Marion Fløysvik is an 18 year old girl in love with the French culinary arts.
Food Blogger: Marion Fløysvik has been cooking and photographing food for her blog, Ferdakost, at home in her parent's kitchen for over a year. But her relationship with food began many years ago. Marion is born in the United States, where she lived for two years. After that she moved with her parents to Taiwan, where they lived for eight years. She spent large parts of her childhood in her mother's kitchen. Her father, a missionary, spent a fair bit of time travelling, while her mother was a home maker.
Marion thinks about food all the time. Most of the time she talks about food. There can be no doubt that cooking and baking are her greatest passions. ''When I was a child, and had to go to church with my parents, the sermons bored me. The Taiwanese always cook a mountain of food after church, so I was allowed to help in the church kitchen instead.'' Even at this age she preferred the kitchen to pretty much anything else. Fresh vegetables and ingredients are of utmost importance to her, as are homemade dinners. She believes it's important to cook basic dishes which are healthy and easy to make. ''There are too many people now-a-days who believe homemade cooking takes too much time. I beg to differ.''
Marion has lived through 18 winters, but has already seen much of the world. In addition to the ten first years abroad, she has also travelled to Israel, USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and France in the past two years alone. The latter country is a great source of inspiration for Marion. She has a project on her blog, Eating France, where she focuses on one French region at a time, and researches regional history and culture. Often she'll twist these recipes to her liking.
She was only 16 years old when she travelled to France alone for the first time. ''I was visiting a friend of mine. My parents let me travel, because they knew I was a responsible young girl,'' she says. Since that time, she has travelled frequently. The last trip went to Israel with a Jewish friend. They celebrated Pesach, or Jewish Easter. Experiences like these are important for Marion. ''It's nice to meet new people from other cultures. What I learn from one trip, I bring with me to the next, and also in my daily life. We're not as different as we'd like to be, and I think it's important to be respectful and show tolerance for others,'' she says. On her travels, she has found a link between locals and food. This is particularly the case with France. She brought with her a list of local food she wanted to try out. ''The locals gave me free meals, and I made many friends. I'm always looking for new things to explore when I'm abroad, such as the local people and culture.''
Marion did not have any friends in Norway growing up. She attended an international school in Taiwan, and her friends were from all parts of the world. ''It was a culture shock to come to Norway when I was ten years old. In Taiwan, it was very important to be clever, to get good grades at school. We read the Lord of the Rings in 4th Grade. Our competitions revolved around reading; who had read the thickest book and suchlike,'' she says. It was very different in Norway. Her classmates focused on fashion, make-up and pop stars. Marion had not heard of David Beckham or Britney Spears before. It was a shock she was not prepared for, but she was told that she was Norwegian and that this was her culture, and that was all there was to it. She adapted gradually. ''The first years were really hard, because I did not feel I belonged anywhere. But it's over now, fortunately,'' says the food blogger.
Marion brought with her the Taiwanese school culture. She spends a lot of time on homework, reading and cooking. The blog is purely weekend-business. Although she doesn't cook food for the blog every day, she does make dinner and dessert regularly to her family's delight. ''My parents are pleased with my hobby, mostly because they don't have to cook themselves,'' she explains. She's pushed herself to the limit to get good grades at school. However, now Marion has begun relaxing. She spends more time in the kitchen now than before. ''Mum has been quite strict with me in regards to homework. If I take school to seriously, or work too hard, she bans me from the kitchen. I'm not allowed to cook before I learn to relax.''
Currently, Marion is completing her final year of High School. Afterwards, she'd like to take a gap year. She wants to learn French and cook. ''I will study later, but at the moment I just need to get out of the bubble that is High School. I want to experience new things, but I will continue blogging and cooking,'' she explains. Her parents expect her to have a solid education. ''They want me to study politics or law, but I am a very bad liar, so I can't be a lawyer. I would like to develop my skills as a writer, and even as a cook. My dream is to have a small herb garden, and maybe a small restaurant. I know it's a tough business, but it's something I'd like to try out,'' Marion says, smiling.
Caption under picture: Marion only had a few hundred visitors on her blog when she first began. After she posted this tartiflette dish, the statistics soared through the roof. Now she receives between 1500 – 2000 visitors each day.