I have a secret, and 25 of you know it. It’s called The Just One Question Project, and I’ve been working behind the scenes with a few of you for the past month or so to bring it to life. I’m pretty stoked about it, and I hope you will be also. The series will focus primarily on questions we’ve probably all had about running a blog, writing, photography, social media, and more. Frankly, even after two solid years of blogging, I still have loads of questions that I’m sometimes afraid to ask other people, for fear that I’ll look like I don’t know what I’m doing. The truth is, I don’t always know what I’m doing, and there shouldn’t be any shame in that. So we’re going to talk about the things we may be unsure about, and we’re going to learn from each other.
I’ve assembled a group of approximately 25 bloggers I’m exceedingly proud to call my friends over here on my little corner of the interwebs. They’re all bloggers, but they each bring with them a very individual approach to the table in terms of how they run their own blogs. The big thing they have in common? They are, at the end of the day, truly themselves, so they won’t put up a front for you. They’re going to be honest, and they’re going to answer the questions we all secretly want to ask each other, but maybe never get the opportunity to.
When I initially approached these incredibly kind and talented souls, I wasn’t sure what the response would be. Would they want to share? Would they have the time? The answer was a resounding, brings-tears-to-your-eyes yes, from each and every one of them. I was beyond thrilled. Here’s how it works: I ask these bloggers one question per installment, and they answer it for me, and ultimately for you. I’ll answer it too, compile our responses into a post, et voila: you get answers on what it’s like to do this thing we do, all in once place.
I hope you like the series: I’ve read all the responses to the first question I asked, and the answers are stellar. I’m eternally grateful that everyone has been so willing to help me on this project. Stay tuned, because the first installment will be up sometime this week: I’ll explain more about it as we go, and I’ll tell you how you can participate in the project too, if you so desire.
Since you all seem pretty receptive to me rambling on every so often, I thought I’d do it again, and maybe I’ll make it a regular thing, who knows. It feels good to talk about things other than food from time to time, and I like hearing what you all have to say about non-food things as much as I enjoy the food things.
Current Events: We’re finally healed here: The Wee One is back to her normal self, and we both seem to be clicking along at 100% right now. Excellent timing, as we have a busy month packed with meet-ups, meetings, parent-teacher conferences, thanksgiving lunches at school, and the St. Louis International Film Festival, which I’ve made a promise to myself to attend. It’s been a few years since I’ve had the chance to go (little babies don’t lend themselves to movie-going), but I’m looking forward to sneaking in a movie screening or two this year. And then there is, of course, the Big Day – Thanksgiving – and all which that entails. My mom and sister will be here at various times ahead of the event, which means we’ll get all sorts of things accomplished. I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you end up having on your tables this year (I expect rundowns, photos, the works), especially those of you who get the opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah and Thanksgiving together this year. I want to hear all about it.
Foodstuffs: Hipsterfood just put out their winter edition of Chickpea Magazine! I’m no vegan, but I do find myself gravitating more towards vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in recent years, and it’s nice to know how to mix it up. If you’re not familiar with Hipsterfood, go check them out, and take a flip through the magazine: it’s stunning, and you can either view it online or support the site and order a hard copy. And if there’s one thing I know, we all like our touchy-feely paper books and magazines, amiright? Yes.
So much talk about how to comment on blogs recently; have you noticed that? Even in my beloved circle of blogs, there’s been quite a bit of discussion, all of it great, straightforward information. I’m one of those people who – although you may not know it – is terrified to start commenting on blogs, because I never know what to say, or how to say it, or how much of my personality to interject, et cetera. Think back: if you have a blog, and we trade comments regularly, who started that exchange? Answer: it was you, because I’ve always had a hard time breaking that particular seal. These posts helped remind me of how un-scary it should be to comment, and how also to make commenting easier for your own readers. If you haven’t already, check out this post from Lynne at Design the Life You Want to Live and this post from Kasey at Turntable Kitchen, the latter of which is a great example of a blog i love, but have never commented on…until that post. And i felt really good about it.
Blogging: Speaking of honest discussion, I’ve truly enjoyed two recent posts from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: this one about ridiculous requests for recipe substitutions, and this one about the angst we all feel about trying to make our food photos as “Pinterest-worthy” as possible. From outside-the-blog discussions with many of you, I know that almost all of us have felt like idiots trying to take THE MOST PERFECT PHOTO EVER of a slice of cake, or soup, or whatever, and we get angry that it doesn’t meet the impossible standards of food photography (Foodgawker, I am SO looking at you right now), et cetera. I’ve also experienced the frustration and vague helplessness which comes from someone asking you about out-of-bounds recipe substitutions for things I’ve made for the blog. It’s one thing to ask if you can substitute pecans for walnuts, but it’s quite another to ask about making an entire flour-filled cake gluten-free and vegan, you know what I mean? If either of those things have bummed you out before, sit back with your coffee take a few minutes to read those links above: you’ll feel better.
Books: I’ve been thinking about Hanukkah this year, and my quest to learn more about Jewish food. Jewish people: this whole Thanksgiving/Hanukkah double-header that’s coming? I’m leaving that one to you. I can’t even wrap my head around trying to accomplish both this year, so as I mentioned above, I’m requesting full reports on how it goes for those of you who get to do both. You have my support and good wishes, and my promise to tackle all that is Hanukkah food next year, when it’s not lying directly on top of Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime, I’m learning more about the holiday courtesy of Lemony Snicket’s “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming.” It explains – in the way only Lemony Snicket could – the reason for the season, if you will. Truly an entertaining read for both kids and adults.
Musical Notes: In completely unrelated news you don’t much care about, I should mention that the release of Pearl Jam’s new “Lightning Bolt” album has kicked up my 20-plus year crush on Eddie Vedder, and my love for the band itself. I’m really proud that they’re still around today, and with such a great reputation for staying true to themselves and their craft. Sometimes when I’m feeling old-ish, I remember that grunge music hit smack in the middle of my high school career, when music is at its most important (at least, in my opinion). It shapes you, and you tend to listen to bands that entered your life during this era forever, so I lucked out. I’ve always counted them among my favorites, which range from Bad Religion, Radiohead, and The Cure to Juliana Hatfield and Tori Amos (and you should be able to pinpoint exactly how old I am now). I’m all over the place, but Pearl Jam is in my head right now, and I can’t get it out. The masterful Danny Clinch filmed a short documentary with them for the release of the album, and in it, they talk about song sequencing. I was reminded of how different the experience of listening to music is today than when we used to pop cassette tapes into our car stereos and just let it play, start to finish. Today you can flip here and there, make custom playlists, pick and choose which songs to buy off of an album. Is album sequencing important to telling a story with a set of songs? I think so, and so do they. If you don’t, try listening to one of your better albums in order sometime, because chances are you’ll hear how it enhances the individual songs.
Television: So it’s the second round (in America) of TV series beginnings, the first being in September, and the next typically beginning in January. I don’t watch a massive amount of television, because I am picky and prefer well-crafted drama and comedy versus reality TV. You don’t see many ads for this one, but Sundance Channel has a new French series about zombies called The Returned. I know what you’re thinking: subtitles. Yes, there are those, but I don’t mind them, and if you enjoy the restrained horror approach that you tend to see coming out from across the pond, you’d love this. It reminds me very much of the original Swedish version of Let the Right One In, if you’ve seen that.
Did you want to know all of that? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but I feel like we just got to sit down in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate and chat for a few hours. So as always, thank you for letting me hang out with you for a bit. More food posts on the way soon: I’ve got some things in the works – like some really good things, friends – so I’m going to stop talking and start finishing up those recipes for you.