Unlike the way I find most blogs, I kind of backed into Tales of an Overtime Cook. I had tried a few of Miriam Pascal’s recipes when they materialized in my inbox, were reposted on another blog and, when they were in a pamphlet distributed by a local tzeddakah. However, it wasn’t until I interviewed her that I realized she was the same person who created the recipe for the Streusel Swirl Butterscotch Cake that my family demolished in record time over Sukkos. I must admit I was more than a little intrigued. Miriam seems to have zeroed in on exactly the niche I have been looking for: recipes that are not overly complicated, are a little different and taste fabulous.
My next surprise came when I checked out TOAOC and realized that Miriam lived five minutes away from me. When you live in Monsey, like I do, you imagine that everyone you talk to or read about lives somewhere in the five boroughs, most likely in Brooklyn, and it is a rare moment when you discover that not everything that happens in this world takes place in New York City. My third shocker came when I was chatting with my oldest daughter and mentioned I had just interviewed a food blogger. When I told her who it was, my daughter laughingly told me that she and Miriam had gone to high school together.
So to recap, we have a Monsey based food blogger, who has an eye for putting together recipes that are unique, easy and delicious and she is the same age as one of my kids? How crazy is that?
Apparently not at all. When you have a feel for food, it just comes naturally. Or at least it did for Miriam.
“I work in a very corporate business job and I like it, but I am a creative person and had no outlet for my creativity,” explained Miriam. “I started baking and bringing cookies to work where they were very much enjoyed.”
Miriam began taking pictures of her creations on her iPhone and with the help of a co-worker she learned how to show off her baked goods to their best advantage. With her natural flair for writing, blogging seemed like a logical step.
“Baking and cooking were both things I had always enjoyed. Photography was something I was enjoying and I always liked writing. I started thinking, ‘I could totally do this.’ I started the blog just for fun and didn’t tell anyone about it. I never imagined that one day I would be writing a magazine column.”
Word spread and in just a few weeks, Miriam was contacted by Leah Schapira, of Ami Magazine, who was looking for someone to take over the magazine’s baking column.
“I’m not sure how I found Miriam’s blog, but the second I started reading it I realized that she is very talented and is going to go far,” said Leah. “She was using a basic phone camera to take pictures, but you could tell she had a knack for composition, lighting and angle.”
Leah, who frequently sends an encouraging note to new bloggers when she sees a site she likes, dashed off a quick e-mail to Miriam.
“I asked her to write a guest blog on my site CookKosher.com,” recalled Leah. “I had no idea who she was, where she lived, nor the fact that I was friends with her sister. I just saw talent. Not many people can create recipes you want to eat, take good photos and write well. With Miriam I saw all that.”