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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Culinary Spatterings Anniversary

So... it's been a year.

If we'll all just take a minute to look back on my first post... Starting the Spatter, let us all reflect on a few things.

Firstly, though my initial expectations were modest, I can fully admit surprise as to how many people this humble blog has reached.
Oh... not in particularly meaningful or life-altering ways, to be clear... but it does surprise me to hear someone I don't know very well tell me about how they liked a post, or how they thought something was funny... or whatever.

So... thanks for the close to 5000 visitors this year.  That might be ridiculously low in terms of the webiverse, but it certainly was higher than I thought my smattering of culinary thoughts would ever garner.

Secondly, although I had intended for this to be more of a personal account of 'my own experiences' as I put it, I am delighted to discover that people from all over the world (including some places I've never even heard of, let alone could point to on a map) have come and spent a minute or three reading about my simple experiences.

It's pretty cool.

The wife is in marketing... and so she continually tells me about things I should be doing to increase traffic, and awareness, and just get out there more... and I suppose I should... but really I guess I just don't care enough to do that.  At least at this point, anyway.  Perhaps, as I get more experienced, and write about a greater variety of things, and just build up the content a bit more, maybe there would be enough to interest a bigger audience.

For now, however, I'm content to have written what has worked out to be an average of about 3 posts a week regarding my own amateur forays in the kitchen.

If we're going to be honest, this mostly affects only me and my direct friends and family.  I'll admit that.

However, some interesting side effects have occurred.  ;)

For one - it provides me an excuse to put that extra little bit of effort into the 'little' things which we might normally overlook in the cooking process.

Presentation, for example.  My cooking - like that of far too many others - used to just be unceremoniously dumped in front of whoever was eating it, and that was that.  Now I worry about how food 'looks'.  I never even considered the notion of 'plating' food.  I always assumed that was for 5-star restaurants.

Also, variety.  In the past year, my kitchen has seen a wider variety of meals than ever.  Even if they don't make it into my blog, there have been quite a few different takes on food in the last year.  I grew up in a household where the week's menu was practically as predictable as the tides.  And so it is surprisingly gratifying to see my own menu vary to the point of never really having the same thing twice.

Adventurousness.  This one is a big one.  I've never claimed to be a good cook.  As my profile states, I consider myself an amateur chef, and a discriminate eater.  I never would have guessed, therefore, just how much this venture would have broadened my culinary horizons.  Unfortunately, I am a discriminate eater; so it is just plain awesome that I've tried so many new and novel foods in the last year.  And, it is a startling realization, just how far I still need to go!

For another, it has allowed me to become a better photographer.  Anyone simply monitoring the transition from the photos taken a year ago, to those taken more recently, will notice not only a vast improvement in such things as composition, lighting, and staging, but also just more interesting shots.  Gone are simple overhead shots with the built-in flash, for example.  I'd like to think that a small percentage of these shots are actually quite nice!

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it has vastly improved my culinary culture.  I now consider myself an amateur 'foodie', whereas a year ago I made fun of those crazies.  :)

So... in any case, not only has writing about food made me a better cook, with a better array of culinary experiences and repertoire, but it has also made me a better eater - underscoring and strengthening my own relationship with food, and allowing me to just become more educated about food in general.

And if some people happen by (whether by accident or by purpose) some of my culinary spatterings, hopefully they are positively impacted themselves... even if only slightly.


Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings!