To everyone who reads this every day, thank you.
One year and seven months ago, I started a Tumblr account in which I took a photo of something that I ate daily. That’s it, just pictures. One year and seven months later, I built up a modestly sized written food empire that has grown by twists and turns in ways that I would never expect. For this, and you, I am extremely grateful.
From the beginning, I vowed that I would never cover the same thing twice on my blog. To my knowledge, I have not. In this process (as well as in my stubbornness) I blew the lid off of my own creativity. What started off as me taking a couple of photos a day of food developed into a love of writing. Where the adoration for the written word anchored itself into my heart, I discovered that my knowledge base needed to grow. I went out there and did just that, pestering cooking friends and then studying under cooks (gratis) for almost a year. I ate. I read all that I could get my hands on when I couldn’t experience the cooking experience myself. I cut my knuckles, sheared off fingernails, hyperventilated over mandolins, burned my palms, my wrists, my arms. I did it all because I wanted to know, because I wanted to sop up the juices at the bottom of the bowl. I created Unprofessional Cookery because I love to cook and to write and I love to entertain you as well.
In that time, I’ve seen all kinds of transformations within myself and within the blog. I’ve played with formats and writing styles only to discover that I’m definitely not going to be the next Hemingway (but I’m not half bad). Every day I discovered a new joy when my analytic numbers jumped 10, 15, 100 marks from the day before. I strategized, planned and motivated myself through cultivating a wider audience. I ate up all of this like candy.
For one year and seven months I have been obsessed with food and cooking and writing about it all. Every morning I scanned headlines looking for inspiration and bought extra foodstuffs to mangle in my kitchen at night. My social life often suffered because I took this unpaid labor of love extremely seriously. My tight abs went from a two-pack to a pear with a secretary spread. This blog, this little photo blog of mine, has become a second job for me. Every morning I get up an hour (or more) earlier than I need to just to write another article for you.. and for myself. I buy good food and eschew gadgets because I have to know how to do this right. I jumped into this with three feet into a complete abyss of fun.
I’m grateful for this experience of writing about food obsessively, but I’m tired. Over the last week in Montreal, I realized that I wasn’t having fun rushing from here to there thinking of writing projects for when I got back, suffering through maple syrup tastings and looking up native Québécois cuisine. I don’t earn a paycheck from my hobby and I know a hell of a lot more about good cooking and good eating than I did one year and seven months ago, so why am I burning my candle at both ends for something that once made me happy? As I’ve known for the last few months, watching my creative juices run as thin as the maple syrup that ran down my gullet that its best to exit stage left when you’re at your peak.
So I’m leaving you for now. Which fills me with sadness, but also supplies me with relief.
I’ll continue to cook for sure. I’ll probably continue to write for myself as well. It is guaranteed that I will definitely miss all of you that read this daily and tell me about it. Yet I know that for now its time to put this blog to sleep under a layer of pate a choux with sweet memories. The crust will brown nicely rather than becoming tough and burnt over time. I will not degrade into a “foodie”. I realize that there’s an infinite number of things that I will never know about my hobby of choice, but I will be happy to experience them all from someone else’s perspective.
Maybe I won’t be gone forever. Maybe you’ll see me sitting at a table somewhere, studying my salad of choice like a fine painting. Perhaps our paths will cross in line for coffee, mine always black. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll ask you for a bite off of your plate.
Until then, keep eating often and keep eating well. And keep it vegetarian.
All week long I’ve been seeing these posts about these sweet flavored Pringles as if they’re a threat to our national security. Cinnamon sugar Pringles. White chocolate peppermint Pringles. Pumpkin Spice Pringles. People think that they’re the epitome of disgusting, that nobody could ever think of anything more putrid in a snack food than to combine something crunchy, bland and kinda salty with something sweet, delicious and all around wonderful.
So! As my very hungover roommate alerted to me today, today kicks off the most magical weekend of the year for eastern seaboard landlocked geekery. Yes, Comic Con 2012. I would say hide your kids, hide your wife, but that’s probably only applicable if either are fluent in Dothraki or Klingon. Apparently last night was the $3 PBR and cheap whiskey mixer.
Anyways, when I lived on the West Coast one year I was unfortunate enough to be in San Diego when the behemoth convergence of the socially maladjusted. Comic Con is like nothing else. Imagine taking all those kids you once knew, aging them 20 years, stuffing half of them into ill-fitting superhero costumes and the other half in duster jackets and then let them all loose on the streets willy nilly, fueled by the exuberance of fantasy and cheap hooch. Its kind of traumatic. I can only imagine New York is the smaller version of that spectacle.
Despite my horror, this event did give way for inspiration. I present to you, fair readers, the history of Mountain Dew and Doritos. Read the rest of this entry »
You know what happens when kids go back to school in the fall? Right. You get six uninterrupted hours of getting stuff done if you’re a parent at home. Aside from that, you know what also happens? You send a bunch of small children into an open cesspool of germs which culminates into those kids getting sick, and those kids getting adults sick, and then those adults getting me sick. Its like the circle of life considering how many people I come into contact with on a daily basis at work.
Anyways, I was given the gift of a norovirus somewhere along the line this week, which hasn’t been so acute (all my stomach contents have remained appropriately in my stomach in north and southward directions), but it has definitely been aggravating everything regardless. No appetite, a general aversion to food, stabbing stomach pains and a myriad of other fun things to spread around like butter. Ew, butter.. shudder. I never EVER thought I would ever think that. This is bad.
