Where Have I Been?

Lots of places, but mostly not here. And by here I mean the blog, and my home town, and my own home. But this is okay, because I am growing up and becoming an adult person and that’s important. But I lot has happened since the end of my junior year, and all that you’ve seen is that I took accutane…

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Candy bar at my graduation party.

There’s been a lot more. Senior year was filled with happiness: I was a drum major, I took loads of AP classes, I chose where to go to college (I’m there now!), I went to prom, I graduated, and we held a party.

Then in the summer I died my hair pink, I went to camp, I learned to kick box, I went to Kings Island, and I packed for college. And let me just tell you, this first semester at school has been crazy busy, but crazy fun. I moved in a few days early for the honors program, I played paint twister with the girls on my hall, I made enchiladas for hall dinner, the hall tried our hand at synchronized swimming, I went to Zumba classes, I missed my cat and my kitchen, I     met an orange cat that was rather sweet, I ate a lot of Chick-fil-A, I went to classes, I got mail, I signed up to go to Uganda in May, I made new friends, painted my face like a deer for Halloween, passed all my tests, survived finals, and made it home in mostly one piece.

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Trying to mix enchilada filling in a plastic bowl with a small fork. Such is dorm life.

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Making enchiladas somewhat successfully.

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They made it into the oven. I count it as success. My hall mates liked them too, so that’s a plus.

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Orange campus cat.

But through all of the activities in which I participated, and all the events I attended, I did not blog about any of them. I did not make food and chronicle the process nor the outcome, and I felt like something was missing. My time was well invested in the activities I was doing, but I did not have a good source of stress relief nor did I have an activity that was just for me and my own satisfaction (apart from Netflix).

And that’s why I am back at it. I am planning on taking things a little more serious that I did a couple of years ago. Now it’s not for a grade, now it’s for me. And kind of for you, because I like you, and I’m glad that you like the blog.

What You Learn By Documentation

Documentation probably makes you think of maintaining boring records of sales and profits over the year or writing down what happened in your physics lab. It’s not an inherently bad word, but it does have some negative connotations for most people. As I have been blogging I take a lot of pictures of my food, whether I intend on actually sharing them or not. Because I have so many pictures of the food I cook, I have a lot of visual reminders of what I made several months back. I also would like to think that my pictures have improved.

Here are some examples.

I have become more comfortable with the camera and the settings to use if I want a really nice picture. I know that I should always shoot in as much natural light as I can manage, but that was really challenging over the winter when we had light for only a couple of hours after school got out. I have developed habits of presentation, and I always use the brown and tan plates to serve my food. It’s funny because we have other plates, but I don’t use them. These are just three examples, but really, look at any of my other posts, these are the only plates that I use.

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fish and chips

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Another thing that you notice when you can actually look back on all of your adventures via pictures, is how well you were able to cook things. You can’t taste the food through the pictures, but the pictures help you remember. Also the pictures do show some technique, like knife skills. I wasn’t terrible last fall, but I can now chop onion like there’s not tomorrow. And the pieces are more uniform. this applies to baking, as well. I have mentioned in a couple of my posts about chocolate chip cookies that they don’t always turn out the same, and we can see that this is true.

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Cookies

Finally, it’s fun to see the habits that I have formed as I have been cooking and taking pictures, like with the plates, or the way that I cut food in half to show the inside, it’s always at the same angle…

finished toad in the hole

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… Well kind of.

I’ve thinking a lot about how things have changed since September even thought it hasn’t been that long. I have over 8 gb of pictures of food from just this school year, and the newer they are, the better they look. But still, it’s a ton of pictures and even though there are not any people or cats in those pictures, they are full of memories, like the Lego cake or the Christmas cookies I shared with my Sunday school class.

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Good times, good food, good pictures, great lessons learned.

Why Blogs are the Future

As I have been cooking and following recipes more this year than ever before, I have realized something.

Cookbooks are going to die.

Not like all of a sudden they will all simultaneously combust or something, but rather over time the internet will be the main source of recipes. The videos and pictures that can be found online cover so much more of the process than you find in any cookbook (other than those published by food bloggers like Ree). You can follow along step by step with the pictures on your laptop next to your stove, or even on your smart phone or tablet.

Techniques that people regularly struggle with are also addressed on blogs and other cooking websites. If there isn’t a specific post about how to pit an avocado, they’ll tell you how to do it in their post about guacamole. Also, these people have made mistakes while pitting avocados and will tell you what you really need to make sure that you avoid while you do it yourself.

These writers or bloggers have already made mistakes with the recipes that they are posting, and they have done their best to fix these problems. You can trust these recipes that they post, they have made them and you see the pictures of them. If they don’t like how it turned out, either they won’t post it or they will tell you about it in their post. Trust me, I’m one of them. Comments are also really good in this aspect, too. If someone made this recipe on their own and it turned out like a hockey puck and it was meant to be soup, they’ll say so and probably say why it was so awful (these people may be terrible at cooking, but hey, if they took their time to comment, you should probably at least think about it). I really think this is one of the biggest pros of food blogging because I can trust a recipe I pull off of The Brown Eyed Baker’s blog and make it and know that it will turn out because she knows what she’s doing and her cupcakes always turn out.

Finally, the number of food blogs and websites that are out there are too numerous to count. And they are almost all free to anyone on the web. A few do cost, and it does cost money to have internet access, but you don’t have to buy a whole cookbook for that one ethnic meal you really want to try, but you probably won’t ever make anything else from the book.

Maybe it’s my generation, we think the internet is the entire future, but with all the information out there, it probably is. Blogs are important, especially with food. We can learn so much so quickly and teach ourselves to love food while not stressing. Everything is on our own time, and we can reach whatever level of skill we want depending on how much reading and learning we are willing to do.

Go forth, support other food bloggers, and enjoy the new-found love of food because of the internet.