Photo Friday: Macaron au chocolat

Macaron au chocolat

Just another delicious way to support fair trade: French style macarons made with our Omanhene cocao powder and filled with a chocolate ganache made with our 80% dark chocolate… ethical trade never tasted so good!

The Full recipe can be found over at Mama Europa’s blog.

Ooops, No End of The World…. (again!)

So, here we are, facing the end of the world (again).  What to do?

I will avoid the jokes about those who have stockpiled food, joined cults who convinced them that they were the only way to avoid sudden death, or those who hiked to far off mountain tops in France or Peru hoping to meet aliens who would sweep them off to a planet where all would be well… After all, I’m sure there are lots of people who have dedicated their entire day to making others laugh with punch lines they’ve worked long and hard on.

Luckily, the Mayans were right on one count: the world didn’t end today (—yes, most people miscalculated).  I am hoping though that instead of worrying ourselves silly about what the exact date is for the end of time; we will instead focus on what matters: HOW we are living each of those days that we wake up and have opportunity.

Look, none of us know when the world is going to end.  But, I suspect we’ll have a little better clue than a pretty, round calendar which even the Mayan people says doesn’t mean the end of the world; but the end of an era.  To be honest though, even as a Christian woman, I hope that the Mayan prediction is right.  I hope this will be a new era.  One in which we think of others before we think of ourselves.  One in which we think about the impact of our actions and choices before we decide even the simple things.  I hope that we have used this opportunity to think about the fact that anyone can die at any time.  For some, it is a tragic accident or disease that no one can cure.  But for others, it is ultimately poverty that causes their death.  Whether they cannot afford to eat healthy food, have access to clean water or pay for medications which would be readily available (and sometimes free) if they lived in another part of the world.  Some will die because they had the misfortune of being born a girl in a land where women aren’t respected.  Others will be killed for their religious beliefs, their desire to speak the truth or because they hold hands or kiss someone before they are married.  And yes, many will be killed before they are born because they have the misfortune of being a girl child in a nation or culture which has a preference for boys.  Still others will live, only to be denied the most basic of human rights.

Well, today you and I are given an opportunity, as we have been given every day thus far: We have the opportunity to make this day matter.  Whether by a gesture, a donation, or just the way that we choose what gift to offer to a friend, what food to feed our own children or what words we speak… we have a great opportunity to become the “New era” that people are talking about in the Mayan culture.  Ultimately you see, we are all people and we could all use a new era: One in which we put others before ourselves.  Not in that awkward “New Age” mumbo jumbo kind of way which implies we all have to dress like hippies or risk being called hate mongers.  But, rather in a concrete manner which creates, choice by choice, word by word, a new lifestyle.  One where we enjoy life every day and work toward helping others enjoy their lives too.

I’m not talking about religion or telling you to change your belief system.  I’m saying this: There were millions of people discussing this latest round of doomsday predictions.  Heck, I think that in 2011-2012, the world “ended” 20 or more times, right?  Well, I can’t help but think that if just half of those people talking about it decided to instead spend the same amount of time living as if it might actually be true every day of their lives… there would be a lot less suffering in the world.  At times like this, I keep coming back to the tune that so many of you already know:

Some of you might know that country song by Tim McGraw called “Live like you were dying”

I’m going to spend today like I spend most of my days: Living like I were dying… and like I am able to prevent someone else from dying through my choices.  I’m dropping off a couple of Christmas gifts to friends that are gift baskets full of organic and fair trade items that they can enjoy with their families.  I’ll touch base with the cooperatives that I work with and see if I can be of service to them today.  I’ll talk to a lady I know who is having a tough time this holiday season because she is alone.  I’ll drink another cup of fair trade coffee from Zimbabwe and pray for the farmer’s hands who picked the beans.  I’ll connect with friends on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll thank God that I’m here another day to do it all.  Then, tonight, I’ll hug my family members and tell them how grateful I am for their love and support.

Then, if the sky really is falling: I won’t care.  Because worse than death, is regret.  And I won’t have any of that to freak me out. I’m really far from perfect; but I’m trying to live a life based in love for others and appreciation for what blessings I have.

If you are celebrating Christmas soon, I wish you a very merry Christmas.  If you are instead Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist or of another faith… I wish you the very brightest and best New Year to come.  And I sure am happy to know that we have the opportunity to build a new era together.  I am sure we can do it, one kind gesture, one loving word and one responsible decision at a time.