As you can guess, food blogging has been a challenge this week. But, it did lend me to a host of other things that I haven’t thought about in.. say.. ever. Like toddler foods and things that are otherwise bland. Such as saltines. The glorious, completely ignorable saltine. Guaranteed to give you zero fiber and maximum salt, I thought I’d pay homage to my foodstuff of choice this week. Read the rest of this entry »
The other day on a usual jaunt to my local dry goods store, something caught my eye. Something in a red box, something in a yellow box. There was also one in a white box. Oh, these boxes reminded me of many a weekday morning with my father. He with Cheerios and dagwoods, me with a rat’s nest of blonde hair and hot cereal. I can clearly remember whining about how it was too hot for my tiny mouth (as well as not sweet enough), to which he’d drop an ice cube in and go back to sipping his coffee, ignoring my pleas for more sugar. Those were the mornings.
Cream of Wheat. The other day while I was gathering my weekly provisions, I saw it sitting there on the shelf and it brought back all those memories. (Plus, this time, I could put in as much sugar as I wanted to and rot my permanent teeth like a responsible adult.) I snatched up my box greedily and fairly skipped out of the store, looking forward to the first brown sugary bite from the days of yore.
So of course you know where this is going. Of course this is going to be a primer on the history of Cream of Wheat. I mean, wasn’t the dry goods store reference just leading you right to the doorstep on that one? Read the rest of this entry »
Last night I was making dinner and I had this lonely block of tofu sitting in the fridge that I needed to use up. I consider myself to be a one woman tofu rescue mission, considering that I buy blocks of it, forget it, and then throw it away three months after its expiration date uneaten. Call Sarah Mclaughlan, I’m running a tofu haven in my kitchen.
Anyways, this particular evening that tofu was getting to see no mercy. I was not about to return this tofu to the wild, to let it roam wild and free amongst the rustling grasses of the soybean plains, noble and majestic. No sir. I was going to use that puppy before it developed a rapidly expanding colony of microorganisms. My tofu block stared at me, pleadingly. I stared back, blinking, blankly. It pleaded for life. I pleaded for inspiration.
You see, this is the problem. I buy tofu, expecting that I’m going to think ahead and make something inspired but I never do. I run out of time to press it, I have nothing for a marinade, yadda, yadda, yadda. Last night I didn’t care. I would have eaten that tofu if it had been expertly crisped or if it were rubberier than a foam mattress left in the rain. This tofu block was going down. TODAY. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever played that game where you think about if you were on Death Row with no pardons left, what you would plan for your last meal? (What, just me?) I mean, although I have no plans of committing heinous crimes, I have plotted out the ultimate dinner. Also, just saying if you’re lucky enough to join me for that, you’re going to get Velveeta mac and cheese AND pizza. Hope you’re not lactose intolerant, because its going to be bangin’!
One of the foods that I would consider for my last supper would clearly have to be grocery store icing. Truly, its my Achilles heel. Many people can attest that at any function where crappy cake is going to be served, I am that lady who is hovering over the table, just waiting for everyone to get their slice so that I can get the most corner frosting left sitting there on the cardboard palette. I have no shame. I lay waste to sugary pillows of white sweet nothing with a sheen of hydrogenated oil. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Read the rest of this entry »
As the autumnal season careens recklessly towards our patio furniture like a freshman at Chico State, it becomes apparent to us that change is looming. Leaves splatter our sidewalks, crunching underfoot. Sandals are replaced by sensible footwear. Ah yes, fall. Time for soup.
However, in addition to being a season in transition, this time of year is also marking the beginning of change for one of the largest soup manufacturers in the United States, Campbell’s. People just aren’t eating soup the way that they were just a few years ago. Is it global warming? Something that’s saying “not cool enough for cream of mushroom”? Is canned soup not heirloom enough for todays discerning soup market? People just aren’t into anything they have to rehydrate from a can?
Perhaps. But before you eschew your next spoonful of bean and bacon, wouldn’t it be interesting to know where your canned soup came from? Read the rest of this entry »
Last night I saw my first opera of the season, Carmen. It was beautiful- from Don Juan at the cigarette factory to Carmen getting shivved at the end. (Spoiler alert!) Granted, I’m not the biggest opera fan in the world (I don’t even really care that much for the music) but I can always get down with getting dressed up to the nines to sit at the Metropolitan Opera House and watch ant-sized people belt out opulent music to my nosebleed height seats.
Those voices! Even from my perspective where those people are 1/64″ of an inch tall, they’re phenomenally loud. I’m sure it comes from years of practice and subtle amplification, but I’ve also heard that professional opera singers have incredibly restrictive diets. The Sad Clown indeed. But last night I got to wondering, do opera singers have special diets to enhance their performances? Read the rest of this entry »
Despite how it looks like I eat all this fancy food.. or, I eat all this food.. or, okay, I try to make it sound like I live solely on sugar, salt and butter.. it’s a lie. I actually eat very little of what I research and write about.
That isn’t to say that I don’t eat things like Mallomars and Waffle House, but rather I eat a bite or two here and there and settle in with things that grow out of the ground. I eat plenty of boring fruits and vegetables punctuated by my favorite teardrop shaped food, the almond. Ah yes, the almond. Its shaped like a tiny drop of regret for all those pats of butter that I have chosen not to eat. But my heart thanks me like a kid with a birthday bike. And that, I suppose, makes it kind of worth it.
Anyways, as you can gather, I eat a lot of nuts. Read the rest of this entry »