to fresh ingredients, and often simple recipes. I always try to highlight the importance of using the best ingredients you can afford, and I think that’s a quality he and I share. I should also mention my undying love for Alton Brown. I so love the way he teaches cooking, and goes into the details of *why* things happen the way they do. I was definitely inspired by him when it came to some of my FAK Friday posts!

    As for the answers everyone else gave, I think they are spot on (although I have to admit, I had to look up some of the names mentioned). I especially liked Kim’s comparison to Sunny Anderson. I can definitely see that!

    Also, I am super excited about this next question. I am going through the exact same thing you are, Shannon. I have gone from two posts a week to one every week or two, if I really push myself to do it. For some reason, my inspiration has just gone out the window, and writing especially has been really hard. Fortunately, I think I’m starting to get my mojo back, so hopefully I can think on that and come up with a good answer. I am so, so looking forward to hearing what everyone else says, too. I think this will be helpful for everyone!

    • shannon says:

      Everyone has said that so far! It’s okay; just remember that now that the next question is out, right? ;) besides, post-answers are always accepted right here in the comments section, so you didn’t miss out on anything.
      I love your comparisons: that’s quite the eclectic mix! but i see all of those people in you, for sure, especially in the way that you described them. i love that we’re all this awesome mix of people already, and i like that we’re really good at distilling what we like about people we want to be more like. we’ve obviously all thought a lot about this, whether we know it or not.

      i’m excited too: i don’t know if this is a trend right now for our little group or as a blogging whole, and i don’t know what to attribute it to, but it does seem like there’s a circle of us who have all sort of taken a step back in terms of how much we post. i don’t think it’s a bad thing, but i sort of want to find out why? Because, nosy, but also because i know many of us began our blogs around the same time, and you have to wonder if there’s a chronological point in the life cycle of a blogger where they hit a wall, of sorts. something to think about. Or it could be just the time of year: i’ve openly said this time of years sucks for me and writing and honestly getting things done in my own life, in general? so maybe it’s just this “is it winter? spring? wha?” sort of time. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s answers to this next one, and also if the collective answering of the question/group hug will help get us all on track again. :)

  2. Deb says:

    What a post! Chefs, cookbook authors, TV programs I have never heard of that must be investigated! Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies to everyone who took the plunge and bared their cooking/baking “crushes”! A marvelous read!

    We will gladly wait for spring to unleash your slumbering blogging inspiration. I openly promote blogging breaks… life, sanity and boredom are the daily soup of blogging. Sometimes waiting for the right ingredient elevates the recipe! I say, blog when you wish, it is your blog!

    • Emma says:

      Cooking *CRUSHES!* Deb, if we’re going that route, my money’s on Andreas Viestad. He’s yummy.

    • shannon says:

      I know, right! you all did SO well with this one. at first, when i was getting my slow trickle of emails, i feared the worst: that no one would answer b/c it was harder than i thought. But you all were troopers! So fun to read, i agree.

      Thank you, Deb: i don’t know what it really is about this time of year, but it really gets to me, and it’s good to know that i can take the pressure off and still have everyone be here. It’s true: you have to wait for that inspiration to hit sometimes.

  3. i loved reading who everyone thought they resembled – and your comments! Nigella is a pretty perfect spot-on for you, too. In the non-baking atmosphere. I think you chose well! It was such a hard question to answer because HOW DO WE PICK WHO WE RESEMBLE? It’s like asking what supermodel we most resemble LOL

    I can’t wait to read everyone’s answers for the next JOQ because GUILTY! we all get stuck and apparently a lot of us are using this time of year to s l o w d o w nnnnn … I can’t wait to see what everyone else does to cure their own blog-blocks!

    • shannon says:

      oooh, should i ask us to do supermodel comparisons next? just kidding, NO. It is hard to compare though who we “are” like b/c none of us really want to act like we’re super amazing like the people we admire. I get it: i never realized how hard it would be until i tried to answer it.

      i know you and i have discussed blog breaks off-blog, which is always helpful, and i’m really looking forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts also. i feel like that one will turn into a big group hug, and i’m looking forward to it. :)

  4. Emma says:

    Back from the warm sunny paradise! I’m sure spring is just around the corner for you though, right? Any cute little planties sticking their heads above the soil yet?

