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.
- It refers to a semitic and indigenous group of people that originate from ancient Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq and parts of Syria, Turkey, and Kuwait. The traditional language that Chaldeans speak is Neo-Aramaic, a modern dialect of Syriac 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.