…so naturally I celebrated with peck of peppers.
Sous Chef and I hit the Buford Highway Farmers Market the other day. We were casually searching for inspiration when I walked past a 5-pound bag of mixed peppers in the discount bin. I did one of those schticks where you stop and then walk backwards for the dramatic double-take.
There was no way those peppers weren’t coming home with me. The bag was packed with flavors of every shape, size and color: perhaps jalapeños, bananas, mini sweets, maybe serranos, piquillos, sweet Italians and possibly a few habeneros. Of course I was totally guessing here. The grab-bag method is always a game of Russian roulette and infinitely more exciting than regular shopping. But what was I going to do with all of these peppers?
These little beauties were slightly imperfect but fiery, sweet, perky, vibrant and nowhere near past prime. They were simply mature with the confidence to do their own thing and be the peppers they were meant to be. And I could tell they were all a little bit over it. Just like me. Having made this super-capsicum connection, I tethered myself to my mystery peppers and
Standing in line with my bag bursting with about 75 peppers, I remembered those revolting green bells I wrote about last February. And then there was March’s Shakshuka, loaded with long, Italian sweeties and April’s jalapeño poppers à la Sous Chef. It made me realize two things – I really do love peppers and after 6 months of writing this blog I’ve actually managed to not quit.
On December 10, 2021 I wrote my first public blog post:
Admittedly, it took me nearly another month to gin up enough courage to hit “publish,” but on that day I wrote with the intent to share, a major leap forward. Without knowing it, I’d been practicing for over a year with an audience of one. It had been firmly suggested that it was time to put myself out there, but it still took me a few more weeks – actually, three weeks and an awful lot of eggnog.
Writing became came more habitual after that, and my little project soon fell into a chicken-or-the-egg pattern. At first I blogged about what I recently cooked, so I could simply recount the week’s kitchen adventures and mix in some observations and a few stories. It was purely reflective and just fell together as an easy, familiar exercise in creativity.
But then there were times when I had to cook for the blog. If I felt less inspired, I’d have to be a bit more disciplined – create a schedule, do the work in the kitchen, research intently and really focus like it was a job. That often meant I had to actively seek out an idea or theme and then conjure an appropriate recipe. The whole post would be up in the air until I the ah-ha moment I would announce: “THAT’S what I’m writing about!” While it felt like a choir of angels rejoicing in my house, it was more likely sighs of relief and a little eye rolling. Man and cat alike tended to lay low during PBS (pre-blog syndrome.)
My blog is food-ish for a reason. Maybe I just want to tell my stories or share my silly thoughts, and food is the universal cover – I can safely hide my musings and memories behind it. And while eating is a basic human necessity shared across all cultures, cooking and dining help define those cultures. They inform the character and personality of geography and that’s why I get excited about food.
Part diary, part confessional and part road map, maybe the blog is simply for my own enjoyment. But I’d like to think my grandchildren will read this craziness one day and realize, “so that’s where it comes from!” I sure hope I’m around to demonstrate – nature and nurture are equally awesome that way.