Monday, May 4, 2009

The Times UK: Meet the Food Bloggers: Traveler's Lunchbox

From Times Online

April 28, 2009

Meet the Food Bloggers: Traveler's Lunchbox

Melissa Kronenthal's cultured blog from food-savvy Seattle features recipes that challenge her readers

Nick Wyke

8. Blog: Traveler's Lunchbox

What inspires you to write a food blog?

I started blogging four years ago on a whim - I thought I'd finally found a way to talk about food as much as I wanted without boring my family and friends to tears. I honestly had no idea it would change my life in so many ways. Blogging has given me a creative outlet, more friends than I can count, an ever-growing education in food - even the foundations of a new career.

What sort of posting really gets your readers excited (good or bad)?

People tend to get excited when I post about things they wouldn't have thought of tackling themselves at home: cultured butter, vanilla extract, brioche. Unusual things also grab their attention, like this sweet avocado milkshake. My most popular post ever, though, was a collaborative effort called the Foodblogger's Guide to the Globe, in which dozens of bloggers contributed to a list of things everyone should eat before they die.

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

Asking me to choose a favourite cookbook is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child, only that I have several hundred to choose between! That said, I love cookbooks that provide more than just recipes, and particularly those that teach me about the culture of food in other parts of the world. At the top of my list would probably be anything by authors/photographers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid - I read their books like novels.

Share a seasonal recipe with us...and a tip for a local restaurant?

I have a favorite pasta dish that I make all the time in warm weather: mash a couple of ripe avocados, stir in a clove of minced garlic, half a red onion, chopped, and three or four diced ripe, sweet tomatoes. Stir in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped fresh basil. Toss with hot, cooked pasta and top with some cooked, crumbled bacon. It tastes like the essence of summer.

As for a local restaurant, I can't be anywhere near Seattle's International District without stopping for a bánh mì thit nuong at Seattle Deli. It's a Vietnamese baguette sandwich with caramelised pork, coriander, chilies and pickled carrots, and it's the most addictive substance I know.

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

I just recently moved back to Seattle after a decade in Europe, and it's like discovering a whole new culinary world. Thankfully Seattle has a lot of very food-savvy people, and there's something here to suit every taste, including a lot of great Asian food, which I missed across the Atlantic. But it's the local ingredients that get me the most excited: the endless varieties of seafood, the raspberries, blackberries, apples, peaches and hazelnuts, the local artisan cheeses, the fantastic bread. It's really a food paradise.

What would you eat for your last supper?

Oh, that's a tough one. It might be a huge platter of sushi, or a wood-fired pizza with sausage and ricotta, or a seafood paella with garlicky aioli, or a cheese fondue with crusty cubes of sourdough bread, or maybe just a simple roast chicken with rosemary-roasted potatoes. Or maybe all of the above? And since I probably wouldn't remember to save room for dessert, I'll keep that simple: a bowl of ripe peaches, figs, and raspberries, accompanied by a wedge of triple-crème cheese and toasted almonds. Heaven.

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

So many! Mattbites, Chubby Hubby, Orangette, Lobstersquad, An Endless Banquet, David Lebovitz, Food Beam and Tea & Cookies to name a few.

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