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Simona's interview

Interview by Lydia Interview by Lydia

We interviewed Simona!

Visit the blog: Briciole.

See profile page and recipes

"The philosophy behind Italian cuisine plays a big role in my cooking and then the fresh produce available in Northern California, where I live."

Hello Simona, so tell us...

When did you begin your blog, and what inspired you to start it?

My original intent was to write short posts focused on Italian words about food. I thought that people who are enthusiastic about bruschetta or gnocchi would also want to know about those foods in their native land, including how we pronounce their name.

Early on, I figured out how to attach audio files to the blog, so most of my posts have a short audio of my voice pronouncing Italian words or expressions. Then, slowly, I started talking about what I cooked and giving recipes, then taking photos, so the blog has evolved into a full-blown food blog, but I still have the audio files and discuss Italian words that I think are of interest. And I also started publishing some posts in both English and Italian.

Are you involved in the blogging community - how do you attract new readers?

The blogging community has grown tremendously since I started my blog and the forms of involvement are many. I participate in some blog events; I run an event of my own, called Novel Food, that marries literature and food; I co-host a virtual book club, called Cook the Books, and I am part of a group of bloggers who are virtually touring the European Community through traditional dishes of the various countries. Click here for more info.

I have a social network presence and also strive to make my blog interesting, a pleasure to read and a place where people learn interesting things about food and life.

How has the West Coast influenced your Italian cooking background?

The variety of produce we have is pretty amazing and that is a constant inspiration for me. Even in the middle of winter, a visit to a farmers' market fills my basket and my mind with ideas.

Then the exposure to cuisines from all over the world has expanded my horizons in terms of ingredients, flavors, cooking methods, etc.

If you could be a contestant or guest on any cooking show what show would you choose?

I don't watch television. If I think of a cooking show, it would have to be my own.

What is your earliest food memory?

One of the earliest and dearest food memories is my Sunday breakfast: uovo sbattuto, which is a fresh egg yolk beaten with some sugar until light and bubbly. I would eat some of it and then my mother poured on the rest some hot milk and I stirred and drank it.
[Disclaimer: as raw eggs are a touchy subject in the US, let me add that I am not hereby suggesting, recommending or advocating in any way the consumption of raw eggs.]

Who or what are your culinary influences?

The philosophy behind Italian cuisine plays a big role in my cooking and then the fresh produce available in Northern California, where I live.

I am a strong proponent of nutritious foods. While I don’t talk directly about Mediterranean diet or cholesterol or calories, the dishes I prepare and share on my blog reflect my Mediterranean heritage and my belief that a healthy diet is of fundamental importance in our life. I think there is a widespread idea that a healthy diet is restrictive, boring. I counter that notion with dishes that are flavorful and healthy.

Is there any dish, ingredient or type of food you refuse to cook?

I have never liked offal and currently I am afraid I am not interested in learning to cook it.

When you have a last minute get together, what are your go to dishes?

Frittata. I have written about this traditional Italian dish on my blog and elsewhere. No matter what ingredients I have available, provided I have eggs, I can make a frittata.

What are your goals for your blog? Where would you like to see it in the next year? Five years?

My blog is a reflection of me and so it evolves with my interests. I've recently started a project on traditional Italian pasta shapes: most posts include a video showing my hands shaping the pasta. I would like to do more of that, possibly collaborating with a professional videographer. I plan to learn to cook in a wood-fired oven, which is in a way a return to my Italian roots.

I have started to develop a book idea and will publish some of the material on the blog to get readers' input. That's my main goal for next year.

In five years I hope I will have a personal brand that includes the blog but is not just the blog. I am working on defining the details of what the brand will include.

Anything else you would like to share?

Thanks for the interview and also a special thanks to briciole's readers: their presence (their comments, questions, messages, etc.) is what makes blogging the great adventure it has been for me.

Thank you Simona for answering our questions and see you soon!
Published by Lydia - 08/30/2013

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