Blogger Chuck Mallory shares his passion for food in his blog Chuckmall: Sensational Side Dishes. If you salivate when thinking of Four Cheese Mac with Bacon or Spinaci Cannellini Dip, then you should definitely check out his mouth watering sides. We caught up with Chuck and asked him a few questions about his passion for food and writing.
FriendsEAT: What inspired you to start a food blog?
Chuck Mallory: The number of people who were impressed by my cooking, asked for recipes, and actually suggested I start a food blog. I decided I was a better cook than I realized!
FE: What field of food does your blog focus on and why did you decide to go this route?
CM: Side dishes. There are few blogs on this particular topic. These are almost always meat-free, vegetable-based side dishes, and thus are of interest to vegetarians too. To me, it’s easy to like the main course and dessert. But too often we take shortcuts on side dishes. Good recipes for side dishes can change that.
FE: What is a typical day in your life like?
CM: I work as a property manager but also am a professional writer part-time. So some evenings I am cooking, blogging, and/or writing fiction. Typical weekends in Chicago include entertaining and/or eating out!
FE: What was your childhood kitchen like?
CM: Everyone has a story about the wonderful cinnamon-y smells or hustle and bustle in the kitchen. My mom worked and had 5 kids and didn’t particularly love cooking–but she had to! I remember as a young child the vast amount of canning that seemed to happen, and as a teenager, remember eating TV dinners (Mom worked in a TV-dinner factory!). We owned a couple of restaurants part of that time, so I remember that crazy atmosphere, too.
FE: What is your kitchen like now?
CM: I’m in Chicago, so space is premium. It’s small but glamorous. I took out an island but have crammed my cabinet space (in an organized way) with every possible gadget. I use a large antique wardrobe as an extra cabinet. I have a large, expensive, 4-burner gas stove that has a special attachment to hold a wok. It’s impressive, and well-used. I also have a large refrigerator and must always have freezer-on-the-bottom style.
FE: What type of people read your blog?
CM: People from all walks of life, from busy Midwestern housewives to young moms who want to sneak more vegetables into their kids’ diets, to gourmet types.
FE: What comes to mind when you hear the word bacon?
CM: Bubblin’ brown sugar bacon: frying slices of bacon in brown sugar. It doesn’t get more sinful than that.
FE: What is your favorite restaurant and why?
CM: This changes so often, since I live in Chicago, that it’s hard to say. At this time. Topolobamo, Rick Bayless’s restaurant in Chicago. They never fail to impress.
FE: What is your favorite ingredient and why?
CM: Asparagus. It’s healthy, delicious, and very versatile. Plus no other vegetable tastes quite like it.
FE: What is your opinion of the current state of Foodtertainment?
CM: It’s nice that we have the Food Channel as well as food shows on Fine Living Network, PBS, and the Fitness Network. I hope to see more! Plus there are now many great things online. This will only increase.
FE: What do you think is the future of food blogging in the next 5 years?
CM: It will be like book publishing, acting and many other fields. Those who don’t contribute regularly or don’t focus or try hard enough will fall by the wayside, and the good ones will emerge to take over more of the “market.” Internet use is only going to increase.
CM: Fat Willy’s BBQ in Chicago! Chicago actually does not have much in the way of BBQ, I think, and since I come from Kansas City, I’m picky about it. In Chicago some people know about Fat Willy’s–but tourists don’t.
FE: What do you think is the most important issue facing foodies today?
CM: What Jamie Oliver is doing with “Food Revolution.” People are pressed for time and just going to get busier. Fast food is easy and very cheap. We are going to really have to work hard to stem the tide of childhood obesity and change the ways companies like Sodexho and US Food are controlling school meals.
FE: Is there a wish that you have for food culture in the US?
CM: Learning to live in a way–and convincing others–that we need to slow down, leisurely cook and enjoy, and spend the evening as Europeans do, sipping wine and eating and chatting.
We’d like to thank Chuck for his time and we wish him many amazing meals.
Wanna keep up with Chuck? Check out his blog and follow his recipes on FriendsEAT.