Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Jeannette’s blog, Everybody Likes Sandwiches, is about the joy in preparing fresh food simply. She has fun creating delicious dishes from making do, and wants to let us know that eating and living simply and beautifully doesn’t have to be complicated.
I am so thrilled to have Jeannette Ordas of Everybody Likes Sandwiches, joining me here on the show today.
(*All photos below are Jeannette’s.)
On Publishing Her Own Pop Culture Magazine:
I think at the time I was working at a record store and I just finished university and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had studied film in school so I wanted some sort of creative outlet and I loved drawing and I just thought, “Oh, I’m gonna start a ‘zine.”
I had seen them being in record stores or in little magazine shops, so I thought, “Oh, I’m gonna start one.” It was just folded, I did cut and paste. This was before Photoshop probably or before I had access to Photoshop. And it was just Xerox, staple, folded, copied at Staples and it was a good way for me to write about music. I originally started it just so I could get free CD’s from record labels.
Then I started having a food column called “Faster Pussycat Eat Eat.” I always wrote a little recipe in every issue and it was fun coming up with recipes. At the time I don’t think there were blogs so it was a good way to combine all my interests. Music, movies, food, so it was fun, and it was a creative endeavor that’s self controlled. I was the boss, I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do so that was a very fun creative project to work on.
On Her Blog:
I think just before I started, I came across a blog called, Chocolate and Zucchini, Clotilde, I think she’s from Paris. And so that was the first one I had ever seen and I was like “Wow, people are writing about food and sharing recipes.” And I really liked that, I liked documenting my food somehow.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted Everybody Likes Sandwiches to be, so I think I initially just opened up blogger. I couldn’t think of a name and I picked probably the worst name, because it’s so long. It’s so hard to type into a browser bar, and it’s not about sandwiches so, I don’t know. But I think it fits, ‘cuz sandwiches are simple, easy, and I think a lot of the recipes I choose to make are like a sandwich, very simple, easy.
That was my start, and I remember it was late at night and I just started my first post. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even have a camera back then. It took a few months, but I remember I started getting people commenting, and it just kind of freaked me out. I didn’t think people were reading it. And, yeah, it was kind of fun, because I realized there was actually like-minded people, and they would link to their blogs so then I realized there’s actually a whole little community out there.
On Blogs She’s Followed Since Starting Her Blog in 2005:
Molly from Orangette. I think she was probably my second commenter. And she’s super successful, she has her amazing podcast which I listen to all the time, Spilled Milk. Yeah, so that is probably the one I remember best that’s still around.
All of a sudden a lot of people had food blogs. There’s still plenty I think from around that time, not 2005, but maybe end of 2006, 2007 maybe. That’s when I think people like, Tea and Cookies blog, I think she started probably around then too.
On Her Passion for Cooking and Food:
I think it comes from my mom. When I was little my mom would always have a ton of cookbooks and she had this big recipe folder that, I don’t even know what it was, a case, a giant plastic case that she used as a file folder. She’d always be clipping recipes from newspapers and magazines, and my mom loved baking, my mom loved cooking, so food always was going on in the kitchen.
We helped out, me and my brother helped out but I really loved helping my mom stir cake batter and then when my mom started working full-time again, she would always leave a little note, “There’s chicken legs in the fridge, Jeannette. Can you make dinner?” So I would have to look up a recipe, figure out what I wanted to make with that. Sometimes she’d leave me a recipe, I think, initially, but then it was just like, “Oh there’s chicken legs, use those up.” So, yeah, I think it was just something to help out the family, it wasn’t a chore exactly, I really liked doing it and, I think, I would get all kinds of ooh’s and ah’s from my parents, so that was very encouraging.
I think there’s a certain point I became a vegetarian and my family was not vegetarian. And I think I was a vegetarian for 10 years, probably in my late teens, early twenties. That I think really helped me love cooking. It was something unusual that I didn’t become a vegetarian for any sort of reason other than to sort of piss off my parents, maybe? It was just a little rebellious kind of move to become a vegetarian. That was just something I sort of figured out on my own, like cooking with beans and cooking with lentils and just using vegetables and tofu.
I think still most of our meals that I cook now are probably 70% vegetarian anyways, so I love vegetarian food.
