Every Monday morning, Molly Wizenberg sits down to add an entry to her wildly popular blog, Orangette. She may post about raspberry and yogurt popsicles, a distant memory of skillet carrots with onions and thyme, or simply relay a scene from her daily life seasoned with what she had for breakfast. But whatever topic she chooses, her legion of fans can't seem to get enough of her genuinely excited, honest and delightfully witty voice and observations on the daily plate.
Molly started Orangette on a whim back in 2004 after abruptly leaving her Ph.D. studies in cultural anthropology. “I think perspective is important. To realize what you want and where you want to be—and I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing,” she recalls. “I needed to listen to myself—I wanted to write, work with food and make it a career.” But with no experience in the field or a clue on how to get involved, she took the advice of a friend and started Orangette as a way to practice her writing.
Before she knew it, she had an international following.
Her wonderfully simple site comes alive through story-telling, recipes and old-fashioned Polaroids rather than through attention-grabbing backgrounds. So it's not surprising that simplicity is an attribute she cherishes when it comes to cooking. “There is something wonderful about humble, simple food without too much ceremony,” she says. “Food marks a moment, and I’m much more interested in what happens around the table than in the presentation of the plate.”
Weaving table-time interactions with adventures in the kitchen and nostalgic memories is a common theme in her blog, and also in her beautifully crafted cooking memoir, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen. For Molly, it's a case of art imitating life: “When we write about food, we are in a sense examining and writing about the shape of our everyday lives – who we are, where we live, and what matters to us.”
—By Emily Arno