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!
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!