Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Today, we chat with Danielle Oron, the classically trained chef behind I Will Not Eat Oysters and the author behind forthcoming cookbook Modern Israeli Cooking. Swing back all week for a new recipe from Oron every day.
Photo: Danielle Oron
There’s just one thing that Danielle Oron, the blogger behind I Will Not Eat Oysters, won’t eat. Can you guess what it is?
“I will eat everything under the sun, but for some reason, and this pains me to say, I can’t get myself to eat oysters. It’s probably the saddest thing in my life,” Oron told Yahoo Food. “I like the flavor, but the texture makes me gag. It’s terrible.”
The blog’s name itself is taken from a famous quote by Woody Allen, which resonated with Oron for obvious reasons. “I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead,” the comedian once famously declared.
Miso kimchi deviled eggs, an Oron original.
Oron assured us that her palate is otherwise far-ranging. Born in Israel, she developed an early predilection for Mediterranean flavors like nutty tahini and rich olive oil. As a toddler, her family moved to Cresskill, N.J., where in her teen years a Korean best friend introduced her to colorful bibimbap and spicy gochujang sauce. And in 2007, she attended the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), where she learned to apply classic French techniques to nearly every cuisine under the sun.
In 2010, Oron moved to Toronto, but as an American expat, found it difficult to snag a work visa. With no other way to pass the time, Oron cooked. “That’s where this blog really started… I was just bored out of my mind and found this creative outlet that really fed a lot of my needs. Through that I really developed my own tastes and flavors and recipes, and from that, the bakery popped up.”
Oron’s take on Thin Mints.
That bakery was Moo Milk Bar, which Oron opened in 2012 when her work visa came through. “I figured if no one else was going to hire me, I was going to hire myself,” she said. Why a bakery? “I make really good damn good cookies,” Oron said simply. “It was one of those things that in the first month of moving to Toronto, I became obsessed with perfecting. I would share them with my friends, and they’d be like, ‘You need to sell these.’”
And there was another reason, too: “My grandfather in Israel had a milk bar” — a snack bar that specializes in dairy drinks — “and it was a lot of ice creams and sweets, and also sandwiches and panini.” Oron’s grandfather closed the shop right before she was born, and he passed away about 15 years ago. “I had always heard stories of it and wished I was there when he still had it,” Oron said. Moo Milk Bar was a way to pay homage to her roots, and put her epic cookies to work.
Between clocking hours at the bakery, Oron continued to blog. But when her husband’s job took them both to Atlanta in 2013 — a “heartbreaking” decision that took her away from Moo Milk Bar — Oron began managing the bakery from afar. Still, the move had a silver lining: Now she’s blogging more than ever.
“It’s more of a full-time job since I’m not needed [at the bakery] as much on a daily basis,” she explained. “This blog was always something of a creative outlet for me. Working in the food industry, you don’t always get to be creative all the time. Every so often, the seasons change and you get to change your ingredients and you come up with some new products. But on a daily basis, it’s not creative. It’s mostly back-breaking work. [The blog is a] way of sharing what’s in my brain.”
Not long ago, that passion helped her achieve a lifelong dream: landing a cookbook deal. Modern Israeli Cooking, which draws on Oron’s Israel roots, will hit shelves this October. She’s still in a bit of a daze about it.
“It doesn’t feel quite real yet. Once I’m holding it, maybe I’ll cry,” she said with a laugh. As for the future? “I would love to franchise the bakery, and maybe another cookbook.” But one thing is non-negotiable: “I want to keep working on this blog. It’s my therapy.”
Circle back to Yahoo Food for a new recipe from I Will Not Eat Oysters every day this week.
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