We’re All Winners! (Project Food Blog Challenge #1)

When I started this blog six months ago, I was armed with nothing more than an overwhelming desire to join a community of food lovers who seemed to have so much fun sharing their recipes, food experiences and connecting with one another.  I’ve mentioned before that I had no writing, photography or technical skills to support the urge to join this ever-growing group.  But like a new kid at the playground, I jumped right in and was warmly welcomed by all.  These last few months have challenged my web abilities and photography skills–just to name two–but one overall theme has been at the core of each post, each twist and turn on this road I’ve taken:  IT’S BEEN FUN!

PFB Logo


So in the same vein, I entered Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog contest to have fun. In doing so, I’ve been forced to examine (in a good way) the reasons behind starting  Lemons and Anchovies.  The process of discovery has been fruitful, but fun factor aside, what makes me think I can successfully meet the requirements of this first challenge?  How will I define what sets me apart from others and show everyone that I “have what it takes to be the next food blog star”? The Foodbuzz community has introduced me to many talented food bloggers (my friends) many of whom have demonstrated excellence in all aspects of food blogging.  What of this?  Certainly, I am relieved not to be a judge.  You, dear readers, share this task with the Foodbuzz judges.  My responsibility for this challenge is to give you the heart of Lemons and Anchovies, to share what drives each and every post.

Reason #1:  For the Memories

My blog has been a satisfying outlet for expressing my passion for food.  I had a late start with cooking but my appreciation for the taste, smell, sight, sound, and touch of food has been a lifelong treat for my senses.  Frankly, I think eating is a special occasion three-or more-times a day.  Since my parents and grandparents strongly encouraged eating together at the table, I grew up regarding food as much more than just fuel for my body.  Food embodies the meaning of family–being together, bonding, connecting.  I was raised on heart-warming food like this…

…and ate it with gusto, not realizing that the grown-up me would, years later, learn to appreciate a simple stew not only for its wonderful flavor but mainly for the comfort, the memories and the love each bite would represent.

Reason #2:  For the Education

In addition to sharing my fondness for the food I grew up with, Lemons and Anchovies is also becoming a catalogue for “new” dishes that I’ve learned to make and have made my own.  Through trial and error, inspiration, experimentation, tweaks here and there, these recipes now bear my stamp and I share them with much pride.

There are also recipes that need little to no adjustments and I get all the credit when I serve them!

I have mountains of recipes yet to try and this food blog is a wonderful reason to keep busy in the kitchen, experimenting with new ingredients , tools, techniques.  I have set goals for myself–some that I’ve started to tackle like ice-cream/sorbet making…

…but many others like making my own fresh pasta and French macarons are still on my to-do list.  My taste buds will be happy with the new creations, I’m sure, and hopefully, you will never run out of new posts to read.

Reason #3:  It’s a Small World

Finally, in an attempt to define what Lemons and Anchovies stands for, I originally planned to frame this post around travel–another interest–and how it fuels my food love.  Before leaving home for vacation two weeks ago, I prepared a pasta dish, Spaghetti con Bottarga, convinced that it would best sum up what I’ve set out to do.  Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat (as evidenced by the many recipes I’ve posted here) while the use of bottarga (fish roe) combines my enjoyment of travel and discovering new ingredients along the way (I first encountered this dish while visiting Sardinia).

However, something quite fortuitous happened.  As I switched my mind to vacation mode on the plane, I came across this 19th century quote in my Paris guidebook:

“The only cooks in the civilized world are French…other[s] have different interpretations of food. Only the French understand cuisine…who has ever seen a foreigner succeed in making a white sauce?” – Nestor Roqueplan

When I read this I wanted to raise my hand and say, “I’ve successfully made béchamel and I’m not French!”  This quote struck a chord with me.  The world we live in today is much different than 150 years ago, and the food enthusiast in me appreciates it.  Access to exotic ingredients, technology allowing me to watch a video on how to make an authentic Spaghetti Carbonara on YouTube, and yes, reading other bloggers’ posts from around the world are just three ways that cultural boundaries in food are being blurred in a very good way.  The food of my childhood was centered on Asian cuisine but today, I, like many home cooks, can enjoy a proper Italian, French, Moroccan or even an African dish at home simply because I have the resources to pair with my drive to create them.  This is what excites me about food–there are no longer any limits to creativity!

In many home kitchens today, gastronomic excellence is being achieved.  No longer does one culture or a Michelin restaurant own the license to refined food.  I have come across many food bloggers who are proving this statement wrong everyday and through this blog I also strive to be an example.  It all goes back to fun–we’re having lots of fun writing about food and in my opinion this makes us all winners.

BUT… if at the end of the day you find yourself in Paris, it would be silly to deny you’re a fan of one of their best creations!




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  1. Your photos looks just as beautiful as usual! This was a great post! And you’re totally right, we’re all winners..there’s just going to be one of us who comes out of it with $10000 🙂

  2. Well said! I’m even more impressed that you are doing this during your vacay!

  3. Beautiful post! Looking forward to following you thru this! Good luck!

  4. I so enjoy your writing and stories and recipes! I find myself sharing the reasons you do for starting a blog- it has been a tremendous motivator in learning new recipes for me. And Laduree- mmm, I’d move to Paris just for that.

  5. What a great post! I love the entries that are sincere and fun, too.

  6. Very well written post. Best of luck with the competition!

  7. Love the pics! I’m really enjoying reading all the entries! Good Luck!

  8. I feel honored to have watched your blog grow from the beginning, and to me, you’re already a winner. Beautifully written, Jean, you’ve captured the reasons why so many of us do what we do, each and every day! I’ll be rooting for you!!!

