Sites We Love: Yummy Supper

Gorgeous photos? Check. Engaging writing? Check. Seriously inspiring recipes, tips, and culinary curiosity? Check, check, and check. The best food blogs all seem to have a lot in common—but what separates them out are the strong personalities behind them. In our Sites We Love series, we sit down with some of our favorite bloggers to find out how they do it—and why it's as much fun for them as it is for us.

SWL: Yummy Supper
Erin Scott

Emphasizing the power of food to nourish a strong family, Erin Scott's blog Yummy Supper hits all the right notes for putting together a healthy, wholesome meal for the family. Casual and focused on fresh ingredients, Yummy Supper's clean and simple photographs keep us hungry.

Blog Name: Yummy Supper

Live since: July 2009

Posting rate: Once or twice a month

Geographic location: Berkeley, California

Why is the site called Yummy Supper? I crave food that is delicious and informal—yummy is a bite that really satisfies and makes you reach for more. I like that yummy doesn't take itself too seriously, isn't precious, or difficult to make. Cooking and eating should be fun, joyful and relaxed. Maybe yummy even lets us feel okay about eating with our fingers—a bad habit I've passed along to my kiddos. Table manners are not our strong suit.

I love the flexibility of supper, and for me, the word connotes comfort and ease. Supper can be a quick omelet, a simple bowl of soup, or an elaborate slow-cooked roast. It’s a meal that can feed one or many. My ideal supper comes at the end of a long afternoon where friends and family have gathered to cook and eat together.

What's been your most popular post? Quinoa + Kale Patties—people have gone crazy for that one. When I shared this riff on one of Heidi Swanson's great recipes back in the fall of 2012, I had no idea the power of the quinoa and kale craze gripping the food world. Wow!

I think the Quinoa + Kale Patties are beloved for their fresh, vegetarian appeal, yet surprisingly enough my meaty posts are just as popular—Bacon Candy is a close second to the quinoa patties. Quinoa, kale, and bacon…I guess my readers are omnivores like I am.

What's your favorite post? Oh, it's hard to choose… Masala Chai Latte is definitely one of my favorites. I learned to make the creamy chai when we were living in Bali back in 2011. The recipe is simple, comforting and approachable enough to make in any kitchen, anywhere; at the same time, the exotic blend of spices steeps me in memories of the family adventure we had living in a tiny, thatched-roof bungalow on the edge of a rice field. Ahhh…

What's something great that you've learned or that's happened to you since starting your blog? I've learned to be a food photographer. When I started my blog I had NO idea how to shoot food and my photos were terrible. I was completely frustrated by the fact that my eyes were looking at beautiful ingredients, but my photos didn't even begin to do them justice. I was determined to find a way for my images to reflect the beauty I see every time I go to the market or walk out into our backyard veggie patch. So, I took thousands—literally hundreds of thousands—of shots. Experimented. Made a gazillion mistakes and took countless bad photos as I slowly learned, and found that I loved photographing food so much that I've turned a personal passion into a career. I still find shooting food to be endlessly challenging, but I cannot tell you the satisfaction I get when a shot really works, captures that natural beauty, and makes me hungry just looking at it.

SWL: Yummy Supper
Erin Scott

What's the usual process for developing one of your posts? More than anything else, I'm influenced by the season. I start by looking into our backyard garden or heading to the market: Whatever produce is ripe and plentiful, that's where my inspiration starts. In late summer, juicy tomatoes call my name. In winter, it's usually deep dark greens or the amazing variety of jewel-toned citrus. It may sound geeky, but seeing a big pile of organic blood oranges at the market makes me do a happy jig.

Once I bring produce into our kitchen, I let it dictate the direction of my cooking. If I have just-picked asparagus, I think about what can I do to highlight the veg with very little fuss. When produce is fantastic, you don’t need elaborate technique to turn it into a meal. I like to let ingredients shine in their own natural way.

