Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog

Hi, my name is Tandy and I am a foodie! I love to inspire people with my recipes. My blog title is Lavender & Lime as this is the name I chose for my recipe book, 5 years before it was published. This is a photograph of the kitchen in which I prepare my meals.

"Tandy's kitchen"
© Tandy’s kitchen

My relationship with food goes back for as long as I can remember – and it has not always been a good one. When I was 8 I decided I wanted to be Kosher. According to Wikipedia food in accord with Jewish law is termed Kosher meaning fit for consumption by Jews according to traditional Jewish Law. However, my parents did not keep a Kosher home, and in my own logic I decided if I did not eat meat and chicken that would be the same as being Kosher. By the time I was 17 I was not eating fish either and at 18 I was very ill. I was put onto an amino acid supplement which made me throw up but even that would not encourage me to eat better. I was surviving on 2 fried eggs a day, served with toast, cheese and chutney. I was not a good fruit or vegetable eater and perfected the art of junk food dining – chocolate and crisps being the mainstay of my daily meal plan. I would eat a bit more sensibly at night, but only because I was ‘forced’ to. As a teenager my aunt had chronic anorexia and eating and maintaining a healthy weight was important to my family.

At 18 I went to work in a restaurant and part of the training was learning to cut meat. The smell made me want to leave the kitchen, but I was determined to accomplish this as it formed the basis of learning to be a good manager. Within 9 months I was eating meat – my first piece being cooked with nothing more than lemon juice. It was delicious, but I did not improve my general eating habits for another 6 years.

While working in restaurants my food choice was simple – chocolate mousse, chocolate mousse, chocolate mousse. The odd piece of chicken snuck in, maybe a salad or two, and sometimes mussels but mostly it was the sugar that I craved.

Little did I know at that stage that I was developing a sucrose intolerance. My weight started to plummet and at 5’7” my lowest weight was 44kg – not something that is healthy.

When I was 25 I was living alone, no longer working in restaurants and met the man I eventually married. He was a MEAT eater, with a capital M. I told him that if he wanted to have me cook for him he would have to eat what I prepared. If he did not like my choice of meal, he could take me out. We ate out nearly every night and yes, you guessed it, my choice of meal – chocolate mousse.

I was sick, the people I was asking for advice could not point the finger at what was wrong with me, and I was losing weight. Eventually a pharmacist suggested I stay off sugar for a week and see how I felt. And wow, did I feel better. I now control my intolerance with a low/no sugar diet, and chromium supplements.

By this stage I was cooking and loving it. My memories of cooking and baking with my grandmother surfaced. I remembered being happy when cooking with her, and of course eating her crunchies. I find my true art form in the kitchen. I learnt to create new meals. I started a catering company – and closed it. I wrote a cook book, and published it but more importantly my love for food is what led me here – to my blog and this competition.

When I was in my twenties I started keeping a food diary. First to monitor whether it was in fact sugar causing my weight loss, and then again when I developed a rash on my hands that could not be explained. The habit of keeping a food diary lasted – even when I had my sugar intake under control, and discovered the rash was an allergy to litchi peels. I wrote down what I cooked for supper – sometimes the recipe, and sometimes just the ingredients, and sometimes only the name of the dish.

On the 6th of September 2009 I started my food blog. It started off as a place to vent about a bad restaurant experience, and developed into where I am today. I started off just listing the meal, to writing the recipe, to taking photographs. The photograph journey has been the most difficult. I have so much more to learn. I began by using the camera on my mobile phone and I have now bought a camera with a specific food setting, and a tripod.

I have attended a food bloggers conference, and there I learnt so much about writing a food blog. I met wonderful people and I know now that I am a foodie – I love to share my recipes and I am already planning my second recipe book.

Jeanne Horak-Druiff who is the author of Cook Sister recently interviewed me. To read the interview, please follow the link. Surprising to my friends in the interview I do not list crayfish as my last meal. This is one treasure I love to cook with, and as my husband fishes for them during season I am most blessed with crayfish being a meal at least once a week.

© crayfish

I set a weekly challenge on my blog as a way to challenge not only my foodie friends, but to challenge myself to make something new, exciting and interesting. Feel free to take part of you are so inclined.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a bit about who I am, and how I got here.


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29 thoughts on “Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog

  1. Love the title of your blog and your story. Thanks for sharing your journey. I have a blog on all things lavender and I am always looking for good lavender recipes. Do you have any favourites to share?
    Patricia Perth Australia

  2. Oh my Tandy – I really really enjoyed reading about your journey with food. How very fortunate you are to have those Granny memories – and I cannot shake the feeling that you have eaten your way to good health. From my contact with you – i adore your effervencense and you certainly live up to your pic – you share your sould openly and you glow from the inside. Perhaps – when we get into our kitchens – choose ingredients and set about making meals filled with love for those we love – much of that love is actually directed at ourselves. I find that a wonderfully comforting thought!

    Lots luuuuurv

  3. Thank you for sharing this! You’ve been through a rough time – foodwise, allergies & the sugar intolerance! Glad you started to love cooking, otherwise we wouldnt have had the pleasure of knowing you!!
    Congratulations on your 1st blogaversary!! xxx

  4. Voted!! And loved this post. I didn’t know ALL the history – thought I knew everything about you… 🙂 Just goes to show.
    Happy Blogaversary dearheart
    Lotsa love & hugs

    1. this was very difficult to write, but it had to be from the heart. That way, even if I don’t go through I know I have not faked it to get there xxx

  5. I think that I have voted – not sure!! Let’s not let the SA Blog awards thingy get us down – NEVER EVER!!!! I, for one, am excited to be voting for YOU this time T!!! And ONE and two and THREE …. my fingers are ready steady VOTELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XXXX JAN

    ps ; When i clicked on vote for this entry is said – Done but with errors on page!!!

    1. Thanks my friend, you can only vote once, so you could try and again and see what it says if you are not sure. When are you back my side xxx

  6. So nice to be able to fill in the bits here and there in your history Tandy. Well done on writing this beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing. And congrats on that year…already? Hugs xx

  7. i love the fact that you are continually evolving your craft in order to share the deliciousness in your life. i am trying t0 improve my photography as well. i can’t wait to see your upcoming dishes! you got my vote 🙂

    Lick My Spoon

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