Project Food Blog: Where Meat, Dresses & Blogging Collide

posted in: Cooking, Seattle-ing | 40
In the kitchen with my sous chef, Bentley Danger, age 2
In the kitchen with my sous chef, Bentley Danger, age 2

For two weeks I’ve been staring at these words: what defines you as a food blogger and why should you be the next food blog star? I’ve tried staring at the words at 6 am whilst catching the sunrise and slamming back a glass of freshly-juiced Chioggia beets. I’ve tried making sense of the words at midnight, port-goggles in full effect. I’ve allowed the words to ruminate in my head during long jogs by the lake. Today, finally, I decided to use the Dictaphone feature on the iPhone and answer the question in different ways out loud while driving from Pike Place Market (for leeks, bresaola & duck eggs) to my favorite butcher shop (for a rabbit) to a baking supply (for molecular gastronomy chemicals) to an art supply (for an X-acto knife and acetate- yes, for use in the kitchen).

Here are a few of the things worth painfully transcribing from my dictations (I feel like a Mad Men secretary right now- someone get me bourbon and a bullet bra- stat!).

Mad Men Birthday, Draper-Style (image links to post)
Mad Men Birthday, Draper-Style (image links to post)

I’ve been asking myself who I am for 32 years. The answer to that question remains ephemeral. Right now, I’m a mother, wife, eater, cook, former expat and desperate-misser of La Bella Italia, creative writing graduate who hates to be defined by the word “creative,” molecular gastronomist-in-training, early-adopter of cooking en sous vide, former Stiletto Ninja who swapped nun chucks for an apron to become the Foodie Fashionista.

Stiletto Ninja, day before her wedding in Rapallo, Italy transitions to Foodie Fashionista
Stiletto Ninja, day before her wedding in Rapallo, Italy transitions to Foodie Fashionista

I make bacon at home, cure meat, make salt from scratch, extrude bucatini, and use syringes and pipettes in my kitchen. In the words of the (in)famous folks over at ShutUp Foodies, I am a “kitschy madwoman.”

Freshly-Extruded Pasta
Freshly-Extruded Pasta

A year ago I loved my life, my child, my cuisine, and my husband, but I knew there was something missing.  I started a food blog. Now, I am a food blogger, part of a community of food bloggers. Within the last year, I have had the opportunity to communicate with and in many cases meet IRL some of the most talented people on the continent. I also learned that IRL means In Real Life, LOL means Laugh Out Loud, and (learned the hard way) that NSFW means Not Safe For Work. I dislike these acronyms, though I thought I should use one to prove I’m really a part of the digital world.  Food bloggers are the unsung (I know, right?) heroes of modern culture, and it’s time they got their due. They are an opinionated, strong-willed cadre, though they’re quick to support one of their own should the need arise, as was the case with Ivory Hut recently. In some ways, being a food blogger defines me more than the sum total of the other parts, because it is the sum total of the other parts. As with many of you, this is my respite- the place I can 100% say whatever the hell I want to say, and be proud to own those words.

MasterChef Trial Dish: Duck Confit 3 Ways (image links to post)
The dish that landed me on MasterChef: Duck Confit 3 Ways (image links to post)

I work really hard at this. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cannot knock out a blog post in an hour like I know some über-talented people can. It takes me many hours of focused work from concept inception to edited completion of every post I gently nestle onto my site. Even after it’s there, I want to rip it down and make a nip here, a tuck there, though I resist that urge. Blogs are like people- more beautiful if left to age naturally. That is not to say they shouldn’t be eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercising along the way, however, hence the good food, days of rest, and frequent practice.

BLT Ice Cream Sandwich (image links to post)
BLT Ice Cream Sandwich (image links to post)

Right now, I’m lingering on every word the culinary mad scientist Grant Achatz (Alinea) utters. A particularly echoing bit of wisdom I recently gleaned from him is this: creativity is primarily the result of hard work and study. I look back on my most-resonant posts- I made a BLT from ice cream, gelato and sorbet, I admitted to the world I was far from perfect given how eviscerated I felt after leaving MasterChef, or when I made a meal for my mother’s 69th birthday using thoroughly modern cooking techniques like spherification and sous vide- and the uniting thread recurrent in all of them is just what Achatz notes- hard work and study. Any old genius off the street might have come up with the theory of relativity, but it took a hard-working, studied one to actually do it. Since I begrudgingly admit that I have no genius-level proclivities, I must content myself to toil along making mozzarella balloons and poaching duck egg yolks in clarified butter until a really good idea turns into a really good taste, then a really good recipe, and finally- I hope- a really good blog post.

