Clearly Delicious started as an idea.

And really, a simple one:

To share recipes with family and friends from the stony-white coasts of Rockland, Maine, to the swampy bayous outside of New Orleans. In one place, pictures, food stories, recipes, instructions, and a range of appetites could bridge together radically different foodways with just a plate of pasta (your choice of lobster or crawfish).

That was six years ago, and this is now:

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Pictured: several shots from a spring Saturday in New Orleans.  Left: Windy City Magician; Right: Street Artist with Boy & Michael at Café du Monde.

Today, Clearly Delicious is the home of over 340+ recipes (of which we add to daily), food stories, travel writings, and photography by cookbook author, Louisiana state newspaper columnist, and podcast host Helana Brigman. Set in south Louisiana, stories range from the everyday crawfish games of Baton Rouge friends and chefs to the more exotic lobster-stories of coastal Maine. Whether it’s Mardi Gras or the Maine Lobster Festival, food is always in season, and we’re here to share our stories, eat real dishes, photograph, and experience it together.

And, we want you to join us.

Who We Are:

Helana Brigman is the creator of the award-winning blog Clearly Delicious (soon to be Dances with Lobsters: Clearly Delicious Recipes from the coast of Maine to the Gulf of New Orleans), a food writer, photographer, and cook whose work has appeared in Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine, and her column, “Fresh Ideas” with Louisiana’s state newspaper, The Advocate.

A doctoral candidate in English, Brigman lives in Baton Rouge, LA, with her dog Cara where she writes, photographs, and eats the best of southern cooking.

Her first book, The Fresh Table: Cooking in Louisiana All Year Round, is out this March with LSU Press (more about it here and here).

So, that’s the “snippet” / biography view, and this is me:

My name is Helana (Elizabeth) Brigman, a 27-year-old Doctoral Candidate in English, and owner of a nervous, but beautiful greyhound (Cara). I’m wildly energetic and incredibly ambitious (20-layer cake? got it. 8-mile run? sure. PhD? ok. Publish a book? sounds fun.)

I grew up on the coasts of (rocky) Rockland, Maine, with my twin sister and red-headed hippy mother (a poet, a writer, a cook). As a child, I road fishing boats and danced with lobstermen. I was incredibly wild. The only thing I didn’t do was keep my pig-tails in their proper “place,” and I sometimes thought I should have been a boy since all I ever wanted to do was climb hills, go fishing, or wear hand-me-down plaid shirts.

me age 3 or 4

Pictured: me, age 3 with my twin sister (unfortunately cropped off to the left, but same head shape and shiny hair) and cousin. I literally used to cry my eyes out that I never got to wear red. To keep us straight, my mother would put my twin, Haley, in red, and me in blue. ‘Cause sometimes…it was hard to tell.

I was a tomboy, and I was obsessed with my mother’s cooking:

mom split screen

Pictured: two of the most important images I own. Left: A photo of my mother, Rebecca, doing “galley work” on a friend’s boat in Rockland, Maine, 1974. Right: A photo of my mother (same boat) taking down the sails. The caption reads, “I’ve walked the Plank, Straddled the Boom, and Brought down the Sail. Now to get back onto the Schooner, 1974.”

I moved to the south after my mother’s death in 2000 (a particularly sad time), went through a period of radical culture shock, came to my senses, and fell in love. The people, the food, the world were unlike anything I’d experienced in New England, and the change was great for me (in fact, I stopped wearing plaid shirts).

Later, I attended Columbia College (one of the few women’s colleges left in America) where I felt confident and capable in ways I never anticipated. When going on to my PhD, the natural fit was even farther south—Baton Rouge, LA (near New Orleans), where I could finally eat crawfish and make eye-contact with alligators (and, let’s be honest—boys). Here is where my mother once met my father and had her twin girls. In fact, I was actually born in New Orleans.

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Pictured: a candid taken during my visit to Le Creolé in Baton Rouge, LA (home to Chef Ryan Andre). Good food, good wine, good people, and bright smiles. Welcome to Louisiana.

Today, I am a hopeless optimist and workaholic. I’ll forever believe in the good in people, appreciating our cultures and our friends, having good manners, saying “thank you” (which includes sending “thank you” cards), and understanding how valuable every second is while we have it. I’m perhaps more concerned with ethics and “being a good person” at the end of the day than most people I’ve met, and whether I taught a successful class or made a difference in a student’s writings can keep me up at night.

Did I mention I’m also a teacher?

At Clearly Delicious, I share my geographically changing world—tastes, sights, sounds, and the colorful characters in it. I hope you enjoy the range of recipes and voices I share here with weekly contributions from food writers, friends, and my beloved interns.

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Pictured: Scenes from this year’s Mardi Gras (2013). I’m, literally, addicted to my DSLR Canon and candid action shots of every place I visit.

