I can laugh about it now.
Do you ever have those brilliant ideas that play out in your head far differently than in reality? Projects you can see just taking off and becoming world famous and you this delightful, witty star? Is it just me?
I think my idea about being a food blogger came from a mixture of reading Pioneer Woman’s blog, watching Julie and Julia, and seeing food photography as a real profession as offered in art school. It was a dream I toyed with in the back of my mind, like an author who is certain that if they ever actually picked up a pen and wrote, they’d be a bestseller. I was sure it would be a huge hit, and I lived in such a wonderful, quirky type of place just ripe with blogging material.
Last year, I was working in a kitchen, cooking for a work crew of big burly (grumpy) men who were building the new school in our tiny Alaskan village. The lodge was generally used for tourists in the summer but was closed, except for these guys, who were all bunking together in a few of our suites for the winter. Since they were on the job site from 7am till 5pm, I was pretty much alone in the kitchen all day. The boss would come in, and the guy who would help with maintenance around the lodge would peek in several times a day, but otherwise, it was quiet. At mealtimes, it was an onslaught of hungry grumpy men, and complaints regardless of what I made. So, after awhile, I thought that I could just write about the humor of it all. And share recipes! Most of them really liked my food (it was just their lives they disliked), and the boss loved it! It was a brilliant idea.
OH, and then there’s the part where I decided to write it under a pseudonym and change everyone else’s names, so that no one would be embarrassed or offended if I wrote about them. Here was my fatal flaw: I am a terrible secret keeper, particularly when it comes to my own secrets. I’m a bit better with other people’s secrets, but when I’m trying to hide something? Not so much. So, I wrote about 10 posts, and then confessed to my neighbor. Who let it slip to the maintenance guy that he sometimes showed up in them. Ahem. Awkward.
So, I took it down. It’s impossible to write anonymously in a village with 175 residents. Everyone will know.
The other part about food blogging that I didn’t like (and you can laugh at this, considering my chosen profession) was all the photography required! Every step! And a pretty finished product! How exactly does one make meatloaf and pineapple upside down cake look beautiful in fluorescent lighting with only 3 minutes between finishing it and the guys coming in to devour it? I HAD learned in school that beautiful food was arranged by a food stylist before it was photographed, and there was a necessity for good lighting. I tried photographing a few things, and it was hopeless. Not only that, but I kept making comfort foods and serving them in the big silver commercial kitchen pans. Not pretty in pictures. Ever. I just didn’t have the patience or passion for it I thought I would.
Anyway, in hindsight, it was a good thing to try, but not my thing. No pen names, no food photography. And I probably shouldn’t write about people when I live in a tiny village. It’s weird. It creeps people out.
Since it’s all behind me now, I thought I’d share a few selected passages from the blog posts to share. Names are still changed, but I’ve confessed to all involved parties, so it’s all good.
From “My Convection Oven is an Angry Female”
The other day, the oven started making this high pitched squealing noise, like the fan needed oil, or something. Shoot, I don’t know! It’s like asking what’s wrong with my car. Anyway, it did it for a few minutes, and the sound was like nails on a chalkboard. I made Charlie come in the kitchen and listen, and of course it stopped just as he did.
Next day, I’m making lunch. I turn on the oven, it squeals. For an HOUR. I kid you not, I started thinking about that show Snapped. Charlie popped his head in the back door around 11:45, innocently asking what was for lunch. I pounced him, yelling “If you don’t fix this oven NOW, I am going to lose my….mind!” (I am a lady, after all, and we’re all nice Christians, so I needed to keep my language to myself)
He gave me his standard look of “You’re crazy and I want to laugh at you”, and “You also kind of scare me”. He said he could put it on his to do list, but probably wouldn’t get to it until a later day. I swore to prepare no more meals until my oven was fixed. And because he is wonderful, and has gotten used to good food, he rearranged his whole afternoon, found someone to help, and took the oven apart to fix it.
Of course, the next day it started sounding like an off-kilter washing machine.
And today it sounded like a rocket ship.
I think I would like to name the oven. Still brainstorming ideas. It’s definitely a female. Moody, and no man can fix her. I will spare the photos of this week’s burns. Oh, and Charlie has one on his forehead from her, he didn’t realize that she was still so hot when he stuck his face up there to listen to the squealing… he at least looks tough now, like he got in a bar fight.