Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I love to answer your questions, but there are some that I get over and over (and over) again, so I thought it best to start this section just to get the most frequently asked questions out of the way. I’m always happy to hear from you, so if you have any other questions or simply want to drop me a line, you can email me at sweet.persuasion (at) gmail (dot) com.

1. What camera do you shoot with? What lens do you use?

I shoot with a Canon Xsi and for now, I have the kit lens (which I almost never use) and a 50mm f/1.8, which I love because it’s inexpensive, allowing me to experiment without fear, and takes good photos. My kit also includes a sturdy tripod (essential, since my kitchen has very little light) and a basic Canon external flash. I don’t use it for food shots, since I love to shoot with natural light, but it’s fantastic for night-shoots and parties.

I would love to add more lenses to my kit, like a really good macro lens (100mm, I’m looking at you), a wide angle and an every day moderate zoom lens, but unfortunately books and shoes get in the way.

2. What kind of post-processing do you do? Do you use Photoshop?

I do very little post-processing, mostly because I don’t have the time. Just thinking about Photoshop gives me a headache, so I’ve never learned it properly. I use Picasa to crop, adjust the white balance, light and contrast and sometimes, the saturation. Mostly, though, I just press the “I’m feeling lucky” button. :) I also use Picasa to put together the collages you see on my site.

3. Have you ever taken cooking lessons? Are you a professional?

No, I have never taken cooking lessons, nor am I anywhere close to a professional chef. In fact, I would say that my cooking experience is extremely limited, especially considering some of the wonderfully talented people out in the blogosphere. How can I then run a blog and tell you which food to make? I have some really hard core taste buds, trained by years of Russian-Jewish family cooking, so I know good food when I taste it. Also, my husband loves to eat, and he endorses all the food on this blog (and if you know a guy who appreciates food, you know that this means a lot).

4. Are you really a lawyer in real life? Should I be afraid?

Yes, I really am a lawyer in real life. This blog is one of my spare-time hobbies, though one that is very well beloved. I’d like to think I’m a pretty nice person, so you should only be afraid if you plan on stealing my work. I get really grouchy when that happens, and grouchy lawyers are never good. Please ask for permission and (most likely) you shall receive.

5. I made one of your recipes and it didn’t work out like you said. Can you tell me what went wrong?

I struggle with this one because I do personally make, eat and photograph all the recipes on this website and I generally test them out on my unsuspecting eager friends and family before posting about them. However, ingredients and conditions vary from place to place and, as I am not in the kitchen with you, I can’t tell you exactly what went wrong. I can hazard a guess, which I generally do, and I’ll definitely keep guessing until we can work out the kinks in the recipe, but sometimes, there are things (like humidity, oven temperature, measurements, content of fat in your butter, substituted ingredients, etc) that are beyond my knowledge and control and hence, I won’t be able to figure out your exact problem.

6. I left a comment on your blog, but I don't see it appearing underneath the post.

I moderate all comments and delete them when they are rude, mean, offensive or spam. Yes, I am the one who decides when a comment is so. It’s my blog, please either play nice or pick up your toys and go home.

7. Will you link to my blog if I link to yours?

Sorry, no. I do, however, love finding new blogs, so please feel free to send me an email with a link to yours and I’ll be sure to check it out!

8. I am starting a new blog. Can you give me advice on how to do it?

Ehhh…… I can give you advice, but I don’t know how good it will be because (a) I started this blog on a whim and still have no idea what I’m doing and (b) I do this only in my (very limited) spare time, so I would be hesitant to present myself as any kind of an expert on blogging. If you run a search on the internet, you will find a number of great tips from very seasoned and professional bloggers which would serve you much better than any advice I could give. My strategy is to make good food, take pictures of it and tell stories that I hope won’t bore you to tears. That’s kind of it in a nutshell.

9. Can you help me with the design of my website?

Oh, boy. I am probably the last person in the world you should ask about this kind of thing. I just futz around and Google a lot until I get it to look the way I want it to, and then I promptly forget what I did until the next time I need to futz around. I’m sorry, I’m really no good at this newfangled technology thing.

10. Can I make one of your recipes and post about it on my blog?

Yes! Please! Oh, I love hearing about how people have made recipes they found here. It really makes my day. The only thing I ask is that you tell your own story in your own way. I think life is a lot more fun like that. I also appreciate a link letting people know where you found the recipe. Please do not use the text and photos from this site.

11. What are you hobbies other than cooking and eating?

Well… I love to read and am always looking for good book recommendations. I also write some fiction-type of stuff, but … ehh… I’m shy about that, so the less said the better. My husband teases me about my love for sports (he says I was raised by wolves), but there it is, I do love watching sports. My favorites are soccer, hockey, basketball, cycling and pretty much all the winter sports. Curiously enough, I don’t love participating in winter sports, but as soon as summer arrives (that would be March in Los Angeles), you can find me walking, hiking, swimming, biking and soaking up the sun in various other ways. I also like nerdy things like history books, art, classical music, ballet and the opera. And I collect antique tea-cups and air them out frequently for tea parties with my mom and sister. I may have been raised by wolves, but at heart, I’m a ten year old girl in a pink frilly dress having a tea party. That same inner ten year old loves organizing get-togethers, and we try to have people over to our house as often as we can. I think that’s why blogging appeals to me so much – it’s one big dinner party with good friends, good food and good conversation, and I just love it.

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