Blog: Its short for “web log”. A personal journal published in the World Wide Web consisting of posts (entries) displayed in reverse chronological order where readers, if allowed by the writer, can comment.
Ever since the Julie and Julia movie came out in 2009, the blogosphere has grown exponentially. For the first time, blogging was portrayed in a movie as a vessel for ordinary people like you and me to put their message out there in the infinite world of interactive cyberspace and hopefully impact others in your community and around the world. Bear in mind that like in everything in life, there is the good, the bad and the ugly in the blogosphere.
Oftentimes, when I happen to mention I am a food blogger (among other things) and I start describing how much I enjoy the creative process involved in each of my posts, many people jump in and say “Oh! Yeah, yeah like the woman in that movie, something about Julia who cooked recipes and wrote in the computer about them.” Most of the times I respond “Yes, something like that” but sometimes, when given the chance, I explain the different/similar motives to write about food between Julie Powell and Me. (Note: I watched the movie and liked it a lot, but still haven’t read JP’s book).
So, the question I get asked the most is, “how did you start blogging?” Well, I considered blogging about food as I started to document my recipes to publish a book in 2007. Once I started to write, compile, organize and do my research, I realized it would be pretty hard for me to publish a book since I was not a chef, tv personality and had absolutely no ties to the restaurant or publishing industry. All I had was my notes and musings as a mere home cook along with pictures and memories of years of fantastic opportunities to travel, take cooking courses, educating myself in the kitchen and most of all, the essential ingredients of love and passion to prepare meals for my family and friends. It took me about another year, after doing some more research, to finally decide I would start a blog on my own, without hiring a computer programmer. I am not a techie and had a lot going on in my life at the moment, so this took some time. Nevertheless, the hardest part was finding the courage to expose my imperfect self to others without any protection or disguise. It was nerve wrecking to let others into a world that had only been mine and which I had shared exclusively with the ones closest to me (who love me unconditionally). Suddenly, this valuable treasure became a public topic of conversation. Terrifying!!!!!!
I could have chosen to publish plain recipes, but I felt they would be incomplete without writing about ingredients, origins and background to give each post more depth and meaning. To make a connection with the reader. I am curious by nature so I thought the reader would be curious too. Where I live, blogging is not very common among people my age (I’m 39, thank you very much). I can count with the fingers on my hand the number of bloggers I know personally. To give you a little perspective, in Puerto Rico the 6 Degrees of Separation Theory boils down to 2 degrees from knowing or being related to everyone on the island. I’m not joking! So blogging in a free and honest manner, exposes your innermost wants, likes and desires in a very raw manner for others to digest, scrutinize and judge. It is an undeniable fact that many of the people I encounter in my daily activities and in my circles of influence, wether they tell me or not, will have read my blog posts and have formed a new opinion of me without even talking to me. Believe me, this can be a scary thought!
Some friends have approached me and said in a very candid manner, that by reading my posts they feel as if they are getting to know someone else, as if Foodielady was my alter-ego! Ja! Although these comments shocked me at first, I admit it is one of the things I love most about writing my blog. It is my way of externalizing my views on many subjects and documenting certain experiences that are important to me or that, for example, simply affect people my age. A channel to share how some life experiences have impacted my life or the ones around me. Through my recipes I have found a way to intertwine our connections with the Earth, the kitchen and with the people we relate to in a nurturing and generous way. Because of my blog I have established new friendships and rekindled old ones. I have learned from mentors with vast culinary experience, acquaintances have become friends and it makes me very proud to know that many families have been influenced by adding some variety to their weekly menus.
In a sense, wether you blog about politics, fashion, lifestyle, parenting, photography, travel or like me, about food, it makes yourself open for praise and vulnerable to criticism, something I understand, not a lot of people are willing to sacrifice. Through blogging you put yourself out there by sharing your experiences, passions and giving everyone a glimpse of your open heart and mind. My goal is to keep my messages positive and the recipes fresh!
Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, but I love the way it pushes me from my comfort zone into unchartered waters. Through my recipes and foodieventurous travels, I learn more and more about culture, history, human relations, ingredients, trends, travel, cooking techniques and most of all about myself. In addition, I always mention that the cool thing about blogs is that the reader can respond and comment to the writer, a pretty neat tool! By default, photography has become an interest, although I have a long way to go in that field. I’ve had to learn about new computer platforms, web hosting, copy editing, photo editing, pdf files, zip files, widgets, favicons, geography, the environment, season changes in other parts of the world, etc. Above all, this blog is a legacy for my children.
I am thankful to all the readers of Foodielady.com for all your kind comments and suggestions… PLEASE, keep them coming for you have impacted my life more than you know! In honor of Chef Julia Child, here is a recipe adapted form her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I make it often and its a true delight. Bon Appetit!
6 starchy potatoes, I use russet or yukon gold, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1/8 of an inch in a mandoline or by hand
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (sometimes I might add some shallots)
3 tbsp butter, cut in cubes plus some extra for greasing pan
1 cup of warm milk
1 cup of coarsely grated swiss or gruyére cheese
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat oven 425ºF.
2. Grease with some butter a rectangular 11×13 inch ceramic or crystal baking pan.
3. Place one layer of sliced potatoes to cover bottom of pan, sprinkle with some garlic, grated cheese, butter cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat process two more times.
4. Slowly pour milk over potatoes.
5. Bake uncovered at 425ºF for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese on top is golden and potatoes are fully cooked. If still too soggy, leave a little longer. Let rest outside oven covered with foil paper for about 15 minutes and serve.