Top Ten Things To Expect When Dining With A Food Blogger


Exactly a year ago I posted this list, the complete contents of which came to me during one of those midnight feedings with the baby where the mind has no choice but to explore the cobwebby corners of itself.

The overwhelming response to the list was a sheer delight to read, as bloggers barred their souls, confessed all, and nodded understandingly.

The Top 10 List made it’s way around many popular food sites and remains one of my most popular posts. It is most worthy of a re-run in it’s anniversary.

**Disclaimer: The following is a tongue-in-cheek and much exaggerated preview of what to expect should you accept a dinner invitation to the home of an avid food blogger. At least, I think it would be like this; certainly at my place things are done with much more consideration for the guest!**

Top Ten Things To Expect When Dining With A Food Blogger:


1. You won’t be asked to bring anything for dinner except perhaps a bottle of wine or two.

2. Dinner will be served at three in the afternoon because the natural light is better for photographs.

3. Once the meal is ready, it will be marched past the beautifully set dining room table and out the back door for a photo shoot on the shady deck; it will be served to you approximately fifteen minutes later. If you’re lucky.

4. Due to #3, dinner will be cold.

5. There will be one beautifully presented dish – the one being photographed – but any side dishes may look like they were hurriedly slopped together.

6. The dining room has a backdrop and fill lights. Don’t touch any props.

7. You may be asked if you can be photographed while eating, but note that this request is merely a formality and the host will snap away at will no matter what your response. Expect close-ups of your lips,hands, etc.

8. The host may seem lost in thought for the most of the meal — presumably because he/she is already composing a blog post in his/her head.

9. If there is conversation, it will probably revolve around the food (details on how it was prepared, the chef’s feelings on how it turned out) or the weather (too sunny for good photographs or not sunny enough).

10. You’ll notice that the cake for dessert has a slice missing from it. That’s because the host needed to photograph the layers.

UtHC Coast to Coast

A cool thing happened the other week:

We’re a relatively low-profile blog and that is fine by us, but every once in a while we’ll pop up on someone’s radar and it’s always entertaining to see what transpires after that and where our name ends up.

This happened recently when a Top 10 list I had posted a while back happened to land a spot in another Top 10 list over at the popular food blog, Endless Simmer. Demonstrating a stroke of pure genius, Brendan Spiegel (BS) compiled a Top 10 Top 10 Food Lists, a shout out to the “funniest food stories we’ve seen in list format”.

Topping the hilarious, exhaustive and often insightful (I need to see Tampopo like now) list, was my Top 10 Things to Expect When Dining With a Food Blogger. Sweet!

That was just the beginning of the fun.

A few hours later, the New York-based food website, Serious Eats came calling. As this site has been praised by some as the “next generation of food media” and named by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Best Websites, I about hit the roof when they called my list ‘inspired‘.
Equally entertaining was a commenter who stated “I refuse to eat with food bloggers or vegan/vegetarians.”! Hilarious.

I would have been content if the link love had ended there, but the next day we traveled to the opposite coast and popped up on Eater LA, followed in quick succession by a spot on UrbanDiner, for some Canadian love.

Apparently, it doesn’t matter which country you find yourself in, you might want to think twice before dining with a food blogger, as was proven by well-known Korean Food Journal ZenKimchi who stated that my list hit close to home.

We could talk about blurbs on News Now Network or SpliceToday, or all the food blogs that joined in the fun (at their own expense) but I think you get the drift…Wait, what was the drift? I’ve already forgotten.

How about this: Internet ‘fame’ lasts about 15 seconds, so grab a glass of wine and enjoy it!

.. and we’re back off the radar. Cheers!

Did that header photo make you hungry? It’s a Warm Lobster Salad with Asparagus, Fiddleheads and Poached Rhubarb.

Ten Things I’ve Learned About Food Bloggers


I’m surprised and thrilled by your response to this post–and a teeny bit relieved that you ‘got it’. I really have the coolest bunch of readers!

To those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, catch up by reading my “Top Ten Things To Expect When Dining With A Food Blogger“. Consider it a little weekend reading and do NOT skip the hilarious fifty or so comments where food bloggers bare their souls and make some surprising confessions.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Barbara said:
Great post. I also get ‘Aren’t you taking a photo for your blog? Is our food not good enough to blog?’ when we are dining at friend’s houses.

Ouch! Is there any good answer to that question, Barbara? My pet peeve is when we’re dining out with friends and they gush over their Chicken Parmesan “Ohh, take a picture of this for your blog!”
Why? Because people have never seen melted cheese sprinkled with parsley before?

Andrea said:
I don’t take photos when guests, even family, are visiting, though my husband asks me constantly, ‘Did you photograph that?’ before I serve anything to company. It’s almost embarrassing!

As if we would forget, right? That’s when you blush, smile, and pretend you have no idea what he is talking about.

