When I started writing this blog in March 2010, I was excited at the prospect of sharing what I had learned about healthy eating and losing weight. I hoped to help other folks avoid the eating mistakes I had made. Now, in the fifth year of blogging, I have made a number of discoveries. First, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about healthy eating and losing weight. I certainly learned more than I thought I knew before I started. Second, I was amazed to learn what interesting things were being created by fellow bloggers. I now look forward to reading the blogs daily rather than just writing my own.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Shop with Vinny Grette for fun and good food
1. What are you working on?
Cook Up a Story, my food blog, grew out of a book I wrote for kids and their families by the same title. A retirement project, the book was an experiment in creativity and positive thinking.
You see, I spent my career editing and directing the production of scientific material for Canada’s Department of Agriculture. All of that seemed rather dry. Even the work we did getting science discoveries into the schools, although a lot more fun than the usual assignments, was subject to strict approvals at many levels. Most of the fun was edited out in the process.
My first adventure upon leaving the public service was a course on writing for children. It stirred up lots of fun material, all of which mysteriously contained some reference to food… or to food and science. So I decided: why fight it? I’d put together a book focusing on healthy eating for kids and their families, built on the backbone of six of my children’s stories.
2. How does your work differ from others of this genre?
As it turns out, the book is completely different from what is on the bookshelves. No-one publishes books that contain both fiction and nonfiction. Where would you put it in the bookstore? Even the famous Canadian author Yann Martel (who wrote Life of Pi) had the same problem getting his subsequent book published, because he wanted to intersperse his fantasy novel with critical nonfiction.
3. Why do you write/draw what you do?
So I decided to self-publish. I had no problem with the production of the book itself. In fact I was told by publishers it is extremely professional in its finish. But as far as promotion and distribution went, I was at a loss.
Enter the blog. And my life has never been the same since.
What began as a tool to promote my book took off with a life of its own.
I’ve tried to maintain the same fun tone in my blog as I use in the book. My goal is to get kids interested in thinking about how their food choices affect their health.
With newspapers and magazines full of stories about fast foods, processed foods, and sugar leading to rampant obesity in kids as well as their families, I thought my background might be suited to making some small difference in this area. This idea keeps me motivated.
Vinny goes to school!
I began presenting in schools and in the community, in hopes of getting kids into the kitchen where they could learn to choose and make healthy foods for their table.
4. How does your writing/drawing process work?
I begin by choosing a healthy food. Then I give it a silly name and invent some kind of character for it. I try to find songs or nursery rhymes I can use to give more life to the piece. I create a little story to draw families into the recipe. The idea is to give people a reason to try the food, beyond it being good for you. Then I help with some tasty but simple ways to use the food. There is always a recipe :).
Often, I tried making the recipe with the kidlets in my family. That would lead to changes in the recipe or the description. I took lots of pictures. My aim wasn’t so much to show kids how to cook. There are all kinds of wonderful recipes books in the stores that do that very nicely. Rather, I wanted to teach them what to cook… and why they should make the effort to learn how to make these foods taste good.
I’m thinking of doing up a second book using material from my blog. There would be more recipes than I had in the first book, which should be considered the appetizer in the quest for knowledge about healthy eating. The new book would be the main course… the entree, so to speak.
It’s all fun. I may take a breather over the summer to collect my thoughts and see where to go from here. In the meantime, folks, keep on cooking!
Vinny Grette wonders what to cook for dinner
The second is Rob Gott a genius with a pencil, or whatever it is he uses to draw those delightful characters.
Robin ( Rob) Gott grew up in North London, England, in the house once inhabited by the boy who would grow up to become Boris Karloff. Scared away by the ghost of the famous horror film actor, the family moved to a house in Stansted in Essex, previously owned by Douglas Fiarbank’s Junior’s daughter, and the venue of a Rat Pack party or two.
Whether all this show business history had any effect on the youthful Robin is food for thought, but he did drift into working in the film and TV animation in London, as an artist and later working with story development. In 1994 he packed his bags, moved to Malmoe in Sweden, fell in love with the lovely Karin, and there he’s been ever since.
He draws cartoons, acts and writes. He’s written songs, poetry, scripts for graphic novels, two screenplays (one commissioned by Per Holst, a Danish producer) and is now being encouraged by his two boisterous sons, aged 8 and 10, to write a children’s novel. This is very much in the early stages and at the moment he’s gathering all the ingredients for a hopefully wondrous concoction inspired by Anthony Horowitz, Roald Dahl and of course – Boris Karloff!
Rob loves being with his family, especially at their lakeside cabin nestled cozily in a Swedish forest, fishing, running, cooking, playing guitar and flopping about on sofas, drinking English ale and watching old black and white films.
You can learn more about him at www.robingott.com or on Facebook.