Blogger Spotlight: LOVE – ‘the secret ingredient’

Mary Frances is dedicated to ending hunger and sharing healthy cooking tips through her blog, LOVE – ‘the secret ingredient'
Blogger Spotlight: LOVE – ‘the secret ingredient’

Mary Frances prepares the delicious creations for her blog, LOVE – ‘the secret ingredient,’ at her home in New York City.

This week, we’re proud to feature Mary Frances of LOVE – the secret ingredient in the Blogger Spotlight. For those new to the column, every Friday, we highlight a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a limited group of bloggers who write about food and drink.

We look to this group of talented food writers for inspiration and participation in The Daily Meal, whether for restaurant recommendations or new recipes to try out for dinner. Our editorial team covers All Things Food and Drink, and we tap the CCN to keep up to speed on what is happening around the country and the world — from fine dining to home cooking.

In addition to blogging at and creating LOVE – the secret ingredient, Mary Frances is also owner and creative director of an award-winning marketing agency that focuses on companies and organizations that are contributing to the social good.

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Mary Frances: The mission of my blog is to make healthy and delicious meals simple, while also advocating for an end to global hunger.

How did you get started with your blog?
Growing up in St. Louis, the youngest of six kids with five (yes, five!) older brothers, my kitchen savvy mom made sure that I could make a mean pie from scratch. This sparked my lifelong passion for food. I love to cook and entertain. Hearing “Mmmms” makes my heart soar. So in 2011, I wanted to write a cookbook and got halfway through writing it, but then a literary agent said, “Well that’s great, Mary, but nobody knows you in the food business. You have to start a blog first.” So late in 2011, I started LOVE – the secret ingredient.

What are some foods you can’t live without?
I can’t live without fresh fruits and veggies, and I’m a huge tomato-lover.

What are some foods you can’t stand?
I avoid anything with unpronounceable ingredients and all fast food. I want to know what is in my food!

What is your proudest blog post?
Launching my culinary subscription box business, MARY’s secret ingredients. It has a three-fold mission: to be a platform for food companies to introduce new products to market, to inspire home cooks with new ingredients for their cooking, and to eradicate global hunger through our partnership with Feed The Children.

What is your biggest blog blunder?
Oh my. I did a post on Date Bars with the recipe right before New Year’s Eve and that had a ginormous amount of hits — people were looking for romantic dates, not dessert dates!

What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
The community is so loving and supportive and I’ve made so many great friends who comment on my posts. The one that sticks out, though, is from Claire on my Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin recipe. These are her comments on my blog, but when I went to her blog I read that she was so nervous because beef is so expensive in Switzerland and she totally put her trust in me.

What’s on your cooking playlist?
I love anything from jazz to pop to rock.

What are some food blogs you love?
So many! I love A Pug in the Kitchen, Jovina Cooks Italian, Steven's Wine and Food Blog and BAM’s Kitchen to name a few.

What are some food apps you like?
I enjoy the Food & Wine app and recently began looking at a new, terrific app called Loaf.           

What is the best thing about blogging?
Sharing my love of cooking with the world and helping people cook easy, delicious, and healthy meals! It’s great to have a platform to share recipes I love that helps people eat better and feel better. We need more happy, healthy people walking this earth as we are allconnected!

What is the worst thing about blogging?
What’s not to love about blogging? Sometimes posting is difficult in the midst of all the real life going on, but I love blogging. I could maybe do without the spam comments selling cheap MLB jerseys from China though.

What recipe are you currently obsessed with?
Well with the weather colder, I love making soups, stews, beans, and of course Boeuf Bourguignon!

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
That I would really love to learn to play the piano well and get a Master’s Degree in art history.

Five of your all-time favorite posts? 

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