Two years ago my blogging journey began with a piece about cake. And so as I arrive at this milestone of two years of blogging. It is a time for reflection on what has been achieved, learnt and best of all eaten. The latter being the thing that was done most. There were lots of inspirational chefs to follow, as well beautiful photographs to salivate over. Technology has always been my difficulty, but recently I began to come to terms with that too. Finding really helpful blogs such as Rajat Jhingan’s excellent blog on all things technical as well as Blogging Fundamental’s here on Word Press. However, I think as a wannabe blogger, the awakening happened when I realized what kind of cook I am, rather than the cook I aspire to be. Also, that my journey with food is not just about eating, but that of creating an expression of myself on a plate, in a photograph or through art. My first ever photo was using Lego and from there I realized that within our houses we have so many props and things we can use to create a story and make our food exciting.
Great inspiration has been taken from memories of family gatherings or special food moments from my childhood. Such as my auntie Maudie’s Trinity biscuit cake , things we ate or beautiful feasts my mother would make. Lets not forget Tayto Sambos! Being part of a Mediterranean family as well as Irish, the two cultures that love to feed have combined beautifully. Food has played such an important part of my life. From mixing mud and rose petals in the back garden pretending to be a mammy feeding my dolls, to dinning in Chateaux’s on good wine and wholesome French food. Or watching the sun set over the vineyards in the Hunter Valley amongst winemakers, good friends and excellent food. In the last two years I have eaten so many different kinds of food, Mexican, Italian, French, Spanish, Iranian, Portughes, Asian, Indian, Filipino, along with the Irish, British and American staples. When I meet producers, chefs, and food educators. I always end up inspired. Every taste, every encounter has been reawakened on this blogging journey. I am not a chef, I am a home cook. I cook to feel the warmth of home and close to those that I love, rather than being a gastronomic genius. When I began to own that part of my cooking, blogging became easier and less stressful.
I stopped trying to be a gastronomic home cook, while accepting, I am not like, A Pinch of Yum or Food52 (who’s blogs I love). It’s a pitfall in blogging, to become overwhelmed by others success and style, forgetting, who you are, might be original. Thankfully the blogging community are extremely helpful and supportive. Not to mention all the tutorials you can get with a bit of searching. I spent two years not really looking at other blogs, just frantically throwing stuff up. Now I spend a morning reading all different kinds of blogs the same way you would read the Sunday newspaper. I’ve learnt so much by connecting with some wonderful bloggers on all kinds of topics not just food. It makes you relook at your posts, your style and nudges you to be true to yourself and your readers. Are you blogging to share, to influence or to make money? That is a question where over time the answer might change. I began, by wanting be Irish blogger, Ken Maguire from KenOnFood. So many times I changed themes, design and approach. Now as I relook at my posts from the first year, they are all in need of re-editing, insertion of tags, more visual elements and stripping back of text. I didn’t know how to do this before. I was focused on the picture over the content format and confused by the technical part. See pretty pictures!
My two greatest supporters are of course the eaters in the house. They have been relentless in pushing me. I began blogging to challenge myself as well as show the son and heir I have many more talents than just “mother”. Of course he wins either way as he gets fed all kind or goodies. However as I stopped and started on this journey the biggest driving force has been the one who started it all, my mother Kitty. In the past number of weeks as I look back on the food and posts as well as transcribing her recipes. It has become so obvious. Every time I enter my kitchen she is with me. When I made those dinners out of mud and petals in the garden, she was the one that would pretend to eat it. Or hand me some thyme to throw in as well. She would give us rose petals sprinkled with sugar. So beautiful and so simple. Showing me you can make something out of very little. She taught me to share love & expression through food. To embrace the challenge, to get up and try even if it flops or burns. She made everything from rice puddings to ice bowls, passing this gift and appreciation of food onto all of us. But she was also very creative, painting, making all kinds of everything. If only there had been blogs & Pinterest back than, she would have excelled at it. As I go through her old recipes I can hear her voice. When I’m looking at an empty pantry, I recall sitting watching Ready Steady Cook with her and I begin to create. These are the things that have become the blog. She loved art, scribbling recipes, making a home, family, feeding people and learning new things.
My offerings over the span of the blog have been along the same lines. What started as a funny post about cake, has evolved into a readers digest of anything to do with food, housekeeping or creating something beautiful with what’s to hand. Looking at my efforts over the past two years. I can safely say I have become a better and more adventurous home cook as well as a creator of beautiful things. Looking at my first post compared to my recent and favourite post, Choose Your Weapon . I have become a better blogger too. (I know mam, “self praise is no praise at all”, although I think you’ll agree this time). But more importantly. It turns out this creative journey has brought me to what I always wanted to be, just like my mammy.