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Foodie Chat - Interview with our lovely Cynthia!

This week's foodie needs no introduction. She has been and will be a great inspiration to many. I am really happy to present an interview of our favorite Cynthia from Tastes like home. When I started blogging, her blog is one of my inspirations. She is one of the simplest and humblest food blogger I have come across.

I have learned many recipes from her blog and also have wondered how she takes such beautiful pictures. I have always wanted answers to these and now we have our dear Cynthia openly talking about blogging with us.

Sangeeth : How did u get the idea of blogging?

Cynthia : The idea to have a blog was not mine, it belongs to my best friend, Susan. Once I started writing my newspaper column she encouraged me to create a blog.

S: When did u start blogging?

C: In September of 2006, I had a blog called In Good Taste, that was related to another set of columns but my current blog, Tastes Like Home was created in January 2007.

S: Why did you choose this topic to blog?

C: The column Tastes Like Home was borne out of my longing for the food of my homeland, Guyana since I now live in another country.

My newspaper column is titled, Tastes Like Home, hence the name of my blog. My blog is really an extension of my column, it is a place for readers to interact with me and for us to discuss stuff from the

S: Have you any ambitions of stepping up to the next level, writing on a site attracting the mainstream media's attention – or having a go at professional writing directly?

C: When you say mainstream media, are you referring to media in North America and Europe?

My newspaper column is currently published in newspapers in three Caribbean countries - Guyana, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts Nevis. And then again, one does not get more mainstream than the internet :)

If by writing professionally you mean, the writing being my main job and source of income... as long as the opportunities continue to present themselves then yes. You see, in addition to the newspaper column, I also write for a Regional Caribbean Women's Magazine and I have a food column in Whitesands Magazine (a Canadian Real Estate Magazine). I've also written for a West Indian newspaper in Canada.

S: wow! Cynthia. Is there a way for us to read those?

S: In a day, how many hours you spend blogging?

C: I don't blog every day. On average I'd say that at any given time, I don't spend more than 2 hours blogging..

S: Do you have any other hobbies other than blogging?

C: Of course! I enjoy playing my keyboard and reading. I really love reading. I read a lot for my work at the college as well as my food writing but I really enjoy pleasure reading like Novels etc. I like travelling too and discovering new things and new places.

S: Do you see any change in your blogging habits?

C: Oh definitely, at first, like most bloggers I think and just like when you have a new toy, you can't seem to get enough of it :) Constantly checking your comments, tweaking your blog template etc. That obsession had to stop quickly though because, like I mentioned, I have a full time job teaching and it demands my attention and so too does my writing. I also wanted to ensure that there was balance to my life.

S: oh! I know. I still do this. Got to stop sometime soon!

S: Where do you see your blog 1 year from now?

C: With a new look for sure :)

S: What advice do you give to the new comers?

C: Balance, balance, balance - do not let blogging take over your life.

S: Do you have any other blogs other than the food blog?

C: Yes, I co-author a blog, Forgive Me My Nonsense... with my friend Bee from Jugalbandi, it is a place to let off some steam and just comment on things going on around us. S: What do you feel about recent copyright issues?

I am outraged. The lack of respect for other people's work is appalling. I mean, how much would it take to write an email asking permission to use someone's work? Treat people and their possessions the way you would like to be treated.

S: You are right, Cynthia.

S: Do you have any experience like this before? Any advice?(Reg Copyright issues)

C: Knock wood. I have not had to deal with this too much. There were 3 occasions last year when people had lifted by photographs and columns and posted it on their sites. I immediately wrote strongly-worded emails to all three persons and within 24 hours they responded by removing my content from their sites and apologizing.

I also set my preferences on my photo hosts restricting certain views, copying etc. I also watermark my photographs. But to be honest with you Sangeeth, there will always be dishonest people and the most we can do is to look out for each other.

S: Can bloggers earn from blogging? Yes. Do you earn from your blog? Yes. If yes, can you tell us more?

C: Each month Foodbuzz (which is the only advertisement I have on my site) sends me a cheque every month. I know that other bloggers have a variety of advertisers on their sites and earn from those as well.
In the past I've received offers from other advertisers but I find that some of them demand too much real estate on one's blog without a fair return.

S: What is your typical day consist of?

C: A typical day finds me monitoring my student’s performance as they broadcast from the College's radio station, writing and reading. I don't cook everyday :)

S: Tell us about your family.

C: My family is pretty small, it's just me, my mom, brother, Eon, sister, Pat and my nephew, Ethan. I am the eldest and my brother is the youngest.

I am from a bi-racial family, my mom is Indian and my dad was African. My family lives in Guyana. I live in Barbados.

S: More about your hobbies,interests

C: I like watching good movies and shows, I have very little tolerance for medicore stuff. I love to people watch, you know, you go somewhere and there are lots of people and you sit there, watch them pass by and think about what kind of jobs they do, what their lives are like etc. I don't know if this qualifies as a hobby or interest but I do like to spend quiet time, all by myself.
S: You are a regular reader of ....

C: many things

S: How do you keep in touch with your fellow bloggers, do you use social sites?

