I sit here and can’t believe that it’s the middle of January! Where did the time go — wasn’t it just Christmas?! But that’s the problem now — the relative pace of life. It’s too goddamn quick. If you follow Instagram, everyone is rushing to post seasonal content, rushing to be the next big thing, rushing, rushing…rushing. I feel like that sometimes — I used to rush to complete posts. Now I’m posting when I have something to say.
Recently I read something really intriguing on Hummingbird High — Michelle wrote a really wonderful blogiversary post reflecting on the past 5 years of her blog. Just like Emma posted a few days ago on My Darling Lemon Thyme, Michelle was feeling like the pressures and demands of the food blogging industry or just the deterioration of the blog community itself were wrecking her love and joy of blogging. But she optimistically points to an alternative — the slow-blogging movement (link to the NYT article by Sharon Otterman here). Now I can’t speak to how this blogging community used to be like but I think what Emma said feels true — And unlike 6 years ago when I could count the NZ/Australian food bloggers on two hands, there’s now a million and one bloggers all sharing recipes/screaming from the rooftops to be heard/seen/noticed. Ugh. Being part of this newer cohort of bloggers I don’t want to be negatively effecting this community. I’ve noticed that so many people have disengaged from really enjoying the great content on the internet. Being a serial liker, I’m sometimes guilty of clicking on that heart whilst I scroll through IG at an alarming rate. But it’s important to engage with each other — read the whole blog entry and try a recipe or just make a thoughtful comment on an IG post. If this blogging community is going to last and thrive it’s not going to be about who can develop the next banana bread recipe or find a gazillion followers by manipulating the system but it’s going to be about nurturing the non-recipe developers (home cooks!!). I think the ultimate goal is to have more people cooking at home, eating less processed stuff (Don’t eat anything made at a plant! — Michael Pollan is right!) and connecting to each other through the simple art of eating lovingly prepared food. The community already has so many “recipe developers” but those beautiful and carefully crafted cookbooks that keep getting published need to more than just shelf or coffee table decoration.
On a personal level I started Shipshape Eatworthy because I just needed something outside my life at home (I’m a SAHM) that was mine. I have an extreme passion for all things culinary that I wanted to chronicle somewhere. With each review I hope to inspire people to get into their kitchens and try something. I find that lately I’m really lamenting the loss of skills and information. Afraid to preserve anything for fear of botulatizing my household, I know there was a time when my grandmothers preserved as just part of their regular kitchen routine. When did this skill set atrophy and die? I won’t blame the interim generation too much because the seduction of convenience eating was pretty great. There’s a whole industry to “help”us not to have to be in that pesky old kitchen. We’re living in a great age though — people (activists really) like Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, and Alice Waters have been influencing and changing the way we see food. Even if you’re reading this and you don’t recognize their names know that their influence has made it to your grocery store and table without you realizing it.
Thinking about modern life (in general) I can’t help but think of the Arcade Fire song We Used to Wait. It’s about how quickly technology has changed the ways in which we communicate (no more writing, no letters). They encourage the listener to regain those skills, Like a patient on a table/ I wanna walk again/ Gonna move through the pain. Well, friends, if we want to get the lost culinary skills back it’ll be tough but it will start with one dish. You choose. Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like. Just make it and trust me, it’ll taste like a million and make you feel fantastic.
This is where the flashback comes in. On this blog I’ve reviewed some really fantastic cookbooks, so on (some) Fridays I’m going to give a little intro about my “highlight cookbook” and maybe it’ll inspire. It’s up to you.
If you’ve stuck with me this far, I’m going to prevail upon your patient nature, dear reader, a little more. Today’s selection is a Beard Award-winning gem from 2014 — At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin. As you’ll read in my review, it’s a great cookbook because she outlines important things such as kitchen tools, pantry staples, and some techniques. Speaking from experience, I totally relied on her instructions on how to make Kimchi. I did it and didn’t end up killing myself or my family. Bonus. She has a great range of recipes from simple to complex but now matter what you start with the end results will be spectacular. If, like everyone else I talk to, the low (Canadian) dollar and the high cost of cookbooks has you down you have two options: 1) visit her site or 2) check out your public library. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if you’re willing, you’ll find your way.
Hope you enjoy my review! Click HERE to read it!
PS Happy weekend everyone!