100th Blog Post and Some Big News

I’m certainly no numerologist, but I do know that the number 100 has significance in many cultures. And even if I’m not a Korean mother preparing to celebrate her baby’s “100 days”, nor a biblical scholar counting the chapters in the Epistle of Paul; it has significance to me. Because this, my friends, is my 100th blog post!
I was tempted to do what you probably expect I would have done: become nostalgic and write about how much I’ve enjoyed blogging, been inspired by those who have joined me at Mama’s Round Table and loved getting to know my readers better through our contact via comments left on the blog or social media like Twitter or Facebook. Of course, I feel all of those things. But, I’m not going to write about them.
Instead, I’m using my 100th post to introduce an alter-ego of sorts: Mama Europa. This is where you’ll find me blogging about France, Italy and beyond…
Don’t think for a moment that it means I’ll be posting here less, because I won’t. Africa is my priority, and will always remain so. I am still absolutely dedicated to doing what I can to improve the lives of African women and children: from Ghana to Eritrea, from Tunisia to South Africa.
I wrote a few blogs last summer about a few of the connections between Europe and Africa. But, if you are a history buff, you already know that the ancient Greeks and Romans have strong ties to Northern Africa. If you love to cook, you know that spices and recipes have crossed the Mediterranean for ages and that the culinary influence between the two continents is strong.
The Roman Empire had a black African Caesar, Egypt’s strongest, wisest leader, Cleopatra was Greek… the historical connections are endless. And, they aren’t just about Europe colonizing Africa either. Yes, there are still negative effects of that terrible period. It is undoubtedly a subject worth covering; but I feel that the subject matter is already well covered.
I would like to focus on the positive connections without overlooking the negative effects. Not only because of dear friends like Tomás, clearly a European with a love and passion for Africa that is absolutely undeniable. But also because I think that all peoples have a story that is worth hearing.
We now live in a world where we are as likely to have a friend in Kenya as in Korea, where people travel across the planet for business or pleasure and where we can log onto our computers and talk to our grandmother or cousin nine time zones away while seeing their beautiful smile. I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead with my new blog; but I’m equally excited about the next 100 blog posts here at Mama Afrika’s World.  I’m working on a few really interesting posts and have some great interviews lined up, one of which is a follow-up with a guest many people have asked about, Nigel Mugamu. Thanks to everyone for your support and interest!
You know my mantra: “Dialog matters”.  So, I am really looking forward to continuing the dialog here while my new blog will be a place where I hope to begin many conversations with you about France, Italy and beyond…

Food is Culture

Hello again!

I returned from my European trip about a week ago and am still looking forward to sharing part of my experiences there with you.  I know that this blog post is not “African” per se; but this post is about people, food and culture.  Some of the things that interest and endear me most about Africa are those same three things: people, food and culture.  So, here is my perspective on a wedding I had the privilege of attending last month.

Anyone who has travelled at all knows what role food plays in culture.  I’ve eaten food from a fair number of countries and am always interested in how foods are eaten.  Some are finger foods by design; with others one asks how anyone could manage to eat it with their hands and not a utensil.

As an Eritrean, I’ve often enjoyed seeing Westerners eat at our table for the first time.  Awkwardly posing the question in their head of how on earth they are going to manage to get a meat sauce to their mouths without making a disastrous mess of the whole thing.

This brings me to the recent experience I had at a French table.  I was reminded of something that foodies around the world have always known: Food is culture.

Sitting at the table with friends laughing, drinking and eating is something that we all do whether in Nigeria, Lesotho, Canada or France.  I’ve lived in a few countries and travelled a bit over my lifetime and that is something that never changes: food connects people.

Actually, I should start at the beginning: last month, I attended the wedding of one of my favorite French cousins. We were invited to the wedding many months ago and were really looking forward to it.  I could talk to you about the horse-drawn carriage, her beautiful gown or the 11th century chapel. But if you know me at all, you know that my brain often revolves around a couple of things: food being one of them!

I sat looking around at the sumptuous spread on the buffet table and came to an unusual conclusion.  They could have been serving lunch meat sandwiches and people would have been just as happy.  You see, ironically: it’s the people; not the food.  Sure, great food is a bonus; but it’s only that: a bonus.  Those people were so happy to be there so celebrate love and the union of two families that they would have gathered around the table together to simply break bread of any sort. (Granted, the bread in France is fabulous; but you get my point!)

