Happy New Year. Another new year and the tenth new year for this blog. Gawd. Maybe it’s Holiday melancholy or maybe it’s life bearing down on me. But sometimes the thought of pecking one more word into this keyboard makes me wonder why I blog at all. After all, I’m the primary caregiver for my partner’s elderly mother. There’s an argument to be made that at this stage of my life there are things more important than a food blog. Even a food blog I love.
And yes, I do still love it, though it’s easy to look back over this past year and tell myself that there’s much to feel gloomy about in today’s crazy online world. Especially if this were a political blog. Or even a fashion blog. I mean 2017 is the year that brought us those tacky Trump ties that hang well below his belly, and of course Man Rompers…
Thankfully, however, this is a food blog. Most of us food bloggers, I’m proud to say, have done a respectable job presenting delicious fare. Good for us!
I know you know what those are. You see a lot of them this time of year. Usually, these posts are based on a bloggers analytics and they represent the most popular posts of the year for a particular blog. It can be quite interesting from my wonky blog lover’s perspective. However, I didn’t really feel like delving into my numbers quite so deeply, so I decided to present my own personal five favorite posts of the year. Statistics be damned.
You can see my choices at the end of this post. Which is a kind of lazy way to do it I know, but as I was working on this project I started to wonder – does anybody really care what motivates me to blog?
Do I even know why I blog?
So before I get too far into this post let me say that I’m not looking for affirmation. I write this blog because I want to. It’s really that simple.
I say this because, whenever I think about shutting down this little blog an enduring image pops into my brain. It’s a memory of my mother standing on one leg like a flamingo in our suburban Michigan kitchen about 1972. I’m just a shy guy in grade school, hanging out with my mother – trying to avoid the rowdy neighborhood kids.
I don’t know if her stance was some throwback to her childhood passion for ballet, or if she just found this pose to be comfortable. But there she was, in short shorts, standing in the kitchen left foot crooked up and resting just above the right knee. Forming her legs into a perfect representation of the number four. She’s leaning over the counter (still on one leg) reading a book. That book is Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Long before Julie Powell began to teach herself to cook by blogging her way through this classic, my mother had decided to master the art of French cooking all on her own, with no audience (save me).
My mother loved to cook, no matter how much she complained about it. I mean here she was, a busy (doctor’s) wife and a (shy gay son’s) mother with all kinds of obligations I can only imagine, taking the time to read a cookbook. And I mean read it like a novel (bookmarks and all). I’d never seen anyone do that with a cookbook before.
Most of the kids I grew up with did not venture beyond meat and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, or mac and cheese. But that was not my experience, or at least the sum total of my experience. We ate everything. I mean considering the times, my brother, sister and I were kids with pretty sophisticated palates. But my mother could also be a bit of a pop princess. She dressed like Mary Richards (she and Mary had the same figure). She rocked to the Eagles, Elton John and Queen. To my pre-pubescent horror, my mother wore bikinis. Other mothers did not wear bikinis.
She was “with-it” in other ways too, even when it came to food. High trends (sake, sushi, fondue, Cuisinart) and even low trends (Jell‑O salad, smiley-face cookies, and crunchy tacos) none of these escaped my mother’s attention and curiosity. Hence we kids were exposed to all of this as well. Yes, even sake.
What I am trying to say is this: you don’t realize the imprint these things make on you. I mean, there I was just a kid watching my mother read a cookbook so I could avoid team sports and the beginnings of a long thread were being formed. It takes time and requires some distance, but eventually, you understand that the thread was left for you to pick up and follow. If you are able to knit that thread into the fabric of your life then you’ll know what happiness is.
Why I Blog
I come to this place in my life and this blog after doing so many other things – both professionally and personally. If ten years ago, someone had asked me why I blog about food I’d have probably answered, “I sort of fell into it.”
But that’s simply not true. I’d been preparing for it since I was a small boy.
I’d like to think my mother would have gotten a kick out of my blog. However, like an old-school journalist or some modern-day chef, she may not have particularly approved of my blog or even blogs in general. She was a woman of strong opinions. Though I’m sure I’d disagree with her. I’m a man of strong opinions. Sadly I’m left only to imagine what she might say if she saw these photos of my favorite blog posts of 2017. She passed away in 1993. Long before I ever saw the thread she left for me that led to this blog.
So, why do I blog? I don’t know, but I betcha I won’t quit in 2018. GREG
My five favorite posts of 2017 (plus one dessert!)
With no particular reason and in no particular order