Allow us to introduce a new weekly column: Blogger Spotlight. Every Friday, we’ll be highlighting a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a limited group of exclusive 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 help keep these folks up to speed on what is happening around the country and the world whether that means eating out or just in their kitchens.
Melissa Williams is the Culinary Content Network blogger and creator of Persnickety Plates. Her transition to blogging came about in 2009 when she was trying to document all of her favorite recipes in a notebook, along with planning her wedding. Food blogs were an up-and-coming thing in the Internet world and Williams wanted to share her recipes. She focuses on simplicity and cooking with ingredients accessible that are easy to find in most grocery stores.
Name: Melissa Williams
Blog: Persnickety Plates
Location (city, state): Metro Detroit, Michigan
Mission: My mission is to share delicious recipes that are fairly simple with easy-to-find ingredients.
How did you get started with your blog?
Once I got married and the wedding planning that had consumed me for months was over, I had a void to fill. I was already cooking and baking and keeping track of favorite recipes in a notebook — moving it online to a blog was the next logical step for me. Food blogs, and blogs in general, were still pretty new then and I had no idea other people would read it.
What foods can you not live without?
I love carbs: potatoes, rice, and sourdough bread. But I also love fresh veggies, especially tossed together into a salad with a lemon and oil dressing. Oh, and cookies! Can't forget my love of baked goods.
What foods can't you stand?
Not really a food, but gum makes me nauseous. Seeing someone chew it makes me squirm.
What is your proudest post?
Before I switched to my hyperlink format, my Buffalo Cauliflower had been pinned over 300,000 times! That still blows my mind. It really is a great recipe and I'm so glad it reached so many people.
What is your biggest blog blunder?
My early posts have terrible old school, dark and grainy cellphone pictures. They're great recipes, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the pictures! Now, I try to spend more time taking appealing photos and am in the process of remaking and shooting photos for older recipes.
What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
Comments, in general, make my heart happy. I love hearing when readers try a recipe and enjoy it.
What is your cooking playlist?
Lately, the sounds of my daughter chasing our cat!
Any favorite food apps?
Yummly and Pinterest.
What is the best thing about blogging?
Spreading food love all over the world. I occasionally do a roll call on my Facebook page and there are people from literally all across the world reading my blog. That is crazy to me.
What are the worst things about blogging?
I never feel like I'm doing enough! The Internet doesn't sleep, but I only have so many hours to work my full-time day job/be a good wife and mom/cook and bake/photograph/write up posts/use social media, etc. It is never-ending, but I enjoy it. Oh, and Internet trolls. There are a lot of people that never learned, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
Do you have a recipe you're currently obsessed with?
Of mine, these Zucchini Boat Turkey Tacos. I can't wait for zucchini from my garden to be ready to make them. From a blog friend: The other day, I pinned this Slow Cooker Caramel Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Cake from Crazy for Crust and I keep thinking about it. I've never tried a slow-cooker dessert before but it looks amazing.
What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
Maybe that I can't smell? I'm sure I've mentioned it over the years, but due to allergies, I can hardly smell anything. Luckily, I don't often burn things because I'm oblivious until I see smoke!
Five of your all-time favorite posts: