An Interview With Mina Joshi – A Food Blogger at Give Me Some Spice
Just tell me a little bit of what food blogging means to you.
Ans: Food blogging to me is a way of sharing all my modern and traditional recipes I learned from my parents and in-laws. I feel that some of the old-fashioned dishes will never be made if no one passes on the recipes.
What inspired you to start the blog?
Ans: I had always wanted to write a cookery book but never got the time. I started my blog when my children left home to go to University. I realized that they and their friends at University had not cooked much at home but were keen to learn to cook healthy food which was also quick to make. I started sharing my recipes with them and decided to start a blog where all my recipes could be saved. I spend a lot of time trying out my recipes, photographing them at each step and my aim is to explain the cooking process in simple terms with as much detail as I can. It really pleases me when anyone emails me to let me know that they like following my recipes.
When did you realize this was going to become more than just a hobby?
Ans: As my blog got popular, I got invited to write recipes for magazines and supermarkets etc. Since June 2011, I am a featured writer for an online magazine called City Connect where I write recipes under the Taste of India Series. In 2014, I was approached by a local college to teach vegetarian Cookery at their adult learning classes – that’s when I realized that my hobby was going to become my profession. As my cookery classes became popular, I was approached by other colleges and now teach adults Vegetarian cookery at 3 colleges. These classes are a great way to make friends and the cookery has become a fun activity for the students as well as me. I really enjoy teaching.
Why do you think food blogging has become so popular now?
Ans: I think the internet and smartphones have made it so easy for everyone to take pictures of what they cook and share the recipe. Social media – especially Facebook is another place people share recipes and encourage each other to start blogging.
What is the most time-consuming part for you as a food blogger?
Ans: Cooking takes longer as I tend to take photos at every stage. Sometimes, I have to stop to wash and dry my hands before taking photos. Then editing the photos and writing the recipe in simple terms also takes time. Blogging is time-consuming but exciting at the same time.
Could you give some advice for bloggers who are starting out?
Ans: Enjoy blogging. Take good pictures and write the recipe in as much detail as possible. Share your blog posts on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Join relevant Facebook pages where you can share your recipes. Visit other blogs and leave them comments on their recipes and most bloggers will reciprocate and visit your blog. Social networking is a great way of getting your blog noticed. And lastly – never copy anyone’s recipe or pictures. If you do create a dish using another bloggers recipe – give them the credit.
What is the most important thing you should be doing as a food blogger?
Ans: Enjoy cooking and sharing your recipes. Look for new recipe ideas by going to local markets to see what fruits and vegetables are in season and think of new ways of recreating new dishes. Cooking becomes fun when your family also shares your passion and compliments you on what you have cooked. One thing I find useful is networking with other bloggers as you can learn so much from them.
How much technical know how do you think someone needs to have if they want to become a food blogger?
Ans: These days Google has made it very easy to blog. If anyone gets stuck when blogging, they can always ask in some helpful Facebook Groups or even search for the answer in Google.
What according to you is the best way to increase traffic to your food blog?
Ans: The best way is to become a team player. As mentioned before – make sure that you are well connected on social media especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The size and quality of your network will determine your level of success. Also connect with other food bloggers by commenting on their posts, following them on social media or mentioning them in your blog posts. I run a Facebook page called Bloggers Circle of Friends where we network by leaving comments on fellow bloggers. The more connections you make, the more successful you will become. Lastly – attend any blogger networking events in your area and make friends with other bloggers. If networking isn’t your thing, make it your mission to become one and start getting connected.
How often did you post when you started off as opposed to now?
Ans: I posted nearly every day when I started out but now tend to post at least 3-4 times a week.
How soon were you able to make your first 100 dollars?
Ans: Surprisingly, I started earning small amounts of money within months of blogging. Over the years I have become choosy and only accept assignments that I enjoy or believe in. With experience, I have a media kit which helps me to negotiate with PRs but I never started my blog with the intention of making money. For me, it was more of a hobby.
What is your preferred source of monetization for your blog?
Ans: I prefer to be paid for creating recipes and writing food-related articles.
Do you think there is a right time to start monetizing a food blog?
Ans: There really is no right time to start monetizing the blog. A lot depends on how connected you are and who approaches you. For my blog, I do not accept any assignments related to gambling, betting or any cause that I do not feel happy about. I also do not accept articles which have to follow links.
Which is your favorite social network, if any?
Ans: I like using Facebook as that is where I have the most followers. This is my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/givemesomespice
Name your favorite ingredient you think people should be using more in their cooking at home.
Ans: There are lots of ingredients I like to use in my recipes. My favourite would have to use lots fresh coriander in curries,dalls, soups etc and to use lots of nutmeg, saffron and nuts when making Indian desserts like halwas and ladoos.
Would you like to share your favorite recipe on your blog?
Ans: I don’t have a favourite recipe as such. Being Gujarati, I always make farsi puris to eat as a snack. They also come in handy if I am running late and can’t make rotis. I love having them with my curries too. I also post these to my kids as they love having them with masala chai. My recipe for farsi puri is here
Any last thoughts? Credit where credit’s due
Ans: During the time I got interested in cooking, there weren’t a lot of cookery books available for vegetarian Indian cooking. I owe a lot of my skills to my parents who were both good cooks. My dad was a self-taught chef and used to cater at Indian weddings. My father-in-law too was a chef and I learned a lot of traditional cooking by watching both my dads cook. I was always asking them for recipes and tips. I owe them a lot for sharing their love of cooking with me. I am still a traditional cook and love sharing my recipes with my friends. When I started my blog, I hadn’t even dreamt that so many people would be reading it. I owe the success of my blog to all my readers who visit it regularly. I also owe the success of this blog to other bloggers who gave me encouraging comments and introduced me to their circle of friends and family. If you want to know more about my cooking then please check out: https://www.givemesomespice.com