Friday, January 2, 2015

It's ok to not be cool...and not in a cool ironic way, either.

Welcome to my first blog post of 2015! If we look back on 2014, it shows a marked decrease in my blogging activity. There were 30 posts in 2014. I posted 73 times in 2013.

Am I no longer so heartened to share my journey? Dare I join Food Blogger Pro to best utilize those same old dandy infographics and shaded set ups to make my savory paleo gluten-free hand farmed vodka infused cupcakes shine like so many popular bloggers?

No. Please no. If that happens, then I should just stop for real.

Truth be told, it's just been a very busy year. Perhaps busier than 2013, or perhaps the blog became a somewhat lesser priority. But in 2014, I spent time on a Food Chemistry MOOC from McGill, which was awesome but indeed time consuming. I've also been settling into cohabitation, including acclimating the "step-pets":

It's a mutual admiration society!

And I've also just had a lot of work related projects which bled into my usual downtime.

Oh yeah, there was also that pesky re-occurring gout, where even sitting and typing on a keyboard can lead to pain. Not to mention that cancer scare. That was a time suck, for sure.

So, yes, a busy 2014, with less time for blogging. I can only hope that we beat the statistical odds and make sure 2015 doesn't see only 15 entries.

Of course, in 2015, I'm starting yet another MOOC, this time an awesome nutritional biology course via Wageningen University in my beloved Holland. And my training regimen will continue to cause soreness for yet a firmer Streamlined body. And I'm so immersed in Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle, that I tend to want to just keep reading all those volumes with no interruption around me.

But that does bring up one thing that seems to have disappeared from my schedule. I'm going to confess something that shouldn't be so much of a surprise: I've been in book clubs. I was in one for 17 years (which must be some sort of record among transient NYers) and another for about 3, although that one does seem to have petered out, too. It's a shame that's happened, but then again...more free time!

In both book clubs I seem to have had the dubious honor of being the only member who actually read the entire book each month. Call it Librarian OCD, but I always felt it was important to be able to discuss each book as a work, not just something I skimmed through. Often that led to me having to actually give more a summary book report to other members (the time I acted out all the characters in Martin Chuzzlewit was quite a favorite), but more often than not it made me realize I didn't like a lot of the books we were reading.

One such miss for me was The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester. It surprised me that I didn't like it. Here was a novel about food! From a former food critic! With great reviews from people I admired! But I didn't like it. It happens.

But that's not I've dismissed Lanchester's work entirely. In fact he recently wrote a piece in the New Yorker where he takes on the foodie community from a more serious critical standpoint. And so much of resonated with me, I was all set to drop everything to blog about it...which of course, didn't happen.

I suggest reading the entire piece, but here's one paragraph:

"Most of the energy that we put into our thinking about food, I realized, isn’t about food; it’s about anxiety. Food makes us anxious. The infinite range of choices and possible self-expressions means that there are so many ways to go wrong. You can make people ill, and you can make yourself look absurd. People feel judged by their food choices, and they are right to feel that, because they are."

And I think that did hit me somewhat hard. Perhaps it's our ability to be able to share so much with each other nowadays, but I do see that everything about food has gotten a lot more judgy in the past few years. I'm as guilty of it, too...after all I just snarkily mentioned paleo cupcakes, but I also have been trying to be a little more empathetic about this.

I've always said from the beginning that my sharing my story, workouts, recipes and such were about MY journey and that it most likely will not be YOUR journey. But I also see people still trying to defend their choices or beliefs to me when they don't jibe with mine. To people I know: I love you, but we're not supposed to be one upping each other here. To folks who've met me through this blog...welcome! But the message is the same.

Lanchester's article brought up another piece in my mind which always answers my own feelings as to why cooking shows nowadays don't really appeal to me as much as they did. I always said, the best thing about Julia Child was that you saw how to do all aspects of cooking, including the messy, gross things. Julia told me how to debone an entire chicken, gut and filet fish and create caramel nests out of molten, skin graft inducing sugar. 

But a recent piece also brought home what really stuck with me: She messed up a lot in the kitchen...and it didn't matter.

And that's what I regret about this social media of food nowadays. Instead of just showing how cooking never matches instagram perfection as a way to show "fails", show that it doesn't matter if it's not perfect. If it tastes good and everyone eats, that's cool enough for me. It certainly was cool enough for Julia Child!

And that's what 2015 is probably gonna mean to me: I'm not changing too much, but let's hope we can all be less judgy of one another. Which sounds pretty dull and not too cool at all. But then again, I only found out I was cool in my youth after it happened. Isn't it always that way?

Happy 2015!


“Julia Child Wasn’t Perfect in the Kitchen, and That Was Perfect.” Vox. Accessed December 28, 2014.

Lanchester, John. “A Foodie Repents.” The New Yorker, October 27, 2014.

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