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.
Be it out of convenience or laziness, every morning I take down the container of oatmeal for breakfast. Still blissfully sleepy and with damp hair, I make up a bowl the same way every morning. Oats, salt, water, done.
Every morning I finish my routine breakfast bowl with whatever strikes my whim that day, but it always includes my spicy favorite, cinnamon. Or is it cassia? I mean, if I’m only paying 99 cents for a big jar of it at some mom and pop joint, which one am I really getting here? Once the coffee had settled in, I put my fingers to work on the topic. Read the rest of this entry »
So most people when they go on vacation they sample the local cuisine. Its part of the excitement of somewhere new! Suddenly whatever regular nonsense people eat in whatever backwater their living in seems rustic or exotic. The oatmeal of their ancestors becomes the stuff of legends and papaya may have just stayed on its little stretch of land. Traveling with an eater is great in that sense.
This past week I had been spending some time deep upstate in Rochester, home to many a local delicacy. Locals have a devoted hometown pride for their Zweigle’s White Hot sausages, Rochester Creams from Stever’s and a whole other slew of things (which you probably can procure at the one of many Wegman’s in town). All of these local treasures could sit nestled on top of one of the most iconic meattopia fantasies of the city, the Rochester Garbage Plate… which I ate.
Happy Labor Day Weekend! Three whole days to sit in a car, battling traffic for five minutes of serenity on a shore. The moment when you have to make a grim decision between the triad of Sbarros, Nathan’s Hot Dogs or whatever the overpriced turnpike minimart has to offer in meager fare. The spandex on your swimsuit will stretch ever tighter as you slurp down another slushy drink.
I will join you in solidarity. I will hold your hand as you wonder if Hardee’s would ever survive outside of a rest stop. I will press the “on” button for you on that blender on the dock. I’ll contribute to the cookie crumbs ground into that rental Impala, eff it, it’s a rental anyways. You and me, forever and always this weekend.
Thus, get prepared for a recap of some of the best that Unprofessional Cookery has to offer for the next few days. That is, if you’re not roasting marshmallows on a bonfire right now or perfecting your rope swing cannonball. Which you should be. Right now.
Its high wedding season. Annihilator of frequent flyer miles, liquidator of money, weekend assassin. Just this summer alone I’ve had five different people tell me about their weddings or weddings that they’re in and it sounds laborious. So much work for about four or five hours of your life. (Although, this being said, I’m sure when my card is up I’m going do demand that all of you book a first class trip to Dubai in the middle of the Christmas season for my twee themed wedding or we will never speak again.)
Yet I digress. Being that right now one of my good friends is sitting in the middle of Maine at one of these joyous events, surrounded by nature and lobster. It sounds lovely. After the thoughts of traipsing along rocky beaches and watching couples subsided, my thoughts naturally drifted to the most disappointing apex of the affair: wedding cake.
Yes, wedding cake. It always looks so pretty sitting there, perfect, covered in flowers and sugar and what have you, but it never really tasted all that good to me. (I can speak from experience of shoveling more and more into my mouth, never to achieve the perfect cake-t0-frosting ratio.) Wedding cake is a show cake. A sham. A “looking at” cake.
So much so that during times of rationing, these structures of disappointment were made out of cardboard. I’m not even joking. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh, Theobroma cacao, how I adore thee. You make life so much sweeter, enriching my days with a warm loving embrace. I crave you with an intensity for so few others, chasing you aimlessly until I can get my next bittersweet taste.
Yes, I really like chocolate. I eat it almost every day in every way, from the whitest of white bars to the inky black 90% cocoa. It’s a staple in my pantry at all times. Yet just the other night while I was eating a square of it, I wondered how my love came to be sitting neatly on my plate. Have you ever wondered where your
crackolate chocolate comes from?
Hello high summer! Harbinger of vacations, ocean wading and ice cream consumption. If you’re anything like me, your frozen dessert consumption has skyrocketed in recent months to epic proportions, much to your arteries’ dismay. From popsicles to Italian ice (and everything in between), nothing is safe from this gaping yawp this time of year. For me, a particular attention is paid to soft serve ice cream, my Achilles heel of cold desserts.
However, have you ever wondered where soft serve actually came from? Who was the genius who invented that silky, luscious chilly dessert? One night, over licks of vanilla whispered sweetness and crunchy corn air, I found out.
Just so you know, I’m really not as good of a cook as I think I am. Sure I’m great at reasearch and I talk eating like a pro, but when the chips are down for trying something that I haven’t seen (or eaten) before I’m more like the Swedish Chef. Whatever.
Anyways, the other day I was inspired to make something by the guy I have been dating. Mister Man had spent the last two weeks on a business trip to Berlin in which time he told me about all the wonderful things he had been eating for like half a Euro. I heard stories of beautiful chocolates, rough hewn sandwiches and these delicious folded packets called Gozleme. Read the rest of this entry »
We can thank the turn of the twentieth century for a myriad of things that have changed our lives forever. Lets put on our steam punk appropriate eye goggles and take a quick look at what our lives were like just 112 years ago.
Why just look at all these notable achievements! Both the zeppelin and the escalator were invented. Freud published his work on the interpretation of dreams. Henri Matisse brought Fauvism to the table! And perhaps most significant, muesli was invented.
I love Greenpoint, I really do. But I’m just going to come right out and say this, which is really hard considering how much I love what my neighborhood once was. Here goes, short and sweet.
My neighborhood has officially transitioned into a hot mess of douchebags. They’re freaking everywhere! They’re like the swallows returning to Capistrano! What happened? Read the rest of this entry »