Featured ATX Food Blogger: Butterlust Blog
Butterlust Blog is adorable. Right when the page opens, you can tell that Katie Wahlman not only has an eye for food, she has an eye for design. A born and raised Texan, this 20-something creates baked goods that make your mouth water through your computer screen. Her easy to use food blog is full of goodies that’ll satisfy your sweetest tooth. Don’t worry, she also offers up healthy options for those of you looking to avoid the sugar.
Just another fantastic Austin Food Blog to start following.
How did you discover your love of food and writing?
I consider those two separate events. I’ve always loved food. I have 500+ chubby bunny pictures from my childhood as a testament to that fact. I didn’t start truly appreciating food, and the care that goes into the coordination of quality ingredients and preparation until my teens. I would watch hours upon hours of Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour (remember that one?), Iron Chef & Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals (I know, very wide-spectrum of personalities) among others. Summer mornings were spent dozing on the couch with the Food Network blaring in the background.
When I was a sophomore in high school I landed a job at the local Carvel Ice Cream shop where I worked as a server, flavor maker, and cake decorator (my favorite part). Cake decorating showed me that I could take my love of food (especially desserts) and combine it with a need for an artistic outlet.
It all took off from there.
My love for writing is something I discovered more recently. I went through a break up last fall (you know how that goes) and decided to start a journal as an outlet for all of the emotional nonsense running through my head. From there, I combined words with food and ventured into the blogosphere. I love writing because it’s a constant challenge. It’s not always something that comes naturally for me. More often than not I find myself sitting in front of the computer with a fantastic recipe and beautiful photos thinking OK, now what should I say? The fact that it’s something I have to work at, makes the spoils that much sweeter. Getting comments from friends, family & readers about how much they enjoy my blog, not just for the recipes and photos, but also for my style of writing is immensely rewarding.
Has blogging changed the way you view food and cooking? If so, how?
Yes, but perhaps not in the way this question is intended. Blogging has changed the way I see food. Literally.
Photography is a huge part of being a food blogger. Sure, there are people who read blogs solely for the writing, but food is a highly sensory topic. To be a successful food blogger it’s important that you not only appeal to your readers through narrative but also through visuals. You can have a great recipe, but if the photos aren’t enticing, people may never try it. Blogging has heightened my appreciation for food presentation. That perfect strawberry or that extra bit of garnish can take a photo of your recipe from bland to…well, food porn.
What is your favorite ingredient to use in the kitchen?
Butter, of course!
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
My best memory in the kitchen dates waaay back. I must have been 6…maybe 7? After all this time the details are fuzzy at best, and what I remember is more of a feeling than an actual experience. I was staying at my grandparents’ house in South Bend, Indiana. It must have been close to Easter because I remember standing with my Grandma in the kitchen decorating one of those coconut covered bunny cakes. I don’t recall the baking portion, but I’m sure she let me help (and probably lick the spoon, too). I remember piling on the coconut and using jelly beans for eyes. It’s a brief flash of consciousness, but one of my first baking memories and one of my very favorite memories with my Grandma.
My mom is one of 7 children so most of the time I saw my Grandparents there were numerous other grandchildren running around, competing for attention. This was a special day, because it was just Grandma and I. I got her all to myself and I can’t help but get the warm fuzzies thinking back on it.
What is the best thing about your kitchen?
My Sky Blue KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s true love.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
Any meal that is followed up with dessert! Just kidding.
In all seriousness, while I’m a baker, I do love to cook. Especially for friends and family. That said, I’m kind of a recipe whore and I love to try new things. I have a very small arsenal of recipes that I prepare regularly. Most of them have ties to families and warm memories and this one is no exception. My favorite recipe to prepare is New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp. It can be dressed up for a fancy, date-night meal, or kept casual for a laid-back dinner among friends and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Of course, there’s a story behind it…
After my parents married circa 1974, at the ripe ages of 22 & 23, they moved to New Orleans. I know that the New Orleans of the 1970’s is vastly different from the NOLA of today, but what a FUN place to move as newlyweds. Am I right? Sometime during their brief year there (my dad decided to go to grad school and they move to Cincinnati a year later) they picked up the recipe for Barbecued Shrimp from a friend. They reminisce about going down to the water and buying multiple pounds of shrimp straight off the shrimping boats, from some crusty creole fisherman for basically pennies on the pound. Then taking their loot home and making batch after batch of Barbecue Shrimp while sitting around the table with close friends and cold beers, eating until they were full and then some, often times late into the night. Sounds pretty great, right?
We still prepare this dish at least once every few months. Sometimes for Holiday dinners, sometimes just because we have a hankering. Warm French bread and good libations are mandatory, all else is up to interpretation. Except for maybe napkins, this is a peel and eat recipe, with tons of butter so it gets messy. And since I’ve talked it up so much, you can find the recipe (Disclaimer: it’s not actually Barbecue, at all.)
What does your dream kitchen look like?
This is a risky question. I could get completely carried away with this one. To keep it simple: BIG, white cabinets, recycled barn wood accents with touches of antique glass blue throughout. Definitely an island for additional counter space and storage and lots of windows to let in natural light. Open to the living area because food should be a group experience. And of course decked out with fancy, energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances. (I am so far from being able to afford those that I can’t even begin to provide details, I just know they’d be in my dream kitchen.)
What 3 guests would you like to have at your dinner table?
Assuming my table is magical and can be a combination of the dead and the living…
- Anthony Bourdain – I’m not sure I could handle the pressure, but I would love to pick his brain.
- My Grandpa Wahlman – because I never got to meet him.
- Ernest Hemingway – because I like a man who appreciates a stuff drink, and I hear he has some damn good stories.
Yes, my dream table is full of crotchety old men.
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you when it comes to food?
Sustainable means locally grown or sourced foods, produced through eco-conscious and humane methods. Sustainable foods are whole foods; foods that I can feel good about eating and sharing with others. They’re the opposite of packaged, processed foods that in today’s mass produced food scene are so hard to avoid. In a nutshell, when it comes to food, sustainable means “eat me, I’m awesome”.
Favorite Recipe to Date?
How can I possibly choose?!
If you insist…this Honey Bee Cake from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Vintage Cakes. It’s simple so the ingredients really shine through. I used local Texas Wildflower honey from Good Flow Honey Co. in mine.
What three recipes would you share with our readers?
Well, I’ve already shared two…but I’ll keep sharing if you let me!
Grandma’s Zucchini Bread– I have been eating this bread for as long as I can remember, and to this day it remains a tried and true breakfast favorite. It’s my Grandma Mickey’s (the bunny cake one) recipe and has been in the family for ages. Be liberal with the cinnamon and serve with cream cheese.
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies – These cookies had such a unique flavor and perfect texture that they were an instant favorite. Once you have the chocolate base down, you can substitute a variety of ingredients for the spices to make them your own.
Brownie Pudding Milky Way Mousse Trifle in a Mason Jar – Because I have a love affair with pudding and mason jars. Again, get the technique down and run with your own flavor combinations.