Name: Marlene Cornelis (aka, Musing Mar)
Blog name and URL: Life Through the Kitchen Window (http://lifethroughthekitchenwindow.com)
Where were you born? Sarnia, Ontario
Where are you living now? London, Ontario
Why did you start your blog? Several years ago I experienced a serious repetitive strain injury in both wrists. Imagine if you could barely touch a keyboard, cook or hold a book to read … that’s where I was for quite some time. Once I began to recover, I wanted to start doing the things I loved again, but in moderation. Quite out of the blue, the idea of writing a food blog occurred to me as a channel for creative expression, combining my passions for cooking and writing (photography was a scant afterthought at that point). I was attracted to the idea that a blog would always be complete, the sum of each post, and I could pace myself as need be. I’d never read any food blogs and was quite unfamiliar with the blogosphere in general, but plunged in and have been learning and loving it ever since.
How did you decide on your blog name? I was drawn to blog titles that were clever, arty and sassy. Try as I might, I simply couldn’t come up with a name like that for mine. At the time, my kitchen overlooked the herb garden, and I liked the idea of what could be seen through the window. Looking out, I saw beautiful herbs to use in my cooking, and looking in, my family and friends could see me preparing good food for them. So that’s how Life Through the Kitchen Window came to be. It’s not flashy, but it is sincere.
What do you blog about? Mostly, I write about what we’re eating, and sometimes we eat what I’m blogging about. I’m committed to using whole foods, locally sourced where possible, with an emphasis on healthy cooking. Of course, there’s always room for a decadent dessert along the way. It’s important to me that my food is accessible. For the most part, I write for people who are learning how to cook and few of my recipes are complex. I also share my kitchen misadventures. After all these years in the kitchen I still make silly mistakes, and I hope it gives heart to a newbie to hear they’re not the only ones who burn cookies.
What post are you most proud of and why? This feels a lot like being asked which of my children is my favourite! I did a post last fall called Post-Market Marathon, Or, What To Do With Lots of Tomatoes & Peppers.
It exemplifies what the blog stands for: fresh, local produce being stored to use throughout the winter as the basis for a variety of dishes. I talked about making tomato sauce, roasting tomatoes and red peppers, and also freezing tomatoes. I link back to that post frequently when writing about other dishes that feature these items.
Which post do you wish received more love and why? Oh, there are many of those, but the first thing that comes to mind is A Sultry Cookie for Leonard.
I’ve been crushing on Leonard Cohen ever since my friends gave me a book of his poetry for my 18th birthday. My daughter and I saw him in concert in London last December and he was amazing. I published this post after I got home that night. Not only was it an ode to Leonard (be still, my fluttering heart), but the cookie is my favourite and I’m proud of the photography too.
Which post’s success surprised you and why? While we were at the cottage last summer I made a lemon posset for the first time and wrote about it.
We don’t get wifi at the lake, so we drove up to a restaurant on the highway where I could get online and post it. It’s such a simple, unassuming dish but it’s had more attention than most other desserts I’ve posted. We can’t overestimate the charm and attraction of simple food.
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without? I’m going to say my iPad because I’m an avid reader and for a long time I could only read on the tablet. It’s still a challenge for me to hold a book for long, so I can’t imagine being without the iPad. I love that I can download library books to it.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without? I have a KitchenAid stand mixer that I’ve had for something like 14 years and it’s still going strong. I couldn’t imagine making a buttercream or meringue without it. I’m going to cheat and mention something else, and that’s a quality chef’s knife. It’s so satisfying to have a good sharp knife for all the chopping, dicing, slicing and mincing that goes on around here.
Favourite food, care to share a recipe? I fell in love with a Brussels Sprouts salad last year. You can find the recipe in a post called Not My Mother’s Spruitjes.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page? Gosh, how much to reveal? My “About” page notes that I’m a Certified 4-H Homemaker who grew up on a farm, but I think I failed to mention the accordion playing and Fair Queen title.
What makes your blog unique? Life Through the Kitchen Window is a true expression of my interests and passions. I hope it’s my voice and the little pieces of life I share that make it unique.