In fact, the food was classically Southern French: fois gras, pâté, couscous salad, an incredible array of cheeses… the list goes on.  And that isn’t to mention the wedding cake: a beautiful Croquembouche and macarons in a “piece monté”.

This wedding, in the small village reception hall was unmistakably French.  It wasn’t a snobbish affair mind you; it was a simply elegant and stylish event.  The bride was stunning, the people well-dressed.  But, that slightly loud conversation which is so common in Southern Europe, the smell of anise on people’s breath (after a few glasses of Pastis, bien sûr!), the vision of grandmothers and little children dancing together until all hours of the night… all served as typical signs that we were in the South of France in the summertime.

Upon hearing of my upcoming trip, one of my dear friends, Geoff told me that he was hoping that me blogging about my time in France would help shed some light on the French for him, especially since he is from the U.K.  Most of us know that the two cultures have never really managed to “get” each other.  OK, fine, there is also a bit of history involved; but you probably understand what he meant.

That wedding can’t be called the real France.  After all, culture is complex.  Expensive handbags, chic stores, the Eiffel Tower and sweet smelling perfumeries in Paris are a part of France.  But for me, this charming wedding reception was my France, the France I love so much.  It was family, friends, great local wine and delicious food.  It was those same 20 songs that you hear at all of the village festivals that no one can help but sing out-loud while dancing until the wee hours of the morning.  It was great quality local ingredients, prepared so simply that they maintain their integrity.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that if you changed the menu a bit and everyone spoke another language, that wedding could have easily been Spanish, Italian or yes…  African.  Unpretentious, people-centered and always about great food! Not fancy, overly complicated dishes; just great food and good wine.  Alright, in some parts of Africa it’d be palm wine instead of Syrah; but the goal of having more people and less complicated food would have been the same.

When I was young, I remember having food from all over the world.  For me, the spicy, rich dishes of Eritrean cuisine often meant hearing my family chatter-on in Tigrinya.  Hearty Italian meals usually meant that my dad was sipping a beer or some wine while teaching me why basil was a better option than oregano.  Our Korean neighbor popped in from time to time and left wonderful Yaki-Mandu (triangular-shaped Korean egg rolls) on our kitchen table when we were away at school or work. (Remember when we didn’t even have to lock our doors?). To this day, I feel a special affinity for South Korea because I spent so many years eating Korean food with friends. It’s rather similar to Eritrean dishes in fact and somehow, learning that made me feel closer to its people too.  Odd perhaps; but true.

The next time you are deciding how to share who you are with someone, share your food.  The next time you want to learn more about a group of people or their culture share their food.  The most fun I’ve ever had while traveling has been at the dinner table. It is inevitably accompanied by laughter, jokes and sometimes even serious discussions of politics or religion.  When the people bring their smiles to the table, the food always binds them to each other… no matter what is on the plate.

Bon appétit et bon santé !



My Quest for Africa in Europe Begins

Last week, we packed up most of the family, my giant puppy and 15 pieces of luggage and headed to France for the summer.  Once at LAX, I noticed something that I rarely pay any attention to; but picked up on immediately since deciding to document a bit of the Africa-Europe connection for the blog: African faces make up a part of the truly French experience.

Here is a small snippet to help you understand better:

When we reached the Air France counter at LAX, (our 4 carts stacked high with luggage in tow), I was greeted with the huge smile of a man who says: “Bonjour Madame! Ou allez-vous avec ce petite famille et un chien si beau?”[1]  Now, to those who are not francophone or who haven’t lived in France that would have been a nice airline employee asking if he could help.  But to me, who immediately recognized the accent and knew that generally speaking, that level of engagement with strangers is a no-no in French culture… I was secretly entering the France-Afrique connection a bit early.  He asked me where I was from and I knew instinctively that he didn’t mean what part of the US.  I answered Eritrea and he smiled even bigger.  You see, it was his job to tell me what counter to check in at, period.  And had he been most (there are always exceptions!) employees of Air France- or any other large company for that matter- he’d have done just that.  But, once he told me that I was his sister from the East, I understood.  From that point on, my family and I got a little extra kindness.  He even went to get tissues to literally wipe the drool from my puppy so that he “didn’t walk around embarrassing himself in front of the other dogs”.  I felt at home. Standing in that huge airport surrounded by hundreds of people passing this way and that… I was at home.

