My Story

Holding a plate with a crepe, which reads "Happy Birthday"

STARTING A FOOD BLOG

I decided to start a food blog after returning from an eight month adventure teaching English in Besançon, France (vive la Franche-Comté!). While I traveled, taught, and simply enjoyed la vie française, I kept a blog documenting my daily doings. What started as a travel blog quickly turned into a journal account of what I ate and cooked during my time overseas. It seemed like a sign to start blogging about food.

As I thought through possible food themes for blogging, I decided that I wanted to focus on Middle Eastern cooking. It’s an opportunity to share the flavors and recipes that I grew up eating, and a chance for me, as a first generation American, to learn more about my culture. As I’ve grown older, my family and I have started to branch out in terms of what we eat and cook. Instead of just maraqa and rice, we cook pastas, fajitas, sushi, stir fry, chicken confit, and everything in between. But Middle Eastern cuisine is and will probably always remain my go-to comfort food.

I started food blogging in fall 2012, just as I was starting graduate school. Cooking and baking were my preferred methods for de-stressing and procrastinating. Although I had fun blogging, I focused more on the food, than on my posts and pictures. In January 2016, I re-committed to my blog, putting more effort into the stories that I shared, and the photographs that I took.

Here’s a bit more about me in general: I’m a dreamer. I’m a sister. I’m a daughter. I’m a cousin. I’m a friend. I love learning. I love traveling. I love reading. I love spending time with my family. I love cooking. I love baking. I love eating. I love chocolate. I love ice cream. I love fitness. I love Lord of the Rings. I love all things fantasy. I’m obsessed with cheese.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does Boushala Mean?

  • In Chaldean, the word literally translates to food. I grew up in a family who loves to cook. My mom, her sisters, and my grandmother brought over the skills and recipes learned in their Iraqi kitchen, and have filled my childhood with large batches of sweet date cookies (kulecheh), savory meat pies (tughrath’d pusrah), and several other mouth watering foods. We have always hosted special birthday dinners and extravagant family gatherings where food was aplenty – I’m talking about enough food to feed everyone for the entire week.

What’s Chaldean?

  • It refers to a people and culture that originate from ancient Mesopotamia, or what is today Iraq. The traditional language that we speak is Chaldean, a dialect of Aramaic. In the U.S., the largest concentration of Chaldeans live in Metro-Detroit.

What camera do you use? 

  • I took many of the photos on this blog with an iPhone 5, iPhone 6s, and Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS. In January 2016, I upgraded to the Sony Alpha a6000. I use a 18-55mm lens.

Where do you get your recipes?

  • Most of the recipes on this blog are recipes that I grew up eating; my Mom taught me how to cook them. I also blog about recipes that family or friends create. My aunts, uncles, brother, and so many other people are wonderful cooks and bakers; I cook with them, and share their recipes and stories.
  • There are recipes that I simple concoct while experimenting in the kitchen.
  • Some recipes I find in cookbooks, or online, from food bloggers. When I blog about dishes that I found from other sources, I will attribute the recipe to its owner.

What’s your background in food?

  • Everything I know about food and cooking, I have learned from the people around me or from my own experimenting. I have no formal training in the culinary arts.

 


15 Comments

  1. Dani
    August 8, 2012
    Reply

    I’m in love with this Bio! Perfection!

  2. katharinakapsamerKathi
    August 15, 2012
    Reply

    vive la Franche-Comté ! vive la cuisine ! and vive this blog!!! GO Candice GO! I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out!

    • September 9, 2012
      Reply

      I love this comment Kati!! If there was a like button, I would like it bazillions of times!!

  3. Dani
    January 23, 2013
    Reply

    I LOVE KATI’S COMMENT TOO!!! ahh!!!! i miss franche-comte.. :(

    • January 23, 2013
      Reply

      I miss Franche-Comté too!!

  4. August 17, 2013
    Reply

    Hello Candice, I just discovered your blog while searching for an Iraqi cauliflower recipe (I worked in Northern Iraq in 2010 and 2011, felt nostalgic, and decided to teach myself to cook some Iraqi food… I don’t know how “authentic” my attempts are, but I am enjoying it tremendously). I loved reading your bio, and am so happy I discovered your blog. (By the way, my “petit ami” spent the first 30 years of his life in Besançon, all his family still lives there, I’ve only been there once – so far – it is such a beautiful city!)

    • August 18, 2013
      Reply

      Salut Darya. It is such a small world, to discover your wonderful blog about Iraqi cooking, in French, en plus! Your Iraqi dishes look delicious. Many of my attempts are variations of the foods with which I grew up, or simply my family’s version of a well loved classic. Every Iraqi family will have their own special way of preparing a certain dish, so it might be difficult to find the most authentic recipe. I look forward to exploring more of your recipes! And Besançon is indeed a beautiful city. I hope to visit it again sometime soon.

  5. October 24, 2013
    Reply

    Hi Candice,
    I ran into your blog by searching for some Iraqi recipes (I’m studying in Belgium and I am home sick — in regards to the home made food, anyways! I live in Canada). My family is a mix of Chaldean and Assyrian, and I just wanted to say hello and it is refreshing to see your blog and I will bookmark it for viewing in the future. All the photos of timman o maraka are making me hungry!

    • October 24, 2013
      Reply

      Hi Eileen!

      I am so glad that my site and recipes can offer some comfort. =) When I lived and studied in France, I definitely missed homemade Chaldean-Assyrian meals. I hope you can find some comforting recipes! Let me know if you have any suggestions!

  6. Linda W.
    December 6, 2016
    Reply

    I just moved to Chicago area in NW Indiana. Exploring foods here is so much fun! Love your blog and will def try some of the recipes!! I was looking for a qozee recipe if you know of where I can find one!!

  7. Brittany
    January 16, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this blog. I, too, find it fascinating how cooking can be a great stress-reliever to me, as well as being a first generation Chaldean American like yourself :) I am still learning about our culture just as you are and it can be hard to recreate something our mothers could make with their eyes closed. I want to be able to learn to cook certain middle eastern dishes and it can be quite complicated especially as a busy student with an all-over-the-place schedule. Keep the recipes coming! I love it!

    • Candice
      January 22, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you for you message Brittany! I’m still to trying learn and document my favorite recipes from my mom and aunts. I will definitely keep the recipes coming :)

  8. Kim
    April 16, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for the taking the time to create this wonderful resource. I am married to a 1st generation Chaldean American. Unfortunately, my mother in-law passed before I met my beautiful husband. She did a fine job raising my husband in large part to values of their family 1st based culture. As a comfort to him and my 50% Chaldean children, I try to cook authentic Chaldean meals. Your blog is a frequent resource for me as the dated cook books that I have do not always yield the best receipes. Keep up the good work. Warm Regards! Kim (Metro-Detroit)

    • Candice
      April 19, 2017
      Reply

      I’m so glad that you find the blog helpful! I started it to create a repository of recipes that I grew up eating. If there are any recipes you’d like to see, I can try to take requests :)

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