    • shannon says:

      i haven’t seen much yet in terms of tiny plantlife, but i expect it will happen soon: we’ve had a handful of warm days, but interspersed with the occasional winter smackdown, i expect all the green stuff waiting to emerge is a little bit confused. definitely by the end of march, i would imagine.

      • I have crocuses blooming in my front (south-facing) flower bed. And blooming to beat the band. They are practically singing to the sun, wide open yellow and white blossoms reaching to the sky. And we have daffodil leaves poking up from the mulch. Spring, spring, spring is coming!

  5. Ashley says:

    Ahhhh! So much awesomeness in one post! First, your graphics are FANTASTIC! I love color coding and I love informational graphics, so this is almost too much goodness for me.

    Second, everyone is amazing! I love reading your answers and end up mentally kicking myself for forgetting yet another chef crush I have (Julia Child! Jose Andres! Nigel Slater!). Everyone was so thoughtful and so spot on (including Shannon’s commentary). And Katherine, you were much better at articulating why Alton Brown is so awesome than I was. So, ditto to what you said.

    Third, I realize my answers are super long and very school essay-esque. Sorry! To be quite honest, I usually write notes or even a rough draft of my answer out during our super boring seminars at school. So I go a bit overboard (I’m bored!) and I can’t be succinct to save my skin.

    I can’t wait to see the next question answered!
    Plus – what about a question on how people come up with ideas for new recipes? and what their process if for developing the recipe? I would love to hear about everyone’s process.

    • shannon says:

      thanks, Ashley! i’ll confess to being a graphic junkie myself, and color-coding is my life, so anytime i can combine the two, i do it. :)

      i like this question’s answers because i feel like our comments will build really well: i know that when people read what others have written, there’s bound to be a few “oh right!” moments among us. I know i had many when reading them.

      no sorries for your answers! i’ve told you time and time again that i enjoy the thoughts you have and the time you take to write them out, so don’t worry one bit about it. keep them coming! seriously, you’re talking to the Queen of the Longwinded here; i just left a voicemail for someone and it probably was over 8 minutes long. :) no judgement here.

      That’s a great question: i keep a master list of questions i’ve thought of or that people have suggested, and i’m adding it to the bunch. recipe development is a question i get frequently now that i’m doing it for the magazine, and i’d be curious too to see what everyone’s individual process it. We’ll do that one soon, i imagine. very timely considering we’re all (by degrees) venturing more and more into creating our own stuff, which i think is fun.

  6. Faygie says:

    Okay, whaaaat?!? HOW did I forget about Christina Tosi??? Her baking style is probably my favorite kind, and what I love to do – ordinary desserts (layer cakes, ice cream, cookies), but with unique flavors. In fact, I’m in the middle of making one of her cakes now!

    • shannon says:

      I KNOW! i made a rule for myself not to interject into anyone’s answers, but when i got yours back i was all “wait: that pistachio cake is basically how we first started talking, sooo….” !! Are you doing one right now?? UGH i want to ask which but i won’t! I’m toying with doing one myself: i haven’t done one in so long and i miss it; always so much fun, those cakes. NOT fun finding ingredients sometimes, but such is life. :)

  7. Now I have a bunch of chefs and food writers to research! And now, as I do after all of the JOQ posts, I think of so many different ways to answer. I could have included her, and him, and her, and her, and oh, what about that one…

    And, as always after I read the JOQ posts, I am in awe of the sheer amount of words you have to sift through when we send you our answers. We each only send one answer, but you have to read and analyze all of them! No wonder you are feeling a little tapped out!

    I will reserve my thoughts on your writer’s/blogger’s block for my answer to the next question. Just know you aren’t alone!

    • shannon says:

      This question was so good for finding new people to love, right? I didn’t even think about that when i asked the question, but i have a whole little list based on everyone’s answers now.

      do not even feel sorry for me: sifting through all of your words is my happy place! It’s a little-known fact that although my chosen profession is writing and photography, my secret superpower/love is graphs and charts. ALL THE GRAPHS AND CHARTS. so i look forward to it: data analysis was always something i enjoyed and was good at, like ever since i was very small? so it’s a skill i enjoy keeping up. you all facilitate that, so thank you.

