With the new year recently dawned, and my blog now heading into it's 9th month, my thoughts have turned to reviewing my year in food. When I started the blog, the goal was to list plainly and simply what I ate every day, in it's entirety. That idea soon got scrapped when I realised that blogging daily was not a reality and quite frankly, some days, what I ate was very dull. well it may seem that way to others anyway. To me, nothing will pass my lips that I do not love to eat but when I saw it on paper (and by paper, I mean 10 point Roman font), it didn't always seem so blog worthy. I wondered if it's truly a blog if I'm censoring myself, for whatever reason. Was my blog for me, or my readers? Did I have any readers? Were they interested? Why am I doing this blog?
Over the year, it took a little more shape and became an account of successful recipes for the most part, or those with a story attached. As I move into 2011, I was hoping the blog would have carved it's own path like a hot knife through butter but instead it's more like a buffet table where everything individually is okay but there's no real cohesion.
So I've been giving it some serious contemplation and brainstorming with other foodies and have come up with the following thoughts:
1) I want to be a better foodie. That means cooking new recipes and using new techniques. The ultimate goal of this (besides of course, eating fabulous food) is so that I can move from my current foodie type-recipe follower, to the next level-recipe creator. I'd like to be more creative and more experimental with my dishes a la Iron Chef or Top Chef where I can be given random ingredients and create masterpieces. I know this is a lofty goal but I want to work towards it.
2) That leads me to thoughts of the purpose of my blog. One thought was that I set a goal of choosing 1 cookbook per week and cooking entirely from that book (well for dinner and lunch anyways). Breakfast for someone who can't eat eggs or dairy and needs to minimise wheat doesn't leave a lot of options. Maybe that could be my challenge though...come up with some gourmet breakfasts with unconventional ingredients. Another option is to expand on my use (and love affair, let's just tell it how it is) with my slow cooker. Commit to at least 1 use per week. How many things can I make in it? how extreme can I go? will my house burn down? This could potentially kill 2 birds with one stone if I commit to exclusively go sans-recipe also. This could also lead to a lot of wasted food and time....but it would make for some good posts! I think I need to do more cooking with it first, with regard to liquid levels and flavour profiles. So far I've only used it about a dozen times and done mostly savory items.
3) Another idea I had was to start a blog based on reader suggestions. Each week I could request that readers suggest an ingredient (within a specified time range) and then I have to make something containing the ingredients listed which could range from zero to ....well I guess the number of ingredients will tell me how successful the blog is. Do I want to know? Is my blog success dependent on readership? So far, no, it's a success because it inspires me to cook and keeps up my writing skillz. I think it could be fun and it would connect my readers to me more and give me a challenge depending on how crazy the suggestions are. I'd have to give the project a name and maybe make it a spin off blog from 24-7 foodie. Sorta like Iron Chef. Maybe "Pic' n ' Mix"? or some kind of clever acronym that I have not yet had the inspiration to come up with.
4) I want to improve on my foodie pics too. That in itself can change the whole vibe of a blog. I have a very basic point and shoot camera but have several keeners who are willing to help with the food pics. That makes it more fun as I get to feed people too and thus get their feedback.
5) I want to learn more about food by reading more cookbooks and other blogs. I learn more from other people than from my own cooking. I like to read recipe books (and look at the pics of course). Even chopping vegetables differently makes dishes taste different. I'm a texture person in general so I'd like to explore this more.
6)Another idea is to conduct a food experiment each week when I make one theme dish but in different ways. e.g. trying different ways of making guacamole, or comparing different types of salt and how the texture and saltiness impacts a dish. For the Canadian readers, this would be akin to The Shopping Bags product testing. Minus the high maintenance one...she gets on my nerves.
7) Finally, I could focus my blog on eating around my food allergies/intolerances. However, there are occasions that I make something outside of that either for others to eat, or for me to have a small amount of. I can tolerate small amounts of egg and dairy, particularly if they are within something else and with wheat, I'm generally okay as long as I don't have it daily for days on end. So it's not a super strict diet. There's some wiggle room there.
I'd love your thoughts on my blog direction, clearly it has none at this point and it meanders through foodie-ville at 10mph below the speed limit. So all suggestions are welcomed. I'm a good brainstormer as a rule but I need more heads in on the session.