I would categorize Melissa from The Faux Martha as one of the most easy-to-relate-to food bloggers out there. She’s just a normal woman with a normal job who loves to bake like so many of us! Melissa has quite the eye for unique ingredient combinations and beautiful food photography. Additionally, each week Melissa posts her “Tip of the Week” on how to keep food fresh, how to make substitute ingredients, and where to find the best recipes. So not only does she create scrumptious desserts, but she also knows the science behind it! We were so excited to have the chance to ask Melissa a few questions about her love for food and making it from scratch.
I love how you describe yourself as one who likes to have your “hands covered in flour and butter.” How did you discover your passion for baking and cooking?
Since I was a wee little girl, I’ve had a thing for baking. I used to sneak over to the neighbor’s house and make cookies with her. My mom wasn’t much into baking. By the time I was old enough to clean up my own dishes, I started experimenting in the kitchen and made some wacky and often inedible treats. I wasn’t much of a recipe follower or dish cleaner to be honest. In college, I started watching Martha Stewart and learned the techniques of baking. It was in fact a science.
Your blog, The Faux Martha, offers some beautiful and unique recipes, such as Cranberry Butter and the Happy Thanksgiving Sandwich. Why did you decide to start your own food blog?
My blog started out as a way to stay in touch with my family. At the time, I was newly married and had newly relocated to Chicago from Texas. It quickly morphed into a food blog, that I used to keep track of my recipes that began piling up around the house and in my head.
Your slogan for The Faux Martha is “Made from Scratch.” Why is it important to you that you and others make your food and desserts by scratch?
For me personally, I think it stems from my high school days in art. I guess you could say I was a painter. And as a painter, you learn the art of creating something out of nothing. I love the beauty of a blank canvas. I approach food the same way. I like to start with pure, often times simple, ingredients. I’m still amazed by the complex flavors that come out of such simplicity. Truly, I think it tastes better too. It hasn’t proven me wrong yet.
The photography on your blog is absolutely gorgeous. Did you develop your photography skills for your blog?
Thank you! I’m blushing, seriously. If someone told me I would fall in love with photography, I wouldn’t have believed them. I even swore I’d never get into it. Swore! And here I am taking pictures of food, weekly, and if you count Instagram, then it’s daily. I can tell you my pictures today look nothing like they did when I started. I didn’t have the slightest clue about what to do with a camera. I read a million articles and then started practicing. A lot of sweat and frustration was involved. Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” I didn’t believe this at first. But I get it now. Practice teaches. I think I’m still within the 10,000 mark. Time to get back to practicing.
For the holidays, did you whip up anything from your own blog to serve to your family and friends?
I usually make Christmas in a Bowl. But this year, I was in charge of part of the main meal which included Cranberry Sauce, parker house rolls, stuffing (one of those recipes still in my head), and Green Bean Casserole. I would have squeezed in a dessert, but I still wig my mom out in the kitchen with all this made from scratch business.
How has running a food blog developed your own skills in the kitchen?
It’s made me pay great attention to the details (and learn what’s going on behind the details), especially since I’ve gotten into writing a lot of my own recipes. There’s been countless times I’ve been in the middle of making a recipe where I catch myself asking—is this what it’s supposed to look like? How long should I keep beating this? What size pan should I use? I imagine other people find themselves in that same position, so I try to be as detailed as possible when writing recipes. And more often than not, I’m learning as I go. Making mistakes. Watching videos. Reading hundreds of recipes. Choosing the most efficient or best technique. In short, it’s made me a learner.
Learn more about Melissa and The Faux Martha here: