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Gimme Some Oven
On Gimme Some Oven, Ali creates fresh, creative, quick and easy recipes for sharing, and does all the photo taking, recipe creating, food styling and taste tasting for her blog. Apart from her recipes, Ali shares plenty of beauty, craft, fashion and gift DIYs, as well as music and movies just to mention a few other things she writes about.
I am so happy to have Ali Ebright of Gimme Some Oven joining me here on the show today.
(*All photos below are Ali’s.)
On Her Blog:
I began the blog about six years ago back in 2009, and I began it just totally as a hobby, for fun. At the time, I was definitely in the process of still teaching myself how to cook and a bunch of my friends did not cook. So it was the sort of thing where I’d go to a party and people are always asking for recipes. So once I stumbled upon the idea and format of a blog, I decided it would be a great way to just organize my recipes and be able to share them with a half dozen friends. It ended up growing from there, but it began just totally as a fun, creative outlet and a place to just help myself organize recipes.
I was actually a musician prior to this.
I worked at a church for many years leading music and then I also taught music lessons on the side. So cooking was just a total hobby. I knew nothing about photography, and I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading. But no, I had zero experience in just about all of the major aspects of blogging especially the tech side. I knew nothing about how to create a website or any of that. But it’s been a fun thing to learn.
On Honing Her Skills:
Back in the day before there were just a ton of food bloggers on the scene and so many resources out there, I did a lot of Googling. I did a lot of research the old fashion way by talking to photographers or talking to writers or people who were much better cooks than I was, just trying to have them actually teach me one on one. But now, I can go to YouTube for any of that. I think I’m naturally somebody who loves to learn and teach myself things. So it was fun to be able to begin in all of these things like begin as a very amateur photographer and see where I needed to go and slowly inch my way there towards taking photos that I felt okay with.
It’s been step-by-step, like beginning photos on my blog, to beginning recipes, even beginning writing. I think most food bloggers look back on where they began and have a little bit of a cringe moment. On the other hand, I try and see it as progress. Any time that I get down on myself where I feel like I am not as good as I would like to be, I can always look back to some of those first years especially and be like, “Oh yeah, don’t forget, you’ve come a long way.”
On Her Curiosity Around Food and Cooking:
I think more than anything, I love to eat but also even more than that, I’ve always been just fascinated by the idea of what happens when people share a meal together. That life around the table. I feel like it’s such a special way that people connect in something that’s so fun and nourishing. Food has always been a very social thing for me, not that every meal is social but those are the meals that I’m really inspired to cook. And any time that you can have good people around and have good conversations, I’m all for any of that. Even back in the day, that was my main motivation, just to teach myself how I could cook a healthy meal.
On Learning How to Cook:
By trial and error. My mom is a fantastic cook, and she cooked really well balanced and pretty healthy meals for us growing up. Almost every night, we had dinner on the table and we sat around together, but she was also one of those moms that, for whatever reason, never really made me help her that much. So, somehow, I got to college and I knew a little bit but not much. And by the time I was introduced to cafeteria food and quickly realized how good I had had it, I also realized I didn’t know how to cook any of my mom’s special dishes.
And so it was definitely in college when I had my first apartment with a kitchen that I started just experimenting and figuring out how to make some of the basics. But then, from there, especially in my 20s, I just really enjoyed the process of following a recipe. With recipes, most of the time, they work. There are the occasional duds, but I felt like it was a pretty successful experiment learning to cook. Most of the time, things turned out the way I had hoped and so I really enjoyed it.
On Deciding on What to Cook for Her Blog:
A lot of the recipes on there are random cravings or foods that I wanted to learn how to make just personally. But as time has gone on, a lot of it is definitely geared much more towards my readers, and I keep a running log of the different requests that they make. We’ve had literally hundreds of requests now for a crock pot potato soup. Apparently, everybody loves potato soup, but they really want to know how to make it in a crock pot. So today, that was a recipe that was an example. I have a stove top potato soup that I love, but they really wanted a crockpot version.
So yeah, trying to find a good mix of things that different people want to eat and even with the different diets and such, that kind of goes back to my love of entertaining, too. I feel like whenever I have people over, I have lots of friends who are vegan or gluten-free or have different food intolerances. And I’ve always said that my blog is never going to be a niched diet blog. It will never be all gluten-free. But, I totally want to make sure that there are recipes on there that different people can enjoy completely.
On Her Food Heroes:
I’m actually that one weird food blogger who hardly ever watches food TV. I’ve never had cable, and I occasionally catch things on YouTube. But I think for sure, Rachael Ray was probably the first person, her 30 Minute Meals. That’s just how I cook, and I love that she is one of those pioneers in the industry who’s made cooking really approachable and easy and geared toward families. Just being able to make it possible to get a healthy and well-balanced meal on the table quickly. I am a big fan of hers. I saw her. She came through Kansas City, where I live, and did a book tour like a year or two ago, and I heard her speak. And I was like, “Man, the girl knows what she’s doing.” She was really impressive and I think, more than anything, I realize how hard she’s worked at her career and so I really respect her.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
Honestly, probably the only one that I watch regularly is Chopped. I really like Chopped.
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
One of my best friends in Kansas City is Cookie and Kate who I believe was actually on your podcast before. Kate from Cookie and Kate, she has a fantastic vegetarian blog. For a vegan, I highly recommend Minimalist Baker. John and Dana are just fantastic, talented cooks.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook or Snapchat that make you happy?
On Instagram, I am a big fan of Pumpkin the Raccoon. I don’t know if anybody follows Pumpkin. It’s literally a pet raccoon. It’s just the absolute cutest. I am also a big fan of the Two Sisters Angie on Instagram, which is also under the hashtag fashionbymayhem. It’s this really sweet little girl who makes these super creative dresses out of paper. It’s just a fascinating account. Other than that, there’s just a zillion food accounts out there that I also love to follow for inspiration.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
I have a pretty normal kitchen. I do have a dehydrator that was my Christmas gift from Santa when I was 16 years old. I’ve always had a long obsession with beef jerky. So even as I’ve lived in teeny tiny kitchens, I’ve always made room for my little dehydrator which takes up more space than it should.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
Brussel sprouts. I am obsessed. I feel like they were given such a bad rap when we were young. They were always boiled or something super boring. They are so good roasted.
What are a few cookbooks that make your life better?
Anything from America’s Test Kitchen. I am 32, so I feel like I’ve been through a zillion weddings in the last decade of life, and I give America’s Test Kitchen’s New Best Recipe Book to all my friends who get married because I feel like it will never fail, and I love the research behind their recipes. They have a cooking for two. Yeah, anything of theirs, I just 100% recommend.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
I have music on all the time when I cook. I mean, we’re always happy. Cooking makes me happy. So I feel like, any song that makes me want to dance in the kitchen, that’s always a plus. But currently, Adele’s new album is on full-time.
On Keeping Posted with Ali:
Anywhere on social media really. We’re all over Instagram and Pinterest and all that jazz. So yeah, anywhere on social media.