If you’re unfamiliar, 30A is an area in Florida, but Susan’s blog not only features fantastic information for locals, but also great recipes and beautiful photography.
Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.
I am a food and travel journalist with a passion for food. My grandparents were Georgia peanut farmers, and owners of an Independent Grocery Store. I worked in the food industry in college, and married into it. Though divorced, my former husband and I remain friends, and I have benefitted from having family in the commercial fishing and restaurant industry. After the BP Disaster in 2010, I started 30AEATS Facebook page to promote local farmers, chefs, artisans, fisherman and restaurants, as tourism and the economy was severely affected. People took notice, and I decided to start 30AEATS.com. Since my daughter was getting ready to graduate, and my son would soon follow the next year, I thought I would start slow, and share local food stories and my recipes on my website. Emeril came knocking which is how I met you, the stunning Rachel Cooks, as we promoted Sizzling Skillets for Emeril last year. My first blog post was September 11, 2011. Little did I know that one year later, I would be where I am today. It is truly a crazy blessing.
Here is my family with former hubs and his new wife, me + hubs and kids after a long boat and beach day in front of my house. No grass to mow..…
Take me through your day.
Well, up until June I did what most Moms & working Moms do. Wake up kids, cook breakfast, make lunches, send them on their way, call my Mother, do laundry, go to my office (bed), write stories for deadlines, answer emails, return phone calls, go to PR functions, kids events, make sure homework is done, cook dinner, clean everything up, maybe walk the dog (pug …not much walking), or ride my bike….
Weekends were filled with track, tennis, cross-country, or family visiting us at the beach. Daughter riding a wave on Grayton Beach…
Summer 2012 was crazy as my daughter came home from her first year of college, and the dynamics changed. Liberated and without curfew’s… not! I still made her come home at a decent hour. I’m too old to stay up till midnight waiting like I did the year before!
But now… I am trying to adjust to being an empty nester. My husband is a surgeon, only home part time, and at odd hours. My daughter is back at Alabama, and son is a freshman at Ga Tech. I worry about him growing up in a small beach community and now living in Downtown Atlanta, but he seems to be adjusting well. Food scene is awesome, so I’m happy about that!
I don’t have to get up at a certain time, make breakfast, lunch or dinner. I find I am digging deeper into my writing and I am currently penning my first cookbook. I have an incredible photographer on board, community support, and all proceeds from the sales will be donated to a charity that I am founding. I go to bed when I am tired. It is bizarre, but eventually I might get a routine. It has only been 4 weeks, and Hurricane Issac didn’t allow me time to think about being an empty nester.
What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
Vitamix. Can’t make my perfect soup without it. Love it. Also, good knives.
What is the most important part of your day? Why?
Connecting with family, and anytime one of my children calls me. I try not to be a burden calling them, so it is nice to get that call.
Most important should be taking an hour to exercise, and that is my goal. Actually taking time for me. I never have before.
What is your favorite part of your day? Why?
Being outside in the beauty of South Walton, lunch meetings where I can capture great photos, hearing a good story to write and share, stopping by my parents, watching the sunset on the beach.
What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?
The still of the night, knowing my kids are not home. Going to take some time!
But I’ve got this to keep me company:
If you could choose one room in your house to spend the WHOLE day in, which room would it be? Why?
I like my white marble bathroom. I can take baths in my tub now. I have time.
If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?
I am not a big fan of my kitchen, powder bathroom, or first floor in general. The house has three. I met with an architect the day I got back from dealing with Hurricane Issac, and we are taking a sledge hammer to it soon. I want an open kitchen to my living area, open stair treads, and to make everything brighter.
What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
Sunday. Spending time with my husband watching CBS Sunday morning, and having brunch. That has not changed. Been doing it for 14 years. We then would have a family day, go boating or to the beach, but now I have parents over to cook burgers.
If you had to choose one place to travel to every year over and over, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?
Bonnieaux, France. I love that place. A beautiful little village, with a Michelin Star Chef, who owns and operates a small boutique hotel called La Bastide de Capelongue. I traveled there in 2007 and 2008.
If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?
Provence for 6 months out of each year, and the other half 30-A in South Walton where I live.
What is your favorite quote or verse?
“Everything in moderation, even moderation!” Always has been. I lived in New Orleans for a long period of time. We have that thing called Mardi Gras (wink-wink)
What is your favorite cookbook?
I have several. But here are a few…
Chris Hastings’ Hot and Hot Fish Club
Frank Stitts’ Southern Table
John Besh’s My New Orléans
Winnie Moranville’s The Bonne Femme is a new fav as I am channeling Provence.
I also have old first edition Louisiana Cookbooks I buy off ebay that are prized possessions, and a first edition Charleston Receipts.
I am looking forward to reviewing the newly released Mastering The Art Of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart
What recipe on your blog are you most proud of?
Emeril’s Bouillabaisse, 30AEATS.com’s first ever blog post! My first time taking and loading photos to wordpress! It was a long night, but I was proud, and thrilled to be part of the blogging group selected! The Saefoos was fresh and local, the recipe, fantastic.
What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?
What have you learned since you began blogging?
In a year, I could fill ten pages! The actual website itself, html code, learning photography, website content, bloggers personalities good and bad, twitter, what SoMe and #FF meant, pirating, theft, and that bloggers are a family, that really care about each other, especially in times of need. I like that. I needed that, but did not know it at the time I began. Also, to be yourself and don’t compete. I love the uniqueness of each blog I visit.
What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?
Trying to play catch up in learning where I think I should be, in order to be on the level I want to be, so that it enhances the other aspects of what I am doing professionally. Finding time in the last month to cook for one and post about it. My son could put away the groceries, so I did not mind making a big recipe, but now I guess I will have the ¼ recipes.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?
Read blogs, comment on your favorites, get to know bloggers, attend a blogging conference, take a local cooking class, get a decent camera and take a local photography class, and when you start your blog…don’t have a captcha, and make sure your twitter name is the same as your blog!! My twitter is @fromagechick, not 30A EATS.
Who would you like to see featured here in the future?
Well everyone the Virtual Potluck group!
And here are a few other…
Is there anything else you would like to tell the world about yourself?
I moved to the Seaside, Fl, area on 30-A in the Florida Panhandle, after a near death auto head-on collision, as my parents lived here and I was divorced and had a 4 and 5 yr old at the time. I have had over 40 surgical procedures, and my injuries included internal, so I wanted to be independent, but needed moral, and sometimes physical support. We have a home in Pensacola where my husband has his practice, and I am there on occasion, which is why I include Pensacola in 30AEATS. I love the beach, fishing, boating, family, b-b-q, Gulf Coast seafood, my pug Oliver, and I am passionate about having a positive impact in my community. I don’t like to hear, No, and I like vodka martini’s with blue cheese olives when celebrating. I also like to paint abstract using acrylics, and my husband is building a studio for me in Pensacola, to entice me to find my passion for painting again, and spend more time there. We will see…
PS: “The stunning Rachel Cooks?!?!” I’m blushing!
PPS: Should we talk about how stunning Susan’s entire family is? Yeesh!
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