Welcome to my latest series on A Girl in Asia – ‘behind the blog’ – delving into the people behind some of the blogs I love to read, and perhaps you do (or will!) too.
First to be profiled is Leela Cyd, whose eponymous blog has a strong food and travel bent and chronicles her adventures with her husband as they traverse the globe. I met up with Leela on her Saigon stint a couple of months ago, and she’s as friendly, fun and creative in real life as she is in her blog!
Behind the blog: LEELA CYD
Where do you live/where are you now?
I am based out of Portland, Oregon in the US, but have been living out of my suitcase for the past 6 months on a big trip – stopping for lengthy visits (renting a flat) in India, Vietnam and now, Istanbul, Turkey. I’m currently sitting on a peach-colored Victorian sofa in our flat in the Nisantasi neighborhood in Istanbul. I love this city!
What do you blog about?
I blog primarily about food (mainly recipes I’ve developed), travel and everything that happens in between. My blog is also a home for my travel articles and images I sometimes post/feature on other sites.
What are you currently…
I am reading a wonderful book called “Istanbul, City of the World’s Desire” by Phillip Mansel about the city and its colorful history under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. For anyone traveling to Turkey or interested in history, it is a fabulous account.
I listen to music sure – the Beatles and Sam Cooke mostly, but more often – I listen to podcasts. I love this American Life, Good Food (KCRW, hosted by Evan Kleiman), Savage Love (Dan Savage), Npr’s culturetopia and food stories . . . as well as books on CD. I love the feeling of being read to. And with all my podcasts, I can feel connected to something familiar – mostly American stories – while being so far away. I just cannot bring myself to do the dishes or other house chores without listening to a story.
My favorite show is HBO’s the Wire. we just re-watched a few of our favorite seasons (1 and 3) and it was still so good. A warning though – this show is hugely addictive, I don’t recommend getting involved with it unless you are prepared to spending your evenings completely glued. We also just found a new site that streams interesting art films from various sources – www.ubu.com and watched a film about Iran by Albert Lamorisse (the same person who made ‘The Red Balloon’). It was an amazing film which he died shooting, in a tragic helicopter accident.
I’m super into lentil soup right now – it is sold all over Istanbul for only 2 dollars (US) a bowl and it is so satisfying and simple. They use a lot of lemon and dried mint, so it has a unique flavor I’ve never had in a lentil soup before. It’s the perfect dinner when paired with a nice crusty piece of bread.
I’m actually wearing a Turkish house dress. In every new country we visit, I buy at least one article of night-time wear, be it pajamas or a night gown or house coat of some sort, and wear it around the hotel or apartment we are staying at. It’s a great way to get a slice of local life and it’s very cozy.
I’m planning a way to teach vegetarian cooking classes when we arrive home to Portland in June.
finding the perfect slice of cake. i love cake.
Turkish, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian – I don’t think I’ve met a certain cuisine I didn’t like. I’m a devout eater, and will try anything not involving animals.
Favourite travel destinations?
Panjim, Mumbai, Bangalore and Belur/Halebidu in India, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Sevilla, Spain, Amsterdam (where my husband and I really fell in love), New York City, Santa Barbara (my hometown!), California, Istanbul and of course, Portland, Oregon.
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where and why?
I’d live in New York City, it’s a playground for adults – there’s so much good food, art and fashion all in one place … I don’t think I’d run out of fun there. Especially if I was living in a fantasy world where money flowed like a river straight into my pocket.
Who/what inspires you?
My family and my husband inspire me the most to dream big and work hard – my parents are both teachers, artists and writers – my brother the most creative writer and teacher I know, and, lastly, my husband Dave is my favorite painter, thinker, dreamer in all of the world. His interest in seeing, tasting and experiencing everything to the fullest is my biggest inspiration, especially during this crazy travel period of our lives.
3 of your must-read blogs?
I love — thekitchn.com (not really a blog)
garancedore.fr/en — French Fashion glamour lady writing, photos and illustration at its best
eatingisart.com — Tricia’s love of food, art, health and design come together in her amazing site. She is an inspired individual, and good friend in Portland.
I loved reading your interview. You have not changed much from being that inquisitive student of mine in 4th,5th,and 6th grades at Montessori. Love you dearly. Christiane Key Beckom
Nice interview…and I love the quote from the brother in law…since that’s me!
You seem such a soul of light…