On Make-Do Cooking:
I think it comes from maybe not having a lot of money. When I moved to Vancouver I worked at a record store, so I didn’t make a lot of money. And as a creative I’ve always been sort of struggling. So yeah, I hate wasting food and then I tend to postpone cooking dinner sometimes. It will be late so stores are closed or I don’t wanna run out to the store and buy anything, so I have to scramble and look, what’s in my cupboard or here’s some celery and some lentils. It just comes from our grandmother’s type of cooking where, yeah, they didn’t go to the grocery store and buy the best cuts of meat. They couldn’t buy whatever they wanted, because they had a strict budget. So I think that’s how my style of cooking developed, part laziness, part that I didn’t have a lot of money, so I think it all comes from a little quirkiness.
I remember once just having, this was years ago, and I was having a friend over for dinner when I realized I have no money. So I bought a little bit of Parmesan cheese and I had celery and pasta and onion and so I made this pasta dish that was basically sautéed celery and onions with some hot peppers topped with celery and then little bread crumbs. And I was just like, “Wow, this is very delicious.” It’s probably not what you want to serve someone coming over for dinner necessarily, but the person I was with probably was in a similar situation, and they were happy to have a free meal.
I think it’s probably good to have some good herbs on hand, dried is totally fine, fresh is better. I love having rosemary on hand or like Herbes de Provence, which is this herb mix that has lavender and thyme and rosemary. I think generally you should be playing with recipes. Like I don’t have a lot of things sometimes, and I hate bananas so most smoothie recipes always call for bananas so I use pineapple instead. But yeah, I have lentils. You should have aromatics like onions and garlic on hand. I think you can do a lot if you have an onion and some garlic.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
I do watch TV and I would have to say we just started watching The Great British Bakeoff. I only started watching the newest season and it’s perfect. Everyone is so polite, everyone is so kind and gentle, there’s no ego and there’s lots of luscious cakes and baked goods, so that’s pretty great. And then we also started watching, my husband and I, it’s a Netflix show, I think it’s called Chef’s Table. And it’s by the director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, so each episode is a new chef, one-hour documentary about a certain chef, and it’s probably the most inspiring television I have seen in a long time. Not even if you’re interested in cooking, but I think obviously that helps, my husband who could care less about cooking finds it very inspiring. I think if you’re a creative person it’s really great hearing from people who are creative and have passion for what they do and do well.
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
I think Dinner Was Delicious. I really like that one. Good photography, but it’s the writing that’s kind of snappy, sassy and fun. Kitchen Culinaire. She’s a local Vancouver blogger. I’ve been to her kitchen and pretty much the blog features her beautiful kitchen and her beautiful recipes that are quite simple but very beautiful.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook that make you happy?
I would say Kitchen Culinaire is really good on Instagram. I look at Instagram a lot. Wit and Vinegar is another food blogger who has a great Instagram. Coco Cake Land, another Vancouver blogger, beautiful, fun, photographs of tasty cakes.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
It would probably be a split between, I have this old cast iron frying pan that was given to us by my husband Cornelius’s grandmother when she passed away, and it’s an old workhorse. I feel like it’s just something that I’ll never get rid of, and I use it all the time. I just made eggs for breakfast in it this morning. I use it for baking salmon, I’ve baked cakes in it, it’s really amazing. I also am very partial to my pistachio colored KitchenAid mixer, which I got as a wedding present so, I love that.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
I have a lot of dislikes for being a food blogger and someone who supposedly loves food, but I think cucumber is one that I never really liked, and I still don’t really like when people flavor water with cucumber. That’s not very refreshing for me. But now, like last night, we had sandwiches and I had cucumber in the sandwich. I make cucumber salads all the time. I just find it really refreshing, especially during the summer.
What are a few cookbooks that make your life better?
Well, I think one of the first cookbooks that I really loved when I started cooking, when I became a vegetarian, was The Moosewood Cookbook. It has no photos and that doesn’t bother me and I just really loved it. It was hippy-ish, but it really sort of explained vegetarian cooking for me, so I really think that cookbook deserves the prime spot on my shelf and I’ll never get rid of it.
There’s a whole series of those books from I think it’s a restaurant in upstate New York, vegetarian restaurant, and all the recipes are really great.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
Probably an album by the Kinks called Village Green Preservation Society. Very retro, it’s from the ’60s so it’s retro, but it’s just very pleasant sounding poppy. It would be a perfect cooking album, but if I really am feeling tired and I need a little something, I would probably throw on Robyn, something really fun to get in the kitchen.
On Keeping Posted with Jeannette:
I would say on Instagram. My handle is kickpleat so that would be the best way.