Today’s post is slightly different to usual. May has been busy month in our household and this week past has been fucking crazy so my plans to cook and photograph yesterday were blown out of the water by work deadlines and a stuffy nose. Today, rather than a recipe, below is a collection of favourites – some of the recipes I’ve been salivating over, and some of the things I’ve been reading, this past month. Also below is a reflection on my own writing habits as part of a chain ‘blog hop’ that the lovely Zenobia Frost invited me to take part in.
– “It’s in the reach of my arms / the span of my hips / the stride of my step / the curl of my lips / I’m a woman / Phenomenally.” Over the past couple of days my various social media feeds have been full of tributes to Maya Angelou, who died on Wednesday. A great activist and artist, to this day her poem Phenomenal Woman never fails to give me goosebumps
– Ever since Ashlae posted them, I have been craving these Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
– I’m a sucker for anything with rhubarb in it, and this Rhubarb & Strawberry Quinoa Crumble from Green Kitchen Stories sounds super-yum
– Loving turmeric at the moment, so can’t wait to make this zingy turmeric broth
– Crispy roasted salt & vinegar potatoes is just up my alley!
– A love poem from spoken word artist Derrick Brown, who has recently been touring Australia – it’s too lovely for words
– I just finished this memoir – easy reading, funny and heartbreaking by turn
– The picture at the top is one of my thrown-together salads: roasted baby golden beets tossed through with toasted sunflower seeds, rocket leaves, lemon juice, and a generous glug of olive oil
The wonderfully talented poet and writer Zenobia Frost invited me to take part in a blog hop. It’s pretty straightforward – I answer a few questions reflecting on my writing practice, then I tag a few more bloggers who do the same, so forth and so on. Here goes:
What are you working on at the moment?
Food-wise, I’m working on home-churned herb butter, polenta pear cake, a spicy ginger stir-fry, and something nice and roasted for the colder weather. Maybe a lemony pasta dish too, and some kind of mushroom curry. I don’t plan the written part of my posts though – they just end up being a reflection on what I’ve been doing, reading, and thinking about the week past.
Outside of the food-writing sphere, I’m working on a personal essay about the radicalisation of birth, as well as a few short creative non-fiction pieces that are perpetually unfinished!
How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?
I’m pretty new to food blogging, and as a lot of it is personal journal-style writing, it’s more about cultivating my authentic voice, which is hopefully unique to me. I hope that the combination of photos, recipes, and writing brings the blog its own style.
Outside of food writing, I’m not actually a very prolific writer. Most of what I’ve written is non-fiction – either memoir/personal essays, or creative non-fiction – so again, while I’m not breaking new ground with what I write I do aim to develop and write in an authentic voice.
Why do you write what you write?
I started a food blog for a few reasons. About three years ago I produced a travelling food writing workshop series, and through that I began reading food blogs and following foodie culture. While I am totally uninterested in diets and calorie counting, I am fascinated by the way that food is a lot more than a source of nourishment; it is interlinked with all other aspects of our life. Talk to anyone about their childhood, and food is one of the biggest memory triggers. What we – as an individual, as a family, as a society – eat, and how we eat, says a lot about our culture and our relationship to the natural world.
On a more personal level, I wanted to start experimenting with food and documenting it; I love cooking, taking photos, and writing, so it seemed like a natural combination. Now that I’ve been at it for a few months, I certainly enjoy the process of preparing something new each week and then sitting down to write about it – to connect the food I am eating with whatever else is happening around me.
Beyond food writing, I enjoy writing creative non-fiction for the chance to research a topic and get a little lost in it – I loved the academic rigor of university and to this day find myself footnoting and annotating everything that I write.
What’s your writing process, and how does it work?
Truth be told, I am not a very disciplined writer at all. I write a lot better when I have a deadline to motivate me – which is why the blog is great. All of the pieces that I’ve had published have been written in response to a call-out from a literary journal or magazine. Unless I have a goal or deadline, I am prone to leaving works unfinished.
These days, with a one year old, a job, and this blog, I don’t get a lot of time to write. When I do, it’s at night, when everyone else has gone to bed. I keep telling myself that next year is my year to buckle down and write – always next year!
Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend. Originally from Melbourne, she now calls Brisbane home.