So what has happened? Here I am with a Facebook with multiple pages and groups, Twitter, a few Tumblrs (like this one and this one). And then there's this pie blog. Eight years in and I still shy away from the term "blogger." I stumbled upon it by accident, sort of. It was a way for far-away friends to keep in touch, to continue that connection that was initially made over pie in our Ann Arbor kitchens. It's since evolved, and become more of a solo project, and I keep going.
My friend Morgan says she thinks of her blog as a resume, a presentation of what you can do and what you've done. I like that and sometimes it's that for me. Other times, it feels like an ideal (though unpaid) job-- researching historical background or interviewing others, weaving in personal narrative, writing about something I love, while also getting to work with my hands to make something that actually exists in the world and that I can share with others. If my job could always have those elements, I would be quite content. And other times, I think it's just my own personal recipe catalog.
But another way I like to think about it is as a place for practice. Like a yoga practice, a music practice, or a sports practice-- something we do and maintain regularly, with a "better" goal but not necessarily an end goal. In thinking of it as a practice, it also allows a space for experimentation, for play. For becoming. In a real sense, it gives me a space to practice my writing and research, photography, and baking. And it also gives me a space and a tool to connect.
One such connection was through Jess, of the blog Witchin' in the Kitchen. Though we had been meaning to meet for a while--I think we exchanged e-mails over a year ago--we didn't until recently, and the fact that we shared this interest in food and tradition and both had blogs propelled that. A few weekends ago, Jess came over to my kitchen, to work on a blog collaboration and take photos and just visit.
We ended up talking about a lot of these issues I mention above, wondering what a blog--food blogs, our blogs-- are for, what we present to the world and why. For me, and for Jess too, this raises challenging questions of how feminism aligns with our domestic pursuits, of how public voice meets private life (oversharing and undersharing), and how honesty meshes with curation. I started writing about some of this in grad school, for a project on feminism and women's food & lifestyle blogs, but the chat with Jess reminded me that I want to explore this more-- something I'd like to continue to do here in this "practice" space.
This writing too, was inspired by the comment thread that happened on Jess' very dear post on our afternoon in the kitchen together-- it seems that other women food bloggers and producers are thinking about these same issues and looking for conversation. That's exciting and inspiring and makes me realize that this medium itself is still quite new and evolving, and perhaps we'll eventually figure out how to more comfortably tackle these questions that seem difficult to understand and address now.
Alas, there's much more to be said about that in time. But for now, do go over to the Witchin' In the Kitchen post, read lovely Jess's words, and see her BEAUTIFUL photos that make my house and kitchen and tartlets look better than ever (you can also spot my aforementioned non-smart phone). There, and below, you can also get the recipe for these grapefruit and pepper meringue tartlets that are so patiently serving as a backdrop to my self-conscious blogger musings.
My friend Lora sent me this delightful recipe from French chef Rachel Khoo. Lora is a big fan of hers and her BBC Show "The Little Paris Kitchen"; she tried to go to Khoo's home kitchen when she was in Paris (she used to open it to guests), but she recently closed it because it became to popular. I haven't yet seen the show (perhaps it will catch on here like that other BBC show...), but these tartlets might just prompt me to do what it takes to find it here.