Recently, the author, Tamasin Noyes, author of Grills Gone Vegan, presented a program at the Coventry Library. Tamasin lives just outside Ashtabula, Ohio with her husband Jim and several cats. She maintains an active blog at : http://www.veganappetite.com.
Before the program, Ben Gulyas, Coventry Librarian, had the pleasure to interview Tami on a range of interesting topics.
Ben: Tell us about your earliest library experience.
Tamasin: Growing up in Chagrin Falls, Tami recalls going into the children’s room. “I was an avid reader. I remember looking at the shelves and I would say, ‘I’ve read that. I’ve read that. I’ve read that . . .’ I had a special spot for library books at home. It was all a special experience to me.” Tami also worked as a circulation clerk at the South Euclid Library for about two years.
Do you have a favorite library experience?
“I loved story hour. The library was always the biggest deal in my life.”
Tell us a little about your own reading interests.
“Historical fiction, especially British.”
What books or authors have you maintained a kinship with in throughout your life?
“Sometime between 4th and 5th grades, I read Judy Blume’s, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. I wrote Judy Blume a letter and she sent back a 3-page hand-written letter.” At the suggestion of her mother, Tami also wrote letters to other authors as well. To her joy and excitement, one author responded by sending her a signed photograph. That author was none other than Dr. Seuss.
What are you currently reading?
“I am currently reading East of the Sun by Julia Gregson.”
(For those curious about the book, here is the jacket blurb: “As the Kaisar-i-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the “Fishing Fleet” — the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperon Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There’s Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.
From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, East of the Sun is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity — historical fiction at its greatest.”)
When and why did you choose to do a book over simply blogging?
“I was testing for Robin Robertson, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and others. I would take photos of the recipe testing and post them to my blog. At the same time, Robin’s husband, Jon, was just starting a publishing company, Vegan Heritage Press. After checking out my blog, he asked if I’d ever thought about writing a book. I had hopes of writing a book, but it was more of a five year plan. When the opportunity fell in my lap, I jumped at it.”
Do you have any advice for getting published?
“Have a strong theme. Theme is everything now.”
What photography process do you use for your recipes?
Tami takes her own food photos using a Nikon DSLR camera. Her Husband Jim then uses simple editing software to help with any tweaking that might need to be done. Tami also notes that Celine Steen, with whom she co-authored Whole Grain Vegan Baking and Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, is a “phenomenal” food photographer in her own right.
Tell us about your blog. What got you started?
Tami explains that she had become a member of a vegan recipe sharing website, Postpunk Kitchen (www.theppk.com). She then began participating in their yearly blogging challenge known as VeganMofo (veganmofo.com) where the challenge is to blog about food every day for a month. Tami became so intent on blogging that she started her own Veganappetite blog.
When do you choose between blogging, Tweeting & Facebook?
“Mostly I do blogging. There is also some spin-off into Facebook”
Do you have other social media interests?
“I do a little Pinterest.”
Do you have any local Ohio hotspots you would recommend?
Tami enjoys Tommy’s (on Coventry in Cleveland Heights). She has been going to Tommy’s since 1982. She also enjoys Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant (on St. Clair in Cleveland) and Melt Bar and Grilled, which she says is great. (Melt now has 4 locations in greater Cleveland.)
Tami and her husband Jim enjoy area bike paths for a chance to chance to enjoy the outdoors.
“I enjoy libraries of course. One of my other favorite places in Cleveland is the Cleveland Museum of Art.”
Where do you go for local produce?
“I go to Whole Foods for year round shopping and when in season of course any and all local farmers’ markets I can get to.”
Tell us about vegan wine.
“Wine is not vegan if it is filtered through egg whites. Wine can also be filtered through clay.” Tami suggests checking out Barnivore.com for a list of vegan wines, beers and liquor that are vegan-friendly. (www.barnivore.com).
Name a few of your travel highlights.
“We love to go to the mountains. We recently checked out Ashville, North Carolina and were quite taken with it. We also really like Burlington, Vermont.”
How do you incorporate veganism while travelling?
“We search out vegan restaurants. We also pick mountainous places that have vegan restaurants. If we call ahead, most places usually will be accommodating.”
What are the important spices in your life?
Indonesian: sambal oelek
Tami tells me that she may do a book on hot sauces.
As for other spices in her life? “I love quilting as a diversion from cooking. Aside from that my husband Jim since 1980.”
Describe your favorite time of year.
“Fall, then spring. In fall I love the colors, the temperature and the smell. I love a fire in the fireplace and it’s a great time for cooking comfort food.”
Describe your favorite time of day.
“Just after dinner. I like winding and calming down from the day.”
When do you like to get work done?
“First thing.” That is to say whenever she gets up.
Is there a question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
“The unexpected, but nothing specific.”