To those who have stuck with us over the years, thanks so much for your support!
Our food blog was originally started as a food journal. We wanted to document what we cooked, baked, and ate. We never intended to critique restaurants or create and share recipes, but we have tried to incorporate them over the years. There are plenty of other blogs on the interwebs who specifically supply those niches. Same thing applies to making the food porn look like it belongs in a magazine or ad. We want to show everyone how we make something and how we eat it. It's not always pretty. We didn't used to spend the extra time to plate up dishes with presentation in mind. It didn't matter what it looked like, as long as it tasted good. Although after writing that, we have been putting more effort in making the dishes more presentable as of late.
While I do pump out boring articles just to have something published on the blog, I do still try to improve my writing style. It has never been my strong suit. I've gone back and re-read some of the entries I wrote and, on multiple occasions, came close to deleting them -- they were that bad. But then there were pieces where I could vividly relieve the events. It's tough for me to make things interesting when they're really not.
Take the Popeyes Chicken in Waterloo article for example of a boring piece of work. There wasn't a great adventure in Waterloo. The truth was that we went to check out the open house and we happened to eat lunch at Popeyes. That's it.
On the other hand, there's the article Toronto Marathon Trip - Oct. 15th - 17th. I had so much fun writing about it because so much happened. The memory of Lucy and myself standing in front of the counter and ordering our sandwiches has been burned into my memory bank. I'd say it's the best example of my writing on this blog to date.
We'd like to answer a few questions that we've been receiving. We hope that you'll get to know us better through this. Lucy's answers will be in purple and my answers will be in green.
Why is the blog called Tea for Two Sisters when you don't write about tea? And who came up with the name?
Lucy cleverly thought of the name.
It sounds cute, incorporates our last name, and is easy to remember.
You tend to write about Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisines more than others. What's your background and nationality?
We're the first generation of Chinese-Canadians to be born in Canada, and the rest of the family are Canadian-Chinese-Cambodian. We're Teochew, to be more specific. I believe we're only four generations removed from China.
I used to think that everything we ate were categorized as Chinese, Cambodian, or Canadian cuisine. But I've come to the realization that dishes like banh xeo and bun cha gio are actually Vietnamese.
Growing up, we were accustomed to eating from a large variety of cuisines at home. Some dishes are more familiar than others (Cambodian, Chinese, and Vietnamese), so we tend to write about them more. The articles also tend to be more interesting since they're different from what you'd see day-to-day in Canada.
Why don't you write recipes?
We've touched on this a few times in our articles. The main reason for not including recipes in our articles is because we cook by feel and smell. Our mom, on the rare occasions that she actually has a recipe in front of her, uses them as guidelines. She'd often replace ingredients to her liking and if the consistency doesn't feel or look right, she would do her own thing and fix it until she's happy. And most times, her intuition pays off.
As Christine mentioned, recipes aren't followed to the letter, so much that they are guidelines for us. I have never followed a recipe exactly, with the notable exception of Anna Olson's chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe. I am not a cookie baker, so when I found a recipe that finally worked for me, I stuck to it faithfully. For everything else, I adjust it to taste. After all, there is no use in following the recipe if the end product tastes bad. I cook and bake to eat!
Do you make everything from scratch?
Long answer: We do make a lot of things from scratch. It comes from a combination of two things. Our parents, specifically, have always been frugal with their money since they fled from the Khmer Rouge. The other thing is that our relatives, including our parents, have experience working in the restaurant and food industry.
We rarely ate out at restaurants when we were younger. I used to get giddy knowing that pizza day at school was just one sleep away. My parents always thought that they could recreate dishes in the restaurant. They even claim that their version tastes much better. As a young'un, I disagreed. It just didn't taste the same, but now, I've come to appreciate their efforts. Some of their versions of dishes actually do taste better than eating out. Like Phnom Penh noodle soup and mac and cheese.
Something like Kraft Dinner; I used to think that the TV shows made up the "all Canadians love their KD" stereotype. We never had KD in the house. Our mom always made mac and cheese from scratch for us (sort of). She used an unnaturally yellow chicken powder to season the cheese sauce and sometimes added freezer-burned cheeses when we didn't have any in the fridge. Of course, the blocks of cheese were purchased on sale and then thrown in the freezer. Despite the freezer-burned cheese, she still said it tasted better than the boxed mac and cheese.
Short answer: No.
What are your favourite restaurants in _____________?
Our favourite restaurants and establishments keep changing. My favourite pizza place is Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto. For Chinese food between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, it has to be the House of Gourmet hands down. Although they don't serve dim sum, their breakfast/brunch is pleasant.
The restaurants I like are quite varied. In Ottawa, I'm a big fan of Greek takeout from Cozmos Souvlaki and Indian takeout from Indian Express. Both give great value for money, are consistent in quality, and serve you with a smile. When we go to Montréal, we typically end up at Marché Kei Phat for Cambodian food. (Full disclosure: the place is owned by our uncle's family, so we often score small freebies like extra youtiao.) Toronto is a little more difficult to pick favourites, as I have so many! I've been on a ramen kick lately, so Ajisen Ramen in Markham is my current favourite.
Can you make slideshows again and post them up?
Instead of creating slideshows, I've thought of two alternative ways to view food porn. The first idea is creating monthly albums on my Flickr photostream, which will showcase the things we've written about. The second idea is summarizing the month's articles into a post at the end of each month.
Why doesn't Lucy write more?
The truth, plain and simple, is that I lost my mojo and didn't feel like writing anymore. Since moving from Kingston a couple of years ago, I have been on the brink of a burnout with work and wedding planning. I have also cooked less. All of this, coupled with a stomach issue, was not conducive to food blogging. I have, however, continued to take a million pictures of meals. As a result, I have a giant photo backlog of two years to work through, including two trips to Taiwan! I'm hoping that my upcoming trip to South-East Asia will inspire me to write again soon!
In closing, Tea for Two won't be the "go to" blog for recipes or a good read. We'll keep writing about the happenings in our lives, whether it's dull or entertaining.
Thanks again for joining us on our blog!
~ Lucy and Christine