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Jamie's interview

Interview by Lydia Interview by Lydia

We interviewed Jamie!

Visit the blog: Life's a Feast - confessions of a gourmande.

See profile page and recipes

"Food in its purest sense touches us deeply, both physically (taste, texture, scents/odors, etc) and emotionally, it triggers memories and it triggers sensations."

Hello Jamie, so tell us...

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

I started Life's a Feast in April 2008 but it was actually my husband and son who created it for me as an outlet for my obsession with food. The stories I began writing from the very first post were always there waiting to come out, I just needed the place, the focus and the inspiration.

How many hours per week do you spend on your blog?

I actually have two blogs, Life's a Feast and Plated Stories and spend 1 - 2 days (on and off) preparing each post. But the blogs are only a part of my activity - I run and teach food writing at workshops and I am a freelance writer.

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

I try to be very involved with the blogging community but as my outside, freelance work increases, the time I have for blogging community events and for promoting my blog decreases. Other than speaking at various conferences, I also am part of the team behind From Plate to Page food writing, styling & photography workshops and I am currently organizing other events in the US. This keeps me visible within the community while offering something to help, teach to and mentor fellow bloggers, which I love doing. I am also quite active on social media, especially Facebook.

What is your earliest food memory?

This is a tough question. I have very clear memories of eating oranges, grapefruit and tangerines by the dozens out of the paper grocery bags bursting with citrus lined up on my dad's workbench in the garage, citrus we bought straight off the tree from the groves along the Indian River. Or my mom making big pots of oatmeal in the chilly Florida winters which I loved. Fresh bagels, cream cheese and lox washed down with cold grape juice at the synagogue or ice cold Yoohoos from the machine during summer rec at the elementary school, the only thing I loved about summer rec. Maybe not the earliest memories but the clearest and fondest food memories from my childhood.

Which of your recipes would you suggest to readers for a perfect meal?

For a really great summer meal I would say either my Spicy Lamb & Feta Gözleme or my Roasted Tomato, Feta & Rocket Quiches followed by either Mixed Berry Prosecco Sorbet or Lemon Ice Cream neither which need a machine.

For winter... wow the choices are endless! A one-pot stew like tangy Chicken Yassa or my husband's Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon, & Olive or a Lamb Stew followed by ooh maybe a Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting or something spectacular like the Chocolate Chestnut Fondant

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

Personally, I would rather be a guest on Ellen talking about my memoir and my writing....

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

I won't cook nor will I eat offal. And I'm uncomfortable cooking fish so I let my husband do it.

Who are your culinary idols?

Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet... the first people I ever saw cooking on tv. They made it look so passionate and so sexy and it was more about eating something divine than the cooking process itself which only served to turn great ingredients into a great meal. And Julia Child was fearless, she was often bumbling and messy (like I am) and she created this whole new profession when she was already a "woman of a certain age", like I did. I also love women like Nigella Lawson who obviously love to eat, love the flavors, textures, odors and the sensuality of food.

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

My blog was the starting point for my writing career: when I began my blog I realized how much I loved writing and storytelling and I hope to grow this and strengthen this and really create a strong and lasting writing career which includes a book of my stories.... a memoir.

Anything else you would like to share?

Through Life's a Feast and now Plated Stories, I realize that there is both a sensuous and a nostalgic/emotional side to food - to both the cooking and the eating of food - that we seem to forget about or put aside in the world of food blogging. I love focusing on both. Food in its purest sense touches us deeply, both physically (taste, texture, scents/odors, etc) and emotionally, it triggers memories and it triggers sensations. Through my writing I bring this back in focus for my readers; we connect as people, as humans and as a community this way. When a reader shares his/her own stories, when a reader says "Oh, me too!", when a reader tells me that I made them laugh, cry, remember, feel then I know I have been successful. This is what I love doing. And if I can teach someone something about a custom or tradition or the history behind a dish, or if I can encourage a reader to bake or cook something new, something from scratch and excite them about being in the kitchen then that is even better!

Thank you Jamie for answering our questions and see you soon!
Published by Lydia - 07/19/2013

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Comment on this interview

Thanks for the interview. Love Jamie and her work. So agree that the more assignments you get, the less time you have for working on and promoting your blog and for interacting with bloggers. How to do everything that needs doing is a huge challenge.

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Memoirs with recipes are my favorite genre of books. I love Jamie Schler's evocative prose and would pre-order any book she's going to have published. Great interview!

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