    • Awww, thanks, Liren! It amazes me everyday how much enjoyment food blogging brings and I’m sure it’s the same for you. I’ll be cheering you on, too, as you advance from challenge to challenge. 🙂

  9. Incredible post!

    Very well written and frankly, I am surprised to see how many of these blogs for PFB are still quite young (less than 1 year old). I admire the ambition and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors in cooking, food blogging, and with PFB.

  10. Only six months back??!! Really?! I would not have thought that at all!! Lovely post, Jean!!! Good Luck, girl!

  11. It’s amazing what food blogging has done… it definitely is a smaller world! Smaller in a good way, a way where we can share so many things about something we all love — food! Safe travels to you and best of luck with PFB! Looking forward to reading your posts.

  12. Wonderful post…and I LOVE your photography! Very captivating.

  13. Great post Jean, inspirational with strong punctuations of yummy-ness:) Your trip sounds amazing, I just checked out your twitters, I love the south of France! Continued safe trip, look forward to your pictures and tales of adventure from La France!

  14. Love the post! I whole heartedly agree with you, there are so many winners in the competition! The best part for me has been meeting and getting to know some of the bloggers I’ve been reading better! Good Luck!

  15. Great post, Jean. I love your sensibility and outlook on food. So glad to to have found your blog; I feel like we’re incoming classmates at that new playground!

  16. Beautiful post! Good luck!

  17. Lovely post! Good Luck!! And have fun on your vacay!

  18. Good luck with all the challenges! I enjoyed learning more about you!

  19. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been at this for SIX MONTHS! You’re a pro and you’re gonna take this thing all the way. Just look at the passion oozing out of this post! Good luck!

  20. Love it! It’s so much fun reading everyone’s motivations for blogging. I can’t wait to see more Paris pictures so I can live vicariously through your fabulous adventures!

    • Gosh, I’ll have so many pictures to look over and edit. It’s been a fun trip, though. It’s drawing to a close and I’m already missing France. Good luck to you with PFB; I’m sure you’ll do very well. 🙂

  21. I echo everyone’s earlier statements: six months…wow! You have done an amazing job here, and I know you will have fun and success in this competition! Your photographs look lovely, as always, and I appreciate you sharing with us!

  22. couldn’t agree less with you. this is a great post and a real testimonial to why we, albeit with all this hullabaloo on the competition, can be considered winners in our own ways 🙂 thanks for sharing this with us and all the best!

  23. This is quite wonderful, and a great pleasure to read. I completely agree that the world of food has grown far past that quote. Best wishes with the contest, and have fun (most important) and I know you will 🙂
    P.S. We are also 6 months old as of the 13th of this month…

  24. good wishes lovely post

  25. Nice job! I love your photos too. Good luck!

  26. Great post! Hope you are having fun in France! Best of luck to you with the contest. 🙂

  27. You may be new to blogging, but you are super strong. Certainly one to watch. GREG

  28. Are you in Paris right now? I’m so envious…I hope to one day see it too. Please bring back some macarons from Paris! 🙂

    I very much enjoyed your post and how you included your gorgeous food photography into it. It is an amazing time about food and learning more about it now with the foodie communities, technology like the internet and the availability of ingredients that not too long ago were not as accessible. You said it all very well … all my best to you for the FB PFB contest!

  29. Liked your focused post. 🙂 And really must say I’m in awe that u got this done while on vacation!

  30. Has it only been six months since you started blogging? Your photos, writing and recipes are all so inspiring. I glad to have gotten to know more about you. Looking forward to many more yummy recipes to come.

  31. you are absolutely right, we are all winners! If we got nothing else from food buzz, just that it brought us all together is priceless!
    You are an amazing blogger and I love reading your blog and enjoying those incredible images you post…..You will do so well in this competition!
    Good luck in the competition my friend!

  32. Ohh you had me at bottarga, Jean! What a great post and I love your observations about the blurring of boundaries in food. When people ask me what food I like the most, I tend to say “ethnic” but at the same time, feeling ridiculous because what does that word even mean anymore?! Anyway, good luck on PFB! I’m honored to be in PFB with so many amazing bloggers!

  33. Bonne Chance!
    Your photos are exquisite!

  34. Jean, your photos should be in a professional cooking magazine or book! Just tried to vote for your blog, since it is the 2oth here, but it is not open yet…
    You can count on my vote! 🙂 With 400 advancing, I’m thinking you’ll be in that group.

  35. Great post, and you are 100% right in that everyone are winners ! Happy to hear that you enjoyed your Parisian trip.
    bonne chance !

  36. Great post!! Good luck and enjoy the vacation 🙂

  37. I’ve been waiting for your post, and I know I’m not alone. Best of luck and looking forward to the next!

  38. This is a beautifully written post! We’ve voted for you because your love for food really comes through in your writing – not just in this post but others too – and also in the fantastic pics. Good luck.

  39. Jacqueline Lewis says:

    Beautifully done Jean. So so proud of you & what a yummy looking site. I know you will be a winner!!!! Miss you my friend. Lunch when you slow down. Congratulations on your success on doing something you love.

  40. Nice entry. I’m casting one of my votes for you.

  41. priscillawillis says:

    I’ll be in Paris in October! Beautiful sentiments and photos, as usual. Good luck in the competition, but I agree, you’re all winners!

  42. Very lovely post and photos. You have one of my votes. Good luck in the competition.

  43. Beautiful post! I love that quote you found! Too funny! (and French)! I am glad you have found so much joy and happiness here…. me too! – You have my vote – Megan@foodalution.com

  44. I voted!

  45. Tastes Better With Friends says:

    I went to Laduree too and got the evil eye when I tried to take a photo! luckily, they still let me buy their macarons:)
    Voted and good luck!

  46. hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. 🙂 I voted for your blog. hope that helps. feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  47. voted! good luck and enjoy PFB

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