It’s funny how what motivates you changes over time.
Back in 2013, I was a 50 year old burned out artist looking for a new creative outlet. Strangely, that outlet came in the form of cooking. My old oven, which had never really worked, died and I had to buy a ‘new’ old oven to replace it. It occurred to me that I might finally be able to try some baking, but I didn’t have a clue as to where to start. Enter ‘The Daring Kitchen’.
The Daring Kitchen – an international community forum of amateur cooks, now sadly disbanded – required their members to post images of the assigned monthly challenges. So, I started up a free WordPress site and called it ‘The Kiwi Cook’ in order to differentiate myself from the mostly American members. I remember feeling very vulnerable about publicly sharing my culinary outcomes and had absolutely no intention of it being seen by the general public at all.
Over the months I made things I’d never imagined I’d be able to make and ate things I’d never heard of. And, to my surprise, what started out as a mild interest turned into a raging passion. I spent every spare moment reading recipes and learning how to take a half decent photo. Despite my best intentions to keep my blog private, it started gaining followers.
A year after I started the blog, it got ‘freshly pressed’ by WordPress. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but all of a sudden the blog attracted thousands of new views and hundreds of new followers and while it was a heady experience, it was also pretty scary for someone who didn’t like the attention. It also made me question what I was doing with this blog. What was it about, really? The answer to that didn’t make itself known for three years.
As it turns out, food, and more specifically, my relationship to food, is at the heart of this blog.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a tempestuous relationship with food. It’s been a source of emotional comfort, personal self-judgement and physical discomfort. Having to deal with a number of food allergies and sensitivities over the years, I’d judged food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and when I succumbed to ‘bad’ food, I felt guilty. Eating had become mechanical at best and tortuous at worst.
Because The Daring Kitchen had its members make all types of food, from all over the globe, in a way it forced me to sample food I would have previously deprived myself of. It catapulted me out of my own set food boundaries. Even though I eventually left The Daring Kitchen due to time constraints, the lesson by then had been learned. Food no longer slotted into ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s just food. And, without making constant judgments about what I was eating, all the ‘heat’ out of food disappeared.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that I can eat whatever the heck I like without consequences. I’ve had to deal with my fair share of weight and food sensitivity issues. But, I’ve learned how to balance my diet so that I can enjoy the good things in life, while maintaining good health. And, when I over-indulge, I don’t ‘should’ on myself; I simply get back on track at the next meal.
So… what is it you’ll find on this blog?
Well, you won’t find food that’s particularly cutting-edge or experimental. In fact, I’ve been called ‘retro’ by some – yep, I love the good old classics – I reckon you cut your teeth on the classics. And, on that note, you’re not likely to find much in the way of ‘cheat’ dishes either – I’ve made cheat dishes my whole life. These days I like to take things slowly, make my food from scratch – nothing has given me more appreciation for food than in making it from the ingredients up.
What you WILL find on my blog is an honest journey through food – all the way from the virtuous healthy foods that nourish the body, right through to the sinfully decadent delights that feed the soul. I make no apologies for the fact that this blog is all over the map when it comes to food – that’s just how it rolls in my life. Maybe one day I’ll settle down and become a paragon of healthy eating, but for right now it’s all about giving myself permission to explore food freely.
So that’s me… Thanks for taking the time to read about my food journey. I hope my experience connects with you in some way and you feel inspired to go and cook something delicious and share it with the people you’re closest to. After all, that’s what’s so great about cooking, isn’t it…
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz
Susan (AKA The Kiwi Cook)