The best things about blogging is the people that you meet. I first “met” Karen Zgoda several years ago online through our mutual love of dessert.
Over the years since then, we’ve gotten together for more blogging adventures, though Boston based, that usually end with dessert. Besides having a sweet tooth, Karen also has a strong sense of justice that I really admire. Which is in keeping with being a social worker and instructor. What can I say? She’s a real sweetie! So now let’s get to the ninth part of the interview series, You Pick Six!
* * *
What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
Campbell’s Tomato Soup and noodles. I dump the soup into a pot, slowly add a can of whole milk while it warms, and add shell noodles. It’s filling and delicious. As an adult I’ve tried different soups but this is the only one that brings me back to my childhood. I grew up poor with a single mother so money was always tight (a Happy Meal was truly a happy experience). While I’ve had enough scrambled eggs, fish sticks, and Chef Boyardee ravioli to last a lifetime, Campbell’s Tomato Soup and noodles is still a favorite comfort food.
What brings you peace every day?
Reading and laughter. I make time for reading everyday, preferably scanning Twitter and mental junk food web sites in the morning, finding something awesome and sharing it, and reading from a hardcover at night. My favorite is when I find something so ridiculous or funny or inspiring that it stays with me the entire day.
What inspires you?
Love. Connection. Weird people. Nerds. Passion.
What is a favorite quote?
“All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.”
— Susan Niebur
What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
There is a food glass ceiling. High end dining is more and more inaccessible and I grow frustrated with its inevitable dominance in the local food scene. High end can be awesome. My favorite cake in the world is the Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake and while every bite is worth every penny, it is discouraging and deflating to look at the recipe to recreate it, which seems more impossible than the dissertation I worked on.
On the other hand, I have friends who see food like this as a challenge and pull it off successfully both professionally and in their own kitchens, and may I forever be in their address book for dinner parties! However, this is not me. In my current tax bracket I’m aware that in no way, shape, or form am I the target demographic for these experiences. At the end of the day, I feel that food is just food.
I’m a full time college instructor but due to gentrification creep, I find I am avoiding wider and wider swaths of the city that seem out of reach in terms of my income, experience, and perspective. I miss working class places that served good, cheap food with no courses or expectations and were just fun. I used to love finding unexpected gems to blog about on Fussy Eater and I’d love recommendations for finding places like this. I am hoping to blog more and would like dessert suggestions. I let the dessert blog go a bit when focused on work life, and feel like I need to be more connected to the food scene.
Tell me about what you’re working on now.
As part of my work with #MacroSW, I’m working on a study to evaluate how social workers use Twitter to connect, collaborate, and network. I’m very interested in exploring how Twitter and social media can be used for social change activities.
* * *
Thank you so much for participating Karen!