Name: Michael Hawkins
Blog name and URL: “Food Funk” www.foodfunk.ca
Where were you born? Thompson, Manitoba
Where are you living now? Rothesay, New Brunswick
Why did you start your blog? I’ve been into cooking since I got out on my own at age 20 (now 43) and became a food writer with a weekly column for a local New Brunswick newspaper in 1997. That lasted until 2001 when I left the paper. I kept writing about food though and finally started the blog in 2006. It’s kind of a necessary creative outlet for me.
How did you decide on your blog name? Originally the blog was going to be a 50-50 split covering my two main hobbies, that of cooking and DJ’ing, hence the food and the funk. I found I never really had much to say about DJ’ing so it just became a food blog. The name stuck though!
What do you blog about? Pretty much anything food related but a main focus of what I write about is trying to encourage more people to do more cooking. Far too much of the average diet in Canada depends on processed foods and it just doesn’t need to.
What post are you most proud of and why? Harvest Supper was a fun one. A friend invited me over to harvest some vegetables out of her garden and make a nice meal with them. Obviously the food couldn’t be fresher and they were just wonderful. It got me thinking this is the kind of thing I should do more often.
Which post do you wish received more love and why? My post “Class is in. Get to one!” It was about going to a cooking demo at a local grocery store and was a bit of an eye opener for me. A friend of mine organized it and hired a chef to put on the little class for a small group. These kinds of classes are happening all the time in community rooms at local stores and they’re great for picking up tips from the pros that will help you with your daily meal preparation.
Which post’s success surprised you and why? “Start the Insanity. Pepper’s Pub Incredibly Hot Wing Challenge.” The owner of this pub in Saint John, New Brunswick decided to go head to head with his manager in a new hot wing competition the bar featured on its menu. The wings get progressively hotter with each of three plates, with the last one making liberal use of the infamous ghost pepper. I made a little video of the painful competition and it garnered thousands of hits in a short time. People love pain! Apparently the wings have a unique taste but I quite literally don’t have the guts to try them.
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without? My camera! Of all the hats I wear, ‘photographer’ is the biggest one and my primary income.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without? A food mill. Essential for the best tomato sauce. Takes all the seeds and skins out of the tomatoes for a smooth voluptuous sauce. Voluptuous!
Favourite food, care to share a recipe? My favourite food is an Ethiopian chicken stew called Doro Wat. I make it at home once in a while but the recipe is not mine, it’s from a cookbook on African cooking I picked up years ago after a friend took me to an Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto. That was a life-changing meal for me and further solidified my interest in the world’s cuisine.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page? I’m a huge hockey fan (Winnipeg Jets), love fishing year round (tried ice fishing for the first time last winter – loved it), love kayaking and generally being outside. That’s the northern Manitoban in me I suppose.
What makes your blog unique? Humour is probably part of it, as you can see in a post such as my visual recipe for a chili dog. The blog’s subtitle “just eyeball it, measuring kills kittens” came from a recipe on the blog where after listing the ingredients and measurements, I implored my readers to not measure anything. That’s a part of cooking that is tedious and often unnecessary, so just eyeball it. Think of the kittens.
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