As far as I know, we fawn over no pictures of cats (not that this won’t be the case in the future), and you’ll find no food writers with perfectly manicured nails in our blog posts. My nails are chipped from peeling crawfish and shucking oysters, and I’m pretty proud of my sore thumbs.

Welcome to our online home, and please stay awhile. I can promise there will be cookies, and we’d love to meet you.

Below are the other faces you’ll see at Clearly Delicious, so spend a few extra minutes meeting our contributors, technicians, and interns. You may want to remember my interns faces especially—one day, you might be reading their food blogs too.

Contact: helana [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

Will!!!!Will Fawcett is one of two Chief Technical and Creative Officers at Clearly Delicious. Responsible for our site’s front and back ends, attractiveness, and overall “beauty” as a food and photo-friendly blog, Will plays an indispensable role in making Clearly Delicious function.

Favorite Kitchen Item?:

Le Creuset baking dish for no-knead bread

Contact: will [dot] fawcett [at] gmail [dot] com

WillFawcett.net

Google+

rhett clementRhett Clement is our Chief Technical Officer at Clearly Delicious, responsible for print functions (finally, a clear way to print recipes!) and hiccups as they occur. Some people say drink a glass of water or hold your breath. We say, call Rhett Clement.

Favorite Beer?:Hitachino Nest White Ale and Rogue’s Heffeweizen are tied.”

Favorite New Kitchen Gadget?:

“Love/Hate Relationship with my Mandolin Slicer”

Contact: rhett [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

— Clearly Delicious Internship Program —

Marketing / PR

 

headshot 2Olivia Keen is a recent LSU Marketing graduate and a current second year Law student at LSU. The co-owner of Two Belles Event Planning, Olivia has a passion for parties! A Baton Rouge native and avid tiger fan, Olivia appreciates nothing more than southern Louisiana culture.

Dream Job?: Being the Little Mermaid at Disney World

Favorite Food?: Anything sweet and red wine (wine counts as dinner, right?)

Contact: olivia [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

Benjamin Pic1Benjamin Morrison is a sophomore in Public Relations major at Louisiana State University. He is a New Orleans native and loves Louisiana culture and food. A social media fanatic, Benjamin is very excited to be the Social Media / SEO intern at Clearly Delicious.

Favorite food?:

“My mother’s homemade snickerdoodles.”

In his spare time, Benjamin enjoys reading, watching TV shows, and making YouTube videos.

For some of Benjamin’s videos, you can checkout his page, “Ben 4 London.”

Contact: benjamin [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

Editorial / Writing

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Erica deVeer is a graduating senior at Louisiana State University, pursuing a degree in English – Creative Writing with minors in French and History. Erica has been accepted into the University of New Orleans’ Master of Fine Arts program — the Creative Writing Workshop — to study and to write contemporary fiction beginning in the Fall. She has also recently won the Undergraduate Fiction Award at the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers Conference in April 2013 for her short story, “Summer.”

Brought up in a family of Louisiana foodies, Erica loves all things delicious, spicy, and, especially, sweet.

Favorite Dish to Cook or Bake?: Cakes, Brownies, Cookies, and anything else yummy!

Latest Baking Venture: Red Velvet Brownies (which she renamed “reddies”) with cream cheese frosting!

Favorite TV Show: Psych (she loves to laugh and appreciates pop culture allusions).

Erica is super excited to be a part of such an exciting project as Clearly Delicious and hopes to learn as much as possible about writing, food, and food writing!

Contact: erica [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

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Tara Hebert is a sophomore currently pursuing a degree in Public Relations with a minor in English at Louisiana State University. A true Cajun girl, Tara knows that good food and family go hand in hand. She finds delight in entertaining, curling up with a good book, discovering new music, and cuddling with her kitten Luna. Tara is excited to join the team as one of the new Editorial/Writing interns for Clearly Delicious.

Favorite Book Series:

“This one’s a toss-up between the Harry Potter series and the Millennium trilogy. I proudly sport my Deathly Hallows necklace on a regular basis.”

Favorite Food:

“Boiled crawfish by the pound with all the fixin’s. Then, a good étouffée with the leftover tails for the next day.”

Contact: tara [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

AMY PICAmy Laws is a recent LSU English and Creative Writing graduate, who couldn’t be happier than when she’s discussing a book or movie in depth.

Favorite Movie from this Past Year?: Life of Pi

(Current) Favorite Book?: A Game of Thrones (“and yes, the HBO series is amazing, too”).

If She Had to Eat One Meal for the Rest of Her Life?

“Grilled catfish and veggies cooked with lemon juice and butter alongside my grandmother’s homemade macaroni and cheese and a slice of French bread.”

Welcome to Clearly Delicious, Amy! We’re so happy to have you.

