Mother of three and former immigration attorney Marie Ericson serves up tasty gluten-free recipes with a side of parental anecdotes on her blog Mamma’s Cooking. What started as a project for her family (particularly for her son who has celiac disease) has blossomed into a culinary space that just about anyone can enjoy. Ericson tells us more.
What made you want to start your own blog?
As someone who loves to cook, I am frequently asked by friends and family what to cook or for recipes for what I have made. I started blogging about what I cook for my family so I would have a place to write down recipes for friends and family. Now it is even more important to me to give people ideas on how to cook and entertain when dealing with celiac disease. My son has celiac, so I want him and others dealing with limitations when cooking, that the options are still endless for making good food all of your family and friends can enjoy.
What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?
Comforting, inviting and gluten-free.
What is your favorite blog post to date?
Best Recipes of 2016 is my favorite so far because it was the last in a series where I had challenged myself to post a recipe for 31 days straight! It really helped me see what readers are interested in, how far the blog had come and how much more I am excited to share.
What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?
Try to set specific times for blog related work (writing, reading other blogs, working on the technical part of your site, etc), so that you are not always sitting at your computer and mix up your location. I try to only work when the kids are in school or asleep, either at home or a local coffee shop. I have found that I get my best ideas when I’m doing something unrelated that is soothing and relaxing, like taking a hike on a beautiful day.
What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?
When my first child was born, our pediatrician told us about the “Third Child Mentality” when we asked about whether we needed to sterilize pacifiers. He said, with the first child, you drop the pacifier and sterilize it before giving it back; with the second child, you rinse it off and give it back; and with the third, you wipe it on your pants and give it back to the child. All three survive. All three methods work, so just find what works best for you and your family. I really took this to heart in many aspects of our life, especially about cooking. With the first, you try/want to make all your own baby food from scratch; with the second, you buy the jarred food or use pouches and with the third, you mash up whatever you are feeding the rest of your family. All three survive.
What’s a typical day like for you?
My husband usually gets the kids started on breakfast while I’m in the shower, before he heads off to work. I try to eat a quick breakfast, usually leftovers from last night or a yogurt, while I help find clothes, tie shoes and try to get my three kids (9, 6 and 6) out the door. After drop off, depending on the day and the weather, I either go for a hike, go to the gym, go grocery shopping or head straight home and start writing. Occasionally I go to Starbucks or a local coffee shop to write and sometimes meet up with some friends for a quick chat. then I either continue writing and reading other blog posts in between running up and down stairs doing laundry or running around the kitchen cooking and testing recipes until I have to pick up the kids. Then it is a whirlwind of activities, homework and more cooking. I’m very fortunate that my husband usually is home in time for us all to sit down together for dinner. That will change as the kids get older and more activities get in the way, but I’m grateful for it now. After dinner its baths, bedtime, lunch prep for the next day, more reading and writing while my husband does the dishes and then climb into bed to watch Downton Abbey or the latest Top Chef with a cup of tea.
What’s the best insight you can offer other bloggers?
Write what you know and be concise. Write what comes naturally to you. Don’t try to be something you are not to please someone else. Pick one topic for each blog post. I have so many ideas in my head that when I first started writing I had a hard time not putting all of them in one post! Now I pick one topic and one recipe, which hopefully provides clarity for the readers and gives me more content for more posts.