Every passionate home cook dreams of what it might be like to start their own food blog. Working from home, spending the days being creative and expressing their art while becoming well known for something they love to do. Most, however, never make it out of the starting gate as they realize their dreams of a leisurely, art driven life are rooted in more work than any standard 40 hour work week would ever require.
Enter Prudy Blank, a self described ‘day dreamer’, with a workaholics determination, a passion for cooking, and a true gift for gab.
Blank’s blog Butter Basil & Breadcrumbs, has grown from a small site, made initially for family and friends in 2013, to amassing a large group of devoted followers who crave her friendly storytelling blogging style as much as they crave her delicious comfort food recipes.
Recently, Blank sat down with The Deco & Bloom team to talk about her blog, her home life, and her advice to other women looking to start a food blog of their very own.
Prudy, thanks again for sitting down with us today, for our readers who may be unfamiliar with your blog, please tell us a little about Butter, Basil, & Breadcrumbs.
It’s funny, because I started my blog on the advice of my friends who thought that I should share my recipes online. I had no idea what a blog was, and no idea what I was going to do with it. At the time, it was intended just for family and friends.
It didn’t take long for me to catch the “blogging bug” and I was hooked. I love and appreciate my audience, and I love meeting and sharing ideas with other bloggers!
Butter, basil, and breadcrumbs has truly become my passion, because along the way, I’ve learned that it is so much more than sharing recipes and photos. Blogging is about the excitement and adventure in discovering new tastes and cultures… it’s about fellowship and the memories made… it’s about comfort and the love of sharing a meal together during happy times and during the sad times.
Well, we as part of that devoted audience, we are so happy you caught that bug! You have a very clear photography style, the images on your blog are so vivid and artistic, what inspires you when staging your recipes for photos?
Thank you so much for saying that, because I’ve worked hard to create an image, one that people will know just by looking at one of my photographs, and say: “Oh, that’s Prudy…”! That just makes me happy!
My inspiration? It comes from my readers. Truly.
Once I found my photography niche, it was easy to find people to share that same love of vintage with me! To me, it’s warm and welcoming, peaceful and comforting, with a touch of romance….and I think that is what draws them in, too.
It’s a common bond that that I have with my readers, and the excitement in sharing something new. I know what makes me happy, and in turn, I know that it will make them happy too.
Your Photos tell the story of what’s next to come before the reader even begins to engage with your words. How would you describe your writing style and method of food blogging to those who haven’t been fortunate enough to follow your journey?
I am a story teller. My style of food blogging is probably highly unconventional compared to a normal food blogger, because my posts usually start out with a story that really has nothing to do with the recipe itself, but somehow ties together at the end.
I’m definitely more of a comfort food blogger. I grew up in a family that gathered together, celebrated, or even mourned with food…so a table filled with food, surrounded by loved ones, has always been a part of my life. It’s a comfort to me, and at this point in my life, I’d rather be in the kitchen cooking, because I find it so therapeutic, and so calming… yet it’s exciting and satisfying when it all comes together … food is just good for my soul. I think that is why I love butter, basil, and breadcrumbs so much. A person has to be what their blog says that he or she is… and I think I am.
As a food blogger who operates in what you described as the comfort food space, your recipes feel very vintage and rustic. Where do you come up with the ideas for the amazing food you make on your blog?
I can’t deny that I have a certain romance going on with food, and it truly isn’t about consuming as much as I possibly can (although I’ve eaten my fair share of pasta and sweets!), but more of a relationship with the food, as an artist has with paint and a brush. There is no doubt that my love of antiques and vintage-ware plays a huge role in what recipe is created in my kitchen!
I spend a lot of time shopping for vintage, or vintage looking items. Usually, when I find a “prop” such as a pedestal, an old tired pan, or a dish, I then envision what I’d like to cook or bake for that particular prop. It sounds a little backwards, but it’s easier for me to ‘see’ what it’s all going to look like as a finished product before I actually develop the recipe! From there, coming up with the recipe and ingredients is a piece of cake!
So much time goes into the creation of a recipe for a food blog, when you’re not blogging, what is your favorite secret short cut to use in the kitchen?
Forgive me grandma, for what I’m about to admit here… but I love to use jarred sauce! I use it in chili, and soups…and yes, I’ve been known to make spaghetti and meatballs using sauce from the jar! You just cannot deny that some brands are just delicious!
I’m sure home-cooks everywhere just emitted a sigh of relief, as we no longer have to bare our jarred sauce using habit in silence! When you are in your home kitchen, preparing a meal for your family, what is the one recipe you cook most often?
Gnocchi. My kids love them. I always know that if I’m making gnocchi, and send out a group text to let them know that the potatoes are currently boiling, that my kitchen will soon be loud with their chatter!
It’s my favorite time, when we’re all together… when we talk and laugh, and even argue at times…but most importantly, they’re the memories that they’ll have well into their adulthood, and will share someday with their own children. And they’re the memories that I will always cherish.
It used to be that they’d hang out in the kitchen a lot longer, but life called, and now they’re adults…so they only stay for a little while before they have to run and do their own thing, and that’s totally okay… I’m completely content to enjoy the company of my kids in my kitchen, even if it’s only for a few minutes, because that’s what life is all about…savoring the moment.
It’s so inspiring to watch as you find strength and support in spending time with your family and balance growing your already expanding career. Soon, you will be casting that blogging net to even new heights as part of the upcoming project Everything Home Magazine, tell us about your role in it?
I do not have words that could even come close to describe the excitement that the whole Everything Home Magazine team is feeling right now! Collette Osuna and Daraka McCrackin have been working countless hours to bring this magazine to life.. and we couldn’t be more proud!
I am so honored to be a part of such a talented group of beautiful people. Everything Home Magazine is already brimming with a vast array of wonderful features that will appeal to many different interests!
My role is to develop a seasonal recipe for the column called “Farm to Table”. I’ll share a little story, and feature photos of the recipe! What is really exciting for me, is that if any of our readers make any recipe that I’ve featured in the magazine, they can share it on Instagram using the hashtag #EHrecipes, giving them a chance to be featured on the Everything Home Magazine Instagram account!
In just two short years you have created a successful blog with a devoted following, and forged numerous opportunities for yourself in the blogging community. What advice would you give to other women looking to start and grow their own food blogs?
You know… every single blogger knows that fear mixed with excitement as you hit that first “publish” button. You realize at that moment, you’re about to put yourself out there for the whole world to see. Your finger kind of hovers over that button as a million thoughts run through your mind… Am I good enough? Will anyone notice me? Will they make fun of, or ridicule me? Am I publishing something that someone has already published, and will they come after me for copying them? So many questions and so many doubts… and those questions and doubts continue with every single post.
The only advice that I have to offer is this:
Have fun with it. Don’t make it a job. Make it a passion.
Don’t over think this…because you are good enough. You will be noticed!
The blogging community is a vast universe…and there are people out there writing about the same exact thing…sometimes at the same exact time. You just can’t avoid that….so be yourself. Be original, and you won’t have anything to worry about.
You can’t please everyone…so write to please yourself…and the people who love you will come back, time and again!
Join as many communities as you can, not only in your particular genre, but other genres as well… and get to know people!
Social media. Social media. Social media!!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because there is a lot of information out there, and lots of people willing to share that information!
Don’t give up. Just keep on, keepin’ on. Your day will come!
Now…go ahead and hit that “publish” button. You’ll be so happy you did!
With so many milestones achieved and so many still to come, what aspects of writing Butter, Basil & Breadcrumbs have most affected your life in a long lasting and positive way?
First and foremost, it is the people who I have met along the way. The friendships that I have made from all over the world, friends that I may never have met otherwise. Now that in itself, for me, is priceless.
The confidence that I have gained in two short years is tremendous. Before this, I couldn’t imagine putting myself out there for the world to see. Like I said, this blog was originally intended for family and friends. My safety net.
A blogger grows. And learns. And fails. And picks himself/herself up. And learns again. And grows some more.
Once in a while, I enjoy going back to the beginning of butter, basil, and breadcrumbs just to see how I’ve grown, where I’ve improved, and where I still need to improve. It’s a constant cycle of learning and growth, and I wouldn’t have had this if I would have stayed hidden in my little safety net.
In the end, as much as I write and create recipes with my readers in mind, ultimately, I do this for me, because it makes me happy. It’s my passion, and I cannot imagine life without butter, basil, and breadcrumbs!