Thanks for taking the time to chat with SIW. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
Nagashree : I am an IT professional with an engineering degree. I started as a software programmer and transitioned into project management. I work full time in the corporate world.
My blog Sattvaa.blogspot.com is about 3 years young. It is a food blog since every post (almost, with a few exceptions where I just talk is about a recipe. It is a chronicle of my cooking which is heavily influenced by the many talented cooks in my family. Personally, for me it has been an outlet in the virtual world to talk about food and other related topics. I have been interested in cooking from a young age and have enjoyed cooking for as long as I can remember. Blogging is about the food I cook and where it came from.
What makes your blog so unique and why should people read it?
Nagashree : Food is all about memories and the love you share with the people while eating it. Though it is a food blog, I don’t go in there and present a recipe and close the post. For me, every dish I make is about reliving old memories or building new ones. So, all my posts invariably talk about the experiences I have had while enjoying the food. I want my readers to connect the recipes back to incidences in their own life. I guess, my readers will always be treated to an anecdote (some funny, some serious, some thoughtful etc) when they visit my blog. I believe this aspect of my writing makes the recipes a bit more interesting and special.
Also, every one of the recipes on my blog is a dish I have made in my kitchen and we have enjoyed eating it. I don’t like to share a recipe with my readers that I myself didn’t enjoy.
My cooking is purely vegetarian; my usage of ingredients such as egg or garlic is limited. I grew up in a very typical Kannadiga home and am in love with my mom’s cooking. I got married to a Telugu guy and was introduced to the pleasures of Andhra cooking. I lean heavily on the expertise and wisdom of cooks from both branches of my family. I present both old and traditional gems that are slowly fading away as people choose to not spend time on making them as well as my experiments with other cuisine (both Indian and international). Baking is something I took to recently and I enjoy baking very much. Although I am still honing on my skills in this area, I have some very delicious bakes on my blog.
How often do you blog?
Nagashree : Funny you ask that because it is random. There have been months where I have done a post every two days and some months where I have barely done once every week. I try to post one every week as I balance work, home and other activities but sometimes fall behind. For me, more than the number of posts, the quality matters and I do blog whenever I have things to share and chat with my readers.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Nagashree : If I just went by the blogger stats, my post about the authentic Karnataka snack Nippattu (a deep fried crunchy item made with rice flour as base) has seen over 11000 hits since it was posted. I am not surprised since it is a very popular snack and I have given the typical Mysore way of making it.
But there are many posts for which I have received a random note from a total stranger telling me how they liked the way I presented a particular dish or sharing anecdotes about their experience of the dish which makes me happy.
Last year, on mother’s day, I wrote about the 2 mother’s in my life and lot of people seemed to enjoy it going by the personal notes I received for that. The particular blog post had a very simple recipe of a pickle.
What do you find most challenging about blogging?
Nagashree : Blogging is my passion, well food and cooking is my passion. Working full time like many women out there, free time is precious to me and making time for blogging becomes a matter of choice. Sometimes other things in life take precedence and I stay away from blogging when that happens. Other than time being a critical factor, I sometimes struggle with what I call as ‘blogger’s block’ when I cannot think of anything relevant to say about the post. I don’t like to just give the recipe of a dish in my blog, it is usually presented with a memory, story or some such experience. So I have to wait out until the block lifts.
The other challenging aspect especially with food blogging is capturing pictures that do justice to the dish. Most of my cooking happens in the evening or over weekends, so natural light is a luxury. Having those drool worthy pictures makes a lot of difference to the blog posts. I am still working on that.
What are some of your favorite author blogs and why?
Nagashree : There are many and for various reasons. I happened to come across a food blog called Mahanandi (http://www.themahanandi.org/) by Indira. It was a time when I had not expected to see something like a food blog especially by an Indian. I didn’t have a blog of my own at the time and I used to be anonymous in the virtual world. Though I visited her blog a few times, I never left a comment which I feel really bad about now; internet usage was not so rampant those days and I was very protective of my privacy. But I do like the way she wrote her blog.
One of the other blogs that I really enjoy visiting is the smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/) by Deb. I adore her writing, photography and baking skills. Completely awesome.
What are your favorite books that you would recommend SIW family?
Nagashree : I read a lot and across multiple genres. It would be difficult for me to pick a few books to recommend here. I do that on my blog occasionally when the topic fits with the recipe.
Since we are talking mostly about my food blog here, I would recommend Raghavan Iyer’s 660 curries to all foodies out there. It is a big book with over 600 recipes, devoid of pictures (my only complaint about the book). He has a curry for every occasion. If you are a baking enthusiast, pick up ‘The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread’ by Peter Reinhart, it is a real treasure for home bakers.
I loved reading ‘Julie and Julia’ and also ‘As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto’ which fill my foodie heart with happiness.
What advice would you give to young women readers of SIW who want to follow a similar career path as you?
Nagashree : Blogging is not a career path for me, it is a fusion of two of my passions – writing and cooking. With that said, I have seen a lot of enterprising women start off successful businesses from food blogging. Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and keep working at what you want.
Blog URL : sattvaa.blogspot.com
Category : Foodie
All images are property of “Nagashree” and required permissions have been taken to publish it on www.smartindianwomen.com website.
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