Name: Julie Hunter
Blog Name: Flash Fiction Kitchen
Where were you born? Connecticut, US
Where are you living now? Vancouver, BC
Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always been a big foodie, but as a fiction writer I never wanted to take the plunge into my own food blog until I could figure out how to incorporate fiction into it. That epiphany came two years ago during a National Novel Writing Month, when I was discussing with a fellow writer-baker how great it would be if we could find a way to combine fiction with baking so that we wouldn’t feel so guilty about spending hours in the kitchen. I’d also been following an alternative (autoimmune-paleo) diet for a couple years and was motivated to share and document some of my own recipes, so the timing for starting a blog seemed right. Nowadays I’m still trying to find the right balance between cooking, writing, and managing the blog, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s all turned out.
How did you decide on your blog name?
The first iteration of the blog was called “Scrumptious Scribbles.” When it came time for the revamp I brainstormed a list of about a hundred potential names before settling on Flash Fiction Kitchen – keeping with alliteration while also being simple and descriptive enough to inform readers about the site.
What do you blog about?
I leave the traditional food blog content to the many amazing food bloggers who have it well-covered, and instead stick primarily to stories and poems with some tangential connection to the recipes I feature. I’m planning a health post at some point to provide some personal backstory, and also to raise a few thoughts about the connection between food and physical and emotional health, but after that it’s straight back to fiction.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Something in between. I don’t want FFK to stray too much from the focus on good food and story, as well as the user experience. Building readership is more important to me than monetization, so as long as I’m keeping up content and covering my costs I’m happy (although it would be great to eventually be able to afford a better camera ;).
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
This recent burger/slider post was pretty characteristic. I was just making lunch for myself when I suddenly had the idea to try my cassava bread recipe for buns. As I was making the buns I decided it would be fun to do sliders, and everything pretty much came together from there. The whole thing was impromptu, along with the Goldilocks story which emerged from the idea of different-sized burgers. As conventional as they are, burgers are still one of my favorite dishes, so I was happy to come up with a tasty AIP bun, some punchy, colorful photos, and a spunky heroine to round it all out.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I love Galahad’s Baked Apples with Coconut Crème Anglaise and reread that story all the time, but the original post got somewhat lost during the holiday season. I still like the recipe though – an easy, classic dessert that is delicious and elegant enough to impress at a dinner party. Some of my favorite stories end up on posts that don’t always take off, but I think it’s to be expected that a creator’s favorite pieces won’t always be the audience’s.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
My cassava cake recipe, based off versions I was sampling in Fiji at the time, was my first post to really take off. I was surprised because the recipe and photos are quite simple, but also glad that people were excited by a naturally paleo Pacific island dish. Looking back I’d say that post’s success is about 90% due to the cake’s caramelization – and the fact that people in the AIP community don’t get to eat a lot of cake.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Staying motivated and not getting too caught up in the social media and stats game…those things tend to bring out my obsessive/competitive side, which I find often has a counterproductive effect on creativity and happiness (i.e. the reasons I started the blog in the first place). Comparing myself to others, especially in the saturated food blogosphere, is a quick shortcut to taking a lot of the joy and fun out of FFK.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
First, the days when I repeatedly check stats and performance are guaranteed to be ones in which nothing happens (conversely, the best things often happen when I forget about the blog). Second, a generous, humble attitude goes a long way in this endeavor.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Smitten Kitchen was probably the first food blog I ever read, and in my mind still sets the bar for well-written, funny posts, and great dessert recipes. I still go back there for Deb Perelman’s writing.
Have to give a shout-out to fellow FBC blogger Nicole over at What She Ate. To me Nicole’s recipes epitomize the new generation of food bloggers emphasizing whole foods while still bringing all the creativity, color, and flavor of their predecessors. And I love Nicole’s food styling, photos, and sense of humor.
Favourite food – care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
I like variety and all food too much to ever settle on a favourite dish, but sisig and dinuguan, two amazing Filipino dishes, are next on my list. I first had them in Guam, and now order them anywhere I find them. I love offal and don’t think there are enough accessible recipes out there involving all those delicious, weird bits. Expect paleo-fied versions of both of these dishes on FFK before too long.
What are you working on next for your blog?
Coming down the pipeline I have a summer taco series with an LA story line, a bunch of fun (and colorful/healthy!) barista drinks with accompanying flash poems, and some collaborations with bloggers and cooks based in different parts of the world to highlight traditional recipes and stories from other regions (like coconut crab from the Pacific island of Yap!).
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I’m a human rights advocate by training, so I travel a lot and have been fortunate to live in other regions of the world – a great way to continue finding inspiration for both new recipes and stories!
What makes your blog unique?
The fiction and creative writing elements, and the fact that my recipes revolve primarily around the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), which is a small but growing niche within the Paleo community.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The FBC Blogger Resources are massive – one of the best repositories for aspiring and professional food bloggers on the internet. I’m still making my way through all of the Food Photography and Blog Design articles!
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