Nicole Hamaker, Pinch My Salt


“There’s really so much beauty around in Fresno if you go out and look for it.”


Nicole's blog has close to 6,000 fans on Facebook and nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter! Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.

Meet Nicole Hamaker. She maintains a very successful blog called Pinch My Salt as a career. It is a food blog that appeals to food-lovers around the world. Nicole has returned to Fresno after spending several years living in Sicily, Oregon and Florida.

The goal of Pinch My Salt is to encourage people to cook more. The blog is Nicole’s way to help people to learn to cook the way she learned. She also shares information with her readers on how they can be healthier and save money by purchasing fresh food at their local market.



Nicole says home-cook meals, like this dish, can be healthier for and tastier than fast food. Also, your money is stretched more. Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.

Nicole created Pinch My Salt in 2006 in Sicily. The blog began as a way for Nicole to share the knowledge she obtained about food and cooking during her four-year stay there. In Sicily, there was fresh food for sale on, what seemed like, every corner. Nicole was inspired to avoid eating at fast food and cooked more. She lost weight and felt healthier as a result of her radical decision.

Nicole says her first year as a blogger was extremely difficult. She had no little idea what a food blog was and spent hours spent hours every day learning about the basics of photography, html codes, and editing. She says she cringes every time she reads her earlier posts due to her bad photography and over-use of exclamation points and smiley faces.



Nicole regularly updates her fans on Facebook on photos of her latest home-cooked meals. Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.

Nicole doesn’t blog for a hobby; it is her career. She spends anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day on her blog. On an average day, you can find Nicole cooking, washing dishes as much as six times, testing recipes, shopping, taking and editing photos writing and editing posts, answering emails and social networking. “Luckily,” Nicole says, “most of this work is a lot of fun!”



Nicole says the upside of blogging is she has meet a lot of great people from all over the world. She also points out it doesn’t hurt that s can work anywhere she pleases and she gets to work in her pajamas.

The downside of blogging is that the line between work and play get blurred. “This can be a good thing,” Nicole says, “but it’s easy to forget to take a break.” Some days, she even forgets to go outside. She also says blogging also doesn’t yield a lot of money.



I grew up on frozen dinners and cereal, so I easily salivate every time I look at Nicole's photos of her latest meals. Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.

This blog veteran gives the following advice for a successful blog:

Write what interests you and do it well. Nicole says a blogger should spend more or just as much time editing a post than they took writing it. Everyone will make mistakes, but it is hard for anyone to take you seriously as a blogger if you consistently make spelling or grammatical errors.

Be generous. Nicole advises any blogger to link to similar blogs and other articles your readers might be interested in. Nicole describes blogging as a community and says, “The more we can help other bloggers, the better it is for all of us.”

Take decent photos. Nicole urges anyone who wants to have photos on their blog to learn about the basics of photography. No one wants to linger on a blog for long to look at blurry photos.

Invest in social-networking. Nicole says social media, like Facebook and Twitter, gives your readers a chance to interact with you on different levels. Social networking is a great way to link to new posts, but most of your time as a blogger should be spent talking with followers.



I asked Nicole how Fresno compared to Nicole’s experience living in Florida, Sicily and Oregon. “If there’s one thing they all have in common,” she replied “it’s that each place had some pretty big negative qualities. but the positives outweigh the negatives.”

Sicily- Nicole says the summers in Sicily are just as hot as the summer in Fresno, but air conditioners aren’t as common. The unemployment rate and crime rate are also very high like Fresno.

Oregon- “Do you get sick of the sun in Fresno?” Nicole asks, “Well, you hardly see it in Oregon.” Nicole says there was a lot of rain in Oregon, but she was surrounded by the most beautiful green landscape. The residents in Oregon, including Nicole, felt as if it was the most beautiful day every time the sun did appear.

Florida- Nicole says the hardest thing to get used to in Florida was the heat and humidity. She found more positive things about Florida, however. The people, she says, were very friendly and she fell in love with the slow-paced lifestyle. She also enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the fresh seafood. “I only lived in Florida for a year,” she says, “but sometimes it’s the place I miss the most.”



Most of the ingredients for Nicole's recipes are grown here in the Valley. Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.

Several of Nicole’s family members live in Fresno and she found it fitting to move back to Fresno to be closer to her family after her divorce.

Nicole says the downside of Fresno is that it lacks a city-center. She also says Fresno’s food culture is in need of a change. There are a few great local restaurants, she points out, but there are plenty more mediocre ones that have been around for a while. “It makes me wonder why so many people here don’t care about paying good money for poor quality food,” Nicole says.

There are several upsides to Fresno, Nicole says. Fresno has a diverse amount of fresh food, making it a great place to live for cooks. Fresnans are fortunate enough to have access to farmers markets and food stands all year, unlike most places in the country. Nicole loves that she can buy all of her ingredients for her recipes without having to set foot in a grocery store.

Nicole says she enjoys the scenery in Fresno, as well. “There’s really so much beauty around here if you go out and look for it.” She likes to drive and get lost in the countryside of Clovis and looking at the beautiful contrast between old buildings and new art in downtown Fresno.

“I realized there were a lot of great things about living in Fresno I like,” Nicole says, “I think I’m going to stay here  for awhile.”


Nicole spends her free time exploring the beauty of Fresno. She enjoys riding her bike down the Fresno County Blossom Trail. Courtesy of Pinch My Salt.



Have a lovely day in Fresno!

Veronica Stumpf



One Response to “Nicole Hamaker, Pinch My Salt”
  1. Dan says:

    Once again you have done a great job featuring a local business. I was hoping to speak with Nicole someday because I was very impressed with her blog. You have saved me the effort by meeting with Nicole and sharing the essence of what she does and how she does it. Thank you very much.

    This also brings me to another point that I would like to make. I have said it before and I will say it again, Fresno has a very active online-community. Residents and businesses alike should take notice that many people in Fresno are getting news and information by way of blogs and web sites.

    Keep up the good work. Mike and I stopped by Yoshi Now. That place is an awesome place to find old and inexpensive furniture and clothing. Thank you for sharing that little secret.

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