Ever since the birth of the blog, I’ve had a milestone post in mind. You know, after a benchmark number of views was reached, I would write a great big thank you. Well, as I know you also know, life gets busy. The benchmark proved to be relative, as well as extremely flexible. In other words, I procrastinated.
Actually, it proved difficult to adequately express thanks to people who watched me jump into the deep end of something and stayed alongside, even though attempts to reach more comfortable waters were often awkward, far more trial than tribulation. I wrote many drafts that I ultimately discarded. Words and phrasing felt greeting-card trite. I did not want to have a Sally Field moment.
So I waited for the idea to season, to simmer, if you will.
The waning hours of the last day of the year before the new one rolls over is a good time for giving thanks, number of views or visits or whatevers be what they may. Because the fact is that every day I am profoundly grateful to those who find their way here. I continue to be fascinated by what you look at. The Salted Lavender-Rosemary Shortbread is visited often, as is First Night in Florence Spaghetti. Challah with Herbs appears to have carried many though the holidays. Bison Ragù may have expanded peoples’ culinary horizons, while we’ve learned how to cook a really, really good bison burger. Bagels and Rustic Italian Bread and Crème Fraîche Biscuits, well, enough said.
I sometimes feel (often, actually; most of the time, honestly) that my posts get a bit wordy. When it comes to the teacherly voice, I strive for each sentence to carry important information that will help you to be a more confident and informed cook and baker. I loathe recent minimalist trends in food and recipe writing that seem designed more to encourage you to talk about the idea of cooking rather than rolling up your sleeves and just goddamn doing it. I want you to jump into the deep end! With a life preserver.
At the same time, I hope I’m getting better at weeding out what doesn’t belong. The “get it all out on the page” step in writing is all well and good, and even necessary. However, I don’t open a cupboard and dump its contents into dinner, serve it forth, and expect accolades. So I carry a ruthless editorial coach on my shoulder in the form of one of my favorite writers from whom I took a class last winter, and use it often to ask, “What would Tim say?” Frequently, the response is, “Does this belong to the subject?” When Tim Cahill asks that question, you just know the answer is no. You shut up and hit the Delete button. I will likely always digress, but hopefully in a less distracted fashion.
On a recent day, Views by Country displayed a world map dotted with visits from Singapore, Nepal, Malta (I hadn’t been entirely sure where it was), Bulgaria (13 views), Lithuania, and Kazakhstan. In addition to the U.S. And the U.K. And Australia. One of the Search Engine Terms was, “the dog and the cook when writed.” I have no idea where it originated, or what precisely it was looking for. I tried googling the phrase, and it led me everywhere but home. However that person arrived here, thank you. I hope it was worth the journey.
Happy New Year.