Every week we profile one of the many talented Canadian food bloggers across our country.
Name: Elaine Nessman
Blog name: Flavour and Savour
Where were you born? In Duncan, BC in the Cowichan Valley
Where are you living now? Still here in the Cowichan Valley, now in the village of Cowichan Bay.
Why did you start your blog?
Like many other bloggers, I wanted an easy way to store and share my favourite recipes. Once I left my teaching career, I was surprised to find how much I missed the creative aspect of my job. Creating lesson plans, activities and art projects for my students had filled my time after school. While I didn’t miss getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to work, I did miss the “busyness” of my days.
Blogging has filled that void. There is always something to do! I had always maintained a classroom blog to keep parents informed about classroom activities, so the shift from blogging about Grade One fun to food fun was a natural choice.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I wanted a name that would be easy to remember. Rhyming words seemed like a good choice. (Doesn’t that sound like a Grade One teacher?) Unfortunately, I chose words that have both a Canadian and an American spelling, so I had to purchase both domains!
What do you blog about?
My recipes are simply a reflection of the food we eat at home. They are mostly gluten-free. We have a large garden, so many of my recipes are based on what is available in the garden, or what is in season. I usually cook “from scratch” and only occasionally use processed or packaged foods. Homemade food tastes better, I can control what is in my diet, and I can avoid additives and preservatives. But I’m not fanatical about it. (I like Heinz ketchup on fries!)
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Flavour and Savour began as a hobby, quickly grew to pay for itself, and I now treat it as a business.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon. It’s quick and easy, it’s flavourful, it uses fresh local seafood, and it has been our family’s favourite way to cook salmon for years.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Creamy Cannellini Lemon Feta Dip. This dip is just so good, and it’s a great alternative to hummus for those who don’t, or can’t, eat chickpeas. I was out for dinner recently and I kept complimenting the hostess on the delicious dip she had served. She looked at me oddly and said, “It’s from your blog!” It’s easy to garnish differently for summer time or for Christmas parties.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
My Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria recipe sat on my blog for a year with very little attention, and then just took off! It’s such a simple recipe. I think its popularity stems from the seasonal photo and the recipe itself, as it uses pure juices.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Working ahead and scheduling posts for times when I’m traveling. When I’m away, I like to take a complete break from any work, but it’s hard to get recipes tested, made, photographed, blogged and scheduled to share when I’m also getting ready for a vacation. (#First World problem)
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
To keep in mind that this is MY blog. I can post whatever I want, I can write whatever I like, I don’t need to be like other blogs, and I don’t need to compare myself to others. It’s my space. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. There is ample room for all of us on the web.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Chocolate and Marrow: I like her writing style. It’s one of the few blogs that I read every word. Often I just skim the text in blogs on my way to the recipe, but I read Brooke’s stories in their entirety. She doesn’t post as often she used to, as she and her husband are living on a boat and sailing in the Caribbean. Her stories are of extra appeal to me now, as my husband and I are heading for a Caribbean sailing trip soon.
I also enjoy reading other Canadian food blogs. I’ve learned so much about regional specialties from my Canadian blogging friends!
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
Citrus fruit! While I do have a tiny lemon tree in a pot on my deck, citrus fruits are something I can’t grow in my garden, but I crave it. This Grapefruit-Orange Avocado Salad with Fennel is a favourite of mine in the winter.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I plan to write more travel posts. I love looking at other people’s travel photos, and I know many others do, too. My husband and I travel frequently, so travel posts seem like the next logical step. We both enjoy trying new foods and flavours when we’re away. I learn so much about a culture through its food.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I’m a cancer survivor. I don’t share that very often, but it has shaped who I am and how I lead my life. My cancer journey taught me that there is nothing more important than our relationships. I also learned the importance of taking time to do the things I love, to avoid stress at all costs, and to eat a healthy diet.
What makes your blog unique?
Flavour and Savour is my voice. Instead of thinking “What recipes would people like to see now?” or “What would do well on Pinterest?” I share what I’m cooking in my kitchen with the hope that my gluten-free recipes will be helpful to others, too.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The FBC Resources section is a treasure trove of information for both new and experienced bloggers! I have used many of the resources. The posts on accounting were particularly useful at tax time, and helped me avoid panicking!
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