Post 2 – Blog Envy

Blogs that inspire me: Cooking Architecture

Claire and Juan, the husband and wife writer team

Claire and Juan, the husband and wife writer team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know how you look at other people’s lives on the surface and you tell yourselves all the many ways that their lives are perfect? I do that. The comparison game.

All

the

time.

It can be a good thing if you know how to put it to good use. If you use the comparison game for inspiration, it may take you to a positive place.

One example of this inspiration by comparison is found in a blog I follow, written by a family friend from school and her new husband. We went to school together and my mom taught her and her brother sometime in elementary school and though we were never friends, so to speak, the small size of the school meant we were familiar and friendly with each other. I remember going over to their family’s house one time for dinner and being in awe of their beautifully rustic-chic house (her dad is an architect and now she and her husband are too). She and her family are incredibly beautiful and kind people and this genuineness transforms my game of comparison from one of jealously into one of admiration.

Anyway, her blog is called Cooking Architecture and through it she documents her passion for food in connection with spaces and places. She hosted a series of dinners this year that focused on connecting with the senses as well as commensality. One dinner took place mostly in the dark where guests relied on their sense of smell, touch, and taste to savor the food, rather than their vision and the most recent one began eating in the cold winter dark outside, ending the meal in the intimate warmth of the indoors. She describes each of these dinners in beautiful detail on her blog, which I highly recommend reading.

Reading her recent blog posts inspires me to host more unusual dinner parties. I find that I enjoy having people over and I enjoy coming up with menus, but it always becomes some mad rush to make a final menu decision at the last minute. Without a theme, I’m just picking out menu items that I think would impress or delight people and without direction, I find myself pulling all the cookbooks off the shelves repeatedly to make sure I’ve considered every option. So here’s a goal – to have more themed dinners. This does not mean restrictions and rules, it means guidelines and structure. That way everyone knows what to expect somewhat and it gives me some direction in terms of menu planning.

As for the comparison game, I wouldn’t say that I’ve won, but I have gotten better at appreciating what I have. I’m not going to go on and on about that one just for the sake of keeping your attention, but let’s just say I’m getting better.

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Post 1 – New Year

It’s like writing the title of a paper before you know what you’re writing about. Or coming up with a company name before you know what your mission statement is. Until you start writing, how can you know what you are writing about?

Warning: here come the clichés.

It’s a new year! A new you! Time to start fresh and make those New Year’s Resolutions (capital R) come true! Time to be your best self, eat better, exercise more, finish what you started, grab life by the horns, and all that jazz. It’s true that January 1st of any year is just like any other day of any other month of the year. The sun sets, the midnight bells chime, and when you wake up the next morning a new day lays before you, ripe with the possibility of a new beginning. So why do we reserve a special occasion for New Year’s Eve? Why must we write down goals for the New Year as if we’ve been given a clean slate and can start our lives anew? Well, for one thing most people find it easier to start at the beginning. Rather than stopping in the middle of a chocolate ice cream sundae binge and saying “wait, I should start eating more vegetables,” we instead say: “starting tomorrow I will…”

In comes the New Year and with it an even bigger version of starting at the beginning. The date has changed so we give ourselves another chance. This time I’m gonna do it right.

With all that in mind, I’m sort of falling into the trap. Forget becoming a new me or changing my ways, I want to think of it more as taking a different approach. No, scratch that. Ok, I guess I can’t avoid the clichés.

So this year I’m still cooking, (not changing that any time soon!) but I’m trying new recipes. Think of it as Julie and Julia style, although I’m not sticking to any particular cookbook or even recipes per se, and I’m not making any hard and fast rules (not out loud at least).

After each recipe that I make, if I decide it is not something I want to make again, I will get rid of it (and in this way help clean up my recipe collection a bit).