All About Spicepaw
Where are you from?
I was born in Seattle and raised in a town south of Seattle with my siblings. My father is an ‘East coaster’ from New York and my mother hails from Kansas. My siblings and I all have exotic names which often confuses some people who think that we are more exotic than what we actually are.
Why did you start a food blog?
I always enjoyed cooking and would commandeer any kitchen that I came across. This involved hosting dinner parties for my friends and roommates in University, taking over catering duties on weekend trips in South Korea, providing daily breakfasts for my friends at work and just generally shoving food on people. I always improvised in the kitchen, which made it difficult to pass on the recipe to people who asked for it let alone recreate it. There have been instances where I created a dish that someone has raved about only to find that I could not recreate it because I had completely forgotten what I did.
When I become a mother I started to understand the importance of home cooking. Not only was it more beneficial health-wise (and economical) to cook at home but also providing better opportunities for family bonding. To sit at a table with my family with a plate of food and no TV/phone/electronic device/distraction and to be able talk at the end of the day was something that I found helped to really strengthen relationships all around. I also started to think about the role my mother played in teaching me how to love food and cook and that now I would have that same role with my child. So I started the food blog as kind of a way to collect recipes that my child will have one day and pass on. I also found that it was a great way to stay in touch with my family and friends who are spread out across the world. Why not connect over the international language of food?
Why the name Spicepaw?
Spicepaw is a nickname that my husband gave me when we first started dating. He’s a BIG fan of Indian food so I made him some of the recipes I had learned from Indian and Pakistani cooking classes and he liked it so much that he made me a certificate proclaiming me as a ‘Spicepaw’. I still have the certificate, which is taped on the fridge, and I even edited it to use on my blog.
What are your favorite foods?
I think the better question would be, ‘Which food do I not like?’ I would have to say that I love complex flavors such as sweet and spicy, salty and sweet, etc. I’ve taken advantage of my travels around the world to sample some really interesting cuisine and tried to make it my own. Some of my favorite foods are Mexican, Korean, Thai, French rustic and anything either made with love (and by love I mean lots of butter) and spice.
What is your food philosophy and how would you characterize it?
My food philosophy is try everything and learn where you can from who you can, whether it be a grandmother of a friend or celebrated chef online or a local cooking class. Cook what is local, fresh and in season. Cook what you can get. I’m all about sustainable foods and taking advantage of local ingredients. For example, you’ll never find a recipe from me on how to cook Chilean Sea Bass or any other unsustainable food. I’m all about experimenting with cheaper cuts of meat and ‘trash fish’ as well as different ways to cook local veg.
Obviously, my diet changes depending on what country I am in at the moment. When I was in Korea, it was all about the various types kimchi, seafood and lots of red chili paste. In China, it was pork, sesame seed paste, rice and noodles. Here in Malaysia, I am all about fish, coconut milk and curry (in all its glorious forms).
Why such short introductions on your food posts?
‘Brevity is the soul of wit’. I like telling stories and all but if there are pages and pages of stories before the recipe, chances are I just won’t read it. Often times I skip straight to the recipe because I am all about the food. I believe that the more succinct you are, the better chances people will read it and remember it.
Why do you live abroad?
I always had wanderlust. My dream was to travel the world and so far I have been fairly successful at that. The more I travel, the more I learn not only about other traditions and cultures but my own as well and how they impact how I think and behave. Once you see how other people around the world live it makes you reassess your priorities in life and reconsider what you need from life as opposed to what you want.
What would you have to be for your last meal?
Since I probably couldn’t have a huge buffet of various foods from all around the world, I probably would just settle with a really good fried chicken, hot sauce and my mom’s biscuits. Those biscuits still haunt me to this day.