Author Interview: Tori Haschka

Tori Haschka is a Sydney-born food and travel writer who has her own blog as well as writing for Mamamia, The Huffington Post and The Arbuturian. Her blog was a finalist for Saveur Magazine’s Best Culinary Travel Blog 2012, and came second in Quadrille’s 2012 Food Awards Best Blog. Now to add to her list of achievements Tori Haschka is releasing her first book in July, and she recently answered some questions for us about it.

Welcome to Beauty and Lace Tori, thanks for talking to us.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing- ever since I was small. To me these days writing about an experience is one of the best ways to keep the memories alive. More than a set of shot glasses, scarf or pair of earrings, it’s scrawled notes in a small black leather book (often about what we ate) that I turn to when I want to go for a little holiday in my head.

How did you get started as a food and travel writer?

I started writing http://www.eatori.com back in 2007- back then I saw it as a place to keep a dossier of a life well lived. These days it’s a little more like hedonism in print format. I wrote up meals we while travelling and some of our efforts to recreate them back home. Then my mother in law suddenly died two months before our wedding. While we were on our honeymoon in France my husband and I made a list on the back of a boarding pass. It became a default ‘baby bucket list’; a things we wanted to see and do before we became three. The blog became a place to document those. Many of those experiences revolved around food; whether tracking down the best hot dogs in the world (in Iceland as it turns out), or exploring the great food markets of London, Lyon, Paris and Barcelona.

Can you tell us a little about your blog eatori.com?

Eatori.com is essentially about the best ways to eat, drink and be merry. It’s filled with 24 hour guides to cities across the world, hints on where to find the best coffee, vicarious visits to some of the world’s best restaurants and then ways to recreate great eating experiences back when I’m at home. There’s a swathe of slow carb recipes on there (and last year I put out an ebook of 30 great ways to avoid the crutch of white carbohydrates for dinner)- that became a necessity- if I want to eat the way I do when we’re travelling, I have to be a little sensible when we’re back on solid ground.

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A Suitcase and a Spatula is your first book, can you tell us a little about why you decided to write a book?

My favourite kind of food books are the ones that also tell a story. I keep my favourite recipe books by my bed and often read them like novels. I wanted to write a book like that- one which had terrific recipes (all which were triple tested in a tiny kitchen in London), but also told stories- of going to Cairo and thinking you were going just to see the great pyramids, but bearing witness to a revolution instead, of the joys of trying to learn to surf in Baja and discovering that the secret of fantastically flaky pastry for peach melba pie includes a bottle of frozen vodka.

Can you tell us a bit about the book?

It’s a collection of 60 recipes and travel stories. Some of the recipes come directly from a place and others are more obliquely inspired by them. It’s essentially three books in one; a beautifully photographed recipe book, a travel book- with hints like where to find the best swimming spot in Santorini and a love story. The book not only traces the relationship between myself and my husband (referred to on the blog as The Hungry One), but it’s about falling in love with travel and adventure itself. But like any love story, it’s about learning how to make the best of a situation, so the book is peppered with whimsical essays, like how to improve your plane food if you’re stuck in seat 67 G ; strategies for conquering breakfast buffets and how to craft the best emergency cocktails from a minibar.

What is your favourite recipe contained in A Suitcase and a Spatula?

My favourite recipe is probably the tartines with home made labna, roast red grapes and walnuts. It’s inspired by the Hunter Valley and reminds me of the weekends we spent up there before our wedding. It’s also great as a starter with prosecco, or doubles as a light lunch. The home made labna is now a constant in my fridge. Though choosing one is tough; other favourites include the mussels with fennel, pink wine and chickpeas from the south of France and, when I’m feeling particularly indulgent, the deep dish Chicago meatball pizza.

You seem to have travelled quite extensively, where is the most fabulous place you’ve been?

It’s hard to go past Santorini- the sunsets over Oia are like a moving Monet- it’s difficult not to pinch yourself while you pick at a plate of tomato fritters with tzatziki and sip a glass of pink wine and watch the sky streak purple. But I also adore London- having just spent three years living within five minutes walk of Borough Markets. That place is a very special one for anyone who loves food.

What’s been your career highlight to date?

Publishing the book is up there. It was lovely to have 2013 as the year where I bring two babies into the world- first ‘A Suitcase and a Spatula’- and then in August I’m due with our first baby- who we affectionately dub ‘the stowaway’.

Are you planning any more books?

Absolutely. There are recipes from Russia, South America, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia that I’d love to find their way into a sequel for Suitcase. I’m also working on an ebook based on a series from eatori.com; ’40 Weeks of Feasting- From Poppy Seeds to Pumpkins’- where I’ve created a recipe that’s been inspired by the growing size of the stowaway each week of the pregnancy. Looking at the size of some of the melons, I’m a little intimidated by what’s to come.

What does being a woman mean to you?

XX chromosomes and a good ability to multitask.

Thanks for talking to us Tori!

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