Kimberly said:
(at her child) ” ‘Hold on! Mommy forgot to take a picture! Can you please slide over? I need more light I know, you’re hungry. Mommy is hungry too.’ “

Kim! Are you scarring you children? Making them go hungry for the sake of a blog? Don’t worry, sweetie, we’ve all been there.

Ah, we can’t take ourselves too seriously now, can we?

Here are Ten Things I’ve Learned About Food Bloggers since writing the aforementioned post:

  1. We can laugh at ourselves. This is healthy.
  2. Our significant others put up with a LOT.
  3. We are dedicated to our craft, sometimes at the expense of family & friends.
  4. Surprisingly, some of us tend to be shy about working in front of guests.
  5. We have resigned ourselves to eating cold food. Now if only our S.O. would too; life would be so much easier.
  6. Somehow, this food blogging thing is having an effect on our young children and they may need some therapy later.
  7. We dream of a studio with good lighting, but for the most part, shoot on makeshift sets at random places all over the house.
  8. We know we’re a little wacky.
  9. We’re longing for summer with its lengthy evenings of soft natural light.
  10. Our kids are aspiring food bloggers (or think they are).

Thanks, everyone, for the great response! I’m thinking I may need to do a follow-up post…something along the lines of “Confessions of a Food Blogger”. Feel free to start the therapy in the comments section below.

It seems we have a lot to get off our chests.

Stay tuned, I have a bevvy of desserts lined up for the week ahead. Brace yourselves!
For now, I’ve got to get going on chili for about 40 people. We’re co-hosting a sledding party this weekend and I think I may even dust off my snowboard!

Have a great weekend!

Top Ten Things To Expect When Dining With A Food Blogger


Disclaimer: The following is a tongue-in-cheek and much exaggerated preview of what to expect should you accept a dinner invitation to the home of an avid food blogger. At least, I think it would be like this; certainly at my place things are done with much more consideration for the guest!

Top Ten Things To Expect When Dining With A Food Blogger:

1. You won’t be asked to bring anything except perhaps wine or other beverages.

2. Dinner will be served at 3 in the afternoon because the natural light is better.

3. Once the meal is ready, it will be marched past the set dining room table and out the back door for a photo shoot on the shady deck; it will be served to you approximately fifteen minutes later. If you’re lucky.

4. Due to #3, dinner will be cold.

5. There will be one beautifully presented dish – the one being photographed – but any side dishes may look like they were hurriedly slopped together.

6. The dining room has a backdrop and fill lights. (So I don’t, but I bet I know someone who does.)

7. You may be asked if you can be photographed while eating, but note that this request is merely a formality and the host will snap away at will no matter what your response. Expect close-ups of your lips, etc.

8. The host may seem lost in thought for the most of the meal — presumably because he/she is already composing a blog post in his/her head.

9. If there is conversation, it will probably revolve around the food (details on how it was prepared, the chef’s feelings on how it turned out) or the weather (too sunny for photographs or not sunny enough).

10. You’ll notice that the cake for dessert has a slice missing from it. That’s because the host needed to photograph the layers.

Consider yourself warned. You’re welcome.

Update: Don’t miss the follow-up to this post “Ten Things I’ve Learned About Food Bloggers“!

Top Ten Favorite Camping Foods

Glowing embers of a campfire melt the chocolate in this updated take on a S’more

Ah, the last long weekend in summer is over and school days are here again – well not for me; it’s just the rest of you who have to get into a routine! August flew by for us, but it was bookended by two memorable trips into the country, the first one being a fantastic camping trip that inspired this post.
We were hesitant at first to try tenting with the little ones, but decided not to let that stop us and were rewarded with a memorable family experience that we hope to keep up every summer here on out. It wasn’t just the food that was good (arguably the best part of camping, right?) but we had sunshine for at least half the time, successful mid-day naps in the tent, and no bugs to speak of!


I just have to say, everyone has a different interpretation of what camping is. For some it is merely hooking up an RV in a camp off of some major highway, sending the kids to the pool and watching TV with a 24 of beer close by. For others it may involve packing only the bare essentials in a backpack, hiking deep into the wilderness and sleeping under the stars.
Then there is the middle ground: backing your vehicle into a campsite in a provincial park, setting up a tent and using a combination of camp stove and fire pit for your cooking. This version seemed to suit us just fine when we joined a group of friends for a two-night camp-out on a small lake south of here.


No one can say one type of camping is better than the other. It’s all about what suits your lifestyle, your physical aptitude, wilderness skills and how you grew up camping (or not) with your parents.
The same goes for camping food! While these ten items are camping ‘must-haves’ for me, there are plenty of people who are going to read this and say ” Bannock? Huh? Where’s the Kraft Dinner? The hamburgers?”. Since my kind of camping when I was growing up was mostly of the wilderness sort, my camping menu items tend to reflect that influence.

