Cookin' Canuck: Profile of a Food Blogger with Canadian Roots
Say hello to Dara Michalski, she's a Canuck (that is to say, she's a Canadian) and she's a cook. That's makes her the Cookin' Canuck. I think you'll love her food blog!
Name – Dara Michalski, otherwise known as Cookin' Canuck
Hometown – Utah, though I grew up in Vancouver, Canada.
Day Job – "My husband and I are consultants for families who wish to set up intensive behavioral programs for their children with autism."
Sharing Your Table – "I cook for my family virtually every night and we invite friends whenever we can. My husband and kids are very appreciative and reliable taste-testers and I feel lucky that my two young boys have such adventurous palates."
About the Name – "Canuck is another word for a Canadian. My nationality is such an integral part of who I am, so I wanted to give a little nod to my homeland."
First Post – "I started blogging in April 2009."
How Your Blogging Has Changed, Then vs. Now – "I would like to think that my photos have improved –- let's hope so! When I first started the blog, I included short introductions to the recipes. Now, I find that I really enjoy building an interesting opening paragraph or two, usually with a personal anecdote. It's as though I'm revealing a little more of myself with each post."
How You Define Your Site – "Recipe blog"
"Elevator Description" – "The recipes on Cookin' Canuck are easy enough for a weeknight meal, but impressive enough for entertaining. Each one is accompanied by step-by-step photos to make cooking a tasty meal as effortless as possible."
Standing Out from the Crowd – "Original and do-able recipes, good step-by-step photos, and interesting writing."
"Hobby Blog" or Career Path – "It definitely started out as a hobby blog, but since becoming a part of BlogHer, I have really enjoyed the extra income. I have come to relish the process of developing recipes and writing the blog posts, and am thrilled to find an outlet for my food obsession."
Blogging Platform – Blogger
Ad Networks – BlogHer and Platefull ads, plus Google ads on RSS feeds and printable recipe pages
Why These – "Many talented and reputable bloggers are part of BlogHer and I wanted to be a part of this knowledgeable group. I am also lucky to be able to learn from the ever-generous Kalyn Denny of Kalyn’s Kitchen."
Statistics Package – Google Analytics
Success Measurements – Pageviews, time on site, and bounce rate, as well as Alexa ranking.
Tools to Attract Visitors – "I actively use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Each of my posts is submitted to the food photo sites, such as Foodgawker and Tastespotting."
Reader Profile – "There really appears to be a good mix of fellow food bloggers, people looking for easy meals to fix for their families, and others who have the same passion for food as I do."
Posting Frequency – Every other day.
Favorite Post This Year – "As for the story behind the recipe, it would have to be Brown Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Bars, in which I talked about the Olympics being held in my hometown."
Deciding What to Post When – "I take into account a number of factors: seasonal ingredients, special occasions, and weekday meals. For example, on Super Bowl Sunday, I assumed that many women would be surfing the web while the game was on, so I posted a sweet treat that morning – Reese’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecake Bars."
Recipes That Don't Work Out – "If I feel that the recipe has promise, I remake it as many times as necessary, making changes until it suits my palate. Others simply get thrown into the garbage."
Time Spent on Posts – "Preparing the post -– photo editing, writing, and formatting –- takes one and a half to two hours. The time for cooking and photographing simply depends on the complexity of the recipe."
Camera & Lenses – "Canon Rebel Xsi, with the lens that came with the camera (18-55mm). I hope to be able to buy the 50mm/1.8 lens soon."
Location – "Most of my step-by-step photos take place in the kitchen, near the window. The final photograph is taken in the living room, which gets great mid- to late-afternoon light."
Photo Style – "I like the food to look as though it's ready for someone to dig right in. That’s why I’ll usually include a napkin and/or utensil."
Personal Photo Trick – "Foam core boards are great for reflecting light onto areas of the food that are a little dark."
Sources of Inspiration – "The inspiration for my recipes come from a variety of places – my family, other food bloggers, cookbooks, epicurious.com, and magazines. I pretty much covered all of the options, didn't I?"
Blogs in Your Feed Reader – "There are about 20 blogs that I read every post for. Then there are many others that I get to every week or so."
Community Contributions – "I have met so many incredible people, who have been so generous with their time and knowledge, since starting my blog. I try to pass that generosity on to other new bloggers whenever I can. If someone asks me a question about formatting their blog or photography, I try to answer their questions as thoroughly and quickly as I can."
BlogHer food editor Alanna Kellogg is half Canadian and cheered for Team Canada during the Olympics while munching on a favorite Canadian treat, butter tart bars.