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Episode 101: Serve Your Audience By Going Beyond The Basics With Anecia Hero

Blog Title: Smarty Pants Kitchen

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About: Anecia is a Southern based food blogger with over 25 years experience in commercial and residential kitchens. She has formally studied food science and nutrition at the collegiate level, and has useful food information to share.

Notes from Episode #101: How To Serve Your Audience By Going Beyond The Basics

  • Fun fact: Anecia is a native Texan and has never been on a horse. She also can tap dance!
  • Anecia’s belief: If you can read, you can cook. Cooking is not rocket science, it’s a simple approach. Read the steps, read it thoroughly, you can go into the kitchen and prepare a recipe. 
    • Some people are intimidated by the kitchen and recipes.
    • It’s important for food bloggers to keep it simple and basic and inspire others to go into the kitchen and cook.
    • Food bloggers can break it down into baby steps so it can be easy for anyone willing to try. 
  • How To Create A Culinary Masterpiece – it’s a simple 4 steps
    • 1- What’s for dinner – this is the hardest question! We ask ourselves this every day. In this time of quarantine, it’s not necessarily what we want, but its practical. What do we have on hand? What’s in the freezer? Do you want to have protein, vegetable and grain? Do I want to do all of it in one bowl or 3 individual dishes? Do I have time to do all that?  
    • 2- How am I going to cook it – Creativity comes into play here. This is a precursor to step 3. However you determine you want to cook it – saute, bake, grilling – determines the next steps. 
    • 3- How am I going to season it – depending on how you cook it will suggest if you should use fresh herbs, spices, paste, etc. You don’t want fresh herbs on the grill so they don’t catch on fire. 
    • What regional spices am I going to use – Greek spices? Spanish seasonings? What acids – wine, lemon? Pastes? Sauces? Step outside your normal area, you can create a masterpiece. Apply these concepts to the foods you’ve selected. 
    • Congratulations! You’ve created a flavor profile!
  • Food bloggers can provide substitute seasonings – 
    • If you want dill but don’t have it – what can you change out and achieve a similar result even without the one ingredient?
    • The home cook doesn’t think about spice substitutes like we do, but we can demystify the spice box for them.
    • Dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs. 1 tsp dry herbs = 3 tsp of fresh herbs. Put a dry herb in first, fresh herbs in last. 

  • People want comfort food and people are trying recipes their family made in the past that they remember. 
    • People are getting bored with the same tried and true recipes. We, as food bloggers, can take a classic or traditional recipe and deconstruct it. If it’s a casserole, can I make it a soup, turn it into a sandwich? 
    • Restructure recipes that are more involved and time consuming and make it similar but easier for everyday meals.
  • Look at what’s on hand and separate it out. 
    • If you have 5 pounds of ground beef, you probably don’t want that much chili or spaghetti. So think about how much meat that would make and then think about how it’ll be 5 or 3  separate ground beef recipes. 
    • Breakdown what you’ve got that’s available into different menus so it’ll stretch it farther. Then you can dress it up and change the flavor profile by going through the above process. 
    • Availability, affordability and practicality. 
    • Dress up the boring by adding something you wouldn’t necessarily think of adding but you have it on hand!
  • This stay at home order is forcing us as food bloggers to step outside the box. You owe it to your audience to get busy figuring out what to do differently and work with what you have. It’s the silver lining in this situation.
  • What do you do with the random/boring items in your pantry? 
    • Can of corn or frozen corn – heat it and eat it. Or spin the globe again and go to Mexico. Add cumin, coriander, chile powder and diced green chiles and you can make it interesting!
    • Pull out  your skillet, drain the water from a can of corn and saute it really well to make it a Mexican corn with the addition of spices, chiles and peppers!
  • Sauces are always of value to the home cook. People have sauce paranoia!
    • You can thicken them up, you can thin them out. You can double the batch to freeze. 
  • We want to inspire and show people that this is good stuff happening in the kitchen. 
  • You show them (your audience), you tell them and let them try. 
  • Everyone absorbs information in different ways so it’s great to be offering words, instructions, video, tips, etc so everyone can become confident in the kitchen.
  • Final tidbit: You might make a mess but hopefully you’re making a memory as you cook. 
  • Anecia is offering the infographic on her website if you sign up for her newsletter. It shows the mother sauce and the derivatives.

Helpful references from the episode:

Create A Culinary Masterpiece

Cooking Basics


Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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