You might think things are quiet around the website but they are not! Besides taking care of everything for the first edition of our VEGAN PACKAGE SWAP in March (you can subscribe for the first edition until March 1st!), there are many interviews and articles being prepared!
A while ago a friend posted on Instagram a photo of some amazing vegan food and linked it to Nom Yourself profile. Of course I had to check it and every single photo there looked so good. I also “Liked” her page on Facebook too and have been following her adventures in the kitchen since then. Today she has almost 14 thousand followers on Instagram and a new, exciting and interesting website. She’s also on Twitter.
Who is Nom Yourself? The name behind it is Mary Mattern, a 26 year old girl from Baltimore, MD. She’s not a professional chef but the food she cooks looks as good enough to be in a new vegan cookbook, to be out in July!
Mary answered a few questions to us, so you get to know a little bit more about her and Nom Yourself. We can’t wait for her cookbook and we’re sure you will want it too!
When and why did you go vegan?
I’ve been meat and dairy free since August 2012, and I became vegan shortly after that. There’s many reasons why I chose a vegan lifestyle, but one of the very first was because my friend Dan was visiting from Colorado and we we’re out to eat one night. I can’t remember what he ordered, but I asked him how it was. He said it was “alright”. I imagined this is what a lot of vegans reactions were when picking the one veg friendly option on a menu. I took my love of cooking and the challenge of making gourmet vegan food, and created Nom Yourself.
Why Nom Yourself?
I was posting way too many food pictures on my personal Instagram. Eventually I was told I should start a new account just for my food. Whether it was because my friends we’re annoyed with the food overload or they believed in my passion, it was the best idea they ever gave me. Within the first week, I had 1k+ followers. It motivated me to pursue my passion fully and see where I could take this. I needed a name though. By definition, Nom is the sound someone makes when they are enjoying eating. Whenever I would mess up in the kitchen, I would say “Calm yourself, it’s just food…”. Then Nom Yourself was coined.
I’ve read on your website that you cook for a hobby and not as professional chef. So what does Mary Mattern do in her day-by-day besides cooking?
I am a nanny by day. I wake up, cook, work on Nom Yourself, go hang out with the coolest kid on the planet all day, then come home, cook some more and work on my cookbook. The cookbook takes up most of my free time. It’s so surreal that I’ll be able to hold it in my hands very soon. I’ve already started working on the second book because I can’t seem to get away from the kitchen. Nom Yourself has become my life, and I am completely okay with that.
Your food looks amazing and delicious. What inspires you to cook? Do you take all of your pics?
The three F’s. My biggest inspiration is my family, friends and followers. I wake up every morning with the excitement of going into the kitchen and wondering what will be photographed today. That excitement stays with me until I go to bed. Reading comments and hearing followers stories throughout the day, and getting texts from my sister saying “Oh my goodness did you see how many likes you got!?” keep my passion a true passion. I do take all of the pictures myself, with my trusty iPhone 4S. I’m a huge fan of photography. I admire simplicity, and I like to portray that in my photos. The natural light that my kitchen gets is great for the photos I’m taking.
So, You started sharing your food through pics on Instragram. How do you see the use of social media to spread the word of vegan food and veganism?
I am the biggest advocate for that avenue. I think it’s great! I’ve met so many amazing people that I would have never met without the help of social media. I’ve learned so much about health, fitness & animal rights all from people I’ve connected with through instagram, facebook & twitter. There’s so many unique and talented vegans out there, and I’m so glad I have the chance to experience their lives in the kitchen on a daily basis. I get to check out what my followers are cooking as well, which is the coolest part because I can relate to so many of them when they get so excited about making something that they didn’t think was possible to make without animals and/or animal bi-products.
On your website there are not too many recipes. What’s the reason behind it? Is this related to your book? Could you tell us more about the book?
When I first started Nom Yourself, it wasn’t to give recipes out because well… I didn’t have any. When I first started cooking I never measured anything. So, when people started asking for recipes, I figured I’d put one up once in awhile and not really make it a big deal. Then there became such a demand for recipes, that people started asking for a cookbook. So, I focused all of my time on writing this cookbook, that I honestly neglected the website for a while. The cookbook will be out in July, along with the Nom Yourself app, which will have every recipe that is in the physical copy of the book, as well new recipes updated every day. Along with more “how to’s” and plating suggestions. Technology is such a cool thing and I’m so excited I have the opportunity to create an interactive cookbook!
Besides the recipes, we can find great interviews in your website with chefs, authors, athletes, musician. Why did you decide to have an interview section?
I love hearing about other peoples stories. I like to hear how people got where they are and what they plan to do in the future. Choosing a vegan lifestyle is a huge amazing decision, and if I wanted to know how influential vegans got to where they are, I assumed the rest of my followers would too. I wanted to make the Nom Yourself website somewhere you could go to share your opinions and stories, to read other stories, get recipes, and become more knowledgeable on all things vegan. It’s still a work in progress, but will be developed a lot more throughout the year.
Your last interview was with Toby Morse, one of the most positive minds in the vegan straight edge scene today. Do you have a hardcore background? Do you still go to shows? How do you see veganism today in the hardcore scene?
Yeah, Toby is a huge influence not only to the hardcore straight edge vegan scenes, but to people as a whole. I was honored to do the interview. In 2009, I managed Jamey Jasta’s hardcore/metal record label Stillborn Records, out of West Haven, Connecticut as well as toured with many hardcore bands in the past selling merchandise. I still go to shows as much as I can. I haven’t really gotten a chance to explore the Baltimore hardcore scene, but with more free time coming up I’m really hoping to do so. Veganism and Vegeterianism is very much alive and well in the hardcore scene. Some of my biggest vegan influences, whom I’ve toured with in the past, are Jeremy Hiebert of Comeback Kid, Tanner Balboa the tour manager of Comeback Kid and Bailey bassist of Grave Maker. All of which run Vegan Cartel. An amazing source of all things vegan.
I’ve seen that after adopting a vegan diet you also decided to get involved with the vegan lifestyle, embracing all its values and becoming an activist against animal cruelty. What do you do to be the voice of the animals?
I think it’s crucial to not lose sight of why veganism is so important. Regardless of how you became vegan, eventually you find your way to learning about animal cruelty and how truly disturbing the meat and dairy industries are. Right now I’m working on the beginning stages of the Love Yourself campaign, which will be a viral campaign for teenagers to learn about what really goes on behind the doors of factory farms. Growing up, I never associated a hamburger with a dead cow or an egg with a dead chicken. I was raised, along with a lot of the world, that you ate animals because that’s just what you do to survive. My plan is to get facts in front of the next generation so we can really make a difference in how we move forward as society.
What can we expect from Nom Yourself in 2013?
In July I will be releasing my first cookbook, Nom Yourself – The Cookbook, which I am over the moon about! I will be doing a promotional US/Canada book tour from June-Decemeber 2013. Along the way, I will be giving speeches on social networking for vegan entrepreneurs at select universities and doing food demonstrations at various Veg Fests. It’s going to be a great year for Nom Yourself and I really can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future.
* All photos in this article courtesy of Christopher M. Perino