Sarah, a real-life friend of many years, attended a dinner party a few weeks ago, where she complimented the host on one of the dishes served. The host offered to share the recipe, and when Sarah arrived home, she found it in her inbox. She burst out laughing, because the recipe was one from The Perfect Pantry! It made my day when she told me the story.
Recently, Susan, a long-time reader of the blog, emailed: "We came back from a delicious trip to Philadelphia searching for these beans. We had them in a Burmese restaurant, first in a salad with veg, then in a rice and bean dish, like a khichidi. Have you had Burmese food?" (I have, but not often, and I've never seen these white beans. I love learning something new.)
Mary offered me her new recipe for gluten-free dough for grilled pizza. I'll share that with you soon.
A wonderful community has grown up around The Perfect Pantry. I realize it's become part of your life, as it has become part of my life over the past eight years. In some ways, those years have flown by. In other ways, not so much. The life of a food blogger isn't what it used to be.
When I penned my first post, about the garlic chicken on skewers recipe that started my food writing career, and the allspice -- right at the top of my alphabetical list of pantry ingredients -- that's fundamental to the chicken recipe, I didn't know anything about, well, anything. I knew how to cook, how to teach, and how to write, and I thought that if I just figured out how to put it on the internet, that would be enough.
Eight years later, my daily vocabulary includes these words: webmaster, social media, archives, rich pins, round-up, monetization, search engine optimization, analytics, Photoshop, platform, algorithm. I spend more time on all of those aspects of blogging than I do in the kitchen.
Food blogging in 2014 requires a much broader skill set than it did back in 2006, and as much as I occasionally resent the amount of time I need to spend doing things other than cooking and writing, I know it all creates a more rich and valuable experience for you.
And, really, it's all about you. You motivate me to learn more, create more, take better photographs, and work harder to make my recipes accessible. You inspire me to try new recipes, new foods, and new ways of cooking (hello, pressure cooker that has scared me for my entire life).
I say this every year, because it's true: You are the most important ingredient in The Perfect Pantry. And I'd love to know more about you.
For my (blog) birthday present, I hope you'll take a moment to leave a comment with the answers to these eight questions:
Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
Coffee or tea
Hula hoop or frisbee
Chocolate or vanilla
Slow cooker (CrockPot) or Dutch oven
Cinnamon or cumin
Pizza or hamburger
Chicago or Los Angeles
Me: wooden spoon, coffee (lots of it; do not take my coffee from me), hula hoop, chocolate, slow cooker (a tough choice, because I love my Dutch oven, too), cumin, hamburger, Chicago (a wonderful food town, with great public art).
Thank you, one and all, for spending another year here.
PS: Last year, TW left a comment on my seven-year post asking whether the cauliflower "cake" was a real cauliflower, or a cake made to look like one. Let me head off that speculation for this year: the tomato is just a tomato. I still can't bake.
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