      I am waiting patiently for everyone’s answers. Just putting that out there. you’re not allowed to have writer’s block when you write how to counteract writer’s block. :)

  8. Dana Staves says:

    This was so much fun to read! And I have to admit, I had a lot of fun writing my answer for it. It’s fun to think who my influences are, what voices follow me into my cooking and writing.

    Shannon, I’m really looking forward to the next question, too. I feel like I’ve been in a weird limbo with my blog for months, which I’ve talked a bit about with you before. I feel myself coming around, but I’ve been in a funk. I’m excited to unpack that a bit, and hopefully to fully round my corner soon!

    • shannon says:

      Your answer was superb, Dana: i can always tell when you enjoy answering these. there’s a certain flow or depth your writing gets to it and i know you’re having a good time crafting your answer.

      seriously, group therapy time: this question i hope will help all of us, since as far as i can tell, the vast majority of us in the Project seem to be hung up with distractions, writers’ block, funks, etc right now. Big Hug Mug time, i think, with the next set of answers.

  9. Brianne says:

    You think I am all the things?! Cue the memeage. Also, now I really have to bust out an aspic. This was such a wonderful read. I forgot to tell you that you are Nigella, but you are. So now I’m telling you.

    I can second that Martin Yan is the man. I used to watch him as a kid and could not get enough! My brother and I still impersonate him in the kitchen when we’re home at Christmas, and my mother still worries that we’re going to cut a finger off or not clean up the food that flew everywhere.

    Now I’m off to write you a novel about blog burnout and how I deal with it…

  10. Fun read. I don’t know enough to aspire to be (or be like) anyone else — I’m still trying to figure out how to be me! Anyway, writer’s block. No ideas or just too much to do? I’m recently scaled down to 1 post a week from 2 simply because I had too much other stuff going on, and I didn’t want to turn a hobby into a duty. I don’t really have much trouble generating ideas for my blog (but in a former life I was a book editor, and an awful lot of my job was coming up with ideas of books for other people to write — so I have practice), but why not start with your favorite dishes, and why; or finally make those foods you’ve always wanted to make, but haven’t; or maybe get around to perfecting that killer recipe you’ve always wanted to get absolutely right, but haven’t because it’d involve 10 different iterations. No? How about all those cookbooks you have that you’ve barely cooked from (we all have them)? Just start browsing, you’ll find something. Or do a series on food x from country y. I can always generate ideas, but the ideas I generate aren’t always what I feel like eating at the moment (and I write about what I want to eat, not what I think others want to eat). So maybe that’s your question: what’s for dinner? And why? Or maybe you’re just bored with the whole idea of blogging — it happens. And if this is always a down time of the year for you, why not just take a month off? We’ll still be here — but hungry! — when you get back. Anyway, good post — thanks.

  11. Stephbo says:

    For someone who doesn’t even cook much, I apparently like to read a lot of food bloggers! This was such an awesome post! I’m looking forward to checking out some new cookbooks from this list. FOr what it’s worth, I love Rachel Ray and Curtis Stone because each if them produce such tasty but simple dishes. I can watch either of them and reproduce whatever they make without having to scramble for pen and paper to write down recipes because the ingredient list and cooking methods are straight-forward and uncomplicated. In terms of bloggers, I can’t get enough of Rachael and Katherine. Their humor and gorgeous photos are such wonderful entertainment!

    • shannon says:

      You know, the height of my watching Food Network and cooking shows was PRIOR to my actually really getting into cooking, so there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m happy you liked the post: i think it was a fun one for everyone to answer. It’s a lot of fun to hear who everyone enjoys watching/admires most, and why; you get a new take on celebrities you may not know as well.
      Rachael and Katherine are the best, right? SO much fun, those two. Mostly i can’t get enough of them either. :)

  12. Hi Shannon! Hey Kim B. :-) a sweet lil birdie told me about this blog on twitter. Best DM I got all day :-). I am honored by the words you both shared. To be included with names of people I admire and respect, is pretty cool. I’ll have you know, Michael Symon is the only chef that has ever made me cry from one bite of his food. He’s a genius. So, thank you, you put me in excellent company. And Kim B., I feel the girl you described is truly me, so it lets me know what I’m givin is how I’m livin :-). I’m just me, nothing fancy. I love to cook and eat, but more than that, I just love life and the people in it. I didn’t plan on television, it wasn’t a goal until it was right in front of me. But something not so close, something far away … faaaaaaaaaaaaar back in high school (not so far, I’m 38!), I had a dream to be published. Thank you for getting my book. You are a major part of supporting my dreams and goals. In order for a publisher to give me a deal, they had to bet on you being there on the other end. Thanks for making their bet on me a good one. :-) Ok ladies…take care! S

