Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Foodie Mommie

I came across Elizabeth Porter's, Foodie Mommie Blog and just had to find out more about her work. Check out our interview below;

Tell us a bit about yourself –

My name is Elizabeth Porter, I am from the Eastside of Seattle, Wa but currently live in Cedar Rapids, I’m with my husband David and my son Daniel. I was a French teacher before I had my son and now I stay at home. Along with cooking, I love knitting, reading, and international travel. I have spent a lot of time in France, growing up I spent summers in Paris with my French family, and then I went to college at the Universite de Caen in Basse Normandie, then spent a year teaching after college in Caen. France and French language are my other passions. I am bilingual in French and English.

Have you always loved to cook?

No, although I did enjoy helping in the kitchen when I was younger. I have to say that my real passion for food started when I moved to France when I was 19. My French mother Pauline taught me a lot of what I know about cooking and much of my philosophy about food comes from France. I always say that I am very French in the way I eat. When I returned from France, I found the American diet absolutely atrocious. I started integrating cooking into my curriculum at school to help teach my students how to cook properly.

My philosophy about food is it’s good for you if it comes from natural sources. In France, they eat a lot of cheese, butter, and bread, but they are not fat! I believe if you make it yourself from whole foods that come from natural sources that has not been altered in a lab somewhere, it is healthy. Of course, all things in moderation. I also believe food should be enjoyed, savoured, and we should make time to eat, so not only am I teaching my son how to cook but also how to EAT.

I started the Foodie Mommie in order to help other families eat healthier by sharing my knowledge. Preparing a meal does not have to be this grand venture, my food is simple, and inexpensive. Pauline also taught me how to add pureed vegetables into my food, and then I just took off with that idea. I have been doing this since way before Jessica Seinfeld wrote her book, although I do own that book and find the recipes in it to be quite good!
I would also have to say that my grandparents led me to a passion for food. My grandmother was a first generation Italian, and my grandfather an American who loved food. After my grandmother died, my grandpa made sure I knew how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch, and pasta. I remember rolling out ravioli with my grandparents, and my grandpa continued the tradition. I still roll out homemade ravioli every winter and freeze them. I think cooking with your kids is very important, and getting them involved in the kitchen young is essential. My son is not even 2 yet, but he helps me in the kitchen all the time. I hope to pass on my passion for food to him.

Tell us about Food Mommie, are all your recipes original?

I started writing The Foodie Mommie because I had a lot of ideas in my head I wanted to share. Before I had my son, I would implement these ideas into my curriculum at school, because French and Cooking go hand in hand. I worked a lot with the Food Science teacher to get the kids in the kitchen at least twice every quarter. After I had my son, my husband got a new job and we moved to Iowa. I had a lot of friends who were fascinated by the fact that my 1 year old would eat things like eggplant, or how I made my macaroni and cheese with squash for playdates and THEIR kids would eat it!

Many of the women started asking me questions, asking me for recipes or how to make certain things. I would say a grand majority of my recipes are original. If they are not original I say where I got them. Some of my recipes I have adapted from other recipes. Most of my Italian recipes are family recipes that I have adapted to fit our lifestyle. My French recipes are ones that I learned to make from Pauline or that I learned from just living in France. Many of these recipes are just in my head, so I always have a disclaimer that measurements may not be exact because much of the time I just eyeball it. Baking is not exactly my forte, I am usually too creative to bake because with baking you have to be exact. However, there are some things I do bake. Bread is one. My bread recipe is original, it took a lot of trial and error but my honey wheat bread is delicious!

What makes your blog unique? Tell us about it?

I wanted to offer more than just recipes to my readers. I wanted to share my whole meal system, which took some time to implement but now works like a well oiled machine. When you visit the Foodie Mommie, you will find recipes, product reviews, giveaways, tips of all kinds (grocery shopping, saving money, using pureed vegetables, food saving - canning, freezing, etc.), video demonstrations and opportunities to participate in live web classes. I want my readers to not only have the opportunity to read, but to interact. My goal with the Foodie Mommie is to help change our whole outlook on food in America, and give people the tools to make positive changes.

Explain how your web classes work. Is there a fee to join? What will you be teaching?

The web classes are a unique feature of the blog. I use TokBox which is a service that allows video conferencing and web meetings. TokBox is a great service because it does not require you to download anything.

I have two types of classes - scheduled classes, and drop in classes. Drop in classes are free and limited to 20 people. I announce my drop in classes about a week in advance, and then at the time of the class I sign into TokBox. Interested participants sign into TokBox at the same time and request to join my video call. Drop in classes are free and are usually very casual. For scheduled classes I need a minimum of 5 to run the class and I can allow up to 200 in the web conference. When I schedule a class, I usually will announce it two weeks ahead of time, and provide a link to sign up. Once signed up, people are e-mailed a link to the class. I charge a nominal fee for scheduled classes, usually less than $10 and I give a discount to followers of my blog. Both types of web classes are unique in that they are live. Participants can talk to me, cook with me in their own kitchens, ask me questions, and for scheduled classes they can send in questions ahead of time.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I am always happy to have input from my readers. I have had some readers ask me to make over certain recipes, or write a post on certain products, I am always happy to honour requests.

Check out The Foodie Mommie at; http://www.foodymommy.blogspot.com/

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