Friday, March 20, 2009

A Thank You letter

I started this blogging endeavor (humble and earnest as it is) a few days shy of a month ago, and I am not exaggerating when I tell you, dearest readers, I have woken up every single morning since with so much excitement, so much joy, that I hardly remember what I did with myself before it.

I also don't recall what prompted me to start this, other than reading Julia Child's book and finding myself relating PASSIONATELY to the way she felt about food and life, and I guess I just picked up my computer and started a blog.

(While you're here, can I tell you that I hate the word "blog"? The way the word sounds like it would sink immediately if placed in water. I am gladly accepting any and all submissions for a new moniker for what it is I'm typing here.)

I'm grateful to have given myself the scary assignment to write regularly, to sit down even when I think there is nothing to say, and to dig down deep until I find it.

I'm so, so grateful for the people who take the time to check in with me here (where it can be awfully lonely at times) and say hello and share their ideas.

And I've learned a lot about inspiration and its place in community, in the short month I've been at this. I think there were many years when I kept waiting for inspiration -- for a nudge, or permission, or the right question/answer combination. I was so desperately UNinspired that I finally just flung some words out into the blog universe, and like some cosmic boomerang, what came back at me was inspiration. And MORE than that, people started emailing me to tell me that the inspiration was spreading to them, and they were starting to write, draw, take pictures, go back to school. It feels like there are armies of people, stuck sitting on a bench, waiting for a bus to take them somewhere better, and one by one we are standing up and starting to walk. We might not be sure which direction to go, but at least we're moving.

This, my fellow soldiers, is apparently how it works: You put something out there in the world, something you made with love, and someone comes along and picks it up, smiles at it, and then goes and makes something of their own to add to the world.

Inspiration is kind of like a chain letter, but without threats of misfortune at the end of it.

So thank you. For coming here, and for inspiring me in return.

I don't profess to be the best cook on the planet, or even on my cul-de-sac. All I can share is my love of cooking, and my joy for food, and the way food has such a firm place in all of our memories and adventures and triumphs and heartbreaks. These are my food stories, and we are all writing our own food stories every day of our lives: the favorite dinner mom made you when you went home to visit last weekend, the basket of fries you shared with your best friend last night while you shared your freshest secrets, the french toast my husband made this morning to help soothe our worried hearts.

To quote Madhur Jaffrey, "simple kitchen acts like chopping, cutting, and grinding are graces that help calm the soul and bring it closer to its origins." That's how I feel, and often times why I cook.

It's impossible for me to say how food influences, affects and reflects my life, but I can at least try. So, here I am. Writing about life, and food, and their rapturous, delicious entanglement. And I love it here, so I think I'm gonna stay.

I mentioned that my husband and I have worried hearts right now, and we do. One of our dogs, sweet little Chicago, is in the hospital.

We're waiting for test results, and playing out every possible scenario while we wait. If you have a dog yourself, I'm sure you can relate. If you don't, I'll just tell you it's really not that different than if your dearest friend were very sick.

So I'm reading cookbooks cover-to-cover to distract myself. And I'm feeling extra grateful that I can work out my worry into a pot of something comforting. I haven't prescribed myself a recipe yet, but I know I will when I have time, and if it's good, I'll be sure to share it with you.

But for now, this is just a letter, from me to you. And now that I know that the universe returns what you put out there, I'm including a self-addressed stamped envelope, in case you feel like writing me back.

I'll have more delicious recipes to share soon, promise. In fact, this weekend I'm having a dinner party -- part of a series my friends and I refer to as The Apocalypse Dinners. I'll tell you all about it, and, knowing how Apocalypse Dinners usually go, there's bound to be some good food stories.

Until then, Chicago's little face will make you smile. It always works for me.


  1. I will pray for lil chicago. :) that lil cough is surely being missed right now.

  2. Found you through a comment on Chez Pim and what a great find. You write beautifully and you mentioned two of my cooking inspirations - Madhur Jaffrey got me into Indian kitchen back when cooking anything was intimidating and Julia Child inspired me to get better at everything. I am sorry to hear about Chicago - he looks like a darling! Hope everything turns out okay!

  3. As a dog lover and as a big fan of Chicago, my thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    Maura & Monty

  4. Thank you so much for your kind words, Venus! It really means so much to me.

    And thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers for little Chico. Just when you thought she couldn't get cuter, you should see her in her little cone hat in her oxygen tent at the hospital -- adorable.

  5. My dog is almost 12 and I worry day to day about her as she moves up in age. It's hard with her being over on the other side of the country and it's a very drastic change every time I see her since I'm not home that often.

    I really hope Chicago pulls through. She is such a sweetheart. My thoughts are with you and Paul. I understand how hard it is, having grown up around dogs all my life and being a huge dog lover myself.

    All the best,

    Chris Locke

  6. you have definitely inspired me...hence my recent "food" pictures. I have always loved food, loved to cook, loved to talk about what I have cooked.... thanks for starting the chain letter, I hope to keep it going:)

  7. Little Chicago is so cute--much fellow-dog-owner love to both of you (on top of the usual helping of you're-my-niece love). I'm with you on the word "blog," too. Actually I think it's a piece of onomatopoeia (boo-yeah, spelled it right on the first try!) for the very sound of *anything* immediately sinking in water. Either that or a bodily function. Neither of which is terribly lovely.

  8. Thank YOU Sara for the inspiration, the great food, and the love. I'm so proud of you. And I love it when another's talent requires me to eat lots of food. Keep writing. I'll be here to catch the crumbs.