Spherification in action
Spherification in action

What I’m saying is that I should be the next food blog star because I’m willing to put in the effort and devotion, but I promise we will have a wild ride together along the way. I’ve only been blogging for just over one year, (crap- went back to look at the date of my first post and I realize I missed my blog-o-versary, damn, damn, must open champagne… there, that’s better) but I’m on my way toward proving I’ve got what it takes to stick around like a splatter of Bolognese on a white Valentino shirt. I look at these challenges as a way to test my mettle. I look at Project Food Blog as a way for Foodbuzz to nurture one of us (relative) newbies toward the status of full-blown Bloggin’ Gaga. That’s right, the victor of Project Food Blog deserves the accolades and fame (in the blogosphere at least) of the Great Gaga because s/he squeezed a lot of lemons, minced a ton of shallots and pureed a passel of potatoes to get there.  I promise, if it’s me, I’ll wear a meat dress to accept my crown.  (There’s a crown, right?)

This is how crazy I go on Halloween. See, I'll wear a meat dress, no problem.
This is how crazy I go on Halloween. See, I'll wear a meat dress, no problem.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to have written this post regardless of the outcome of this challenge because it’s given me a platform to say some things I’ve been meaning to say for awhile to all my lovely readers.  Every day something new happens that humbles me in the face of all your greatness, generosity and underlying human spirit.  All of you have helped immeasurably to make the last year one of the best I’ve ever lived, so grazie mille. (Now look at me- big ol’ tears are inching down my cheeks- must be that champagne you made me open!)  I’m just a girl teetering in topsy turvy heels on the precipice of something positively cavernous, and I desperately want for you all to jump in with me.

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40 Responses

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  7. yes!!!

  8. I am in love with your blog, stunning pictures as well. You are a winner to me already. You got my vote.
    Have a look at my entry, if you like it don’t forget to vote.

    Cheers,
    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/667

  9. You’re a top contender, no doubt about it. Love your style (food and fashion) and you present both wonderfully here. You have my vote even if you won’t need it–you’ve got a lot of fans. I entered PFB, too, but I’m completely out of your league!

  10. Just getting to know your work and love it. You’ve got one of my votes. Good luck!

  11. @zenchef
    oh, I’m so excited at the idea of inspiring eachother! Have loved you for a long time- and not in a 2 Live Crew way.

    @Camille
    Thanks, Camille!

    @Nate @ House of Annie
    And you mine! Cheers, mate.

    @Alecia @ Hoobing Family Adventures
    Alecia- you are my favorite. Hope we get some face time soon.

  12. I voted for you because you’re simply awesome. And i don’t even know why i use the word ‘simply’ since there’s nothing simple about you. You’re like a tornado of ideas and charisma. I’m shaking at the idea of battling you. :)

    I see.. i see you going very far in this competition!

  13. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tracey Black, Linda M Nicholson. Linda M Nicholson said: Grazie, bella. RT @epicuriadotca: Love this blog post (and her style!) from @SaltySeattle . http://twurl.nl/5mbaci Read this Tweeps! [...]

  14. Beautiful food photos! I found you on Project Food Blog, and wish you the best of luck in the competition. I think you’ll go far!

  15. Hi, came over from Burp and Slurp. You got my vote! Cheers and aloha.

  16. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Linda M Nicholson, Bay Area Glutton. Bay Area Glutton said: "I promise, if it’s me, I’ll wear a meat dress to accept my crown." http://bit.ly/aAcNmo #pfb2010 by @SaltySeattle [...]

  17. @Linda
    thank you, i think you are wonderful too!

    @5 Star Foodie
    love that we are conspirators in this competition:)

    @Brian @ A Thought For Food
    I just know we will have a TON of fun together. Can’t wait to hang.

  18. Linda, What a perfect post! I love coming to your blog and seeing what you have got under your sleeve this time! I don’t have any doubts! I think they should have a crown! and happy belated anniversary! Cheers!

