Hello, there. My name is Robin Damstra and I write Caviar and Codfish.
I started the blog as The Clumsy Cook in 2006, because I was graduating college, feeling adrift, and dating an author who I wanted to impress by my eagerness to write (and learn to cook for him.) Before then, I had no culinary skills or training and had maybe just-a-little bit of talent when it came to food. But I buckled down, bought every book on food and cooking that was recommended to me, and learned my ass off. I cooked all the time, and the resulting food kept getting better and better. I was no longer a clumsy cook. In 2008 I renamed my blog Caviar and Codfish, with a vague idea that it meant something along the lines of “a blog covering everything from the posh to the peasant,” but I mainly just liked the name. By that time I had moved in with my author boyfriend.
I started cooking things like coq au vin made with an old hen from a local farm, and spare-ribs from grass-fed beef. I started searching high-and-low for farm-raised eggs, whatever the cost, and using them for everything from baked goods to hard-boiled. I read and read about ethical meat eating, vegetarianism, and animal rights. I decided I would never give up meat. But that I would give up factory-farmed animal products. I started canning, and baking my own bread, and taking food more seriously than I ever imagined I would. I got engaged to my author boyfriend. (Who you may already know is James Salant, New York Times Sunday Book Reviewed author—hey, he’s going to be my husband, I can brag.)
I now live right on the Delaware River, in Stockton NJ, with Jim, our dog Champ, and cat Lily (and our newest addition, kitten Muntz). We troll the area for most of our food, whether it be from the local gourmet market (where we get french cheeses, because I may be an ethical meat-eater, but I’m willing to create a carbon-footprint for cheese) or the many fabulous farms in the area. We also frequent the best cheese shop/bakery in the world, La Maison du Cheese, in Doylestown, PA.
Both Jim and I are liberals. We voted for Obama, though would have rather done so for Kucinich. I’m an aethist, while Jim is agnostic. And while I’m totally up for comments about your own faith on this site, commenting anything mean or nasty will surely get you deleted. We’re very loving people ’round here, but you’re liable, honestly, to get your comments deleted by saying anything nasty here. Being able to do so makes me feel kind of Red Queen of Alice and Wonderland, and I like that.
I take all the photos on this site, unless otherwise mentioned. I use a Sony Alpha 100 that I bought on a good sale. I’m just getting started, but I hope to improve my photography in the next few years. If you have any tips, please email me. Also, please email me first if you’d like to use one of my photos. It’s the nice thing to do, no?
While we’re on the topic, feel free to email me anytime about anything. I try and get back to everyone, though I must warn you that I’m one of those people, notoriously bad at emailing, who often feels like her computer is a weight around her neck, and will hide it in a corner for days, only taking it out to post on her beloved blog. One of those people? Looking at that phrase now, I kind of doubt there’s anyone else like that.
Thank you for stopping by!