Interview with Jessica: foodie and dietitian-to-be

jessica2.JPGI'm pleased and excited about publishing my first interview with a fellow blogger. I "met" Jessica last September when she commented on one of my early Green & Berries posts. I then began visiting her blog, RD-2B, a true foodie's delight. Yes, there are lots of food blogs on the Web but how many written by full-time university students? Jessica is in the final year of her integrated internship program at McGill. I'm not surprised that a busy Dietetics student would eat well but I am impressed that one would take the time to document her kitchen adventures with mouth-watering photos and entertaining descriptions.

 And now, meet Jessica.

1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I love the sense of community, especially with regards to food blogging. It's great to get to know people who have the same passions as you do. Keeping a food blog also prevents me from getting into culinary ruts. While it would be easier to grab a microwave dinner when I get back from school, instead I'll think "Oh, I haven't written a blog entry for a while... Let's try something new..." I get a lot of inspiration from reading other blogs, and I hope that I can, in turn, give fresh ideas to others.

2. What have you learned about yourself through blogging?

I've discovered how passionate I am about food. I got into dietetics because I loved the health aspect of nutrition, but through cooking and blogging I've discovered that I care deeply about the food I put into my body. My university classes often define food from a purely nutritional point of view, but blogging has encouraged me to take a more holistic view of food in general. I now know a lot more about the joys of eating local produce, and about practices like the Slow Food Movement. I find blogging is the practical balance to my theoretical training. It's helped me realize that nutrition is so much more than vitamins and minerals.

Jessbun.jpg3. Your photos are scrumptious. Do you have any food photography tips or secrets your willing to share?

Thank you for the compliment! Although I must admit photography was a bit of an afterthought for me. More of a necessity... How was I going to show people the food I was making, to entice them to make the same?  I am very lucky that I recently got a Nikon D40X for Christmas, but I'm still just learning how to take full advantage of it. jessorb.jpgIf I were to give any photography tips (not that I think I am at all qualified to do so) it would be to first of all look at what others are doing. Food blogs like 101 Cookbooks and Cook & Eat are amazing sources of inspiration. Look at how they style the food, the angles they use, etc. My second tip would be to use natural light as much as possible. Try to set up a spot in your house with great natural light. It makes a huge difference. And lastly, buy yourself a little tripod. They cost about 10 dollars but can really improve your pictures.

4. Could you please comment on your healthy obsession with lentils.

Strangely enough, lentils are somewhat of a comfort food for me. I had them a lot growing up so eating them kind of brings me back to a time when everything was much simpler. And of course I just think they taste great. I also think they're a much underused nutritional powerhouse. If you pair them with a source of vitamin C they give you plenty of iron and they're packed with protein and fibre. 


5. You're invited to a potluck. What do you take?

Well, last time I brought apple chips with caramel dipping sauce. But there's a recipe I've recently made that I'm looking for an excuse to make again: I'm thinking of Orangette's yoghurt cake. I love French food and have an affinity for most things lemony. It was very simple to make, would travel well, and most importantly is absolutely delicious. Just talking about it makes me want to go make it right now!

6. What is your favourite comfort food?

 Other than the lentils mentioned in #4 I'd have to say Italian food. There's nothing like tucking into a big bowl of spaghetti with a meaty Bolognese sauce. When I've had a long day or am feeling upset it's guaranteed that I will make either lentils or a bowl of pasta. Especially with a slice of garlic bread. Yum!

 7.  What is your most dog-eared, sauce-spattered cookbook (ie., the one you use the most)?

Good question! I actually use the internet the most for recipes. I get them from favourite blogs or sites like epicurious or recipezaar. But as for cookbooks the one I use the most (no joke!) is Cook Great Food by the Dietitians of Canada.  It seems funny because I'm a dietetics student but it honestly just gives great, fast, easy recipes. My parents got it for me for Christmas and I've used it countless times since. My favourite recipe from it is the whole wheat pancakes with strawberry purée. This book is definitely dog-eared and sauce-spattered (I'm not the cleanest cook...)

8. What are your 3 favourite blog posts and why?

Lazy Daisy Cake - I love this one because it's a family recipe that's near and dear to my heart. It was my grandmother's, then my mother's and now its mine. It's a delicious cake, but its also very simple. I've made it many times since including for my boyfriend T's 24th birthday in England. It makes me really happy to think that, through posting it on my blog, this simple family recipe will get to travel the world. 
Acadian Delicacies  - I love travelling. Our family trip to New-Brunswick is a yearly event. I'm often trying to explain to friends back home how good Acadian food really is. And now, thanks to my blog, I can show them! New-Brunswick has a special place in my heart and I hope to keep going there, and keep blogging about it, for years to come.
jesswheatgrass.jpgBorough Market  - Oh Borough Market! A foodie's paradise! Just reading this post reminds me of the amazing bounty we found there. There were so many wacky things I had never seen (ostrich eggs!) and plenty of colourful and creative stalls and signs. My personal favourite? "Roast Potatoes NOT cooked in goose fat? As if!" This is one of my top 3 posts just because it reminds me of the amazing time I spent there and it will hopefully introduce other people to it too.

9. Do you have any tips for Dietetics students who might be thinking about blogging?

It seems really scary and daunting at first. But it's an amazing opportunity. Before making any kinds of investments in it (buying your own domain name, upgrading your camera) just give it a try for about a year or so. Try to post regularly (even if this means scheduling it into your week), this will make sure that you keep your blog active, even with a busy student schedule.

10. Can you share a few of your dreams and goals for after graduation?
Jessica1.jpgWell, it'll be a scary step, that's for sure! I'm hoping to stay on the clinical side of the practice and hopefully work in either a hospital or an outpatient clinic. I'd also love to keep blogging about the trials and tribulations of my life in the kitchen and maybe start a blog more related to my practice. More long term I'd love for my career to have a food element to it as well. Whether that means working in the industry and designing food products or maybe writing (ha!) for a food magazine or something of sorts, I would love that.
Thank you, Jessica, for a delightful interview. 
Be sure to visit Jessica's blog, RD-2B for more delicious inspiration and healthy eating information.