Name, Location, Occupation, Website
Freelance Writer, Photographer, & Recipe Developer
Please describe your workspace:
My entire home is my workspace. It's a craftsman style cottage in the Tennessee valley that I share with my fiancé. It has oak floors, casement windows, a generous front porch populated by herbs that I've yet to kill, and tons of light. It's high on a hill, up in the leaves like a treehouse. The space is an eclectic and ever evolving work in progress, a mix of mid-century, middle eastern, and farmhouse pieces. We're in the process of redesigning the kitchen, a project that will involve knocking out a wall to make the dining area and kitchen one open space. I don't think the cook & the guests should be cordoned off from one another, and I hope that space evolves into everything from studio to set to classroom.
What are you working on right now?
Too many things! I'm working on a couple of Kinfolk workshops in Nashville, in the discussion stage of shooting & styling a cocktail recipe book for a local restaurant, writing an article on a local bakery, Niedlov's, for Spenser Magazine, working with Wooden Spoon Kitchens & Katt Frank to redesign my blog & logo respectively (exciting stuff!), and I've started writing a bi-monthly column on seasonal Southern food over at Food52. And of course the blog! But the biggest project I'm working on is a cookbook proposal, which has always been a dream of mine.
What has been your most rewarding project to date?
My blog, actually. It's a living, breathing project, and it has led me to so many wonderful opportunities & collaborations, introduced me to tons of kind & talented people, and has been a place where I can grow & experiment creatively. It's where I've been able to find my voice, my vision, and my style in all three areas of what I do: writing, photography, and cooking.
Which designers and artists inspire you?
So many, know that these lists, while massive, are not close to comprehensive.
—On the culinary side of things, both chefs & food writers: Thomas Keller, Michael Ruhlman, Julia Child, Hugh Acheson, David Chang, Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adria, Alice Waters, Gabrielle Hamilton, M.F.K. Fisher, Jeffrey Steingarten, Michael Pollan, Frank Stitt, Anthony Bourdain, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Magnus Nilsson... there are many others, but I'll stop.
—Other writers, mostly but not entirely deceased: Baudelaire, H.P. Lovecraft, Virginia Woolf, Bukowski, Henry Miller, Nabokov, Hart Crane, Malcolm Lowry, John Berryman, Italo Calvino, David Foster Wallace, Dostoyevsky, Milan Kundera...
—A hodge podge of photographers: William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Ye Rin Mok, Uta Barth, Charlotte Bland, Michael Graydon, Anna Williams, Andrea Gentl, Ditte Isager, Parker Fitzgerald, Tim Robison, V.K. Rees, Olivia Rae James, Michael Muller, Nicole Franzen, Brian Ferry, Luisa Brimble, Laura D'art, Isabelle Bertolini...
Has there been a defining moment or turning point when you realized what you wanted to do for a living?
Absolutely. I was sitting in my therapist's office lamenting for the billionth time that, while I have a deep & abiding love for it, I didn't want to go down the path of making an academic career out of teaching philosophy, which is what I'd previously wanted (or thought I wanted). She asked me what it was I did want to do. I told her I wanted to pursue a triumvirate career in food, photography, and writing. She said "So do that". I said, "ok". I quit school and started doing what I do, and I've never once looked back. Best decision I ever made.
What do you think is the most difficult aspect of working in design?
The writing. I think writing is unique in the arts as it has an attendant self-loathing that's unparalleled. It can be a beautifully miserable enterprise at times. Also, as a creative, learning the business & financial side of things, time management, organization, work flow. That's all been a challenge for a scatterbrain such as myself. Lastly, I think when you juggle three different professions all rolled into one, it can be overwhelming at times because they all involve very different modes of thinking, but ultimately it's the most rewarding work in the world, and I feel blessed to be able to do all the things I love for a living.
What are you reading at the moment?
American Food Writing (an anthology), Mindfulness In Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana, and An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. And I'm always flipping through the beautiful "The Art of Eating" M.F.K. Fisher anthology that a friend lent me.
What websites do you visit for inspiration?
I spend a lot of time on Etsy & Pinterest, getting inspiration for everything from my wardrobe to my home to food. Other than that, there are a lot of blogs in my weekly rotation, and some of my current favorites in the food realm are The Vanilla Bean Blog, Happyolks, Hungry Ghost, For the Love of the South, Dash and Bella, Little Upside Down Cake, Farmette, Manger, Nothing But Delicious, and Forty-Sixth at Grace. Other blogs and sites are Luisa Brimble, Kinfolk, Lingered Upon, A Daily Something, Another Feather, Pennyweight, De Alma e Coracao, Bleubird, Miss Moss, The Fresh Exchange, Blooming Leopold, Rebekka Seale, and Scout.
What are your simplest daily pleasures?
My quotidian pleasures are my morning meditation with Ralph Blume's runes, my breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and granola & a cup of coffee with excessive amounts of cream every morning, and laying curled up next to my fiancé every single night. And yes, I eat, by and large, the exact same thing every morning. People sometimes find that surprising. Those moments are the bread of my day sandwich, and I love them. Oh, and baths! I take an inordinate amount of very long baths. I joke that the bathtub is my real office because I've even pulled up a table to set my laptop on so I can work there. I'm aquatic by nature.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
With a few cookbooks published, working on my memoir. And essentially doing what I do now, collaborating with publications, brands, and other creatives that I'm enthusiastic about. Raising a family, and wandering the globe with my clan when I'm not working. And I harbor not-so-secret aspirations of being the female Anthony Bourdain. So if any networks want to give me a call, they can get right on that. I jest. Sort of.