Also, I’m constantly writing down recipe ideas in a little notebook and on my iPhone. Most of my scribbles are rough sketches of which ingredients I’d like to combine… cherries with bay; spring peas with green garlic and lemon; persimmons with pancetta and arugula…

What are your favorite ingredients and tools? Anything that grows in our backyard garden—especially fresh herbs. Also, being grounded at home with my family makes my food happy and keeps me wanting to cook. Of course we have plenty of nights where we are in a hurry just to get something edible on the table, but when I have time and ease in the kitchen with my family, there's nothing better. My husband, Paul, and I have been together for 20 years and cooking together has always meant contentment. And I have to say, that man is a ninja when it comes to chopping. Now the kids are in the mix and I love it. They are definitely seduced by the power of cooking a recipe themselves, and I smile when I catch them playing with food in a spontaneous, organic way. My 10-year-old daughter Lilah will meander through the backyard nibbling and picking an odd mix of herbs for her own salad dressing. Or Otis, my 13-year-old, will whip up a pomegranate salsa with rosemary—tasting, adjusting and adding to his concoction. They seem to be finding their own joy in the kitchen. In terms of tools… I cherish sharp knives, cast iron pans, good olive oil, Maldon sea salt flakes, Meyer lemons, aged Parmesan, my lemon zester, and handmade cutting boards from Blackcreek Mercantile.

What are your favorite food and cooking resources? Stepping into Monterey Market, our local farmers' markets, or Gospel Flat Farm in Bolinas makes me want to run to my kitchen to cook every time. To me, Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables is the perfect cookbook, a must for anyone who eats seasonally. I love that Alice organizes the book by ingredient, and her recipes are relaxed and reliably delicious. Patricia Wells' Trattoria is the book Paul and I cooked through as young marrieds and its pages are heavily stained with wine, olive oil, tomato sauce…. I'm always nostalgic for those recipes. Some wonderful shops that inspire my cooking life… Omnivore Books, Kaufmann Mercantile, Stonehouse Olive Oil, Rancho Gordo, and Cowgirl Creamery.

What photography equipment do you use? My Canon 5D Mark II is like a fifth family member and it has treated me well over the past 4 years—it even circumnavigated the globe by my side. Mostly, I use prime lenses: A 50 1.2 mm and 100 2.8 mm macro are my favorites for shooting food. And, I only shoot in natural light; it's an elusive element to wrangle, but the magic it brings to food makes all the effort worthwhile.

Where else can we find your work? The past two years of my life have been dedicated to writing and photographing my first cookbook: Yummy Supper: 100 fresh, luscious, and honest recipes from a {gluten-free} omnivore. I have lived, eaten, slept and breathed this project and I'm so excited that the book will finally be in stores this August. I'm bursting to share all of these recipes, stories, and photos I love.

Yummy supper
Erin Scott

What food blogs do you follow? There are so many great blogs out there and I feel grateful for all of the generous and talented friends I've made in these past few years. Here are some of my favorites and currents reads…Dash and Bella, Ashley Neese, Poires au Chocolat, Feed Your People, My Darling Lemon Thyme, Poor Man's Feast, The Year in Food, Turntable Kitchen, Canal House Cooks Lunch, London Bakes, Sweet Sugar Bean, 101 Cookbooks, A Cozy Kitchen, Goboroot, 5 Second Rule, Mom's Kitchen Handbook, My Little Expat Kitchen, Cookie + Kate, Clockwork Lemon, Delightful Crumb, The Little Loaf, Happy Yolks, Delicious Shots, and Whole Larder Love.

What is one thing that sets your site apart from others? Yummy Supper is about cooking with joy, seasonality, beauty and abundance—I come to the kitchen as a Berkeley home cook, photographer, backyard veggie gardener, eager traveler, mother of Otis and Lilah, and an always-hungry {gluten-free} omnivore. I guess it's this funky combination that makes me me, and helps to anchor a spot for Yummy Supper in the vast sea of food blogs.