There are times in every writer’s career when they find themselves asking if what they do is really worth it. If all the time spent crafting words into something eloquent actually makes a difference. At those times the writer doubts himself, perhaps even thinks that a “regular” day job is the answer. And yes, food bloggers are writers, too.
Day by day we put ourselves out there. Sometimes the post we are certain everyone will notice isn’t noticed at all. The post we were sure nobody would notice goes viral. We’re never sure what’s going to be a hit. In food, it’s anybody’s guess.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone notices. If what I’m doing is worth it. If simply writing about recipes can really make a difference.
Apparently, it has.
I opened my email the other day and, among the normal work-related influx sat a note from a reader. One that inspired me and filled me witha great amount of happiness. An email from a man named Daniel, who singlehandedly (OK, he probably typed it with both hands) snapped me out of a bout of self-doubt and reminded me exactly why I do what I do.
I write this blog to empower people. To encourage cooks to try new things. In the process, I have learned a lot as well. I owe all of you my gratitude for sharing a moment of your day with me here. You are all very much appreciated.
Daniel has given me permission to share his message as inspiration for any home cook that feels a little uneasy about straying from a recipe. I hope that his success helps you to find yours.
Good evening, Jerry!
I just wanted to drop a line and thank you. A few years ago, I emailed
you about your sausage stew recipe. I was a little sheepish at the
fact that I, due to circumstances, I had to alter it a little bit.
The message I got back was one I won’t forget. Rather than brush it
off or even tell me that’s not right, you enlightened me to how that’s
what’s supposed to happen when it comes to cooking… Don’t follow
rules if you don’t have to, and never be afraid to experiment. Sure
it’ll probably go wrong on a few occasions, but that’s called
Although it is still on the stove as I write this, I had to tell you
that I went full-blown SOMP today. I took your chicken and chorizo
soup recipe, put it in the blender with a Rachel Ray recipe of the
same ilk, and added to it the fact that I don’t boil my whole
chickens, I oven roast them first. I put these on “puree” and went to
town at my stove today. Although slightly concerned about how this
Frankenstein marriage will work, the liberation you gave me to say
“Eh, OK, that’s not gonna work for me today, so I am going to go off
the board with this/that/the other, and add a little something of my
own.” is something I had to thank you for. My local market doesn’t
have yellow squash yet, and I thought of your words as I grabbed a
zucchini and said, hey, this will probably be OK. Oh, and I didn’t get
chorizo; I had a couple of Johnsonville Farms Cajun Sausage in the
freezer, and went with those instead….
Too much of cooking is robotic or regimented, and there needs to be
that freedom to use recipes as an inspiration or base, and not the
hard and fast rule of what you must do…
Thanks again for helping me to shake the shackles of kitchen rules,
Jerry, I owe it all to you!
Thanks Dan. I’m glad that I could help. but mostly, thank you for reminding me why this blog is here. It’s far too easy to let the day-to-day distract from what is truly important, and that is to help people reach outside the boundaries of a recipe to cook something that is truly their own. We are honored and humbled. Cooking by the seat of our pants will carry on doing just that.
Because of wonderful people like you.
That’s really awesome! I love ad libbing in recipes, and I love cooks and food bloggers who see the creativity in it! :)