Today we're stirring it up with Cynthia, the blogger behind Saveur Best Food Blog Awards finalist Two Red Bowls. Cynthia's a junior lawyer at a large law firm in Manhattan, but you wouldn't guess that reading her blog. Nowhere on her site will you see anything stodgy or uptight. Instead you'll find truly beautiful photography, notable for its moodiness. The way Cynthia depicts her recipes is — dare I say it? — sexy. I'll stop now before I get carried away gushing about the food porn.
Read on to get to know Cynthia!
What is your all-time favorite book?
This is terribly unoriginal, but I have to say Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have such admiration for authors who are able to so deftly capture something quintessential about the human experience, something that stays relatable no matter what the culture, time, or context may be. And the fact that, generations later, little girls are still identifying as Megs, or Jos, or Amys, or (maybe?) Beths — I think there's something beautiful about that.
What meal do you love to cook?
Hmm. This changes continuously, but right now I'm a huge fan of pasta bakes. It's pretty much impossible to screw up a huge pan of carb-loaded goodness under a blanket of golden and bubbling melted cheese.
What is your favorite food scene from a book?
Normally, I'd immediately say Edmund and his rapturous relationship with Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I just finished Jodi Picoult's most recent novel The Storyteller, which centers around a baker and has some wonderfully vivid descriptions of her craft. Like this: "[E]very day, in addition to the loaves he would make for the town, he would create a single roll for me that was as unique as it was delicious: a twist like a princess's crown, dough mixed with sweet cinnamon and the richest chocolate. The secret ingredient, he said, was his love for me, and this made it taste better than anything else I had ever eaten." Ever since I read that, I've been taken with the idea of recreating that flaky cinnamon-chocolate bun!
Coffee or tea?
Absolutely coffee! It's not unheard of for me to enjoy a cup of tea when the time is right, but coffee is a (probably unhealthy) necessity each and every morning.
What is the last book you abandoned?
I'm trying to remember ... I think it has to be either the 5th installment of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, or Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. One of those I either started and abandoned, or simply contemplated it and never took the first step. But I know both are wonderful novels (as is the entire Dark Tower series), so I should really commit myself to renewing them at some point.
Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?
E.B. White. I loved his essays when I was in high school and I just imagine him as the quirkiest old soul. I don't know what I'd order for food, but I'd definitely politely request that he make his apricot-lime martini.
Where do you go to find new recipes?
Everywhere! Usually I just think of what I crave — something that crops up on a blog that just looks or sounds to me like it would be totally, stuffed-to-the-brim delicious, or what I have in a restaurant that I want to recreate at home. Or a dish I had long ago in a city I won't be back to (like these pork buns!) and have been dreaming of ever since.
Where do you go to find new reads?
Usually my man, "Bowl #2." He's far better read than I'll ever be (the reason I ever read anything by Murakami, for instance) which is a total embarrassment since I was the English major.
Tell us about your blog — the inspiration for it, why you blog, and what your favorite aspects are.
The inspiration for my little blog was (as you might guess) these two red bowls we had at home, and the food I cooked for my boyfriend (now fiance) that used to be dished up in them. Feeding my loved ones good food has always been the best part of cooking, for me, but I think the reason I began to blog was the idea that I might be able to share food, not just with them, but with anyone else who might love cooking as much as I do. Finding, connecting with and being inspired by others in the vibrant, inexpressibly wonderful food community has been one of the most rewarding parts of blogging. As for my favorite aspects of my blog, I'm not sure! Maybe that it is simply a distillation of everything I like best about food — good portions with nothing gone to waste (ideally) because it's just for two, a touch of Asian influence, experimenting with new things. And carbs.
What are your favorite blogs, and why?
Eek! This question always floors me. Local Milk, The Denizen Co., and Hortus Cuisine for their impeccable aesthetics; My Name is Yeh [ATTW interview] for endless creativity and a touch of whimsy, Lady and Pups because she just seems to always know what I crave most. Dolly and Oatmeal [ATTW interview], London Bakes, My Blue&White Kitchen [ATTW interview] and Princess Tofu for gorgeous and enlightening takes on different diets from my own, and The Tart Tart and Reclaiming Provincial whenever I just want to lose myself in beautifully craveable recipes. But gosh, that's just the beginning! I wish I could name every one of the wealth of inspirational blogs I follow out there.