Claudia Bianchi, a colleague of my husband who is the culinary producer for the show he developed and produces for The Food Network Canada, recently asked Daniel: “Why doesn’t Allan write a blog about what he does in the kitchen?” My first thought was “What on earth does the world need with another food blog?”. My second was “What have I got to say that (a) hasn’t been said already, or (b) hasn’t been said better by someone else?”. There are a LOT of food-related blogs out there. Some are terrific, like Joe Pastry’s baking blog. His site really reflects his passion for baking. It’s got very high production values, and Joe is clearly a hugely-talented amateur baker. Then again, some food blogs are just ho-hum, which leads one to ask oneself: “Who reads this stuff, and who cares about it?”.
But for several days after my husband’s friend asked the question, the idea of a blog stuck in my mind. Do I have any pearls of wisdom to offer anyone else? Doubtful. At least no more than one could find in any decent cookbook. Am I particularly masterful in my preparation and presentation of different dishes? I would say that I’m pretty good at the former, though woefully lame the latter aspect of serving food. (That’s where my husband jumps in to take over.) But I think the reason the idea of creating a blog was starting to appeal to me was that I am hugely drawn to all things culinary; not only do I feel compelled to make something from scratch at least 10 times a week, I love reading about cooking, especially cookbooks that deal with the “why’s”, “when’s” and “where’s” of dishes. (Thank you Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffery, and the Two Fat Ladies!) I love the history of food, and the serving of it. (Thank you Mrs. Beeton!) I love the science behind it (Thank-you Harold McGee!) And more than anything, I like reading stories crafted around food. M.F.K. Fisher writes marvelously in this genre; and one of my favorite, more recently-published books was a wonderful, hard-cover compilation of food-, and cooking-related essays published by The New Yorker Magazine, Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink.
The other thing about a blog that appealed to me was the writing part. I enjoy writing; indeed, I earn a living as a technical writer. (Though my dream would be to ghost-write, or even index a good cookbook.) I don’t actually do any writing outside of my job, and I’ve often thought I’d like to. Not because I particularly expect anyone to read it. Rather, I see writing as being therapeutic, a tool that could help me slow down a little, and help me articulate my thoughts and, ultimately, my crystallize my priorities. In spite of fact that I write information to help people understand and use technology, I’m not very clear when it comes to thinking about myself. For example, I’ve always had some degree of dissatisfaction with my chosen career, the degree varying widely from job to job, and boss to boss; I’ve always thought: “I was meant to do something with my life”, but to borrow from Lily Tomlin, I also know that I need to be more specific. Getting to that something else hasn’t been easy for me, because I tend to fill my days with tasks and projects to keep me from, well thinking about what else I could be doing. So, my hope is that taking the time to write about stuff I love will help me to focus, and reflect. And maybe something will come out of this process that will make me feel like I have done something worthwhile.
But why a blog, you say? Why not just keep a private journal? I guess the answer is that I feel I need to know that others might read what I write; I think that will help me do a better job. And who knows? Maybe putting myself out there for others to see will lead to opportunities … stranger things have happened.
Copyright (C) 2015, Allan Risk. All rights reserved.