Lately, the inspiration to write a food blog is fleeting. Cooking is a breeze. Taking pictures happens in a snap. It’s the writing that’s bothering me. It started with an article: Consider the Food Writer by Josh Ozersky. Then Lottie + Doof’s article, You’re Boring. There’s nothing like an opinion to devastate my proud feelings about writing about food. As a designer, I’m supposed to take criticism well, but their opinions hit a personal nerve: The truth hurts.
On the surface, their articles caused me to think more about my style. As I reread Ozersky and Lottie + Doof’s opinions, I also realized their opinions needed to be said among our food writing community. Ozersky writes about a prominent writer, M.F.K. Fisher, who inspires generations of food writers as he acknowledges it’s exclusive, classist style omits other voices that are needed in the food writing industry. While Lottie + Doof’s opinion specifically acknowledges the lack of diversity in food writers’ circles. By the way, there has always been plenty of food writers/bloggers of color. Most of us aren’t universally recognized, because few networking circles deliberately or unconsciously overlap (I wrote about here).
On a personal level, this blog is about my average lifestyle. I am unfamiliar with M.F.K Fisher’s work, but like other food bloggers, we’re unconsciously influenced by her style. Except a few of us, including myself, don’t have a privilege background. My nine to five, graphic design job consumes the majority of my time. I relate to family and friends. My apartment’s structure and layout (spacious with wooden floors) is beautiful, but the decoration is a work in progress. There are few, if not any, stories of beauty products, clothes and shoes. Since my lifestyle is average, many stories start with the pleasantries of the weather.
In reality, the weather and my personal life aren’t interesting topics. Which is why Ozersky and Lottie + Doof’s opinions affect me. Too often, we talk about food and personal stories within a dry style of writing. The majority of us have average lifestyles, in which we embellish with good camera tricks. Perhaps, I need to explore other writing styles.
Ironically, there’s this Asian-inspired dish, Basil Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry. Most people can make it. The recipe is a weekday favorite. When the chicken is prepped ahead of time, and the rice is precooked from another meal, it’s a healthy fast-food dish. The flavors are exciting, thanks to the sweet and savory Navitas Naturals Goji Basil Superfood Cashews. When paired with sweet red peppers, ginger, fresh basil leaves and a sweet sauce made from Asian-inspired ingredients, this recipe isn’t a boring dish.
Some days I feel inspired, and on other days, the inspiration is difficult. The truth challenges me, because I don’t know how not to write about food without talking about my life, hence the name of this food blog, My Life Runs On Food. There’s change in the future of my food writing, but until those changes are defined, my non-glamourous life and the pleasant weather continues to be the star of My Life Runs On Food.
- 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper; more or less to taste
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper; optional, more or less
- 1/4 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup of chicken stock; more for deglazing skillet
- 2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. honey or coconut sugar
- 1 inch of fresh ginger; minced and divided in half
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic; minced and divided in half
- About 2 tbsp. of peanut, safflower or sunflower oil
- 2 chicken breasts; cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1-4oz bag of Navitas Naturals Goji Basil Superfood Cashews or 4 oz. of roughly chopped plain roasted & salted cashews
- 1 small sweet onion; roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper; roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper; roughly chopped
- 1-inch of fresh ginger; minced
- 1 garlic clove; minced
- About 1 cup of roughly chopped basil leaves
- 2 cups of cooked brown and/or red rice
- Garnish: 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
- In a medium bowl, whisk fresh black and red crushed pepper, soy sauce, chicken stock, sesame oil, preferred sweetener and first-half of both ginger and garlic to make the sauce. Divide sauce in half.
- Toss chicken breast in the first half of the sauce. Set aside to marinade for at least an hour.
- [Do-Ahead Tip for Weekday Meals: Place marinading chicken in a freezer ziplock bag and second-half of the sauce in a sealed container. Freeze both the chicken and second-half of the sauce until one day prior to meal. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Depending on the refrigerator's settings, the sauce might need a quick defrost in the microwave. Proceed with the rest of the recipe].
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add one tablespoon of oil. After a few seconds, add the cashews. Stir for a few seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove cashews onto a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Add the second tablespoon of oil to the skillet. After a few seconds, add the chicken breast with its marinade sauce to the same skillet as the cashews. Frequently stir chicken until fully cooked. Remove chicken to a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Add the sweet onion to the same skillet. After about four to five minutes or when the onion appears translucent, stir in both the peppers with the second-half of the ginger and garlic. Continue to stir for about one minute. Note: If the skillet appears dry, add a little chicken stock.
- Return the chicken and cashews to the skillet, and mix in the second half of the sauce. Stir for about one minute until the chicken and sauce is steaming hot.
- Gently toss in the basil leaves into the skillet.
- Spoon Basil Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry over cooked brown and/or red rice.
- Garnish each dish with toasted sesame seeds and enjoy.
5 thoughts on “My Life is Boring, but this Stir-Fry is Fun”
Great story. Your Blog was added to Huria Search’s index of Blogs (http://huria.org/blogs/), where we are tracking the most popular Black Blogs on the web.
Sanura, I have been struggling with the very same thing. But I would venture to say that you’re breaking the mold because you’re writing a blog about the thing that’s NOT your 9 to 5!
With the last post on my blog I tried changing it up by letting the subject matter dictate the style. http://tbiddy.com/1FB9vd2
We’re Black kids who graduated from Pratt who AREN’T only talking about design! That’s gotta be something, right?! 🙂
You’re also NOT boring, and you’re a great writer. Your charisma is one of the things that makes you unique—soooooooo I’d also consider video blogging your recipes. And/or podcasting. You would be really good at that!
Hope this helps!
This was so beautifully written. Don’t ever stop! I love how you tie everything together. I’m looking forward to trying this dish. I don’t think your life is boring at all by the way! If anyone is a true foodie, food is some shape way or form should have a connection to life. Why not?
Interesting read and gives me lots to think about. I spend a lot of time thinking how can I be less boring when writing about food and I’m a real amateur at this blogging business. Blogging about food can be boring, full stop. Leading a glamorous, posh lifestyle does not make it anymore interesting! I really enjoyed reading lotties + Doof’s opinion/rant! It was refreshing, funny in parts and truthful.
i try to read each of your post and to date have not made any of your recipes. they all look great, but most seem to be a bit ambitious for me. all of that is to say i read your post for your writing which may be boring to you, but never seems to bore me. i also am still fascinated by your photos and design of the food. so while i’ve got what’s happening on your side of the room, the boring thing….my side of the room is buzzing. i’m good and not bored.
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