Lindsay Anderson has always had a love affair with food. She studied Food Culture and Communications at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. And she travelled the world to experience as many different styles of food as she can.
Food can be a costly lover. Restaurants fill our stomachs but empty our wallets. But now, the 27-year-old is being paid to eat out and share her thoughts online after being hired as the official food blogger for a Vancouver suburb. Her blog is called 365 Days of Dining in Richmond, B.C., and her tools are: fork, keyboard and camera. Her No. 1 eating rule: Try everything.
You've been at it for just over a week. How is the "365 days of dining" challenge going?
Every day I still think, "Oh wow, here I am getting paid to do this." I'm pretty happy about that. It's neat to be sitting at my computer in my room and realize that this isn't a hobby any more. This is my bread and butter.
How would you describe Richmond's culinary style?
Diverse. A lot of people have this idea that Richmond is just Asian food. Yes, there are a lot of Asian restaurants. But even within those restaurants there is huge variety.
Outside of the Asian food, there are a lot of bakeries and really beautiful seafood places and fish and chip shops. And you can still go and get a good steak. Oh, and I've had the best Indian food I've ever had in Richmond.
Have you ever ordered from a menu you didn't understand?
I was visiting my friend Brent in Germany. He hadn't lived there very long and I didn't speak any German and we ended up going to a restaurant with a German menu. Brent ordered what he thought was a salad with tuna in it. We were so excited. Then they brought us these two plates that were just full of fries and donair meat. It was a just a greasy, greasy, greasy meat plate. We were both so disappointed but neither of us had the heart to try to explain we wanted a salad instead.
Have you ever pushed away a plate or spat out food ?
I haven't done that in a restaurant. But I've definitely had a few things where I'm like, "Oh boy, this is going to be a bit of a challenge." In Italy, in Parma, if you order pesto, it doesn't mean ground basil with olive oil. It means ground horse. It's like a horse tartare. It comes from their "waste not, want not" culture. It was actually quite delicious but it was a lot to get my mind around.
My family had a rule when I was growing up: We were allowed one food we didn't like and no one could bug us to eat it. Mine was olives. I've since come up with another rule: Whenever I don't like a food I keep eating it until I do. It took me until I was 21 to like olives.
What's your favourite snack?
I'm a big, big cheese person. For day-to-day cheese, I love sheep's milk cheese, like an Etorki. For special occasions, I'd probably get a Stilton and a really lovely fig jam. I can't get enough of blue cheese and some sweet on bread.
Would you say that cheese is your guilty pleasure?
No, because eating cheese doesn't make me feel guilty at all. I would love to say that my guilty pleasure is something dainty like a single fresh fig with mascarpone. But really it's just a big piece of cake, carrot cake preferably, with lots of icing.
With your 365-day challenge, have you discovered any new foods that you're really excited about?
I tried jellyfish for the first time yesterday and I don't know if I'd say it was love at first bite but it was interesting . I had squab for the first time . I like duck but sometimes I can find it to be a bit too rich. Squab is this superflavourful dark meat but it's a little lighter than duck. Plus it had good, crispy skin.
I also had a mango pickle recently. Superstrong but delicious.
Your bio says that you love to hike. What's the best campfire meal?
I really love the type of thing I would make with my dad when we'd go camping. It'd be simple: fish – preferably caught fresh – stuffed with whatever herbs you have, some lemon and butter. Wrap that in tinfoil and bake it over the fire. And then some baked potatoes over the fire.
What's your last meal request?
It would probably be my mom's Thanksgiving meal: a stuffed turkey, its white meat with lots of cranberry sauce piled on top and gravy drizzled on it. Plus some mashed potatoes and a broccoli casserole.
I was travelling in Africa and I went on this crazy nightmare trip in Mozambique where everything, everything, everything went wrong. We ended up getting stuck by a river with a broken-down truck and we had a conversation about last meals. I was sick and so skinny cause I hadn't been eating enough and I just said, 'I would give anything for my mom's turkey dinner right now.'
Fish or shellfish?
Cake or ice cream?
To drink on its own: Cocktail or wine?
Sweet or salty.
Five years ago I would have undoubtedly said sweet, but I'm coming around to salty.
This interview has been condensed and edited.