Ever wonder what other foodies are thinking? Me too!
1. What is the name of your blog? Cheap Beets
2. Could you describe your blog in one sentence? A mostly vegetarian guide to eating well in the recession.
3. How did you get into food blogging? My husband was laid off pretty unexpectedly a few years ago, and when that happened, I fell into a panic about how we were going to trim our budget. I decided to pay close attention to the way we ate and thought I’d blog about it. Well, it turned out that we ate really well for not a lot of money already. The trick, it seems, is to not eat a lot of meat, have a well-stocked pantry, and to cook your meals yourself. I actually didn’t end up starting the blog until after Rich found a new job. This is basically me trying to assure people there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and eating well for cheap can be done. It also helps that I’m working on a masters in gastronomy and food studies at Boston University, so I often find myself leaning towards ideas I’ve studied, like eating seasonally and locally.
4. What’s the toughest part of writing about food? I think the toughest thing for my blog is making sure I don’t post a recipe that’s too expensive. I feel like I’d be letting my readers down if I featured a dish that cost more than $15. If I do a recipe featuring nuts, for example, I would make a point to use nuts I found at my favorite job lot store, Ocean State Job Lot. I certainly can’t top off a Cheap Beets dish with truffle shavings. I’d feel like such a jerk! The biggest bummer for sticking to my guns is missing out on a lot of blogger adventures that would cost a reader a pretty penny to attend. I might go and have a great time and meet tons of fun new people, but I’d feel rotten if I wrote it up on my blog about eating well during a lay-off.
5. What’s been your favorite food moment? My favorite food moment is Shabbos dinner (Sabbath). Friday night is a special night that is a reprieve from the rest of the week. We stop, bless the moment, making holy out of the mundane. I love hosting friends and sharing a wonderful meal full of good fun, stories and laughter.
6. Do you have a top restaurant? Esperia Grill, a family-run Greek kouzina in Brighton Center. I have never had a bad bite of food there. Ever. There’s tons of vegetarian choices, and their meat dishes, like their chicken gyro and lamb shanks have been covered in places like The Boston Phoenix and The Boston Globe. My favorite thing to get there is the cold appetizer platter. It’s $10, and you get your choice of four items. It feeds two as a full meal, with leftovers. I usually rotate between the skordalia, taramasolata, eggplant salad, tzatziki, hummus and spicy feta dip. And their falafel is the best I’ve had in the United States. Oh, and you have to get the Greek salad. Their dressing is so good that they bottle it; they received that many requests for it.
7. What’s one U.S. city you’d travel to just for the food? Chicago. That city has it all: from vegan to meaty, to molecular gastronomy to deep dish. Everything.
8. Is there a food you absolutely despise? Chicken salad. Something about mayo and that protein makes me shudder. Also, mustard.
9. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten? Well, I wouldn’t say craziest, for this one, but I definitely have a struggle going to food festivals and not losing my dignity. My husband usually finds me stumbling around, food drunk, clutching a plastic fork and asking if I can take a nap on the sidewalk. It seems to happen every time.
10. Are you more likely to stick with what you know, or do you try something new each time? I love trying out new foods and experimenting with recipes. My parents raised us to always give something a shot, be it Indian, Ethiopian, Egyptian or Greek. There were no kids’ foods and grown-up foods at their table or in restaurants. That sort of attitude towards food has helped me keep an open mind with everything, from meeting new people to exploring a new city. I see every meal as an opportunity for a new adventure.