Food Month podcast: Aoife McElwain and Lilly Higgins share food tips

Listening to the ‘Irish Times’ food writers is like eavesdropping on two seasoned bloggers


In our final Food Month podcast, Lilly Higgins chats with her fellow Irish Times food writer Aoife McElwain. Listening to their conversation is like eavesdropping on two well-seasoned food bloggers sharing experiences and tips.

McElwain is also a creative events planner, a food stylist, half of the duo behind, and the founder and host of Sing Along Social, “a zero-commitment choir for people who can’t sing”.

They chat about that and about how McElwain came to write her book, Slow at Work: How to Work Less, Achieve More and Regain Your Balance in an Always-on World. “I never used to prioritise time for myself or friends or down time,” McElwain says. “Now I think of recovery time as part of my job, a workaholic’s way of insisting on taking a break and not feeling guilty, to realise I need a break to be good at my job.”

Listen to the Podcast

McElwain started I Can Has Cook? – “Tackling the culinary and grammatical arts in simultaneous mouthfuls” – in 2009 , when “blogging was new and exciting”.“I came to cooking late enough, in my early 20s, so I felt couldn’t really cook,” she says. “It was too hard.” Her friends and family were fed up with her one dish, a chickpea ratatouille, and her boyfriend, who had a music blog, suggested she set up one about food.

As well as learning about food, she found it a great way to practise writing; she also learned about photographing food – “the dark art of food styling” – which then became one of her jobs when she started with Mark Duggan.

In the podcast McElwain and Higgins also talk about psychobiotics and fermented foods – “I find the effects almost instant” – the joy of asking questions and finding the answers, biscuits (especially Mikado), loving salt (“I have eight pots on the go”), her favourite products and cookbooks, and enjoyable nonalcoholic drinks.