Procrasti-baking with Clockwork Lemon: Stephanie Eddy
When given the choice between reading a novel and a cookbook, Stephanie Eddy will choose the latter.
Turning her procrasti-baking into something quite productive, Stephanie of Clockwork Lemon brings her readers recipes, trials and tests, stories, and more as she works her way through her growing to-do list.
For our fourth in a series of well-written, funny, and informational Canadian blogs, we checked in with Stephanie while on vacation in China!
Tell us about yourself.
On any given day you can find me in my kitchen in lovely Calgary with flour in my hair and 40lbs of butter in my freezer. I work from home blogging on my site Clockwork Lemon, writing a baking column for The Globe and Mail, and putting together various freelance projects. But it isn't all measuring cups and mixing bowls; to pay the bills I work part time doing technical writing for industrial research projects. If only writing about chocolate cake paid as much as a report on recent oil field equipment developments. That's the world I want to live in.
When and why did you decide to start blogging?
I started blogging shortly after finishing university. While working on my degree I would often procrastinate by baking bread or cupcakes (I like to call it procrasti-baking) and after graduating I finally had free time to spend in the kitchen and online. I had just moved to Vancouver and didn't know too many people, so the blog was a nice creative outlet that allowed to me connect with the blogging community.
What is the story behind your blog name?
Initially, I tackled the important task of naming my blog by using a random word generator to pick a two-word title. I figured I'd leave the name up to fate or something romantic like that. After hitting refresh approximately 1,000 times and being rewarded with gems like "Banana Toothpick" or "Carrot Flavorful" I got bored/stopped believing in fate and just combined an old nickname with the movie Clockwork Orange. It's not as cutesy as some of the baking blog names out there, but that works nicely for when I want to post about making cheese or running around on a farm for a weekend. Sort of a "catch-all" kind of name.
Who are your readers?
People check in from all over the world (one of the perks of online publishing) but the majority of readers are from Canada and the USA. Mostly women who, like myself, would happily take a cookbook to bed like some people take novels, and enjoy a story of a kitchen blunder as much as a recipe success. Oh, and of course my parents. Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
Each of your recipe posts tells the story of that item. How did you develop your story telling skills?
Mostly through trial and error. I've found that as much as I'd like to cover how a recipe was developed, what it means to me personally, and then maybe share a few snippets of information from my week in each post, I have to limit myself to just one, maybe two, of those things each time. The narrow focus leaves room to elaborate and add interesting details without writing a mini novel.
You talk about making plums feel as important as peaches, admit when you mistakenly add maple extract instead of vanilla, and acknowledge the universally recognized fact that “making things tiny increases their appeal by 200%”. How would you describe your blogging voice?
I'd say my blogging voice is conversational. I'm pretty chatty in real life and love joking around which I think comes across in my writing. When I do technical writing it's very straightforward and serious so it's a nice change to be light-hearted and casual on my blog.
Which do you like better: baking and eating or writing about baking and eating?
I can't choose! If I bake/eat something and nobody reads about it how can I be sure it ever happened?
Actually, I find the baking and the writing often occur simultaneously. When I'm working on a recipe I'm narrating in my head which parts might seem difficult to readers and how to best explain the steps and describe the flavours. If I'm developing a new recipe I'll use my phone to make voice notes on the process or visual cues so that I don't forget to write them into the instructions later.
Is there a time when you had a baking disaster?
I've had a ton! A particularly memorable one happened four years ago when I painstakingly made two giant cookie wreaths out of gingerbread men. I burnt the first one because I was also making a batch of vanilla pudding and lost track of time. When I say "burnt" I don't mean the bottom was a little too dark, I mean I had to open all the windows in the house to air the place out.
Luckily, I still had enough dough to make a second one which I watched like a hawk while it baked. After it cooled I hung it on the kitchen door with a big red ribbon and went to get the pudding to bring to a dinner party. A nearby door slammed causing the wreath to fall off the hook and smash into a million pieces. I was so surprised that I dropped the bowl of vanilla pudding (which also broke) and that's how my boyfriend came to find me crying on the kitchen floor with pudding on my feet surrounded by broken and burnt cookies.
Do you have any trade secrets for those that want to start a food blog?
What worked well for me when I was starting out was reading lots and lots of other blogs. Reading them, seeing what I liked about them, and commenting on their posts. Your first readers (aside from friends and family) will usually come from other blogs that are in the same stages as you are. So the more you find and connect with, the more you build a readership and gain some new blogging friends.
Check out Clockwork Lemon ˃˃