Behind the Scenes at Harmonious Belly
What is Harmonious Belly?
Harmonious Belly is a food blog written by Meg Cotner, a food writer and editor based in Astoria, Queens (just over the East River from Manhattan). For the first couple of years of this blog, I focused on traditional, nourishing, natural foods. I said that “Harmonious Belly is basically shorthand for a life that is balanced, happy and healthy.” And it still is, but the focus of the this blog has shifted a bit.
In 2011 I wrote a book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Queens, published by Globe Pequot Press. Through that experience, I learned to love more deeply the huge variety of foods around me—the local foods from my CSA, nutrient dense foods from farmers I know, as well as foods from cultures outside of my own, and gained a great respect for the greater concept of “traditional foods.”
During my book research travels, I ate plates of the incredible bandeja paisa (a huge Colombian breakfast platter that includes, among other things, chicharon, avocado, and plantain), ramen in a pork broth with cha-su (barbecued pork) and menma (a fermented bamboo condiment), morkovcha (a Russian-Korean carrot salad), Dongbei cuisine (beautiful food from northeastern China), wontons in spicy sauce, chicken momos (Tibetan or Nepalese dumplings), naeng myun (a cold noodle dish from Korea) on a sweltering day, butter mamon (a sweet, buttery, and slightly salty Pilipino sponge cake) and much, much more. I continue to explore the vast foods of NYC and beyond and write about them, and have decided to do so here on Harmonious Belly.
I’ll still continue to share with you what I know and learn about food, including reviews, recipes, preparation techniques, some of which will be new to me as I learn about various food cultures. And I’ll still be writing about raw milk, fermented foods, and delicious pastured meats.
If you are interested in potential collaboration or have a project in mind you’d like to share, please contact me!
As I mentioned above, I am a freelance food writer and editor (and good amateur photographer) living in Astoria, Queens. When I’m not working on this site, you’ll find me writing for publications such as BORO Magazine, Specialty Food Magazine, and about greater topics regarding Astoria, LIC and Sunnyside, Queens. I also love twitter these days.
I love to cook, and am completely self-taught in that regard (although, I have an advanced degree from elsewhere, extensively trained in something completely different). I started cooking in my 20s when I was on my own, exploring strange (to me) new food worlds after adopting a vegetarian diet, and discovering that I loved things I’d not been exposed to in my youth, like falafel, salsa on my eggs, and polenta.
While in grad school, I would lovingly make elaborate spreads for my recital receptions. Three days of preparation and cooking would be gone in 15 minutes! Seeing people enjoy my food so much made me really happy.
On my 30th birthday, I started eating meat again, and now am a dedicated omnivore. In 2009, in an effort to improve my health, I became interested in traditional foods, which include raw, grass-fed dairy, lacto-fermentated food and drink, soaked whole grains, traditional fats, and pastured eggs and meats. I still eat a lot of that, but as I’ve mentioned before, my range of eating has expanded quite a bit.
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