To kick off the new social media-focused issue of DePaul Magazine, DT decided to reach out to some alumni bloggers via Twitter and find out more about their online interests. One of them is Shannalee T’Koy, who blogs at foodloveswriting.com, described as a “literary food blog” that combines T’Koy’s dual passions of (you guessed it) food and writing. Foodloveswriting is not quite a year old and has already garnered attention from The Printed Blog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, and other online media outlets.
Demon Tracks emailed Shannalee via e-mail and shot over a few questions and here’s what she has to say about cooking, career goals, her upcoming blog anniversary party and her experience at DePaul. Read more after the jump:
When did you start blogging and why?
My first post was Aug. 4, 2008, which was the nine-year anniversary my grandma’s death. She was the one who first got me in the kitchen, pulling up a chair at her kitchen table for me to spoon dough onto cookie sheets, so it seemed appropriate that I start this project in honor of her. In a lot of ways, I think she’s the reason I like food and cooking and, now, blogging.
How would you describe Food Loves Writing at a cocktail party?
I’d like to say something about its being a collection of stories, centered on recipes and restaurants and other food experiences, but usually about things deeper than food. (In all honesty, though, I’m more likely to clear my throat and laugh awkwardly while I mumble something about having a blog that, you know, is about food and stuff.)
Food Loves Writing is true to its name, not a traditional food blog but a literary food blog. Do you consider yourself a foodie or a writer first?
When I started, I was definitely a writer first, just one who happened to love food. Over the last year, though, I’ve seen myself expand my food perspective in a lot of ways–trying new foods (celery root, anyone?) and learning how not to do things (peeling artichokes – oh my gosh) and eating very, very well (at home and otherwise). So now I’d say it’s a toss up, as I find myself very passionate about food, and by extension, life, every day.
Your blog bio says your first career goal was to be a teacher. What inspired you to switch gears into writing/blogging?
My undergrad degree was in education but, aside from a few months as a student teacher, I never ended up teaching–it just wasn’t for me (or at least not when I was 21). So after a year of working a boring day job and spending my nights doing whatever freelance newspaper reporting I could find, I wanted to write instead. I applied to DePaul’s grad program, got in, learned everything I could about how to write better. And after school, I became a full-time copywriter by day and, a year later, food blogger by night.
How has your DePaul education prepared you for what you’re doing now?
I honestly loved my DePaul experience, from the classes offered to the usually small class sizes to the approachability of the professors. Michele Morano’s travel writing class taught me a lot about the personal essay, generally and from a travel perspective; Gerald Mulderig’s fast-paced editing course taught me a manual’s worth of grammar rules that I use every day, both in my day job where I edit my and my department’s writing and in my blogging, where I self-edit constantly. Going to DePaul was probably one of the best professional decisions I’ve made.
You also mention on your blog that you are learning how to cook. How has that experience been for you?
At times, hilarious; at times, discouraging. Learning to cook has been and is rewarding, frustrating, inspiring, eye-opening–but in approaching it, I am learning to fail, to succeed, to look at something that seems difficult and be willing to try. I am learning about myself, and, in a lot of ways, learning to make sense of things, learning how to live.
Tell me about the “Blog Party” you are having in August.
I have this crazy idea to throw a party at a park in Downers Grove, Ill., on Saturday night, Aug. 8, filled with a bunch of food I’ll make and anyone who’s willing to come. I don’t know who will come, but even if it’s just me and three friends, it will be fun.
Food Loves Writing has gotten some good press. What’s next for the blog and your career?
Who knows! For now, I think I’ll just keep taking it one day–or blog post, recipe, experience–at a time, because I like where we’ve been so far and am enjoying the journey.