  19. An awesome post! You are a star for sure!

  20. Wild indeed! I can’t wait to party out there with you in SF in November. You, my dear, look like a lot of fun :-)

    And what a post this is! You truly are a one-of-a-kind blogger… your technique is impeccable, your photos stunning.

    Best of luck to you!

  21. @Speakeasy Kitchen
    Charmaine- hope we can hang again soon!

    @SippitySup
    thanks, Greg- let’s grab a glass o vino next time I’m in LA (monthly). You’re someone I think I’d love IRL:)

    @Daydreamer Desserts
    Thank you my dear- and likewise.

    @Lara Alexander
    please don’t! we need to meet.

    @Za
    It’s on Roosevelt and 95th (ish) in Maple Leaf. It’s by far the best in town. Proprietor is an awesomely fickle lady who has no email or cellphone. This adds to its charm for me.

    @The Duo Dishes
    no, you guys are gonna:)

    @janis Tester
    love it!

    @Maven
    I really, really appreciate this comment. It is the reason that I blog. Thank you so much.

    @Butter
    As are you.

    @sophia
    Thank you so much for saying so. Love this comment.

  22. @Shirley
    aww, I love you Shirley- thank you so much for the kind words.

    @Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    I am looking forward to doing this with you, Mardi. You are a big reason why I love this community so much. Thanks, babe.

  23. Beautiful post, beautiful food and most of all you’re a beautiful person inside and out, you will win!!

  24. Linda my dear. You are such a wonderful force in the food blogging world and I feel so honoured to have connected with you online first then in real life. You should go far in this contest because you have what it takes. You rock the kitchen and you write so well. Can I be you when I grow up? Oh wait…. Good luck my friend.

  25. Girl, you are H-O-T-T, hot. And you are fierce. Just honored to have found myself in the same web with you.

    I buzz you.

    xo
    Char

  26. Well, I knew you’d bring game. I am not disappointed. I love your style. I love your food. In fact I gave you all of my points in Natasha’s Summer Round Up of 10 make over meals. (I did kabobs). I also look forward to your Top 9 entries as I can see you work as hard as I do to make them sing! I am looking forward to this competition an had to come say hello. GREG

  27. Great post Linda! Best of luck to you in the challenge, I’m sure you will go far… and congrats on your belated blog-o-versary!

  28. I really enjoyed your post. You really are fabulous – talented, fun and funny. I am grateful to share a city with you and next time I see you somewhere (you are recognizable even without having met you before) I will not chicken out of saying hello.

  29. Oh u have to share that baking supply place with me. It drives me absolutely up the wall to get things online because i need to hold , look, twist things this way and that before i am ready to settle. So far, I’ve not found that baking supply in Seattle. Share pls.:) And a great post. That was some costume!

  30. Haha!!! This post is genius. You’re gonna win!

  31. Bravo! Great post. I am a mad woman for science in the kitchen as well. Good luck on PFB.

  32. Fabulous. The word perfectly describes you :-) You are unique and funny and incredibly talented with food at a level I will never reach but enjoy learning from and reading about.

    Because I have a very busy full time career away from the computer, I`m incredibly picky about what I read. There are, truly, only a handful of bloggers who are must reads for me and you are one of them.

    I would wish you good luck, but your fabulosity is such that you don`t really need it.

    Good luck anyway!!

  33. Bravo, well done – you are fabulous!

  34. And your effort shines through in every word, every pixel. One of the key things I look for when I read food blogs is their passion. How strong, how impacting, how infectious is it? Yours has hit me with a double-whammy.

    Great pfb post! :D

  35. @Kathy Gori, and to you, my dear- honored to be in such esteemed company.

  36. great post!!! love all the pix. Good luck in the contest.

  37. That was a very creative post. I only wish I could meet you IRL cause I am sure you would have me LOL and am betting even saying or doing a few things NSFW.

    OK, now that you probably are emitting a noticeable GRRRR, let me just say that I’m hoping Master Chef’s loss is Project Food Blogs gain. There are a whole big bunch of great, wonderful, fabulous (should I go on?) cooks out there, but it’s your crazy and entertaining personality that I love.

  38. @kristin @ delishliving, Thanks so much, Kristin- I’ll go check your out!

  39. oh, absolutely beautifully written. your photography is gorgeous as well. i had a hard time writing mine too, but once i got started, it was hard to stop. good luck in the competition!

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