Andrea Meyers: making life delicious is a fabulous food blog. We first heard about her when our community voted her in as one of the top 50 food blogs of 2011. It’s easy to see why her blog is loved: beautiful images, easy to follow recipes (with great notes), and fun writing. There’s not a drop of boredom on Andrea’s recipes. These are just some of the reasons we selected Andrea as one of the featured bloggers for the FriendsEAT Facebook Timeline. Check out her blog, but before you do, take a few to learn a little about the woman behind the food:
Blanca Valbuena: What inspired you to start “Andrea Meyers: making life delicious”?
Andrea: I started writing about recipes six years ago while my family was dividing time between homes in two states for my husband’s job. It was easier to keep our favorite recipes online than to schlep my cookbooks back and forth. One thing led to another, and here I am, doing more than I ever imagined with my blog, which is now an extension of my photography business.
BV: For those who are not familiar with your blog, how would you describe it?
Andrea: I am a photographer and recipe developer, and my passion is food, from field to plate. I create recipes with fresh, whole ingredients, and share our experiences growing our own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. My interest in local farms led me to start a creative photography project visiting farms and vineyards in Northern Virginia, photographing them in all seasons of the year, which I then showcase on my blog.
bv: When did you know that cooking was more than sustenance, that is was more of a love for you?
Andrea: The first time I tried to replicate a dish that I had eaten while working abroad. I was living and teaching in Saipan and went to a grocery store that stocked Asian ingredients, 99% not labeled in English. It took me a while to find a jar of Chinese black bean sauce that I could actually identify, but I finally did and made my first dish of beef with black bean sauce. That set me off in search of more information on Chinese cooking, an exercise I replicated in every country I visited and lived in over the next eight years, and continue to this day.
BV: Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to food blogging?
Andrea: I’m an educator at heart and believe in freely sharing information. If someone can learn how to cook something because I shared a recipe on my blog, I’m glad I could help.
BV: What is a typical day in your life like?
Andrea: Busy with my family, cooking, photographing, writing, running my photography business, cleaning the mess I make in the kitchen. And eight months of the year includes daily time in the garden.
BV: How do you come up with your recipes?
Andrea: My inspiration comes from what’s growing in our garden, what’s in season, the things my mother and I talk about when we get together and share old cookbooks, dishes I eat in restaurants, my travels, and of course my favorite cookbooks and magazines. I do quite a bit of research before creating a recipe.
BV: Who was/is your biggest culinary inspiration?
Andrea: My grandmothers were both excellent southern cooks. They made their biscuits in dough bowls without measuring anything and fried the best chicken. Both sides of my family come from farming families, and simple home fare is still what I love best.
BV: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a food blog?
Andrea: Ask yourself what about food interests you the most. Find your focus.
BV: Do you do everything for the blog yourself or do you have someone to help you?
Andrea: I do all the photography, writing, and cooking, unless I’m documenting someone else’s work. I also do all my own site customizations and admin (I have a bit of a tech background), though I have a great tech guy who handles my hosting.
BV: How do you balance it all, family, blog, garden and free lance writing?
Andrea: Imperfectly. I don’t know that any mother balances it all the way she wants. Family comes first, so I only work on business projects (photography, blog, etc) while the kids are in school on weekdays. I also used to work at night after they went to bed, but I learned that working late night hours wasn’t good for me, so I rarely do it anymore, though sometimes tight deadlines force me to work on the weekends.
BV: What is the one thing you could eat any time, any place?
Andrea: Pizza margarita.
BV: What has been the most exciting thing that has happened as a result of you starting “Andrea Meyers: making life delicious”?
Andrea: Making videos with GoodBite.com has been a lot of fun.
BV: What are your favorite food blogs?
Andrea: I have a bunch of favorites, but I especially enjoy Use Real Butter by Jen Yu, The Wicked Noodle by Kristy Bernardo, The Perfect Pantry by Lydia Walshin, Kalyn’s Kitchen by Kalyn Denny, Sass & Veracity by Kelly Wright, Panini Happy by Kathy Strahs, Gluten-Free Goddess by Karina Allrich, and Culinary Types by T.W. Barritt.
BV: If I came to visit you, what or where would we eat?
Andrea: Northern Virginia has a number of excellent local restaurants, and it would be tempting to go to The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Magnolia’s at the Mill, or The Goodstone Inn. Then again we might just go to Willard’s for barbecue.
BV: And your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Andrea: I wish I could put avocados in everything.
BV: How do you feel about Foodtertainment?
Andrea: I enjoy food travel and cooking shows, but I’m really not into food competition shows.
BV: If I say foie gras, you say?
Andrea: Chocolate foie gras lollipop. I had one at the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC during one of their culinary events last October with Chefs Patricia Jinich and Jose Ramon Castillo. It was fantastic, both the evening and the lollipop.
BV: Where do you see food blogging in five years?
Andrea: I think that the number of food blogs will continue to grow, that blogging will still be an important way for people to share what they enjoy about food.
BV: And where do you see “Andrea Meyers: making life delicious” in ten?
Andrea: I plan to be right here, creating recipes, sharing my photography projects, talking about our garden, and taking on new projects. This is one of my creative outlets.
BV: What do you see as the most important issue facing foodies today?
Andrea: I think finding balance in agriculture is going to continue to grow as a concern. It’s a huge, complicated issue: support small local producers, stay away from GMO crops, not use harmful chemicals, feed a lot of people, get fresh food into schools, allow people choice in how and where they source and grow their food (i.e. unpasteurized milk, backyard chickens, urban gardens, front yard gardens), start and supporting local farmers markets and CSAs. There are no easy answers, and it doesn’t happen overnight. One community at a time is how change happens.
FE: Any tips for those out there who think they have no hope in the kitchen?
Andrea: If you don’t know how to cook, start by learning your three favorite dishes. You’ll be proud of yourself and may even have fun cooking!