art and lemons: Profile of an Art and Food Blog

BlogHer Original Post

Say hello to Nikki Gardner, who shares recipes, photos and stories in her art and food blog called "art and lemons."

Nikki Gardner


Name – Nikki Gardner

Hometown – "I live inside a small village in the hills of western Massachusetts with my husband and 21-month-old son."

Day Job – "I work as a freelance writer, so really, it's a day and night job."

Sharing Your Table – "I cook for family and friends."

art and lemons

THE BLOG: art and lemons

About the Name – "When I first started thinking about writing a blog, I wanted to write about art, food, and story, in other words, the things I am passionate about and cannot live without. I thought about how lemons are as essential to cooking as garlic and onions, they offer balance and life to vinaigrettes, sauces, soups, vegetables, and fruits. I also thought about how lemons and art share a practical (lemon as art subject) and literary acquaintance in art (see Still Life with Two Lemons, 1629, oil on panel, 16 7/8 x 23 3/8 in., by Pieter Claesz), literature (Pablo Neruda’s Ode To The Lemon), and culinary history (cooking)."

First Post – "I started my blog on July 31, 2008."

How Your Blogging Has Changed, Then vs. Now – "My blog is more expansive than it was in the beginning, when I wrote stories and recipes about the food I cooked at home or ate while traveling. Now, I include some short fiction along with stories about life, cooking, and adventures. I’m also writing and publishing select book reviews. Once a month, I also interview an artist, writer, or cook and publish our conversation in what's called the artist spotlight. A future podcast along with other media expansion is in the works."

How You Define Your Site – "An art and food blog with recipes, photos, and stories."

"Elevator Description" – "A writer's chronicle of art, food, story, and of course, lemons."

Standing Out from the Crowd – "1. Story-telling 2. Photography 3. Vegetarian recipes featuring mostly whole foods and ingredients."

"Hobby Blog" or Part of a Career Plan – "I blog because I love to share my passion for writing, making photographs, and cooking simple healthy foods. My blog is part of my career plan, but I wouldn't do it if I didn’t have a community of readers and writers to connect with."


Blogging Platform – "I user Blogger at the moment, however, I’m in the process of changing to another platform."

Hosted By – "Blogger. No, [I wouldn't recommend Blogger,] there are too many limitations."

Ad Network – BlogHer Ads. "I chose BlogHer before I even started writing my blog. I read a number of blogs with different ad networks on their sites and after doing some research; I found that BlogHer was the most supportive and respective in terms of content and ad placement."


Posting Frequency – "I post once or twice a week on average."

Favorite Post This YearPicasso Blue

Surprisingly PopularBitter Stars

Deciding What to Post When – "I have a blog/writing calendar that I live by. For the most part, I cook with seasonal vegetables and fruits, which determine the ingredients that will go into a recipe post. I try to publish a recipe and story post once a week. "

Recipes That Don't Work Out – "I save them in a notebook, I write down ideas for improving it and when I have time or the season is right, I try them again."

Cooking Groups – "I belong to the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks. Being a member of both groups offers opportunities to improve my cooking skills, it also allows me to engage in a larger community of talented bakers and cooks."

Time Spent on a Post – "It depends upon what the post is about, for a recipe post it, I spend between 6 to 8 hours on prepping food, cooking, photographing, writing, and editing."

Time Spent Blogging including Twitter and "Community" – "I don't have an exact number, but most of my free time is spent working on my blog."


Camera & Lenses – "For food photography, I shoot with a digital Nikon D70s and use a 50mm, a 60mm micro, or an 18-70 mm lens. I also shoot film with a Diana F+, Holga, Pentax K1000, and Graflex Speed Graphic."

Location – "I shoot mostly in natural light with the occasional fill flash."

Photo Style – "I tend to shoot close to my subject and to create soft-focus dream-like images."

Personal Photo Trick – "I use a white card, a gold foil cake liner, or aluminum foil to bounce light and add fill light to shadowy areas."

Favorite Photo This Yeartangerines


Sources of Inspiration – "Fresh seasonal ingredients inspire my recipes along with cookbooks, cooking magazines, and blogs."

Favorite Cookbook This Year – "It's a tie between Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes by Anna Thomas and The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat by Tal Ronnen."


Blogs in Your Feed Reader – About 50

Three Sites You Love, for Inspiration101 Cookbooks, gluten-free girl and the chef, Orangette

Three Sites New to YouSeven Spoons, Sprouted Kitchen, and Hogwash. "

Three Sites You Comment On RegularlyShutter Sisters, Hula Seventy, Feasting on Art

Three Bloggers You've Met in Person – Sam from Becks & Posh, Elise from Simply Recipes and Jaden from Steamy Kitchen


art and lemons on Twitter

art and lemons on Facebook

art and lemons on Facebook

art and lemons on BlogHer

365 days on Flickr

BlogHer food editor Alanna Kellogg is on vacation but -– thank you, technology! -– her recipe websites keep on publishing. Check for the latest recipes at Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture.


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