We've admired Renee for quite some time, following her beautiful journey on Will Frolic For Food as she serves up vulnerable words of wisdom and truth alongside cozy herbal potions, super truffles, squash soups and jam bars in a very authentic, humor-filled yet relatable way. Lucky for us, she's just up the road in Charlottesville, VA so we have had the humble privilege of crossing paths and sharing space with her a few times at this point.
Her creative approach to food (and life in general) is refreshing and unique. She has a way of keeping you on your toes regarding what she'll whip up next in the kitchen, always looking to nature for inspiration in crafting her plant-forward sips, bites, entrees and sweet treats. I think it was her Matcha Ice Cream Sandwiches that personally won me over, among things. (Remind us to make and sample these for all of you this summer...)
We're honored to have her share so much of her self and her craft as this month's Boketto Moment feature as we look to her for our own inspiration in navigating April's nudges for RENEWAL, GROWTH, EXPANSION and TRANSITION. And we hope you'll join us later this month in celebrating with Renee as she hosts a very special Adaptogen Lattes 101 Workshop.
What is your inspiration and philosophy behind Will Frolic For Food?
The blog is inspired by many things: intuitive eating, hippie sub culture, perennial edible crops in my garden, yoga, basic Ayurvedic diet principles, herbalism, mindfulness and the poetry of living. More specifically (and sporadically) it’s inspired by: water droplets on Summer tomatoes, flakey sea salt, wild foraged salads of dandelion and violet, persimmons discovered by the side of the road, terribly rustic pie crusts, sitting in my yard sharing cold wine with friends on balmy Virginia Summer evenings, flying-saucer shaped patty-pan squash, that lick of steam that rises off of my hot coffee, dancing in the kitchen with my husband, homemade tomato sauce and thick bouquets of garden basil filling the kitchen with green spicy sweetness.
The blog is generally a reflection of the way that I eat and live. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person which makes me keenly aware of sensations — taste, touch, smell, sight, sound. I’ve had my fair share of digestive woes over the years, all of which are healed after many years of eating a diet focused on unprocessed plant food. So my recipes generally focus on supporting a nourished life while simultaneously delighting the subtle senses.
If Will Frolic for Food has one single philosophy, it’s probably this: eat more plants, frolic often. To expand on that: eat delicious plant-food and let it nourish, love and heal you… but don't forget to dance naked and intoxicated in the moonlight occasionally.
We know that Will Frolic For Food is your creative playground, but there is so much more to you (and what you do) than that! Considering your many unique talents and various roles that you fulfill, would you mind sharing more about you (the Renee Byrd beyond WFFF)?
Ha! I guess I sort of view life as my creative playground. I place a lot of importance on creativity. Even when I’m not being creative I tend to orient my downtime around rest and self-care so that I can be a better creative when I’m “on.”
When I’m not doing blog stuff you can usually find me writing music with Logan (my husband), playing or writing music with my band Larkspur, teaching gentle all-levels yoga classes, gardening, doing creative writing, journaling and studying Ayurveda. During my downtime, I usually try to just hang with my husband or my friends. Sometimes I’ll go catch a live music show, go to a yin yoga class, or take a luxe bath with essential oils and a graphic novel. I think this all sounds exceedingly serious! But I try to weave in plenty of good belly laughs to keep it balanced.
Your ability to create genius why-didn't-we-think-of-that recipes make us swoon. What inspires your creativity and craft when dreaming up recipes?
Well thank you! I mostly get inspired by slightly unusual flavor combinations, meals I’ve eaten out that I want to futz around with, cravings I’m having, accidental discoveries made whilst improvising in the kitchen or recipes I wish existed. I don’t usually get too lofty with my recipes because I’m admittedly somewhat impatient/lazy with food, so I’m often trying to take a short-cut when it comes to those “genius” types of recipes that make you go “why didn't I think of that?” Like my nut-butter lattes. You just blend hot tea or coffee with nut butter and voila! Instant plant-milk latte. I came up with that because I didn't want to soak nuts overnight for homemade nut-milk.
In an industry (food/wellness) that has grown tremendously over recent years and continues to rapidly evolve, what do you believe differentiates your approach from what others may be doing?
Well first of all, I’m seriously dedicated to making every aspect of what I do really beautiful and rich with depth. I never want my work to feel contrived or shallow. I have done and continue to do lots of personal inner work so that I can be fully, authentically, brilliantly myself — and I think that comes through in my work. Most of what I do with the blog takes a long time. I don't pump out three recipes a week because I’m legit just one person whipping all of this magic out of the ether and delivering it into peoples feeds. And to do that with some sense of integrity, I commit myself to 8-15 hours per blog post, and 1-4 hours per Instagram post. Also, I know a lot of what I talk about is trendy (adaptogen drinks and cashew-based everything), but I’ve been into that stuff for a long time. I think people can sense I’m not into it just to be into it.
What are a few of your favorite recipes (from the archives or otherwise) that help support and nourish the body during this seasonal transition into Spring?
The life changing adaptogenic latte (which can be made with herbal coffee!)
And speaking of seasonal transition, are there any specific self-care rituals and practices that you find particularly beneficial during this time?
Oh, here’s an old school one I’ve been loving! Going on long walks and “stopping to smell the roses”…seriously though, that’s some soul medicine right there. I do it every day. For allergy season I’m taking raw honey in hot nettles tea. I’ll often drink a golden milk style chai latte in the afternoons which helps with allergy inflammation too. I’m a big fan of being gentle and nourishing to the body during seasonal transitions, especially winter into spring and fall into winter. So taking some time for yoga nidra at least once a week has been a great, super juicy practice that’s been keeping me grounded despite the (literal) winds of change! I’ve been getting mildly more into crystals lately, so I’ll sometimes put a few on my chakra points while resting in yoga nidra.
Your top three Boketto staples?
Apothecary Richmond Carrot Seed Frankincense Facial Oil
Boketto Matcha Green Tea Powder
Ginger Tonic Botanicals Heart Rise Tea
…it’s hard to choose just three!!!
How would you visualize or describe your personal Boketto Moment?
I frequently find myself in Boketto Moments. Quietly watering my happy house plants while sipping herbal tea from my favorite ceramic mug. Sitting out in the garden and observing plant life shifting in the wind. Composing a photography scene with flower petals, plates full of beautiful food, scattered spices and perfectly imperfect fresh herbs everywhere. Gently focused presence, filling up my spiritual cup with simple, fleeting beauty.