Name: Katie Crenshaw
Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Years of Experience: Running her blog since 2015
Available for writing projects: Possibly
Niche/Beat/Genre: Recipes, Travel, Restaurant Reviews
Website/Blog: A Fork's Tale
Favorite food: Pizza, Chips, and Pickles
Writing tip for fellow writers: Be authentic.
Katie Crenshaw is a food blogger based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she runs A Fork's Tale, a blog dedicated to easy recipes, food photography, food travel and restaurant reviews. Katie's recipes have been featured in Parade, Women's Health, on MSN and more.
How did you get started?
I started writing when I began my food blog. In the beginning, food blogs were tied-in with your daily life. Readers wanted to not only see your recipe, but also know what was going on behind the scenes in your life.
Food blogging has changed significantly. Now, readers want the recipe, tips, and notes. They are not as interested in the narrative side. I'm actually more comfortable with the change. With an accounting and business background, my brain actually works better with formulas. The current way of blogging is a little easier for me because I know exactly what I need to address, similar to a formula.
However, I also restaurant reviews, and in those write-ups, I sometimes add a more creative, narrative spin. Even more so when it's a “diners and dives” kind of place. Those little venues have history, character, and a deep relationship with the community around them. I want my readers to become compelled to join them at their table.
Tell us about your blog, A Fork's Tale.
My blog is for the modern busy cook. The cook who wants to eat well, but doesn’t have time for hours of food prep or bothering with 50 ingredients for one dish. My recipes are typically simple and easy.
What’s your advice for struggling new writers or bloggers?
Honestly, I am a horrible writer.
In the beginning, I tried to write in a way that I thought others would want to read. I wanted to sound smart and witty, but it came across stuffy and disingenuous. It wasn’t until the past couple of years that I've let my barriers down and started writing authentically. You know, just being myself. I've found that people appreciate that much more. They can relate much more. Therefore, my advice would be, be authentic.
What has been your biggest professional struggle over the years?
Google, website management, social media....
I actually started my blog because I loved photography. I was very inexperienced, and I really wanted to become good at taking photos. Outside of candid photographs, I had a hard time getting people to volunteer for me to take their picture so I could become better at it.
Therefore, I started taking photographs of food. I found that I actually liked taking pictures of food more than taking pictures of people.
Then I thought, I love, love, love to cook. Why not combine the two? Out of that came A Fork's Tale.
Sad thing is, 90% of my time is not spent on recipe development, writing, or food photography. It's the behind-the-scenes of dealing with Google constantly changing its algorithm and keeping my website up to date. Plus, sharing my recipes on social media to bring awareness.
My food blog has turned into a real business. Google, social media, and website management keep me in business. Most people thinks a food blog is just pretty pictures and a recipe. It is so much more.
How is your relationship with food affected by you being a writer, or vice versa?
I eat a lot more things I shouldn’t. I am always on the hunt for the best things to eat. Often these dishes are high calories, loaded with carbs, high in fat, and sometimes sugar. I struggle with the balance. My waistline and hips are not the size they used to be.
Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?
Wow, that's hard! That's like asking which is your favorite child. I would say, my Grilled Buffalo Wings are truly are better than about 99% of the restaurants where I have eaten wings. Making the wings is simple, but they turn out amazing--just saying. Grab the recipe here.
Do you have any favorite cookbooks?
For years, I collected cookbooks. At one time I had about 1,000 cookbooks, and loved each and every one.
I recently moved, and downsized into a smaller home. I couldn't take all of my cookbooks, and it was hard to let them go. But let’s face it. There was no way I was ever going to use half of them anyway.
Now I'm down to 50 cookbooks. While I have the vintage Julia Childs' collection that every cook holds dear to their heart, they're not my personal favorites.
The best recipes are found in the little church cookbooks. Think about it. These are collections of recipes shared by individuals because they made that dish and they were proud of it. It is rare to find a bad recipe in a church cookbook.
My favorite is the Heavenly Bits of Baptist Cookery from Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was printed in 1979. The pages are bent from years of use. The cover is barely hanging on.
I also enjoy The Voyage in Greek Cooking from Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. While my grandmother was 100% Greek, she refused to cook Greek food because she did not like Greek food. Crazy, I know. I absolutely love Greek food. This cookbook has real, authentic Greek recipes that are often cooked in the home. I have become quite the good cook of Greek food thanks to this little gem. Now when I eat out at Mediterranean restaurants, I have become a picky snob because my dishes at home are often better.
One other book I covet that I would be negligent not to mention is the Bounty of Biltmore Cookbook. This beauty was printed in 2000. When I'm feeling fancy and want to cook a more intense, gourmet dish, this is the cookbook I turn to. It incorporates fresh, often simple, ingredients with fairly relatable instructions. Everything I have made from this book has been amazing. When I'm hosting a formal sit-down dinner, you can almost guarantee that one of my dishes for the evening came from this book.
Any favorite kitchen products?
My KitchenAid mixer, Cuisinart food processor, and Vitamix. They have been worth every penny of investment and I can’t live without any of them.
Favorite food-related TV shows?
I like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Chef Guy Fieri. He really captures the essence of what makes these little dives special, and I have tried to eat at several of them when I travel. I have even found some on my own that he later finds. When I see one featured, I tell my husband, “Well I found it first!” Ha! Ha!
What do you snack on when you’re on deadline?
Potato chips. And if I have homemade salsa, I eat chips and salsa.
Anything else you’d like to add about being a writer who loves food?
Food is the universal love language. When you share your love for food, people generally connect with that.
Curious about other food bloggers?