Today we're exploring with Christina Bello, the 31-year-old Chicago-based blogger behind My Homespun Home. Like me, she uses her blog as an escape from the demands of work and life and relishes the chance to make things with her hands. Interspersed with her thoughtful, seasonal food posts are occasional (and achievable) craft projects or tips for around the home. Reading My Homespun Home is like settling in with an old friend — it's comforting and inviting. I especially love Christina's photography, which lets the food shine in all its natural glory.
Read on to get to know Christina!
What is your all-time favorite book?
Ha, favorite in what regard? I can't pick just one, so here are my top 4:
Nancy Drew — I got my mom's old books when I was a kid, it was the first series I was addicted to.
Fahrenheit 451 — I ordered it from the Scholastic book form in 6th grade, it was the first book that made me think about how important books are and started my love of Bradbury and sci-fi. It's also the source of my one and only tattoo.
East of Eden — I only read it recently, but it's the first book in a long time that made me cry.
The Man with the Golden Arm — I wrote my Masters thesis on it, it's set in Chicago, and it was the first National Book Award winner but so few people have read it!
What meal do you love to cook?
The meal I've cooked most frequently is Sunday breakfast. Big Sunday breakfasts have been a family thing, especially with my dad, since before I can remember. Pancakes or eggs (over easy, egg-in-a-hole, or soft boiled) and toast, bacon, hashbrowns, fruit, and tea. My dad sometimes still calls me from Rochester, NY (my hometown) to read a good comic from the Sunday paper. Sunday breakfast is cooked and eaten leisurely and I like that.
What is your favorite food scene from a book?
I think the scenes in The Man with the Golden Arm set in the Tug & Maul bar on Division Street in Chicago. It's such a central location in the book, literally and figuratively. Plus Rumdum the beer-drinking dog is a great character.
Coffee or tea?
Tea, please! My Sunday morning pot of tea is one of my favorite food rituals, I even wrote a post about it. I do like a good foofy coffee drink on occasion though.
What is the last book you abandoned?
City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. I loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I went to Italy recently and was excited to read about Venice, but it just didn't grab me.
Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?
Ray Bradbury and a glass of dandelion wine (I've always been curious what it tastes like!) or Nelson Algren and a beer.
Where do you go to find new recipes?
I want to say the stack of cookbooks on my bookshelf, but honestly, usually other blogs and websites. Or Google if I'm looking for something specific, I love researching different variations of a recipe.
Where do you go to find new reads?
The book club I'm part of is great for this, but my mom also gives great suggestions. The bi-annual Evanston Public Library sale is my go-to for stocking up on new reads without spending a lot of money.
Tell us about your blog — the inspiration for it, why you blog and your favorite aspects.
I started writing my blog as a creative outlet and a way to share my favorite recipes with my family in Cleveland and New York (they are my most frequent commenters, which I think is adorable). Over the past two years, my favorite aspects have been the people I've met (I'm pretty introverted, so it's great to have a built in common interest to spark a conversation) and the new skills I've learned — canning, grilling, and photography especially, but it's generally given me incentive to be more adventurous in my cooking. I love sharing what I've learned, which will hopefully inspire someone else.
What are your favorite blogs, and why?
Like a million others, Smitten Kitchen because her recipes are so reliable (and she posts stuff like brownie ice cream sandwiches right when I'm trying to think of a good dessert for a party). America's Test Kitchen Feed is a good supplement to their general recipe site. Food in Jars got me started learning how to can and preserve, and Northwest Edible Life makes me jealous of her amazing garden. I also love the blogs of the people I've met through the Chicago Food Swap and Chicago Food Bloggers — it's great putting faces to blog names.