eating stockholm 1.2: herring, beer, more herring, and a wiener and mashed potato burrito

If you think the title of this second half of my Stockholm series sounds crazy, it’s because the food kind of was.

Per a recommendation from my liaison with the Ikea Supper Club campaign, we ate at Oaxen Slip which, my dining companions told me, had a beautiful waterfront view. We were seated in an enclosed patio with an actual boat suspended from the ceiling. The server said the smoked herring appetizer was a must-try, and this dish turned out to be my favorite. I also had a healthy helping of snaps, which was no easy feat in my esophagus.

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blind life episode 4: how the blind email, tweet, and blog

The next webisode of my Blind Life YouTube series is released!

This time, I answer a question so many sighted people have had since the dawn of my television existence: “Christine, how do you use Facebook and Instagram if you’re blind? Is that really you tweeting? I hope someone reads this to you some day…”

Well, finally, here’s the answer to those perpetual questions. If this webisode spawns even more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments; I’m happy to dispel the myth of blind incapability. Happy watching!

eating stockholm 1.1: frantzen

Oh, for the love of food…

Last month, I’d gone to Stockholm to serve as guest chef at Ikea Sweden’s Supper Club. After an event in Milwaukee, followed by a butt-crack-of-dawn ride to the airport to catch an early flight to Houston, a 5-hour layover in Houston, then 16 hours of travel time to Stockholm, I stepped off the plane, dropped bags at the hotel, and headed straight to Frantzén, one of two 2-Michelin star restaurants in Sweden.

I must say, I believe I enjoy 2-star restaurants more than 3-starred ones. I chalk it up to my affinity for accessible food and dining experiences. When I say “accessible,” I mean dishes that can be relatable by all; sometimes, an experience is so formal, I’m too stressed about proper table manners to truly enjoy the experience. And eating, being a favorite pastime, should be nothing but relaxing. A part of it stems from my not being able to see; and thus, presentation of plates is not as impressive to me, nor is the often complicated methods of eating them—give me a single bowl and a single spoon, and I’ll happily scoop stuff into my mouth.

Frantzén, I was told, was small and simple in design. Unadorned linens, plain white walls, no fancy chandeliers or buttresses. Just a bar with an open kitchen, and a few tables gathered within the unassuming space.

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my cookbook is now accessible for those with vision loss

Whether at events, conferences, online, or via Facebook or Twitter, a question I often get is, “Will your cookbook be accessible for the blind?”

“Well, uh, that’s a good question…”

And then I’ll spiel into how my cookbook being accessible was a top priority (it was, and still is); how the editor and publisher agreed (they did); but that in the end, the economics just didn’t make sense—the cost of printing my cookbook in Braille would be too high, and the publisher would have no choice but to pass along that cost to the consumer. And we all know my cookbook may have been a NYT best seller, but who are we kidding? Nobody’s going to buy it for $200!

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in the polyscience: sous vide pork belly bao

Last week, I posted a video about my menu for the Ikea Supper Club: five courses of small offerings that reflected both my heritage and upbringing. A month has gone by since the Supper Club, and I still reflect upon the menu fondly.

The guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy the dishes (or at least that’s what they told me), and when asked which was their favorite, a majority said it was the pork belly bao.

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orchestrating a menu: why i served what i did at ikea supper club

One of the most challenging yet enjoyable things I do as a chef is designing a menu. Lots of things go into this task, and it may not be as simple as one would think.

I’ve always liked to host parties, and what I served often depended on the occasion. On “MasterChef,” there were many challenges (including the finale) where we as a team or I as an individual had to come up with a cohesive menu diners would enjoy. All this experience has taught me well how to plan a menu.

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i was a guest chef at ikea supper club in stockholm

Imagine showing up at an undisclosed location, sitting with undisclosed guests, and eating undisclosed food. I may skydive and snowboard, but I dare not be that adventurous. This phenomenon, however, is the supper club concept, which has recently become popular in Sweden.

The supper club gives people a chance to socialize, often with those they don’t know well (if at all) in a casual, vibrant atmosphere. The venue could be a restaurant; someone’s private home; or, in this particular case, a random urban flat in the center of Stockholm.

This supper club had been in the making for several months, but my being the guest chef wasn’t publicly announced until I’d set foot in Stockholm. I worked with Ikea Sweden (which, in Sweden, they pronounce with a short “i” sound rather than our American English long “i”) to design my ideal kitchen; I wanted a kitchen that had lots of storage space, was intuitive to organize, and aesthetically pleasing. (Yes, even vision impaired people care about appearances!) Ikea Sweden did an amazing job with this kitchen, and I was able to host dinner for two evenings, twelve guests per seating, without a hitch.

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sh*t people say to blind people

The first “Sh*t People Say…” videos I saw were the ”Sh*t Asian Mom’s Say” and its counterpart, ”Sh*t Asian Dads Say.”

Then came a whole slew of SPS… videos. Some were funny, some were not. Some were pretty accurate; like in the above video, ”Sh* People Say to Blind People.”, I’ve gotten many of the very same questions and comments. I’m not bothered by most of the things said to me because I know people generally don’t mean harm nor disrespect, and more often than not, they’re candidly curious. Sometimes, things are said to me out of ignorance, and I usually don’t mind those either. But there have been occasions where I felt patronized by stuff people have said to me.

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being blind doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I as a vision impaired woman apply makeup. I even created Blind Life episode 3: How the Blind Put on Makeup because so many people had wondered how I managed to make myself presentable in public.

This week, along the same lines, I’m going to talk about one of my (and many women’s) favorite pastimes: shopping.

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blind life episode 3: how the blind put on makeup

Later this week, I’m embarking on a slew of event appearances, promotional campaigns, and film productions. (So I’m kind of apologizing here ahead of time should I miss a few weekly blog posts.) This means a lot of time before the public eye and on camera. Sometimes, if I’m filming my TV show, ”Four Senses,”, or if I’m lucky and a talk show on which I’m a guest grants me a little time in the hair and makeup chair, I don’t have to worry about my face. But most of the time, I’m responsible for grooming myself, doing my own hair and makeup, ensuring I’m presentable.

Of course, I have someone else shape my eyebrows and cut my hair, but people are often surprised I style my own hair and apply my own makeup.

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