Updated: 4 days ago
Name: Christina Musgrave
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Years of Experience: 2
Available for writing projects: Yes
Niche/Beat/Genre: Food Writing, Food and Cocktail Recipe Development, Food and Cocktail Photography
Website: Tasting with Tina
Book: Taste of the Holidays: A Collection of Holiday Dishes, Drinks, & More (e-book)
Favorite food: Pasta! I love any homemade pasta and homemade sauce with love.
Writing tip for fellow writers: Find interest in the ordinary.
Christina Musgrave is a recipe developer, food photographer and food writer who is always looking forward to her next meal. She's been running her blog, Tasting with Tina, for two years, and published an e-book last year.
Christina started as an engineering major, and is still working in technology today. But her true passion is food. A love that she shares freely through stories, recipes, and sumptuous food photography.
How did you get started in writing?
I’ve had a long road to food writing. When I was in high school, I exceled in my English classes. I loved them so much that during my senior year, I took two AP English classes. I wanted to be an English and history major, but somehow decided to major in engineering. Quite the switch, I know.
I graduated college with an engineering degree and got a job in technology, consulting at a very large company (where I am still employed).
My job was incredibly stressful, and I wanted a creative outlet in the evenings and on weekends. I loved cooking growing up and in college, and I started cooking something new every night after work as a creative outlet.
I started creating my own recipes, and after two years, started my own blog. My food photography and writing skills grew, and eventually, I started pitching and attracting clients. I do this on the side for now, but I'm growing my business every month. It’s a great creative outlet turned business that I love working on every day.
What area do you currently specialize in?
I write about restaurants and the people behind them. I also write about stories from my past, and how food has been at the forefront of so many memories. Finally, I write recipes, which I absolutely love doing.
Tell us about your book.
I wrote Taste of the Holidays: A Collection of Holiday Dishes, Drinks, & More, a holiday e-book, in late 2020. I worked on the project by myself, from design to recipe development and food photography. It was a great challenge and a really rewarding project. I hope to someday publish a hard copy cookbook!
Tell us about your blog, Tasting with Tina.
My blog specializes in easy and delicious recipes that are great for the whole family. I try to offer something for everyone, from vegetarian recipes to easy weeknight dinners to super simple sides. I provide my readers with a vast range of recipes and kitchen tips. I also develop cocktail recipes and love giving my readers new drink inspiration!
What’s your advice for struggling new writers or bloggers?
Keep learning. Whether you’re learning by researching on the internet or investing in yourself through coaching or a course, every minute spent learning and investing in yourself is incredibly valuable.
More importantly, do not give up. My biggest motto with my business is, “If I don’t quit, I can’t fail.”
It’s taken some blogs years to get big, and I try to keep that in mind. There are so many ways to diversify income in this business, so it’s important to keep pushing yourself and pivoting.
And finally, do not, under any circumstances, work for free! I’m not sure why that has become a norm in the food writing/food blogging industry, but any work that you do should 100% be compensated.
What has been your biggest professional struggle over the years?
Since I’m currently transitioning career paths, my biggest struggle has been finding purpose in the work that I was doing.
When I first started my corporate career, I was so desperately unhappy after a few years. I didn’t have a sense of purpose in what I was doing. So, I asked myself what I loved most, and then found a way to make it happen.
After defining my personal “why,” which is to serve others nourishment at my kitchen table – whether that’s food, support or tough love, I knew I needed to start working toward it every day.
Even when I have food projects that are difficult, I can find a way to connect it to my “why” and my personal purpose, and that makes me incredibly grateful.
How is your relationship with food affected by you being a writer?
I’ve always thought of food as a story. I think this mindset has helped me be a better food writer and recipe developer. When you think about it, your plate is a compilation of gardening, harvesting, logistics, cooking, and creativity. Plus, all the people who helped in those processes.
Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share with Eat Like a Writer readers?
I love pasta and the taste, texture, and comfort it provides. I’ve been loving vodka sauce lately. I find it so versatile. Pair it with grilled chicken, top it with melt-in-your-mouth short ribs, or add in garlic sauteed shrimp. There are so many options!
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 minced garlic cloves
Pinch of salt and pepper
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half, or milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 lb pasta
Grated parmesan, for serving
Do you have any favorite books that you recommend?
I always recommend starting with classic cookbooks in your collection. I think owning a used copy of The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker helped keep me sane going through engineering courses in college.
If you’re looking for tips on food photography, I’m currently reading How to Photograph Food by Beata Lubas and loving it.
Any favorite kitchen products?
Tongs! I could have five pairs of tongs and probably need more. I use them almost every time I cook. I also couldn’t live without my knives. A good quality knife set will change the way you cook!
Favorite food writers or food-related TV shows/movies?
I am a huge Guy Fieri fan. I love watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I think it’s such a great show, and I am ravenously hungry every time I watch it.
Another inspiration of mine is Ina Garden. I love that she had a professional career before her food career. I also love that she has no formal culinary training, but she has built a food empire. That’s incredibly inspiring to me.
What do you snack on when you’re on deadline?
Sourdough toast with ricotta cheese, fresh tomato, Maldon salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s a divine snack that keeps me full, but also reminds me of why I do what I do - because I love food and sharing it with others.
Anything else you’d like to add about being a food writer?
I feel lucky to have taken a leap to make my personal and professional life happier by creating a career in food. People who love food share a true bond. We understand each other. Who else besides a crazy foodie would buy a 10 pound bucket of Maldon salt?
With that said, I find it amazing how many opportunities are out there for careers in food. And my favorite part is that if you don’t find something that suits you, there’s always a delicious way to create your own path.