When I started this blog, oh not so long ago, I had only a fuzzy idea of what I wanted it to be. I was taking a course on Food & Travel Writing at the same university where I completed my master’s. Our teacher, Don Genova, suggested that blogging was a good way to compile a portfolio to show editors. I had heard of blogs but had never looked at one. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon The Amateur Gourmet while doing a search on Ina Garten did it even occur to me that people blogged about food. I looked at the links on Adam’s blog and discovered some other really great blogs. I also discovered that actually thousands of people blog about food. I found this both encouraging and disheartening. Did I dare add my voice to the cacophony? Did I have anything to say that anyone would want to read? Not just that, but I also realized that photography is a component of a successful blog–we like the eye candy. Photography was not something I had much interest in. I’ve always been drawn to the linguisitic over the visual. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even have a digital camera today had my brother not bought me one last year, for my birthday.
I have been writing for a long time but I am a fiction writer. Writing fiction is a completely different animal. It will always be my first love…yet, there have been clues…that writing about food is also something I should be doing. Members of my writer’s group complained that there were too many descriptions of food in my prose. Menus got recited all over the place, characters were irrelevantly concerned about what they were eating. Food was always present in my stories but it was never connected to anything.
When the downturn in the economy left me with more time on my hands, I decided to do something about this food writing thing. I signed up for Don’s class and started putting paper to pen. I didn’t know if I could make a go of it, but I knew I had to try.
I started this blog to put into practice what I learned in the class, albeit in a more casual and personal way. I didn’t think I could do it. I know very little about computers, even less about photography, but somehow I’m finding my way. I’ve learned a lot in a short time, and that really excites me. Even the photography has been a fun challenge and I find my interest in it blooming. I love learning something new. Learning and growing as a person are more important to me than most things in life. I never want to be stagnant.
Some of the blogs out there are so fantastic that it’s intimidating. I know I can’t compete with them, but I do hope to find a small community to hear my voice. I think that’s what all bloggers want, but at the end of the day I think blogging is about sharing. It’s why we’re all here.
So in that spirit I leave you with a recipe for one of my favourite desserts, French Chocolate Mousse, adapted from the pages of America’s cooking Bible, The Joy of Cooking. Before I started this blog I rarely ate dessert. Making sweet at home made no sense; I had no one to make them for and eating them myself seemed was certain to lead to weight gain. I’ve discovered baking to be the most fun, and when I reach for a recipe for these days it’s often for something sweet.
French Chocolate Mousse
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 ounces grated good-quality chocolate
4 egg yolks, beated
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1) Scald 2 cups milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Add a little bit of these ingredients to the egg yolks with a whisk to temper. Stir the egg mixture into the rest of the milk.
2) Stir until the custard thickens slightly. Do not overcook. Strain into another saucepan. Cool by placing the saucepan in cold water and then into the fridge.
3) In a separate bowl whip the whipping cream until stiff. Add the vanilla.
4) Fold the cold custard into the whipping cream until well blended. Fill custard cups or champane glasses with the mousse. Chil thoroughly before serving.