Beeline Interview: Not Eating Out In NY’s Cathy Erway

Photo by Tim Ireland
Photo by Tim Ireland

Cathy’s food blog is one of those blogs where I bookmark recipes and find inspiration. Beyond her recipes, I visit her blog often to discover local food events (Pig butchering class anyone? Yes, I am one girl who is down!), or learn about foraging food tours in NYC parks (It’s completely safe, edible, and likely delicious!), or just get some gumption to cook a few more meals a week versus taking the lazy and often dissatisfying take-out route.

Name: Cathy Erway
Occupation: Freelance copywriter and sometimes journalist
Borough/Neighborhood: Brooklyn/Crown Heights

Tell us a little about your blog, Not Eating Out In NY (NEOINY), and the upcoming book you’re working on: It’s the true story of one woman’s struggle to not eat out in the city that never eats in! Or something like that. But to get all deep about it, when I began the blog two years ago, I was inspired by a “media fast” that a professor in college made our class go on, who was inspired by Thoreau’s wilderness retreat in Walden. The book will be a memoir about my experience rather than short snippets and recipes as seen on the blog.

What was the original idea behind the blog? To see if I could survive without eating out in New York! Of course, once that test had been passed, I wanted to see how much fun could be had that way, like throwing dinner parties, cook-offs, and eating strange and/or free things.

What recipe that you’ve concocted/tried over the past few years has surprised you? In a good way? My savory asparagus pie first surprised me because it came out really well; secondly, it’s the dish that the most people have come up to me to say they’ve made themselves and loved it. I always wonder if people really make my recipes.

Anything surprising you’ve discovered in the 2 years you weren’t eating out in NY? Or some of your favorite events (that you’ve either attended or sponsored)? That my peers have been so into the idea. I thought it’d be wildly unpopular and I’d be a social handicap, but more and more supper clubs and cook-offs seem to be popping up than ever.

We’ve noticed some styling frames on you. Where do you like to shop? Ha, those “styling frames” I’ve been seen sporting in photos — I glued rhinestones onto black cardboard paper and cut out a cateye shape to put over my regular glasses for a fifties-themed party. I kind of hate shopping for anything other than food — I am so bad at outfitting myself!

Favorite place to eat in the neighborhood: I’ve only eaten there once, but there’s a little hole-in-the-wall Caribbean place called Balboa that has a rotating menu of no more than maybe two choices per day — jerk one night, curry another. It’s like walking into some lady’s home kitchen. Totally delicious homestyle cookin’.

Little known fact about your neighborhood: That it’s beautiful and friendly. Most people look at me like I’m about to die when I tell them I live in Crown Heights, or refer to the riots of the early nineties.

Favorite watering hole: Anywhere that’s not too precious about it but has a good selection on tap. I love an unusual craft brew. The Diamond is good for that, so is 4th Avenue Pub. And a pool table is nice at times, too, as long as the crowd there is likewise non-religious and can handle a pesky, poor shot!

Best pizza in your hood: Gosh, I haven’t tried. I don’t think there’s much to say for pizza around here.

If there was a movie of your life, what neighborhood would grace the opening scene? Some lovely street of Brownstone Brooklyn — maybe Brooklyn Heights? I was born in New York and my parents would stroll me along the promenade until we moved out to smelly old Jersey some two years later (not that it really smells).

What is your all time favorite monster and/or horror movie? A toss-up between Cemetery Man, Carrie and Return of the Living Dead — I am a geek for 80’s horror! As for monsters, I always liked werewolves.

[You can also learn more about Cathy here, here, or here.]

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