    • shannon says:

      Hi Sunny! So I saw this come across my email, and i was so entirely geeked out/thrilled that you took the time to comment on this, I didn’t even know how to respond. Thank you so much for YOUR words: I think i can speak for everyone who visits this space when I say that you’re a huge inspiration to us all, and your success is something we all aspire to in our own ways. In our eyes, you’re completely at the same level as Michael Symon and everyone else we mentioned here. It’s so refreshing to see someone so talented and well-known be so honest and down-to-earth, and above all, enjoy interacting with fans of yours in this way. It’s not something everyone would do, and that totally sets you apart, at least in my own mind. Thanks for being who you are, and thank you for inspiring us all to follow our hearts and our own paths; it’s much appreciated. Beyond appreciated (i’m still super nerded-out that you saw this. so exciting.) Thanks, Sunny; you made my week.

    • Kim Beaulieu says:

      Sunny:

      I love that lil birdie who sent you a dm you so very much. That lil birdie is also why I have your signed cookbook on top of my desk to help inspire me to keep on keepin’ on every single day. I love your laid back style. I’m a 45 year old stay at home mom whose kids got older, and all of a sudden I realized I had my own dreams to fulfil. I’m chasing those dreams, and the kids are now my biggest cheerleaders. I love what I do so much, and I just hope that comes through in my food, as well as my voice. Every day in the kitchen is a new adventure, and a chance to make memories, and let’s be honest now, act a fool. It’s where I go to get away, crank the music and just create.

      One day I am determined to head Michael’s way and have a big, fat, juicy steak cooked by that man himself. It will happen one day. I swear I’d be eating and crying tears of joy at the same time.

      Every time I get down I turn to your book. I look at the dedication to your folks, the foreward by your grandma, the way you connect food to those you love, and it reminds me why I love my job so very much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to stop by and leave this note. I hope you have a red plate every night Sunny. You deserve it. Kim xx

  13. Shannon, this post is awesome! Now I’m so bummed I didn’t have time to take part! (It’s dissertation crunch time, but also that’s just an excuse since I was too embarrassed to compared myself to anyone famous in the food world…)

    But now that you’ve (all) taken the leap first, I’d have to say that, like you, I kind of think of myself as a Nigella Lawson type… besides the lack of formal training and the love of unfussy food, she just REALLY loves eating, and eating foods that taste good (with no guilt about what kind of ingredients go into them, other than trying to use the best quality/best tasting ingredients possible). I stopped watching “Top Chef” ages ago, with no patience for the human-drama aspects of it, but recently found myself loving “The Taste” because of all Nigella’s words of charm, wit, and wisdom about food & cooking during every moment of her screentime (and her inspiring championing of the self-taught home cook). And along the same lines, I have to steal the Liz Lemon idea from above and say that I STRONGLY identify with Liz Lemon. In so many ways… Lastly, in the food blogging world, other than the cake-making (since desserts are not my strong suit), I see myself as a Deb Perelman type, letting meticulously tweaked recipes and words carry my blog as much as possible, more so than photographs (although her photographs are beautiful!).

    As for who I most aspire to be like, it’s once again Nigella and Deb! Is it strange that I aspire to be more like the people I already kind of identify with? I want to have more of Nigella’s bravery, elegance, and confidence in the kitchen, and I want to have more of Deb’s ambition, patience, and inspiring creativity. (With some of Liz Lemon’s donuts thrown in.)

    • shannon says:

      No being bummed allowed! you had things to do, and there will always be a next question (and a comments section which allows anyone to answer the question later, right?)
      i like your comparisons: i think they’re spot on, each one of them. and i don’t think it’s so strange to want to be like you already identify with, if you think about it. I don’t know about everyone, but i tend to think that you gravitate towards others you see yourself in, and to be sort of an amplified/mix tape version of very accomplished people who remind you of yourself isn’t so crazy.

