There is a reason why most gatherings end up with everyone in the kitchen and many meetings are had while sharing a meal. Food connects us at a deeper level than most activities. Why is that, you ask? Because food is something we can all relate to. We love to talk to those influencers who talk about food every day, and we have some great ones here in Utah. Oh Sweet Basil (ohsweetbasil.com) has been a great influence on food, family life, and bringing people together through the love of food. We got to chat with one of the creators, Carrian Cheney, and ask her some of our questions about food.
Tell me about Oh Sweet Basil. How did you get started and why? What message do you hope to spread to your readers?
Oh, Sweet Basil is not what we thought we would be doing with our lives when this first began. Cade, my husband, and I just loved to cook and eat with friends. Often, they would ask us for a recipe, and I'd forget to send it to them, so I decided to try out this whole blogging thing. I figured our friends could get on at any time and find the recipes we were loving. Suddenly people all over the world were commenting and 11 years later it's our full-time job!
Cade was unemployed for about 2 years and during that time we realized that the blog, while a huge blessing for helping us to create a way to bring in income when we desperately needed it, had a much bigger purpose.
At Oh, Sweet Basil we’ve gathered millions of readers and share about finding hope in the darkness, light in the midst of chaos and how family, love, food and memories all make that happen. It’s about growth, it’s about real people and how we can all stand together.
Tell me a little bit about your background. When and how did your interest in food start?
Cade and I met at BYU-Idaho, Cade studying exercise science and I studied health science. We were broke college students that needed to cook at home to save money. We quickly discovered that it was also a great way to spend time together and build a life together. We shared recipes from our childhood and created new ones together.
Why do you feel it is so important to connect people and families together with food?
If I asked you to tell me about your grandma, or your mom or dad what would you say? Generally, there’s something about their personality and how they showed you love. Without fail a memory involving a meal or recipe pops up. There’s something about standing side-by-side to create and share in something delicious that sits in our minds forever. The smells, the tastes, the feelings are all wrapped around recipes and when we share them with each other we connect in ways that only the heart understands.
What inspires your recipes? What is your process for developing recipes?
Oh, everything inspires us! It's almost ridiculous the list we keep with new ideas. A restaurant, a recipe from our past, an idea sparked while mixing up a recipe only to decide that doing a chocolate chip version would be awesome too, I mean, the list goes on and on.
Developing recipes is a process. The more you cook the more your mind can start with a baseline recipe, like a cake for example. Then you experiment with leaveners and flavors and writing each new test down with notes on what you liked and didn't like.
What are the current food trends that you are seeing? What new food trends are starting?
Food has come a long way but right now we are seeing things work backwards a bit. Everyone has made the new and exciting but there seems to be a longing for the classics we grew up on again. Mom’s casserole is just as popular as a quinoa salad. But discovering healthier add-ins like cauliflower rice or chickpeas in salads are as popular as ever.
Do you get requests for specific food content/recipes? If so, what is most commonly asked for?
We often get asked for more chicken and ground beef recipes. People are busy and they need dinner on the table, stat!
What influences your food purchases? I.E. Does price/cost or labels/brands have more of an affect?
We try to purchase local and at a good cost as much as possible. In fact, I'll plan my menu around what’s in season and on sale.
What do you feel influences consumers food purchases? What do people look for when buying groceries at the store?
Price, price, price. We want to say it’s all about organic, local etc., but honestly it looks like people are still trying to make ends meet. A close second is for sure making better, and wiser choices for their bodies and to support local.
What have you found to be the biggest concern about food amongst consumers?
Just trying to put things into their bodies that will help them to live a healthier and happier life. Long gone are the days of convenience. Now we want food that is recognizable and that we don’t have to worry has been filled with artificial anything.
Do you feel most people are interested in knowing where the food they purchase in the grocery stores comes from? Why or why not?
It seems like more and more people want to support the farmers and know where things come from. I think that’s something everyone wants to stand behind lately, but because it can often be more spendy, they can push back a bit out of fear of not being able to afford it. It’s easier to get pre-made than to pay more money.??
What do you feel is the best way that farmers and ranchers could reach out to consumers to help make that connection to who grows their food?
Be visual. Get out there. Let people see behind the scenes on social media and bringing in social media influencers to help tell their story. And there are stories! Let’s hear what the cherry farmers are making in their homes, share their 100-year-old recipes and their story of picking cherries with their grandparents.