This kind North African was so gracious to my family and my giant puppy that you would have thought he’d invited us into his home for tea.  He petted the dog each time he passed by, made faces at our youngest daughter and gave our eldest a speech about finishing her studies before she even started to think about boys.  He was more like an uncle than a man working for an airline who just happened to be on duty when the doors to Terminal 2 opened.

Many people imagine France as a land of white Europeans who walk around the streets of Paris looking chic and smoking cigarettes.  Yes, that is a part of France.  But, like all things, France is multidimensional, layered and complex.  And this kind man from North Africa is a part of the France I know and love so much.  He is part of the African face of Europe.  Not the young thug who acts like an idiot on the to the train or metro, not the terrorist who goes off to Pakistan from London to join al Qaeda, not the man who forces his wife to wear a veil… but a smiling happy and kind man who calls France home and said to my husband as we walked away after thanking him for being the one who began our journey to France with such incredible kindness: “C’est normal après tout… entre Gaulois”.[2]

This experience marked the beginning of my quest for Africa in Europe… and it happened while still on American soil.

I’ll be blogging more of my adventures; so keep in touch!

[1] Translation: “Where are you taking your little family and such a beautiful dog?”

[2] An interesting reference to the special relationship between French natives; which he clearly felt despite his African origins.  He clearly felt completely tied to French culture, not just citizenship.

The Africa – Europe Connection

For many people, the relationship between Africa and Europe amounts to two things: The history of colonialism and the modern issue of immigration.

This summer, I’ll be blogging about some of the other ways that Africa and Europe are connected, from antiquity to today. Join me in Mama Afrika’s World for photos, information, reviews and what we like best: direct, frank discussions about really interesting topics related to Africa, development and issues facing African women.

If you are attending an event this summer in Europe and would like to be a guest blogger here at Mama’s World, send me an email .

I’m so excited! See you again soon…

Lessons From My Broken Nose

I hit my nose on Sunday. OK, to be more precise I got hit in the nose on Sunday… hard enough to break it. I’d love to tell you a story about how I took up semi-professional boxing; or that I was fighting with a bear in order to save a little girl’s life. But the reality is: it was a simple case of someone bumping their head into mine, a loud cracking noise, followed by lots of pain and a nasty little concussion.

I’m sure that by now, you are wondering why on earth I’m telling you this story. After all, you come to this blog for information about Africa or food or fair trade. Why would you care (other than the fact that I’m sure you are just generally a caring soul), what the condition of my little nose is today? Well, you’ll have to follow me forward to my visit to my neighbor’s house to know. I popped into visit her yesterday morning after spending most of the morning dizzy and in bed. I casually mentioned my concussion so that she knew that I wasn’t drunk at 9am; and she said: “Wow, isn’t this your 3rd time now?!” (It is; but I won’t bore you with the details; other than to say I was caught off guard by a little girl… twice… in the past!) She continued: “Once you break your nose, you have to be really careful for life. It is incredibly easy to break again.”

This is going to sound really stupid; but I never knew that. Sure, I knew it about bones. Rather, I knew that some people “had problems” with a formerly broken ankle or knee for years afterward. That some of them call it their “weak ankle” for life. But, somehow I thought that it was something to do with the severity of the break. And besides, it’s just cartilage in your nose, right? Here I was thinking someone had put juju (voodoo) or an ancient Indian curse on my poor little nose. Nice to know it isn’t the case!

Again, what does this have to do with Africa? Well this morning, now that my head is feeling a little better, I started thinking about the parallels. Africa has been “broken”. Colonialism, slavery, apartheid, dictatorships, AIDS… the list goes on. But, what do we do now? We can sit and complain about how it isn’t fair. We can tell ourselves that someone has clearly put a magic spell or curse on our continent. We can talk about how unlucky we are and how much life “owes us” because we’ve had an undue amount of hardship. We could do any of that and many would say that we’d be completely within our right to. I though, would disagree.

I think that part of our problem in Africa (or in much of it) is that we have reacted and continue to react. We don’t plan. The problem is that reaction implies that someone else is acting. The actor, the one who makes the initial decisions, is the leader… we are the followers. Like a dance where you allow the other to lead. We are allowing ourselves to be lead into the future. And in some cases, we are like bulls with a ring in their noses (their already broken ones), with a master who holds the chain attached to that ring leading us down the path to slaughter.