  14. YOU ARE SO FAMOUS NOW!!! It’s about time you get the recognition that you deserve! You put so much work into this project and I so much love reading the posts and comments, even if I don’t always have time to participate. This question broke my brain and I just couldn’t seem to get it together to answer – but after reading everyone else’s responses I thought they were spot on, and as usual super entertaining to read! I am going to try really hard to get my act together in time to answer the next question – and if I don’t I’ll be sure to leave a comment late and after the party is over…again. sigh. Thanks for doing this – I look forward to getting the Just One Question post in my inbox every month!

    • shannon says:

      lol i don’t think I’M famous, but i think Kim may be. :) I’ve had a great time with this project: i’d say it was because of the work and blabbity blah whatever, but i get a huge kick out of reading all of your answers and seeing HOW you answer things. It’s always so interesting how you can ask the exact same question to a group of like-minded people and get such different responses, and i love that. It was a sneakily hard question; i didn’t mean it to be, but i can see how it wouldn’t be the easiest to answer, i think mostly because i didn’t ask you about your blogs but i asked you about yourselves. Those answers reeeeeaaally trickled in slowly, so…you’re not the only one who hard a hard time thinking about it. Next round, Mellissa. I know you have to have some words of wisdom for my writers’ block.

  15. Monica says:

    This was a fun Q&A. When I first saw your chart, I was thinking “woah, I don’t aspire to be all those people!” But in all fairness, as I think about it now, if I admire those people and like their recipes/food philosophy, I suppose I do aspire to cook and think the way they do when it comes to food. I do get inspiration from lots of people (famous and not) and places; I makes for great variety and I especially need the education and encouragement to try new things!

    As for Sunny Anderson, I see she is clearly as genuine and as bright a soul as she appears on TV. Does anyone watch The Kitchen? I’ve been recording it and really enjoying it. Love Sunny’s positive energy!

    • shannon says:

      you know, like all the questions so far, everyone really phrases their answers in a different way, so sometimes it’s difficult to graph it as accurately as i’d like. I definitely took your “admire” to be “aspire” if only in the way that i think when i admire someone, there’s at least some quality of that person which i would like to be more like, if that makes sense. so although i don’t always feel like the words are synonymous, they are similar in that manner. i hope you didn’t mind me taking liberties with your arrows there. ;)
      How awesome and nice is she, right? I have a huge amount of respect for anyone kind enough to take the time to do something like that (and also know that it’s going to blow everyone’s minds is a risk, so i’m happy she thought we could handle it, as well). She seems like such a positive person, and that’s a great – and probably rare – quality. so cool.

  16. I like to save these posts for a proper read on Sundays, and then I can leisurely peruse every bit. The downside is all of your brilliant fans – including famous people – have already said what needs to be said in the comment section. So, I will say that this was one of my favourite JOQP posts. And the next question? Well, yesterday I was all: I CAN’T WRITE ANYMORE! I’M QUITTING MY BLOG! So, I’m hoping for assistance…

    • shannon says:

      EEEEEXACTLY. i quit my blog at least once a day? so i could use some advice myself. Here’s hoping everyone comes up with some amazing answers to this one so that we can better ourselves.

  17. I’m sorry I didn’t take part in this question, but I don’t even know famous chefs anymore :( I used to watch the Food Network like it was my job, but now it’s all HGTV or nothing. Reading everyone’s answers was so fun, although I did have to look up to see who some of these people are.
    I’m happy that you’re “slow-blogging” because it makes me feel better about my “no-blogging.” Plus, I won’t have as many of your posts to catch up on when I finally get back to actually reading blogs regularly ;)

    • shannon says:

      Me too! I used to watch it more than i do now, especially when food was a think that was happening in my head rather than in my kitchen. :) now that i do it all the time, i don’t always find cooking shows to be as relaxing because they put me into “work mode” inadvertently. Now HGTV…that’s *always* on here. Because if i could have a zillion hours in the day, i’d spend it redoing houses. for serious.
      Ha! I figure maybe it would help take the pressure off me and everyone else who feels that need to keep it up when they don’t have the energy, right? you feel free to “no-blog” right along with me. I’m here for you, Amy. :)

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