Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein

| July 29, 2015 | 3 Replies

Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein is the living proof that women can follow both their carriers and hobbies successfully, by finding the perfect work-life balance.

Today we dive into her blog Story of cooks, learning a bit about herself and how she incorporates love and her Indian spirit to her recipes. So, let’s flip through her blog’s pages and enjoy the lovely images she send for today’s interview.

MYCO: Web-developer and food blogger. What is the best thing about those two tracks?

In both professions, I try to make everything look ‘pretty’. When I am a web-developer at work, I try to make bostonglobe.com pretty and when I am home I try to make my food look pretty. To be honest, I am not sure how much my web developing skills help to write my posts at Story of cooks, but it helps me to understand many other things aspects of blogging. Like, the importance of SEO, WordPress, ads, keywords, page rank etc. It’s hard to fool me with fancy keywords :)

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein

MYCO: Within a year you renovated and boosted your blog (change logo, bought a new camera, improved your food photography). Is this wind of change a way to fulfill your needs, or where you influenced/encouraged by your followers’ needs?

When I started my blog, a good-hearted soul – SomnathRoy Choudhuri made my logo. After a while, my husband expressed his interest to create the logo for Story of cooks. When we were visiting India last December, he got inspiration from my mum’s kitchen and created the logo for me. It fits my site’s soul a lot better as most of my recipes are from mum.

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinI did have a DSLR camera since 2012. I was slowly investing in lenses. I still do have my old Canon T3i and 18-55 lens which I carry when I am traveling. Actually all my travel photographs are from there. You can find it here. I realized that I need a full-frame camera when we were at Bretton Woods. I tried to take a picture in a dim-lit restaurant and were unable to bump my ISO over a sudden range. I also came to realize that I am shooting a lot of motion pictures, so I need a camera which has higher Frames per second capability. After a lot of research, I decided to go for my first full-frame camera. I am loving every bit of it. I have not changed much of my lenses since I bought the full-frame camera, but slowly I am upgrading million things related to photography. My dream is to get a canon 1D one day, but that’s far.

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinMYCO: You grow up in Kolkata which is considered as east India’s cultural and educational center, but after graduating you moved to US in order to finish your MS. Was this life transition a cultural and ”food shock” to you that affected your eating habits up until now?

Was it a food shock? Not really. I would say it was much of a cultural shock for me. I was grown up in a well sheltered home. My dad dropped me off to my college (undergrad) almost every single day and picked me up whenever he could. My mum accompanied me to shopping, private classes etc. We had 4 domestic helps and in addition to that my parents helped me to do everything. One thing they never did for me was taking decisions. The reason my parents escorted me everywhere was the safety. I am sure you know India is not after all very safe.

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinWhen I moved here, my life changed drastically. I was living on my own (though I had roommates for 1 year), shopping on my own, cooking on my own. But I always asked my mum -“What do I cook this week?”. It’s still same. I still ask her what to cook for every day and she never failed to respond no matter how busy she is.
When I first came in states in 2010, I started eating at university cafe. I gorged on pizza, pasta, bagel, donuts and within 6 months I gained about 15 pounds. Around Feb, 2011 I started to realize that home made food is the best and there is no alternative to it. I started cooking and slowly grew my interest in home cooked meal. By Aug 2011, I was back to my original weight of 103 pounds. I gain weight very quickly so I try to eat at home as much I can. And there is no alternative to home cooked meal.

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinMYCO: Is your mom’s food a ”comfort zone” you can’t live without?

Can I not live without it? I guess, I am :) But I miss her food every single day. With her enormous helps over skype I am able to reproduce her recipes, but still her food is the best. It was hard in the initial days to live without, but slowly I got used to it. I do have a comfort food section in my blog, where I have tried to capture the recipes I grew up eating. Those recipes remind me of my home. I feel well satiated and compensated. There are some days those are things I need the most, of course after my husband :)

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinMYCO: Do you think that childhood memories (concerning food) are capable of creating a good home cook and encourage people to develop their cooking skills?

I think so! But then, one must have good memories of food when they are growing up ;) In India, having domestic help for cooking is very common. I know many friends of mine in India have cooking helps. Those cooking helps make the entire meal for them. I have seen many of my friends grew up eating those food and now they are hiring cooking help for themselves. I on the other hand, grew up in a family where my mum made a delicious meal every single day 3 times. So it entirely depends on the family. But yes, if someone has a memory of good food from their home – they are bound to cook. Maybe not today, but one day for sure.

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-ArnsteinMYCO: Any new ”story of cooks” projects planned for the future?

I have a couple of plans. I want to write a cookbook on my mum’s legendary recipes. I am working towards it. I want to shoot for local restaurants and farms who can not hire fancy photographers. I do write at BostonGlobe in their seasonal recipe column, but one day I want to write an entire article on home and traditional cooking!
When I am 50, I want to only shoot food pictures and not code :)

Behind the blog with Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein
From Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein… Thank you again for doing this interview with me :)

Blogger’s note: After ”surfing” Dolphia’s blog I found out this Potato chaat recipe (based on her mom’s recipe), that I highly recommend making, because it is super-easy to make and since we currently are under summer way there is nothing you can enjoy than eating a homemade Indian salad! Thumbs up to this wonderful recipe!

Photography: Dolphia Nandi-Arnstein | Interview/Blogger: Krystallia Giamouridou

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Category: Blog Love

Comments (3)

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  1. Τι ωραία συνέντευξη… φανταστικές οι φωτογραφίες της και ξεχώρισα που είναι αυτοδίδακτη στη φωτογραφία!!!Νομίζω τα πιάτα της σε συνδυασμό με τα φωτογραφικά της κλικ απογειώνουν το μάτι και το μυαλό!!!!Πάω στο μπλογκ να απολαύσω κι άλλο!!!

  2. Thank you again and again to do this interview with me 🙂

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