art and lemons: Profile of an Art and Food Blog
Say hello to Nikki Gardner, who shares recipes, photos and stories in her art and food blog called "art and lemons."
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."
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 Year – Picasso Blue
Surprisingly Popular – Bitter 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 Year – tangerines
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."
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