Basilmomma: Heather Tallman – A Busy Momma!
| Julie Yates, Food Editor
If you were to encounter Bargersville mom, Heather Tallman, in the grocery store, you would certainly notice her warm smile and happy disposition. But you’d probably never guess that in the international “foodie” world, she is known as “Basilmomma.” Thousands of people in the U.S. and beyond follow her eponymous food blog, Basilmomma. Heather also is involved in television, radio, writing, and social media. But wait – there’s more! She works in the Center Grove school system, has been married 16 years to husband Matt, and is mom to sons Noah, 14, and Jacob, 10.
Her involvement in the culinary world emerged as the silver lining of a dark cloud. Six years ago, Heather was recovering from breast cancer surgery (she is now cancer free.) To keep herself busy and her spirits up, she began typing up the family recipes and vacation journals she had been keeping. Her idea was to transpose handwritten memories into print – to leave something behind, if need be.
She began sharing the typed recipes with others. Eventually, a former co-worker asked if she had ever considered putting her work online. Not knowing how to begin, she went to the library and checked out the book, Blogging for Dummies. She found a company that hosted blogs for free and began posting about her family’s domestic life and activities. People liked her fresh, honest accounts about daily living, and in a month Heather had about 1,000 followers.
Basilmomma was featured on blogher.com which publishes entries from blogs targeted toward women, and her readership increased rapidly. Now she has a web designer and hosts her own site. She also has sponsors, some of whom have requested that she develop recipes for them. “Today it’s important to differentiate to retain blog visitors,” explained Heather. “Anyone with a smartphone can take a photo and write about food.” Unlike when she first went public, there are now thousands of food blogs.
Wanting to stay true to her original motivation to write about food and family life, Heather ventured into television and radio. Articulate and animated, she is a natural fit for these vehicles which also serve to drive visitors to her blog. Two years ago, Heather landed a seven-minute spot on the PBS radio show, All Things Considered. It was heard by the owner of TogiNet, an Internet talk radio network in Texas that streams live programming and provides on-demand podcasts. He offered her a weekly radio show, and Around the Kitchen Sink was born. A 52-minute show with six commercials, it airs Thursdays at 11:00 p.m. Episodes can also be downloaded free from TogiNet.com, iTunes, or her site, basilmomma.com.
Heather explained she loves doing the show which features guests and live call-ins because, “Instead of just reading me, people can hear me.” Central Indiana can hear her Monday mornings at 7:15 a.m. on WYXB B105.7, where she is a contributor to Sean Copeland’s morning show on the soft rock station.
Also on her plate are two TV programs to which she contributes. Heather is a monthly guest on the “Sherman Live” segment of local Fox 59 Morning News. Sherman Burdette is a feature reporter who highlights events and seasonal destinations around Central Indiana. Recent tourist attractions visited by Heather and Burdette were Spencer’s Berry Farm and Mallow Run Winery. She also has the unique experience of assembling healthy snacks with a puppet named Felix when she hosts Earth Eats Test Kitchen on the PBS show, The Friday Zone. The show airs Fridays at 4:30 p.m. on WFYI and WTIU (Bloomington), and again at 10:00 a.m. Saturdays on WTIU.
Heather looks as though she radiates energy, but one still wonders how in the world she does it all. As we chatted about her busy life, Heather confessed she feels like she is always on the clock, but also admitted, “I don’t relax well.” One thing demanding a lot of her time is her Facebook page, also called Basilmomma. It is a bright, colorful page with pictures of delicious looking dishes, and photos of her family’s activities during weekend jaunts. Heather said it must be updated frequently to keep readers coming back, enticing them to visit her blog to retrieve recipes of the gorgeous-looking food. She also maintains a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
A wake-up call to balance family and work came when her son, Jacob, stuck a post-it note on her computer screen with the words, “Mom, I’m here.” Since then, Heather has vowed never to be on the computer when her sons are around. She posts before they get up or after they go to sleep thus enabling her to work 3-4 hours a day. Son, Noah, is a swimmer, and Heather incorporates her Indiana travel, local food, and parks with his meets. Her husband and boys get involved by picking out what they would enjoy doing, then Heather takes photos and later writes about it. This makes her work fun and enjoyable for the family. When asked what dish they enjoy the most, Heather’s husband, Matt, laughed, “We usually never have the same thing twice!”
Although her busy life may seem hectic by some standards, Heather loves what she does and enjoys the fact that her family life is the driving force behind it. Her husband and sons keep her grounded and focused on her initial purpose for making her writing public – to share her family’s life and adventures.
About Julie Yates
Julie Yates is a former teacher and current food blogger, Yates Yummies. She enjoys sharing quick, easy, and healthy recipes with people who love to cook. Visit her blog at www.yatesyummies.blogspot.com.