Amy is one of our four Editorial and Writing Interns specializing in a wide variety of projects—articles and essays, recipes and recipe writing, and creative short stories about living and eating in Louisiana. According to past teacher and mentor James Wilcox, Amy “has a nack for editing.”

Contact: amy [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

Meredith Quinn photoMeredith Quinn is a senior at LSU seeking a degree in English. Naturally, she is thrilled to be a part of the Clearly Delicious team as an Editorial and Writing Intern. A self-professed addict of anything British, Meredith can often be found with a cup of Earl Grey and a Raspberry Scone.

Favorite Book:(An unabashed “Austenite”) Meredith clings to a couple of worn copies of Pride and Prejudice.

Favorite Late Night Snack: Strawberry Crêpes with whipped cream

Contact: meredith [at] clearlydeliciousfoodblog [dot] com

Contributors

Michael AganMichael Agan is the creator of some of Clearly Delicious’s best and most tested recipes: Asian Pears with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, & Honey, Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Shrimp, & Blue Cheese, and melt-in-your-mouth, straight-to-the-hips Monkey Bread. For more of Michael’s recipes, read his adaptation of Mac & Blue Cheese in The Fresh Table: Cooking in Louisiana All Year Round.

Favorite Kitchen Item:My immersion blender! Desserts, smoothies, salad dressings, soups, it’s my go-to kitchen gadget for most meals.”

alison barkerAlison Barker is a teacher, writer, story-teller, and detox-maker. Teaching at Louisiana State University may be her day job, but Alison moonlights as an intrepid adventurer into the culinarily liquid. Having recently acquired an immersion hand mixer and upgrading from a 450-watt to 800-watt centrifugal juicer, she enjoys mixing and matching all things that go “splat.” When she’s not making a mess and asking her boyfriend to taste test, Alison sits behind her rhinestone-encrusted MacBook and bangs out stories and reviews at places like Fwriction: Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chicago Reader. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and Sundress Press’ Best of the Web.

To date, Alison is the author of Clearly Delicious’s most popular recipe: Alison’s Green Juice Detox. With over 10,000 Pinterest shares and countless tweets, Alison’s recipe for detoxing with kale, cucumber, apples, and other green juices makes for an excellent pick me up any time of the year.

To read more of Alison’s work, checkout her blog, Nola Studiola Redux.

Caroline Wolf HeadshotCaroline Wolf, or, the Gumbo Goddess was born in Louisiana and raised by parents who loved to entertain their friends with delicious food and cocktails. She has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in journalism as well as an M.L.I.S. from LSU. Gumbo Goddess and her husband, the Loup Garou(who also has a family tradition of entertaining and delicious meals) are continuing the tradition and cook often for friends and family.

Gumbo goddess LOVES to photograph beautiful food and cocktails and will post many photographs on her blog. Please don’t use her photographs without asking. It’s RUDE!

Currently, Gumbo Goddess resides in Baton Rouge with the Loup Garou, three children, two cats, a Labrador retriever and several fish.

Contact: carolineleb [at] gmail [dot] com

 

Our Philosophy:

Recipes remain the backbone of Clearly Delicious, originating straight from nature itself: what’s seasonal, affordable, and available divides the recipe book and pages like “Spring” guide readers in and outside of Louisiana during the harvest.

Each recipe is tested before posting.

Each recipe is original and unique to Helana Brigman, unless clearly stated as “reprinted” (always with the author’s permission) or “adapted.”

All photography is ours unless otherwise noted.

All products listed or reviewed for the “Inside Helana’s Kitchen” series are without endorsements.

Exceptions:in some cases, we can’t help ourselves because something is as useful and flavorful as it sounds, and we genuinely want to share it with you. For this reason, endorsed “payments in kind” from either Welch’s or Marx Foods may be found at C.D. We endorse products from both of these companies because we know they sell quality ingredients like “heart-healthy grape juice” or high-end specialty meats, chilies, morels, and greens that test great in our recipes. Plus, we’d use heart-healthy grape juice or dried chilies anyway. We’re just glad we can offer such reliable recommendations!

Finally, all experiences are original, colorful, and honest.

As a member of the BlogHer community and featured publisher on Foodbuzz, Food52, Foodgawker, and Tastespotting, Clearly Delicious strives to contribute to online conversations about recipes, cooking techniques, food stories, Louisiana and Maine foodways, and cooking tips.

How You Can Find Us:

Find Helana and the Clearly Delicious team on Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Tastespotting

Or, these fabulous food resources:The Advocate Food | Louisiana Cookin’ | Food52 | Foodgawker | Pinterest

Or, listen to Helana on the “radio” at Fat2Fitradio.com

book coverOf course, you can checkout Helana’s book, The Fresh Table: Cooking in Louisiana All Year Round.