Q) Why did you decide to blog and why did you choose food?
After years in the trenches of corporate America, I was weary and bored. Though my experience as an eyewitness to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack hastened my departure, I was on that trajectory anyway. I missed the structure and discipline of the traditional work day, but did not miss the white-collar world of business as usual. Instead, I created a venue where I could focus on my loves of creative writing, beauty, and pleasure. The kitchen, with my long-standing, self-taught expertise in cooking and baking, was a natural platform to nurture these pursuits. That I have found a world community who passionately resonates with my interests has been hugely rewarding. I now read scores of blogs, even though I can no longer visit as often as I'd like, I am routinely impressed by the talents and goodwill of the individuals who run them. I hope that you enjoy spending some time here as well.
Q) Do you have a niche in the food-blogging world, a specialty you focus on?
A) No, my tastes are far too eclectic to settle on just one. I love the American food I was raised on in the Northeast, (German, English, and southern Italian) but I am endlessly fascinated with all world cuisines, as well as other American regional cooking (I always have been; I suspect it's to do with the influence of my mother's life-long passion for anthropology and archeology). I am very eager to discover and prepare many new recipes. My M.O., however, is strictly based on my whim at the time. I may be inspired by a blog post, magazine article, cookbook recipe, or an ingredient or piece of equipment that I just happen upon while poking around the marketplace. If I bake a cake for someone's birthday, I could well blog about it if it's flavorful and photographs well.
Q) Are you a vegetarian?
A) I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian in a family of carnivores. I do not try to convert them. My kitchen is one of complicated accommodations. Dietary choices are driven by a number of extraordinarily complex factors. I have been a meat eater for much of my life (some early recipes on The Well-Seasoned Cook can attest to this), but I have slowly made the choice for change. Becoming a vegetarian has been a long, challenging, but ultimately satisfying journey for me. And, yes, I do sometimes feel the lure of a barbecue when the neighbors fire up their grills.
Q) You are the creator of the highly successful and long-running monthly event, My Legume Love Affair ("MLLA"). Why did you decide to provide a cooking-community gathering place for other legume aficionados to share their recipes and the stories that often accompany the dishes that they prepare?
A) I really took serious notice of legumes in the form most common to everyone, as dried beans. My ways of looking at the world were changing due to my keen interest in photography; I was discovering new shapes, sizes, and weights, new objects that reflected light in certain ways and absorbed it in others. I found beans as fascinating as semi-precious stones with their unique colors, markings, and textures. That their beauty could contribute to a balanced, healthy, and economical diet only enhanced their stature in my eyes. I have never understood the broad-enough consensus of the "lowly legume," nor did I expect MLLA to click with so many people despite that consensus. I've long known that legumes are a staple in many cuisines around the world, but I didn't fully factor in the stunning dedication shaped by millennia of geography, culture, and religion, which are guiding principles for any country's dietary preferences. Of course, I know now that many other edibles are members of the legume family. All legumes are welcome for MLLA.
Q) May I send you a product for you to review and discuss on your blog?
A) I do, on occasion, review products. A product must have a good general fit for The Well-Seasoned Cook, something that likely both myself and my esteemed readers would potentially enjoy. Though it is impossible for me to truly know what would please every individual reader, I take great pains in weighing suitable product candidates, and research products and customer service history to ensure, to the best of my ability, that any goods would be enjoyed by my readers without issue. An agreement to review your product does not imply that my review will be favorable, whether the product was given to me or purchased by me. Each review will clearly state where and how I obtained your product.
Q) Would you be interested in reviewing restaurants?
A) Restaurant reviews require repeated visits and careful, objective assessments of many elements of the dining experience. I do not have the resources, time, nor training to professionally judge an establishment skillfully, fairly, and with grace.
I have always been a keen advocate for generosity and good will. It has been my monthly MLLA policy to purchase a cookbook or food-related book or kitchen gadget (without influence yet geared to the maximum reader interest) via Amazon. Although I do not do not enjoy any compensation through Amazon via their affiliate program, I am an Amazon consumer who appreciates their product and shipping discounts which allow me to continue these self-funded giveaways. Mentions of Amazon are not to be interpreted as brand placement for the retailer.
In addition to my monthly prize, MLLA also offers an additional prize sponsored by Hurst Bean Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. This prize consists of a six-product assortment of dried legumes. With the exception of requesting two products from Hurst Bean which I could not locate in my local markets, I do not receive any routine product compensation. I also do not receive any financial compensation.
There have also been occasions when I have been approached to offer a giveaway independent of MLLA. On each occasion, I have made clear where and how I obtained the merchandise, whether it's been something that I purchased or was given to me. I will continue to disclose the origins and arrangements for any future one-off giveaways.
PR and other marketing agents are welcome to contact me. I will consider all high-quality products that are a good fit for this site and my readership.
Q) May I advertise on The Well-Seasoned Cook?
A) Since its 2007 launch, The Well-Seasoned Cook has been free of traditional advertisements despite increasing operating costs. During 2012, changes will be implemented to migrate this site to generate revenue while maintaining quality content. I am now seriously considering select proposals which are appropriate for this site.
I abide by the Federal Trade Commission December 2009 mandate to plainly disclose any and all goods, services, and/or financial compensation which I have received/may receive in connection with any post written on The Well-Seasoned Cook.
All writing and photography on this site are protected by copyright. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Photos and writing contributed from other sources (i.e., for food-blogging events) are also protected by the copyrights of their owners. These materials from other sources are published by permission and courtesy of the copyright owners and are credited.
Recipes featured on The Well-Seasoned Cook may be original, inspired by, or adapted from others' recipes. All recipes are identified as original, inspired by, or adapted from. Appropriate credit is acknowledged for every recipe. All recipes, regardless of source, are protected by copyright.
AS SEEN IN:
National Geographic Traveler (Photography)
The Food Hall by Todd English - The Plaza Hotel New York (Photography)
Getty Images (Stock photography)
Where Does the Money Go? 2011 Revised Edition (Trade paperback/HarperCollins)
Where Did the Jobs Go -- And How Do We Get Them Back? Your Guided Tour to America's Unemployment Crisis (2012 Trade paperback/HarperCollins)
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (Commissioned recipe development, writing, and photography)
Wu Magazine (Photography)
Desserts Magazine (Writing and photography, recipe testing, and reportage)
San Pellegrino (Photography)
Apartment Therapy - The Kitchn ( Featured cocktail recipe and photography)
Apartment Therapy - The Kitchn (Featured zucchini fries recipe and photography)
Blogs.com (Review of the Top Ten Beautiful Food Blogs)
Tastespotting (General food photography)
Foodgawker (General food photography)