A Year’s Growth

Growth1The radishes out in the garden started waving their red little bottoms in the air, so I decided it was high time to dig ‘em up. As I was loading this, first harvest of the summer into a basket I beamed like a proud parent, and excitedly (and morbidly, a bit like Saturn and his child) imagined all the ways I was going to cook them.

A salad? No, too pedestrian, and their so large ‘n woody this year. Grilled? Could be. Simmered with some turnips? How Roman Legion-esque. Maybe with just a bit of honey and some thyme. Oh yeah, I know just the recipe, and it’ll look great when I post it on the food blog…

That’s when I realized that I’d already done all this before. I’d thought these thoughts. Cooked this recipe and thrown it up on the blog. The Matrix had reset! A year had passed.

Growth2I got back on the computer and checked the date of my first post (a humble, foundational recipe for Chicken Stock) and there was the date: July 3rd 2012. I’ve been food blogging for a whole year. Gods, it’s gone by quick.

It’s been so much fun, and I’ve grown as a writer, cook, forager and Conscientious consumer in a number of important ways:

  • First, I’ve learned so much! When I post a meditation on identifying wild berries or the history of ham, or how to properly clean a nettle I start with only the vaguest idea of what I’ve talking about. I spend a lot of my time talking to other cooks or people in the know, clicking around the internet, and re-visiting my library of cookbooks and foraging manuals. So many times I got out of my seat to browse an old cookbook only to wake up ‘n realize I’ve spent two hours reading and re-kindling my love for these old tomes. Every new idea increases my enthusiasm to try something new and different and possibly crazy. My teachers like Toni, Hiro, Lisa and Grace have been equally invaluable in instructing me on proper techniques and secrets. Without them I’d have no content, no stories, no heart and soul to my cooking. There is so much out there to learn, and I hope I never run out of surprises or people to help me unravel ‘em!
  • Desserts aren’t so bad… In fact, they are kind of fun to make!
  • Photography can also be fun! When I started this thing, I made a vow never to get all Food Networky with my food pictures. I wasn’t going to buy a super expensive camera with all the phallic extendable lenses, flashes and super-confusing features. My battered ‘ol Cannon Powershot has been my companion through this year of discovery and often-embarrassing restaurant hijinks, and I think it’s served just fine. I haven’t got a studio, or a food- esthetician or a reflective dish to make the light go “just so”. I just point and click and get lucky. And despite my best efforts to keep some badass linecook cred, Tasteologie still likes some of my work! Whoot! I’ve even had Crystal do some of them with her cell phone and they turned out great! But no matter what, when I’m taking pictures of something I’ve made a little voice in my head intones, “To you this might be art, but to your family it’s dinner, so put that camera down Matisse and let’s eat!Growth3
  • People and Stories are just as important as the food.  That’s it man, there’s my whole writing style in a nutshell. I’ve met so many new friends on this ride: People like my wife Crystal, my friends Simon, Jess and Nick in Van. Susan and Gary at Tabletree Farms, Bruce and Evelyn from LocalhomeSpot.com, food product craftsmen, artists, industry professionals and drinking/cooking buddies. Their work, stories and struggles inform my narratives, and the great time’s I’ve had with ‘em give my words mad soul.
  • Staying seasonal – I am determined to keep the going’s on in my kitchen as seasonally-ingredient-inspired as possible. What may have been major dead zone in Jan-Feb actually turned out to be some of the most productive and enjoyable months of the year!
  • Food Blogs are for Food Bloggers! Most of the traffic on my site is from family (big love to the Eastern and Southern Clans!), friends (Van City baby!) and other bloggers. These connections I’ve made are born out of shared interests and similar experiences and I’m glad that I’ve become part of such a madly creative and passionate community! People like Simon from A Knight Baker Blog, Daniel Lui, The Table of Zekki, Brian Fink from Saudade and so many others. We all love comments right? Big love all!Growth4
  • Always Remember To Breathe. Doing a food blog is not an obligation. It’s something I do in my off hours away from the blistering, swearing hell that is a professional kitchen… Something to help me relax. The way I write hopefully imparts a bit of the feeling of how I cook, which is fun and passionately, yet calmly. There is no rush, just do it slow, have a glass of wine, and breathe.

Growth5So, we begin Season Two! In which new and exciting ingredients, recipes and life-events will titillate and amaze my readers into near-ecstatic states of joy! I will be paid billions of dollars to write for online food magazines, cook for the Queen alongside Jamie Oliver, and discover a never-before conceived recipe combining chocolate and cuttlefish!

…but first I ‘aught to get these radishes washed.

2 thoughts on “A Year’s Growth

  1. Congratulations Shawn. It is a gift to be able to share your passion for that which you do for a living. We do look forward to each time you write in your blog. You keep us all close and it helps to know you are making your mark on the planet in such a thoughtful way.

  2. Thanks so much for the shout out, I’m just a little behind you in blogging, having started November 1st, 2012 and I totally get your love of it. I find the “discovery” process is exciting and has even helped me define my own personal style when it comes to Home and Garden design. This has always been tough for me as when you design for others, your own personal tastes take a back seat. I am really enjoying your blogs and look forward to the next one!

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