Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've Missed You

Before I say anything else, I have to say one thing: I've missed you. And by you, I mean all of my readers and also the space that this blog occupies in my brain. Does that make sense? Let me explain. I started The Daily Dietribe as a mental respite, a creative play space for when I was feeling drained in other areas. While it has become so much more than the online journal it originally began as, it is still in many ways a place for me to come and rest. Despite having more readers now than just my mom, there is still something wonderfully "anonymous" about writing a blog. While you may know who I am, may in fact be friends with me on Facebook (or might be a good friend or relative), I can still pretend that I'm writing these words into a great abyss. Thoughts magically leap out of my brain and onto the computer screen, a button is clicked and something called a post is published. Simple. Yet there is so much power in that little orange button that says, "publish post." With the click of a button, I can choose to share my thoughts with the world or erase them from your eyes. I have the ability to write the truth of my life or to sugarcoat it and top it with a pretty bow.

Although really, the truth of my life is quite wonderful. I don't need a lot of sugar to coat my stories. They're actually very sweet as they are, even the sticky and somewhat salty ones. The story that has been weaving its way into my tapestry these days has perhaps been more salty than sweet. But I've been experimenting with sucanat, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, honey and stevia, and I think I'm learning the balance of flavors. It's a lesson I've learned over and over again, when a loaf of bread is baked too long and the crust becomes dark and bitter. When an apple crisp turns to mush and begins to boil over in the baking dish. There is a balance - in life, in baking, in blogging. I'm learning it. Again. I'll probably be learning it again a year from now. Hopefully I'll get a bit wiser each time.


Here's what I've learned in the past few months about writing a cookbook, about blogging, and about life:
  1. Writing a cookbook is not easy. Anyone who says differently is selling something. 
  2. Gaining weight is inevitable when writing a cookbook. Again, anyone who says differently is selling something. Probably their cookbook. 
  3. No matter how healthy your baked goods are, there is nothing healthy about eating (ahem...taste testing) three or four muffins a day. I might say differently when my cookbook comes out and I'm trying to sell it. 
  4. You can't please everyone. If three people test a recipe, one of them will say it has too much salt, one will say not enough salt, and one will say it has just the right amount. If you're lucky, all of the testers will agree on one point. But that rarely happens.
  5. Sometimes someone will tell you they threw your food into the trash because it was so bad. Then someone else will send you feedback that they loved the very same recipe. This is when it's time to take a break and go for a walk. 
  6. Recipe testers are amazing. Without their feedback (even especially the negative feedback), I would never know what direction to go in or when to cut out half of the oil in my recipes. 
  7. There will be days when everything you bake turns out bad. This is another sign that it's time to take a break and go for a walk.
  8. There is nothing like the pride of making a recipe and knowing it will be a hit. These recipes are few and far between, but they make all the tweaking and retesting worth it. 
  9. Writing a cookbook is exhausting and time consuming - and one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
  10. There's a good chance I'll want to write another cookbook after this one. There's an even better chance my friends and family will disown me if I do so.
And now for non-cookbook lessons: 
  1. A life without yoga is no life. At least not for me.
  2. My health is non-negotiable. I learned this from Christine Kane. Regardless, I continue to try to negotiate.
  3. The bestest of friends can be made through the internet, but there's still nothing like sitting at the table with a girlfriend and a glass of wine and talking into the dark of the night. 
  4. Wine is high in amines and will likely give me a headache. Every once in a while I decide to ignore that fact. Same goes for chocolate. 
  5. Saying goodbye to canine friends can be just as hard as saying goodbye to two-legged friends. Sometimes harder. 
  6. The grass will always be greener on the other side, and if you camp out in a tent for the week, the grass under it will turn yellow. Then the grass is really greener on the other side. I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make here.
  7. If you take a break from life, life will just go on without you. So will your friends. Daily mini-breaks are probably a better idea than one giant break.
  8. Some friends will always be there, no matter how much of a basket case you are. 
  9. Your sisters will always be there. No matter how grumpy you are. 
  10. Your mom will always be there and she'll be grumpy with you if it will make you feel better.
  11. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Unless you're on a low-amine diet, in which case you should probably trade them in for limes.
  12. As I'm sure you all know, appearances can be deceiving. Case in point? That strawberry muffin looked really pretty. It tasted like mush. Don't judge a muffin by its appearance and don't judge yourself by what you see in the mirror on a bad day. In fact, just stay away from all mirrors if you're having a bad day. 
I'm not sure what the purpose of this post was. Partly to let you know I'm still here and I have recipes to share once I find the time to retest them. Partly to let you know, in some strange way, the thoughts that have been swirling through my monkey brain. And partly for myself, just to let that monkey swing through the branches of my brain and peer into the fascinating jungle that is The Daily Dietribe.


The Gluten-free 'Dish' said...

you are so cute! I'm glad you published this one. It made me smile.
I had missed you and wondered how you were doing.
I've been trying to gain weight for 10 years so maybe I should write a cookbook! LOL!
Wishing you health and inspiration to hang in there to the finish. It will be great!

Iris said...

Debbie, how about this? You come live with me and eat everything I make. You'll gain weight, I'll get the cookbook, and we'll both be happy!

Just Call Me Zippy said...

I can't wait for the cookbook. I'll be more than happy to buy a bottle of wine and raise a glass in celebration. Maybe some chocolate, too.;)

Gluten Free and Loving It said...

You made me smile and even chuckle a little. Thank you. I really needed the reminder about not everyone liking the same recipes.

Livelydirt said...

I really liked this post. Great advice:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for so many moments. Your words have been inspirational and informative. Like so many people I am so glad to have found you. Keep up the good good work!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Oh, Iris, have I told you lately that I love you?! Seriously. I adore you, your blatant honesty, and your humor. I've never written a cookbook, but I can still identify with much of what you are saying. I think support group members are a little bit like recipe testers ... one says the meetings need to start earlier, another says the meetings need to start later, most say the meetings are at the perfect time, and so on and on. I usually take a walk when I get some of those email pleas. ;-) Thanks for this post, Iris. Loved it! I'm sure the cookbook will be phenomenal. Glad you have all kinds of "support staff" to get you through! Oh and you're right on that muffin ... it looks amazing.


eva @5fruitsNveggies said...

hello there! i am new to your blog...i subscribe to tons of good food a result, i only have time to scan the entries...i read yours ; ) today...and i appreciate that honesty in writing that cookbook--in fact i can extrapolate your experience into other examples of my life....then comes the part where your health is 'non-negotiable'---thank you for saying this....last night i got into a tiff w/my normally supportive husband who said the house is a wreck....but i told him, i don't have much time to clean (kids are still home from school) and i told him that my health, exercise, and our homemade vegan meals and green smoothies are non-negotiable...and sorry that everything else is secondary...thanks for your blog today--very timely : )

Iris said...

Thank you all! Your support means the world!

Shirley, you know I love you too. :)

Eva, I'm glad you found it helpful, and I agree: your health, exercise, and making delicious healthy meals for your family are more important than keeping the house clean!

The Gluten-free 'Dish' said...

LOL! Iris I just saw your comment! I think it would be a great idea to come live with you and eat all your food! Can my 2 boys and hubby come too? hehe!

Iris said...

Of course! I need more taste testers. ;)

Farty Girl said...

Idk... I think that if one tester loves it and another hates it, you are right where you need to be! :-) That's a victory walk! :-)

Linda said...

Loved reading that post. I can imagine how much work it must be to write a cookbook. Keep up the great work!


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