Friday, February 10, 2012

What it feels like to be one year old

One year ago today, I started writing The Voluptuous Table.  It would be an understatement to say that it's been a lot of fun.  I've been in both the most creative place and the most joyous place in my life that I can ever remember being in.

During the past year, I've learned a lot about blogging (that's not over yet), I've learned a lot about cooking (that's not over yet), I've learned a lot about writing about cooking (that's not over yet) and I'm starting to learn a lot about food photography (that's just begun).  I still have a lot of fear and trepidation about taking photos and posting them on the blog.  Lighting?  Angle?  Underexposed?  Overexposed?  Background?  Foreground?  You get the, ah, picture.

What's wrong with this picture?
I have a lot of people to thank for helping me get to be the ripe old age of one.  First of all, I deeply appreciate my readers.  Without them, there would have been no reason to dedicate so much time and intensity to cooking and writing.  It's been like having my own little fan club.  So thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have no idea what it's like to hear from your readers that you have changed the way they eat, the way they look at food and the kinds of food they now choose to feed their families.  That is most gratifying.

I also want to thank my wine guys at Spec's, one of which took off for Napa last fall and is now a successful permanent staff member at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery.  Mr. "I'd Rather Be Making Wine in California" first knocked my socks off with his extraordinary palate and preferences in wine, then he knocked his future employer's socks off as a temporary harvest worker.  Then he was offered a position created just for him with his own office and fabulous other perks.  We all knew he would succeed and are terribly happy for him now that he is finally in his element, but we miss him sorely.  I'm glad that he's still available to talk with me on the phone into the wee hours about food and wine.

My remaining wine guy, tied to Texas and to his extended family, continues to be a great source of information, humor and inspiration.  He writes a wonderful weekly column for his customers and has been instrumental in helping me launch The Voluptuous Table as a virtual entity.  I'm grateful for his on-the-spot advice and cheerful help with just about any idea I throw his way.  We've discussed many menus together, cooked and shared meals together, but have not tasted not nearly enough wine.  I look forward to that and think of it as my "ongoing research."

I am thankful for my blog consultant, who unfailingly gives me good advice (like "you should add pictures to break up your writing a bit") and great suggestions as to how to improve format, traffic and all things digital.  He's been wonderfully supportive and a great resource.  Since I'm practically a neo-Luddite, I think it's a near-miracle that he's been able to break through my resistance about how I think writing should be and to nudge me into the 21st century.

Can you find the lentil in this picture?

I especially want to thank my closest friends and family, who (mostly eagerly and expectantly) were the guinea pigs in my many in vivo experiments and who consistently supported me and gave me honest feedback.  And I owe an incredible debt of gratitude to my husband.  Without his love, support and encouragement, I don't think the blog, or anything relating to the The Voluptuous Table, would have been so successful.  And without his creative labor, I literally would not have a Voluptuous Table for my guests to gather around.  Thanks, honey, for all you do for me and especially for those times you put up with my "less-than-one-hour-before-guests-arrive-and-I'm-in-the-weeds" meltdowns.

Finally, I want to mention my dear friend, TXMama, who left us very suddenly at the end of last year.  My friendship with her was initiated by our mutual love of food and centered around food and cooking.  We did a lot of that together for many years.  She was a strong supporter of my blog when I first started writing and told me that she experienced a lot of joy in hearing about all things Voluptuous Table even though her health prohibited her from all her formerly favorite activities.  Although she can no longer join me in the kitchen as she had many times, she remains with me in spirit.  I'm convinced that her guardian angel status now protects me from cutting and burning myself, because I haven't done that very much since she went to that Great Dream Kitchen in the Sky where I am sure that she is at least sous chef to St. Peter.

So happy birthday, Voluptuous Table!  May your tastebuds keep dancing!

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