June 9, 2007

Interviewed by The Passionate Cook

By In General
Johanna has thrown a few questions my way as part of a little meme that some wag set off some time ago.

“There’s this “meme” going round at the moment and it’s only recently that it has hit the food blogging world. It’s all about revealing more about the people behind the blogs, but not just what the blogger is happy to share, rather he/she is put on the spot and has to answer the questions that are put to him/her. You sign up to be “grilled” rather than being nominated, so I have put this on myself… and to continue the daisy-chain, you, too, can sign up to receive a set of questions from me, which you will in turn answer on your own blog”

If you’d like to be interviewed by me, drop me a line or leave a comment. [The photo, by the way, is of the Belgian beers that I received in my EBBP parcel.]

You were one of the pioneer bloggers in the UK and when we first met (over 3 years ago!) you were exclusively writing about wine. What has brought on your sudden interest in food?
Has it really been that long?! I can’t really remember to be honest – I think it was Jeanne (Cooksister) who suggested/nudged me into joining the wider foodie group. But it isn’t really a ‘sudden’ interest as SpittoonExtra has been up and running since August 2005. There is a synergy though between wine and food which makes it an obvious progression; one can enhance the enjoyment of the other. (Which always makes me wonder why more food blogs don’t ‘do more’ on wine).
SpittoonExtra isn’t really like your own or Jeanne’s sites. It’s a creative outlet, a way to play with photographing food (for good plating and the ambiance created says so much), showcasing my non-food pictures (even though that link is to Spittoon), joining in the various food bloggers events (such as Waiter There’s Something In My…) and less about recipes and restaurant reviews. I can follow a recipe, can make some informed ‘changes’ to a few but I’m not a cook with any great skills.
Most of us struggle to keep one single blog going, you are running a variety of weblogs concurrently, not to speak of your endeavours to keep the IMBB site going… which out of your blogs do you take the most pleasure from and why?
Something might have to give soon! Apart from Spittoon (wine) and SpittoonExtra (food, photographs) there is UKWinesOnline (UK wine merchant scene) and The FoodieList (food news and merchants in the UK). There is also my work with the WellFed Network where I edit and contribute to Wine Sediments, Paper Palate and The Spirit World. There is the work in keeping IMBB going (purely for the benefit of the ‘community’) and organising DMBLGIT. It doesn’t seem much until you write it down!
Spittoon I view as the main and most important site, it receives the most visitors and has the greatest number of RSS subscribers, but it is with SpittoonExtra where I get the most pleasure. It is the combination of ‘creative expression’ via my photographs (many of which I am very proud of) and through reader interaction via comments (food bloggers seem more active with comments than wine geeks).
Your opinion on: Gastropubs: best thing since sliced bread or completely overrated?
To be honest I don’t eat out as much as I would like – financial reasons really – so my exposure to GastroPubs is limited. I’ve been to some lovely, atmospheric pubs that serve the most god-awful, dull, bog-standard food, those gristle pies with a top of flaky pastry for example. So if anything works to get rid of them then it’s fine by me! On the other hand some pubs offer little but over-plated stuff at vastly expensive prices.
If you were offered a book deal (food or wine), what would you most like to write about?
Food and Wine Matching.
If there were such a thing as food bloggers Big Brother: who would you like to see in the house and why would you invite them?
I’m not going to name names! But for this to be entertaining and successful it would have to be a mix of ages, skills, backgrounds and the like – I’d like to throw in some of the extremely opinionated bloggers and some sycophant fans who could look menacingly at rival bloggers; some committed vegans and committed carnivores; some of the Madonnas and some of the Lily Allens of food blogging. It would be difficult selecting who not to send in actually. Of course there would be a comment spammer as the wild card to see how long they last!
(These questions have reminded me that I was set a ‘why i blog’ question by Tim at Wine Cast several weeks ago. While the answer do not directly address Tim’s question I think they go some way in explaining the rationale behind my Internet endeavours).

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  1. johanna June 11, 2007

    ah! you bailed out! this could have been interesting! maybe you want to send me your big brother nominations in an email 😉
    thanks for answering my questions…

  2. Jeanne June 12, 2007

    Ah, discretion is the better part of valour, I always say (when I’m sober…!) But cc me in when you e-mail Johanna 😉
    Great answers and a fun meme! I’ve already signed up to be grilled by Ilva, otherwise I’d put myself at your mercy.