This week presented another opportunity to choose a recipe my colleagues made before I joined them. My family’s been here for their autumn vacation and my friend, Judy Boyd, brought us some fantastic meals. Judy deals very patiently with Low-fat, Gluten-free, No Dairy, Bring It On (my son-in-law) and I’ll Eat Anything (me). She had our bases covered all week while Melissa and I relished the breather.
After the kids left, I dealt with leftovers. When I spotted the remains of a skirt steak, Dorie’s Next-Day Beef Salad came to mind. It wasn’t hard to pull together this voluptuous salad by revisiting my fridge. What’s distinctive is its simple dressing – mayo and two French mustards, Dijon and grainy. A diced, tart apple alerts us to this salad’s sweet side. Add onions, olives, cornichons, tomatoes, capers, red bell and chile peppers to the mix and it’s a meal. Serve it over greens, with crusty bread, and your leftovers become super stars.
Last Tuesday’s Post, Pumpkin & Raisin Tea Loaf, tackled the 6 steps involved in putting together a post: Choose; Make; Photograph; Eat; Write; and Go Live. For me, it’s a week-long process. As promised, here’s Part II, “Why the effort?” “Why bother?”
WHY I BLOG
1. Realistically, a food blogger must be multi-talented, blessed with kitchen skills, camera-ready, technically astute, creatively imaginative, and more. Think Barnum & Bailey’s Big Top and you’re the only performer. Truthfully, I didn’t qualify. I began blogging because I needed Structure, a framework in which to rebuild my Life. For the last two years of my husband’s life, while in a Memory Care Unit and under Hospice care, and for the next two years that it took to plant myself where I could nurture, the one constant activity in my Life was that damn blog. Whatever else was happening with me, I plodded through those six necessary steps to post a “product” every week. It often wasn’t pretty but, for me, a great accomplishment, week in, week out.
2. “I don’t know where the Summer went,” a friend lamented to me recently. “I can’t even remember what I did.” That’s not a problem for me. My blog is a Diary and Journal. I associate weekly Posts with lifestyle events and activities. At a time when pen-and-ink has become passé, my Blog lives safely on my portable hard drive.
3. Using business jargon, food blogging requires a Low Start-up Fee. This project was something I could begin at a nominal cost. I found inexpensive tech assistance via Craig’s List. We all need to eat. Food bloggers wisely feed their families and friends with menus incorporated into their Posts. In our French Fridays group, there are many fine bloggers who are thrifty and cost-conscious.
4. I Am The Boss. My blog is all ME. A dream come true! For the first time in my adult memory, I am responsible for and to no one. When I returned to Aspen, I could either wilt or blossom. Throw a pity party or do and be everything that wasn’t possible in prior decades. I felt I owed my friends and family who offered us unconditional caring, support and love for ten years, to at least try. My blog has evolved from that effort.
5. Friendships. Number 5 is an unanticipated bonus. Without a doubt and throughout my life, I’ve collected the best group of “reality” friends ever. To me, they are priceless. But, virtual friends? Who knew about that? Being a lover of all things Greenspan, in February 2011, I joined French Fridays, an internet food group cooking through Dorie’s Around My French Table. Somewhere between the Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin (12/30/11) and Cocoa Sablés (3/23/12), I realized these were not just colleagues, they were friends. Through virtual networking I’ve met other foodie pals. Blogging in not a lonely sport and I’ll keep doing it if only to maintain these relationships.
6. Through blogging or because of it, my little world has grown richer and been enhanced by the experience. Examples — Because my kitchen is a constant companion, I’m a better cook. I’m on a first-name basis with all the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers up and down Colorado State Highway 82. Food blogging is a daily on-line education. What I’ve realized is how much I don’t know especially when interacting with international colleagues. There’s no time-out for boredom when your investment is in yourself. I thrive on praise (who doesn’t?). Alex, a young bellmen here at The Gant, is still talking about the meatballs I made last Christmas. My blog comments are encouraging, uplifting and sometimes hilarious. “Wear Your Lipstick.” is the heads-up to my friends whenever a social occasion is to become a blog. Good Sports, always. Every day has become an adventure.
7. By dumb luck, I slide into a perfect niche. As I’ve written, I believe anyone can flourish in the landscape where they’re planted just by dovetailing their passions into the Life they’ve been dealt. We’re all blindsided by challenges and bumps. How we deal with those is key. My blog tells my story, showing how I muddle through my days. My greatest wish is that it provides Inspiration, Hope & Humor to my readers.
To see how my colleagues muddled through their week, visit our French Fridays link. The recipe for today’s salad is here. As I mention weekly, we are an international cooking group having a blast working our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table.