Blogger of the Month: Shannalee Mallon of Food Loves Writing
For Shannalee Mallon, author of the blog foodloveswriting.com, writing and cooking seemed to be the perfect partnership. She embarked on her food blogging journey on the one year anniversary of her grandma’s passing, to celebrate her grandma’s fervent love of cooking. It seems like it was a fated event–with grandma’s recipes in hand and grandma’s lessons in her soul, Mallon began exploring the vast, wondrous world of food blogging. Mallon’s eloquent writing style–she was, after all, an English major–is supplemented by beautiful photographs that incite a sense of warmth in the reader.
One of the aspects of your blog that really draws in readers is that it reveals intimate parts of your life, such as your grandmother’s passing. Do you ever feel hesitant about exposing personal details of your life in your blog?
One of the things I love most about blogging is you can really choose for yourself what and when you want to share. Sometimes, that means waiting; other times, it means writing carefully about situations or people who are very close to you (like when I wrote about my recent experience with a kidney infection, for example). The posts that have meant the most to me are the posts that have been the most personal, and I feel really thankful to have an outlet where I can share them.
Maintaining a food blog, especially one with perfectly lit pictures and well-written recipes, takes a lot of time. Does blogging ever conflict with your personal life?
It’s more like my personal life conflicts with blogging! The longer I keep a blog, the more I realize I want my life to be about the living, not the way I blogged about the living, and I am continually trying to keep my priorities in check to reflect that.
What is a “typical” day in your life? As a freelancer, do you maintain a routine schedule, or switch it up every day?
For the last year and a half, I’ve had the incredible luxury of working from home, so most days I shower, eat breakfast, work at my computer, and have the afternoon and evening to spend with my husband or friends, get things done around the house, experiment in the kitchen [and] so on. Self-employment has been a challenge, and it involves a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What happens to all the food that you make? Do you end up eating it all or giving it away?
When my husband Tim and I can’t finish a batch of a dessert or some other recipe I’ve tried, we’re blessed to have a weekly Sunday night potluck dinner with friends that we can bring stuff to. And they’re gracious to try whatever we bring!
In food and culture magazines, there are often articles about people whipping out their camera in the middle of meals and taking photos of what they are eating. For some it seems rude, but for others, it’s a great way to capture their memories. How do you feel about this rising trend?
My Instagram (@foodloves) stream proves that I love to take pictures of the things I eat, whether I’m at home or at a restaurant! In certain situations, I think it could be inappropriate, so it’s good to stay attuned to that, but at most restaurants, it’s free PR for their business when you spread the word about liking your meal.
Now that you maintain a highly-trafficked food blog, does it ever make you want to take cooking classes? It seems that many bloggers find success through their own creativity and do not necessarily need “professional” training.
Sometimes I dream about going to culinary school and really learning all the techniques and skills involved with high-quality food. Sourdough bread! Croissants! Soufflé! If it worked out to take a class or two someday, I’d love to.
Sample a taste of Mallon’s beautiful writing and gorgeous photos at her blog, foodloveswriting.com.
Photo provided by Shannalee Mallon.