We have allowed our leadership to sell off our resources (one word: China); to continue to steep us in hatred (see: Zimbabwe); or to convince us that as long as we have someone outside of the country who can send us money to eat, all is well (see: Eritrea). But all is not well. Those of our children who are becoming educated are using their new skills to build someone else’s empire be it in Oslo, London, Paris or New York. We continue our mass exoduses from countries like Ethiopia, Somalia or Senegal in order become the workforce (often illegal) of another nation. We tolerate living without democracy because our dictator du jour tells us we aren’t ready for it yet or that democracy is a Western concept. Rubbish! There has never been a more democratic place than Africa. We had chiefs selected by their communities when Europe had kings. We had participation of the people when America’s colonies were still in the planning stages of their revolution. Let us learn our histories before we were colonialized. We have known glory. We seem interested in forgetting all of our history before colonialism. That is our error.

But, I’d like to suggest a more interesting option. Let us admit our weakness and our challenges and move forward. I know now that my nose is more likely to break in the future (at least the near future). We know that Africa is still fragile and able to be broken again if we aren’t careful in our planning. Does this mean we put our hands up in the air and quit? We know that hundreds of years of colonialism have left their scars on our nations. Of course, how could it not? We know that in places like South Africa or Zimbabwe, where we only recently regained our freedom from colonial rule, the “breaks” were even more severe. But, that should mean that we plan with even greater care. It should mean that instead of putting ourselves in harm’s way out of some reactionary desire to hurt the one that “broke us”; we should plan methodically to ensure that our future’s mean we are safe and happy.

I think it is way past time for us to say “Yes, we are fragile; but we have been strong before and can do it again with careful planning.” With time, we will one day forget we were ever injured. It will just be ancient history in our great-grandchildren’s history books. And most of all, they will be proud of what we were able to build for them.

Mama’s First World Recipe Exchange

French Lemon Tart

One of my favorite desserts: Tarte au Citron from France

I had a really difficult time deciding which recipes to share with you for this (first) World Recipe Exchange; so I did what I always do when I can’t decide what to make for dinner: I let the farmers decide for me!  Both France and Italy have left their imprint on African food and culture.  Add to that the influence of the millions in the African diaspora who now live in Europe, the US and other areas of the West… well, food blends us, mixes us and shows us how we are much more similar in our tastes than we are different.  So, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do an Eritrean-style pasta dish, a traditional French dish, or something from another part of the globe…

For those of you who haven’t yet heard me talk about it, I’ll let you in on a rather well-known secret: I love the organic farmer’s market. I go to one locally and really enjoy getting good quality food of course. But one of the other things I enjoy is walking around with my fair trade Bolga baskets in hand and filling them up with the freshly-picked seasonal treasures. You know, those fruits and veggies that some people don’t even know exist…

I like dirt on it, bugs coming out when you rinse it kind of veggies. I like being reminded that they come from the Earth and that the farmer can tell me what to do with it, how to select the best one and sometimes, yes they even tell me “Oh, you don’t want that this week; they’ll be better next week”. That is what personal relationships do. They teach us and they give us reasons to smile.

So, when looking for inspiration as to what to cook, I went where I usually go: to the market. I decided to let my senses help me choose. So here we go:
My choices were: Tarte au Citron and Aleecha, which are French and Eritrean (in that order). Here is the first recipe:

Tarte au Citron, from France because the lemons looked absolutely fabulous! They were bright, spring-like in color and with an aroma that called me from across the stand.

My favorite recipe is an adaption of the one from a book called The Food of France: A journey for food lovers. (Bay Books)

Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Roll out the pastry dough and line a 23 cm (9 inch) round fluted tart tin. I often just buy pre-made pie crusts in the refridgerated section of my grocery store, if time is an issue for me. If you use a pre-made pie crust, remember to let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling it out and putting it in your tart tin!

For pie filling:
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
285g sugar (1 and ¼ cups)
185ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
250 ml (1 cup) lemon juice
Finely grated zest from 3 lemons

To make filling: Wisk together sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Add the cream, then the lemon juice and zest.