Top Ten Favorite Camping Foods

1. Bannock

Classic breakfast camping fare. I mix my dry goods in a Ziplock bag at home, then add a little warm water to the bag at the campsite, mix in the bag and pat the dough into a cast iron pan. Biscuit like in texture, the bannock takes on the smoky flavor of the fire and is a nourishing start to the day! Batter can also be prepared a little thicker, rolled by hand into a rope, wrapped around a green stick and roasted like a hot dog over an open fire. This takes a lot of time and patience, as you need to cook it over low coals so it cooks evenly and the outside doesn’t char. Only recommended when you have a lazy morning to kill, otherwise the cast iron pan works well.

2. Energy Bars and other energy-boosting dried goods

When we go hiking we are never with out a good trail mix and these delicious Clif Bars. With flavors like Cool Mint Chocolate, Banana Nut Bread and Peanut Toffee Buzz, these organic baked energy bars are the perfect pick-me-up whether you are bushwacking through the forest or smoking the opposite team in beach volleyball!

3. Dehydrated Soups

We weren’t camping long enough to warrant purchasing instant soup for this trip, but we all have our favorite dried soup mix or cup-o-soup. Invaluable on a cold, drizzly day, it doesn’t get much simpler than just adding hot water. And don’t get stuck in a chicken noodle rut, there are some great flavors out there like Spicy Black Bean.

4. Cocoa and other hot beverages

Do not leave home without plenty of instant hot drinks, no matter how warm you think the weather will be! The temperature drops dramatically at night and sleeping so near the ground can be quite chilly. I brought this organic hot cocoa (from Marchés Tau), a dozen tea bags and lots of ground coffee, thinking I was ‘over packing’, but we drank everything. Of course, once word got out that we were making French press coffee over at our campsite, we had to share a little.

5. S’mores

The classic s’more is made with a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. I always found that was too much cracker and not enough of the good stuff, plus I like my chocolate warmed to the sticky stage, so I changed things up a bit to create this masterpiece. The cookie is a Belgian waffle cookie (purchased) and it is big enough to hold two marshmallows, i.e. twice the goodness! The ‘mallows are toasted until golden, then gently pulled off the stick, leaving the insides behind. A square of chocolate is inserted into each of the hollow, molten marshmallows and both are placed on the waffle and topped with another waffle. (of course you can do one at a time, too, but this is pretty economical). I like to set the whole the whole thing down near the campfire’s heat until the chocolate melts enough. Mmm. SO good.
I’m sure for some people, this is the best part about camping!

6. Pasta in a box

Go ahead, make your Kraft Dinner, I’ve certainly eaten enough of it on camp-outs, but if I can, I prefer something like this white cheddar pasta that actually tastes great and doesn’t leave you with a stomach ache. Not only is boxed pasta super light to carry (for you backpackers), it’s heavenly to enjoy a hot meal out in the bush, especially if you have wet socks.

7. Smokies or your favorite sausage

Let’s face it, you gotta roast something on a stick over an open fire when you are camping. This is what ground meat encased in a skin was born to do. My Ukrainian heritage always points me in the direction of the garlic smokies, although there are so many different type of great sausages to choose from.
Directions: Skewer with a green stick. Roast over an open flame until the sides split and the juices run. Don’t burn your mouth.

8. Baked Nutella Bananas

I’m sure people other than us make these all the time, but I have never seen it. Maybe you’re about to learn something new today! Anyway, if you’re tired of S’mores, another great dessert is to simply take a banana, peel back a small section and scoop out a little flesh to make a valley in the banana. Fill the valley with Nutella and, if you wish, a few marshmallows (minis work best, but I didn’t have), and place the peel back over the hole. Wrap in tin foil and place in the hot coals of a campfire. Cook about 10 minutes, poke to see if banana is soft, and if it is, remove from the heat. Eat with a spoon. Yum!
Some people also replace the Nutella with chocolate chips and that’s great too.

9. Potatoes baked in the ashes

Baking in foil is the best way to eat for camping: no clean up! Plus the food takes on an incredible smokey flavor from the fire that one can’t duplicate at home. These potatoes are about the simplest side dish you can make, yet one of the best. Just scrub some new potatoes and cut them in half. Toss with a little olive oil and salt (I added fresh garlic and rosemary from my garden) and wrap up tight in foil. Toss the package onto the coals (never open flame) and forget about them for a half an hour or so. Tongs are useful to remove the packages from the fire when they are finished; just be careful of the hot steam when you open them!

10. Fresh Fish baked in foil


Similar to the potatoes, fresh fish needs no further dressing than to be rinsed, patted dry, seasoned with a few herbs and garlic and wrapped in foil. This fish cooked in about 10 minutes and needed to be turned a few times. It was moist and delicious, with all the juices contained in the foil.

So what’s your favorite camping food? Come on, let’s have it!