Writing a blog can be a very difficult thing. It didn’t start out that way, but after almost four years and close to 600 posts it can be tough to keep plugging away. Not that we are anywhere close to packing it in, I’m just saying there are a lot of reasons that most blogs don’t last very long. Starting a blog is a lot like getting a new puppy or kitten. They are demanding, but at first no one minds. Over time it becomes a real chore to feed and clean up their crap, but if you don’t do it they die. Blogs need care and feeding or they will most surely die too. Most of us do what it takes to keep our pets alive and happy because we are committed to them. Amy and I are similarly committed to writing this blog, but don’t think there aren’t days when I consider dropping the bastard back in the swamp where Amy found it so that the gators can have the meal they were robbed of. Oh wait, that’s the cat, but you get the idea.
I can’t speak to Amy’s motivation for continuing to write, but I’m sure we have many common reasons. A primary one for me however became very clear on a recent trip to the neighborhood Kroger’s store. Twice I was engaged in conversations that drove home why I believe sites like this one need to exist.
The first occurred as I was digging through a large bin of garlic looking for anything that resembled a fresh bulb. When I realized that the amount of time I was taking was annoying a woman waiting to get some herself I smiled and said, “Can you believe they sell stuff like this?” Now she was curious instead of annoyed and moved in for a better look. I showed her how most of the cloves were dried out and pulling away from each other, and then helped her find some of the better ones before selecting my own.
Doesn’t it seem odd that a middle-aged woman wouldn’t know how to shop for something as simple as garlic? To be honest, I have ceased to be surprised when something like this happens. This person wasn’t stupid, nor obviously was she incurious, she just didn’t know because no one had told her.
The second incident was less than 5 minutes later when another woman looked at my cart and exclaimed, “Hey! What are you going to do with those leeks?” This time I have to admit that I was a little surprised. Granted, leeks, along with vegetables like turnips and parsnips, aren’t part of our culinary lexicon as much as some other ingredients, but since even Kroger’s stocks them, someone is apparently using them.
It turned out to not be a completely random or general question. She tried a recipe that she had seen Ina Garten prepare on TV which had called for one leek. Now she had two more leeks in her refrigerator and had no idea what to do with them. Now we have a person that obviously cares enough about what she eats to watch a cooking show and to actually attempt what she saw. Ms. Garten’s show terrifies me. Her spotless, gleaming kitchen, lack of shoes, and oh so soothing way of speaking make me think that she may be the leader of some sinister cult. Even so, she can definitely cook, and from what I have seen when I have risked being indoctrinated, she doesn’t take shortcuts. This tells me that the person I am talking to is either trying to recruit me into Inaoligy, or leeks are so exotic to her that she can’t fathom what else they might be good for.
I explained that I was going to use them in a type of bean soup, but that they were good for a lot of other things as well. After listing whatever I could off of the top of my head, potato leek soup, added to a salad, or just making a stock, I suggested that she Google leek recipes and she would be leek-free in no time at all.
I can think of a lot of reasons for food and drink bloggers to keep writing, but helping people learn how to put things into their mouths that are fresher, tastier, or healthier is near the top of my list. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of people who want to know, but don’t have anyone to tell them. Maybe that’s where those of us obsessed enough with food and wine to spend 4 years writing about it come in.