If you’ve never scrolled the pages of Foodie Underground, you’re in for a treat. The recipes are both decadent and healthy at the same time, and support the best possible way to eat — plant-based with none of the healthy eater’s guilt and all the gourmet pleasure!
Their manifesto is sure to strike a chord with any foodie, “We eat for pleasure. We eat to celebrate. We eat to survive.“
Skinny Chef: Anna, I first came upon your blog when we were working on the National Kale Day campaign, and you had this hilarious post about “kale pick-up lines”. I love Foodie Underground’s quirky take on health and cooking, both funny and unique. What inspires the blog? And tell me more about the cool team behind it and how you got together.
Anna Brones: The basis for Foodie Underground is good food, from good places with good people; the idea being that eating well is not just about specific ingredients, but about a holistic approach. It spun from a column that I have been writing for EcoSalon for over 3 years, and I decided to turn into a full site. It’s mostly me, but as with all things, it’s a team effort, from guest posts to brainstorms to friends cooking and giving me recipe inspiration.
Skinny Chef: I’m so excited to see your new book out The Culinary Cyclist, it looks amazing and I can’t wait to get my copy. You mentioned that you used Kickstarter to fund the process. Can you tell us more about your experience?
Anna Brones: I have been overwhelmed by the support and success of The Culinary Cyclist. It’s my first book, and I have to give a lot of credit to my publisher, Elly Blue, and my good friend Johanna Kindvall who did the illustrations; it wouldn’t have been the same project without these ladies! Independently published out of Portland, we used Kickstarter to raise the printing funds for the book. We doubled our goal which amazed me, but also created a nice base of support once the book came out.
Skinny Chef: What inspired you to write the book? And can you share a little sneak peek of some of the recipe titles that we’ll find inside?
Anna Brones: It all came about during a green kale smoothie meeting with Elly (no joke). We were talking about various projects that we were working on, and inevitably started chatting about bikes and food. I told her she should publish a book combining the two. She looked at me and said, “why don’t you write it?” So I pulled Johanna on board for the illustrations and it all grew from there. Ultimately it’s a book about appreciating life and good food, so you don’t have to be a cyclist to own it. But I am a lover of life on two wheels, so all of the stories in the book have some type of a tie to a bicycle. As for the recipes, it’s all healthy, delicious eating that won’t drive you crazy and stays fun. Everything from basic olive tapenade to homemade Nutella to a delicious quinoa salad that is easy to pack for bike picnics.
Skinny Chef: The book has an interesting mix of old European living and funky modern drawings, including hip and stylish ways to stock your pantry. I especially like your break-down of the basic chocolate cake, part recipe, part illustration. Tell us more about how you integrate the recipes to make them more bicycle friendly, so they arrive in one piece while being transported?
Anna Brones: There is actually a story in the book about the disasters of transporting a cake. All of the recipes in the book are ones that can be easily transported, and while the recipes weren’t made with that specific intention, I spend most of my time getting from point A to point B on bicycle, so if I have to bring something to eat, it better be transportable! There’s also a section on how to transport your food on bicycle. My secret? Save the greens for last, there’s nothing better than biking with kale sticking out of your bag.
Skinny Chef: The book’s philosophy seems to focus on cycling and living the good life — both are priorities. There is also this feeling that home-cooked is best and you should “stop to smell the roses or rather the rose” by attending dinner parties and bringing homemade desserts. What advice can you give to uber-busy work professionals who fear that they don’t have time for these wonderful (and healthy) activities on a regular basis?
Anna Brones: That’ a great question. I think it’s a matter of perspective. If we look at the percentage of our incomes that we spend on food compared to a few generations ago, it has decreased drastically. The same goes for time; people simply spend less time in the kitchen and around the table. It’s not that we don’t have time, it’s that we don’t make the time. We choose to do other things; watch TV, check Facebook, surf the Internet, go shopping, etc. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. We all love spending time with friends; why not make the time to do it in person around a good meal? I think the number one tip I would give is to carve out an additional 30 minutes in your day that you dedicate to food; either buying it, making it or sharing it. Find a couple of staple recipes that don’t take hours to make. Start small and reap the benefits. And always have kale on hand of course!