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Donalyn's interview

Interview by Gitanjali Interview by Gitanjali

We interviewed Donalyn!

Visit the blog: The Creekside Cook.

See profile page and recipes

Hello Donalyn, so tell us...

What inspired you to start your blog, and what is the philosophy behind it?

The Creekside Cook is actually my 3rd blog, and it came about in 2012 because my old blog just didn't have a marketable, or very memorable name.

That blog wasn't only for food either, and I wanted to concentrate more on food. I am currently working on moving the non-cooking content from that blog to another new one that will include photography, humor and family stuff.

I decided to concentrate on food blogging when I realized how daunting the idea of cooking from scratch
is to so many people. It doesn't have to be that way, and it turns out that I am pretty good at teaching people how to cook.

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

I "know" a lot of other bloggers in the food community from spending time on their blogs, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. I plan to attend at least one blogger meet-up next year to get to know more of my fellow bloggers in person.

Those same venues mentioned above are how I attract the majority of my new readers, many of whom stick around to become regular readers!

What is the biggest challenge of cooking & eating the food you grow?

Well, growing it is definitely a lot more of a challenge than cooking it most of the time. Gardening is a non-stop learning experience, and you are always at the mercy of the elements. It is so worth it though - very satisfying and it's how you get the best food in the best possible condition.

And fortunately, if things don't go right, we can always resort to Farmer's Markets, local produce stands, and the grocery store. It's not like we are going to starve if bugs or bad weather ruin a crop.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start growing their own food?

If you are a total novice, check out your local Cooperative Extension - they have tons of information and experienced people who can help you.

Read a LOT - the internet, books, magazines. There is a plenty of information out there for you.

And be prepared for mistakes and failures, because they ARE going to happen. They just make the successes all the more sweet.

What is your earliest food memory?

Watching the people in my family cook. My mom, grandmothers, aunts, as well as my dad and even my grandfathers were, and are, great cooks. I come from a strong tradition of fantastic cooking.

Do you have a secret ingredient, a product you use a lot that is unexpected or that helps you save time?

Not really. I use unprocessed ingredients most of the time. I do have a very impressive collection of hot sauces and mustards in my refrigerator though. And you have to use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper if you want to get the best flavor from your food.

Is there any dish, ingredient or type of food you refuse to cook? Or anything that you refuse to eat?

I refuse to cook a lot of things actually - but it is mostly boxed, canned or frozen foods full of unpronounceable ingredients and stuff that is just bad for you. Why make a boxed rice mix, when in the exact same amount of time, you can make something with real veggies, herbs and spices?
I won't eat raw bananas, though I love them in baked goods. And I have a lifelong aversion to most kinds of fish - I keep trying it though, in hopes my palate will learn to love it.

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

I really like the trajectory I am on right now. My traffic has increased considerably in the past few months, as I am learning how to better reach people. A blogger has to spend a lot of time finding their audience, because for the most part, no one else is going to do it for you.

And, the goals for my blog are my personal goals as well - to continue to learn to be a better cook, a better photographer and a better writer.

My worst food flop was...

Ha - I can't begin to choose just one! Flops and failures are a huge part of recipe development.

Thank you Donalyn for answering our questions and see you soon!
Published by Gitanjali - 09/02/2014

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