Pre-bake your crust at 190C/375F for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can use baking beads, dried beans, or rice… whatever you usually use to keep your pie crusts flat on the bottom as they bake(until cooked, but still pale in color).. I have even used a fork to poke small holes in the (bottom only!) of the pie crust before baking; and that has worked fine for me.

Reduce temperature to 150C (300F)

Put the pie tin on a baking tray and carefully pour the filling into the pastry case. Return to the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling has set.
Cool completely before serving

Bon appétit!

Honest Scrap Award, wow!

Honest Scrap Award

Honest Scrap Award

Seems Michelle Masters has nominated me for an Honest Scrap Award. Like you, I asked myself “What the heck is that?!” After some research I learned that it is an award that bloggers nominate one another for. Most often, when they find a blogger puts their heart and soul into their blog. I’m really honored Michelle, thanks!

So now, in spirit of the award; it’s up to me to tell you 10 things that you might not otherwise know about me. Here’s my “honest scrap”:

1. I love dark chocolate in all its forms… and the darker the chocolate the better. I’m one of those nuts you hear about that actually enjoys 70% or 80% dark chocolate! I love making truffles with it, having a small square with coffee. Love, love, love it! (Only fair trade though, of course! 😉

2. I believe in people. I know they are able of killing, committing atrocities and abusing each other. But I also know that they are able to save a stranger, donate their time to children, teach adults to read and select sustainable products because they know it helps someone else live better.

3. I really like architecture.

4. I love God. And for some absurd reason, I hear He loves me back. I hardly deserve it most days; but He just keeps on loving me anyway.

5. I am always ready to laugh. Life is too serious to not laugh.

6. My favorite museum to date is the Dapper (Musée Dapper) in Paris. It’s small; but does a wonderful job of sharing information about the exhibits. I encourage you to go if ever you are in the area. You’ll learn a lot about African art and culture there trust me!

7. When I was a kid, I was sledding for the first time and landed myself in a little creek (ICE cold!) because I didn’t know how to steer the sled well enough. Missed the whole sledding trip since I spent it in the kitchen of a really nice German lady at the only inn for miles. She made me hot cocoa, brought me cookies and told me that although it looked fun through the window, I was better off being indoors wrapped in my giant towel sitting by the kitchen fire while my clothes dried. I’ll never forget her face. Vielen Dank, Madame! (…wherever you are).

8. I was a bodybuilder.

9. I’ve rappelled down a mountain and loved it.

10. Most of my favorite foods start with: olive oil, garlic and onion…

And, in the tradition of the award, I’ll tell you about 7 other bloggers that I’d like to nominate for the Honest Scrap Award. These are blogs that I, even with my busy schedule, go to regularly. I think you’ll find that they love what they blog about, just as I love discussing African people, cultures and art. You might just find that although they aren’t directly related to what I do (not all of them anyway); they have a lot to offer! I’ve given you a hint as to what I love best about each one… enjoy!

1. Robin Locker of My Melange Her blog is straight from the heart, if you love Italy or France; you HAVE to stop by her blog! Great photos, great information on traveling on a budget (What smart girl doesn’t like a bargain, right?)

2. Clement Nyirenda’s Blog world. A blog about the role of technology in the fight against poverty in Africa.  From Malawi, but based in Japan, his is a blog I think you’ll like.

3. Miss Expatria is living the dream, sharing her time between Montpellier, France and Rome, Italy… poor girl! *laugh* She’s got a way of describing her travels that makes you feel like you’re on vacation with her. If you want to see and read about Europe’s hidden treasures, she’s your gal!

4. Margaret F, over at Italian American Girl is a woman who is passionate about all things (Italian and) Italian-American: family, culture, food, events and travel. You’re sure to love her as much as I do!

5. Elaine, of GourmetGirlMagazine is a food lover at heart.  When I hear the term “foodie”, I think of her.  Her blog is a nice place to get recipes, read interviews with top chefs and she definitely pours her heart into her writing.  Pop by her blog when you get a chance!

6. Jennifer, has a cheese-lover’s paradise at ChezLoulou She is living in the gorgeous Languedoc region of the south of France and blogs about one of my favorite foods: cheese! A must see blog for foodies, travelers, francophiles or people who like to impress their friends with detailed information about rare delectable French artisan cheeses… and the photos!

(Others will be added as soon as I receive their permission to list their blogs. Check back daily until you find all 7, they’ll be worth it, promise!)