One of the best things about my being a food blogger is the ongoing discovery of what a tremendous amount of brethren I have when it comes to the enjoyment of cooking and eating. Sanura Weathers, marvelous cook and creator of MyLifeRunsOnFood.com is such a person; one with whom I share, besides an affinity for well-prepared lamb, a great many culinary philosophies. Recently, she was kind enough to speak with me on things tasty, that we may all benefit. Better still, she brought pictures!
Flavorful World: It has been said that ‘we eat with our eyes first’ in that an attractively presented meal goes a long way toward whetting the appetite. Of all your recipes, which do you think offers the most to the eye, and why?
Sanura Weathers: Desserts are expected pretty pictures. Often, the beauty of healthy dishes—made with whole grains and fresh produce—are unexpectedly beautiful. It’s about making a gnarly root vegetable into a seductive au gratin dish. Creamy Gorgonzola cheese lavishly smeared on wheat toast and topped with toasted walnuts and arugula leaves. Squeezing blood oranges over risotto and asparagus. Taking rosemary roast chicken and vegetables from the oven to serve with wild rice. We can’t smell or taste these pictures, but it’s the same experience I try to capture when taking food photos. Ideally, it encourages other people to cook.
FW: Name a cuisine that you feel is overrated and why you think so. Name a cuisine that you feel is underrated and why you think so.
SW: The overrated cuisine is Ethiopian, because it’s my least favorite. It’s a textural issue of eating mostly puréed food, and the large bread shaped like the platter isn’t on my dream menu. However, since my opinion on Ethiopian food is based on restaurants, I have a suspicion their homestyle dishes are better. Ethnic restaurants in the United States frequently “Americanize” recipes for better sales.
Ironically, I may dislike Ethiopian food, but other African cuisines are underrated. We’re familiar with North African/Mediterranean cuisines, such as Egypt and Morocco. Contrary to my personal opinion, Ethiopian food is very popular. West Africa’s Jollof rice is a comfort dish. However, Africa, a culturally diverse continent, has more cuisines and ingredients unknown in America. Southern Soul food may have African influences, but the differences are vast.
FW: Tell us about a valuable aspect of cooking that you feel is disappearing, and what food lovers might do to preserve it.
SW: People think basic cooking techniques are an unnecessary life skill. That’s a misguided opinion; it’s placing health in control of corporations. Food bloggers help preserve basic skills by encouraging more people to cook and influence their audience to intimately think about food. Another essential disappearing life skill is menu planning. It helps save money on groceries and time during the weekdays. I’m a strong advocate of returning home economics courses in schools to teach kids the basic of cooking and menu planning. For too long, food companies have dictated American diets, only to monetarily benefit their bottom line. Meanwhile, our health is suffering, and our bottoms are growing obese.
FW: ‘Good food takes time’ has become a maxim among cooks and chefs the world over. Name a food you enjoy that turns this philosophy on its ear because its preparation necessitates swiftness for optimal enjoyment.
SW: I’ve recently discovered lamb chops. They cook a couple of minutes per side and they’re instantly ready serve. As they rest in separate dish, kale is saute in the same skillet. It’s a quick meal with elegance and it’s healthy.
FW:What was your last positive experience with a food you’d never tasted before?
SW:Definitely lamb chops. See the answer to question number four.
FW: What has been your best-received recipe?
SW: Last year, the most popular recipe was Vanilla Chai Ice Cream with Banana Bread.
FW: What is the most recent food item (that isn’t meat, fish, or pasta) that you built a wonderful meal around? What was the meal?
SW: These days, my schedule is busy. Pre-washed kale is always in the refrigerator for fast meals. Sautéed them with shrimp as a late-night snack or dinner. Cook eggs in them with mushrooms for breakfast. They’re spiced with harissa and stir fried with roast tomatoes for dinner. The last truly outstanding meal using them was Rosemary Lamb Chops with sauté Beet Greens, Roast Beets and Artichoke Risotto.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
SW: “It starts with Cornbread.”
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
SW: In between meals, I work as a Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager with a focused mind on decorating our apartment this year.
*Note to Readers: More delicious recipes and mouth-watering food photos await the wandering stomach at Sanura’s food blog, MyLifeRunsOnFood.com. Wipe your chin and head over now to catch her latest creations. If that’s not enough awesome for you, then show your face at her Facebook and LinkedIn pages, follow her on Twitter, or join her on Tumblr. Did I say “or”? I meant “and.” Seriously, go do all those things now, as you stand only to benefit from having your life run on food too.