C: You mean such as facebook? To be honest, although I have a facebook account, it is just to have a presence there, I don't really get the time to socialize there. I keep in touch with my fellow bloggers by emails. We write each other frequently about a variety of things.
S: Your favorite food blogs, other blogs
C: There are too many to mention here but there is a blog in particular that I like to visit because the author goes to these amazing places and gives real insight into his subjects. The site is
S: How blogging has changed your life?
C: From the emails I get from readers, especially Caribbean readers, I know that I am bringing something special to their lives by reconnecting them to home they left a long time ago and also it gives them an opportunity to share with their family and friends some of the foods they've been raving about. For my non-Caribbean readers, it is an introduction to new ingredients and dishes. It is amazing to see also how we are all not so different. I love learning news dishes and ways of preparing ingredients seen on other blogs.

S: very true.
S: Your favorite cooking show, cookbook, cuisine, restaurant, food?

C: Cooking show, there are three: Lydia's Italy, Amercia's Test Kitchen & Tyler's Ultimate :) Sorry, couldn't just name one.
Favourite Cookbook: Food Blogs! Come on, the variety is amazing and totally awesome.
Favourite Cuisine: Chinese (gosh but Thai, Vietnamese, Indian & Caribbean are right up there!)
Favourite Restaurant: Don't have one (and that does not mean I cannot name just one:))
Favourite Food: do you mean like a favourite dish? If so, fish curry

S: Who/what is your inspiration?

C: My inspiration comes from all around and many people

S: Do you host your blog in your own domain? What blog hosts you suggest for a new blogger/experienced blogger?

C: Yes I host my blog in my own domain and I also have hosting services but I currently use blogger's platform.

Suggestions for new bloggers: I like blogger because it is simple with it's point and click, drag and drop guides. It also allows you to manipulate the html template as much as you like, most other hosts require you to have a pro account in order to be able to play around with their templates.
S: How do you cope up with the technical requirements for being a blogger?

C: I don't! I mean I do basic things like adding a page etc and at first, I made some html changes but since I got this template I'm currently using from a friend who is a web developer, I don't tinker around. I rely on her for my technical stuff.

S: You lucky!!!

S: If people want to contact you through social media, are you available?

C: Social media, again does that mean Facebook? I'd say that the best way to contact and communicate with me is through email and yes I am available. Like I said before, I don't really get the time to socialize on facebook. Besides, I find facebook a bit too public for me.

S: Your achievement as far as blogging is concerned so far.

C: I'd have to say my photography
S: How do you take wonderful food pictures? Any tip to newbies.

C: The photography is a constant learning venture. I experiment a lot.

Tips for newbies: Read your manual with the camera in the other hand. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Lighting is the life of many photographs, start by shooting as often as you can in natural lighting and this will prevent you having to use your flash. Focus, most cameras allow you to set the focus automatically and then shoot, use this feature. If you're focusing manually, well then you are in control, ensure that what you are see through the lens is clear and in sharp focus.

S: How can I not ask this.....Tell us more about the book you are writing. How is it coming?When are you publishing it. What is the name of the book etc.

C: The book is part food memoir, part cookbook. It is based on selected columns and accompanying recipes. The book will have 100 recipes. It is currently with the publishers in the UK and though it was expected out in October, the publishers have pushed back the launch date. What I do know is that the book will be out in time to capitalize on the Christmas sales. The book is called: My Caribbean Cookbook, Tastes Like Home.
S: Last question, Have you been to my site before? Do you have any comments for me?

C: Yes, I've been to your site before and not often enough :)

I can tell that you are obviously good with html with the way you have organized and created things for your blog. You have a wealth of information there also. One of my favorite things is your glossary, I have learnt so much from it.

S: Oh Thanks Cynthia!

I take this opportunity to Thank Cynthia for her quick response to the interview request despite her busy schedule.

I appreciate your comments and suggestions for future interviews.

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Checkout the previous foodie chat.


I liked ur idea of having these series...getting to know more about bloggers

Good luck with your book, Cyn! and thanx Sangeeth for this iview

This was great! :)

I am a big fan of Cynthia's blog too!

Nice interview... I am glad you are doing this. I get to know a lot more foodies up close. Great job.
I have left you a "looong" answer to your question about "Follow widget" that you had asked on my post. Check it out here...

I love your idea of doing this. Thanks for letting us know more about cynthia.

A nice interview, and what a lovely idea to introduce bloggers to the rest of the community. Good job, Sangeeth!

cynth, you rock girl:)
and thanks Sangeeth:)

I know it's silly right, but I got a little choked up as I read the comments of my friends who've commented here. Thank you all very much. And Sangeeth this would not have been possible without you, so thank very much for the opportunity.

I look forward to reading more in your series.

It is so nice to know more about the lovely cynthia. I love her blog.

Enjoyed reading about fellow bloggers. thanks for this series Sangeeth.

Sangeeth, thanks for a bigger peek into Cynthia's life and blog. Interesting read!

Thanks for letting us know Cynthia much closer. Made a good read.

Sangeeth ,
Foodie chat is a neat idea.It was interesting to know more about cynthia.

Very nice interview Sangeeth. Thanks Cynthia.

Thanks all for enjoying the interview the same way I did.

thanks so very much for doing this for me :) we love you a lot!

Cynthia's most admired quality ( apart from the fact that she is an awesome cook!) is that despite her success she is SO down to earth!
Love u Cynthia!! Good luck with the book!