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:
- Writing a cookbook is not easy. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
- Gaining weight is inevitable when writing a cookbook. Again, anyone who says differently is selling something. Probably their cookbook.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Recipe testers are amazing. Without their feedback (
evenespecially the negative feedback), I would never know what direction to go in or when to cut out half of the oil in my recipes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Writing a cookbook is exhausting and time consuming - and one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
- 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.
- A life without yoga is no life. At least not for me.
- My health is non-negotiable. I learned this from Christine Kane. Regardless, I continue to try to negotiate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Saying goodbye to canine friends can be just as hard as saying goodbye to two-legged friends. Sometimes harder.
- 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.
- 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.
- Some friends will always be there, no matter how much of a basket case you are.
- Your sisters will always be there. No matter how grumpy you are.
- Your mom will always be there and she'll be grumpy with you if it will make you feel better.
- 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.
- 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.