Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cupcakes and Blogs, with or without a reason

I wish I had more time.

I wish I had more inspiration. I wish that instead of a feeling of helplessness when stumbling upon a new foodblog, I was sure of my own voice in this weird, interactive community. That I felt like I had a place, that what I did was - is - something unique. There are days when I do, and then there are days where I feel like it doesn't matter one bit, because how is what I do different from what all the others do? And if it isn't different, why bother?

I wish I didn't feel like I had to make an excuse everytime I actually do put up a post. I wish it didn't bother me so much to have to type out recipes. This is a food blog - it kind of goes with the concept. I wish I didn't feel like I'm sometimes holding on to something that's already dead.

But in my mind, I'm still writing up posts and I'm still taking pictures. Granted, there are a lot more baby photos taking up space on my memory card these days, but every now and again, there's also a photo of  a roasting tray, full of the most amazing homegrown, differently colored tomatoes, ready for drying. Of perfect light green fresh lima beans, nestled in their cosy pods. Of a pretty cupcake and freshly baked bread.

And I think a lot about food. Still.

I'm afraid I sometimes kill my own posts before I start them, thinking: surely someone must have posted about this before. Then I go check my blog reader, and there they are. Three, four, five posts about the exact subject I was thinking about writing. Darn seasons. And that's only what's in my reader - I imagine there's a lot more out there I never hear or read about.

I wish I knew what it is that makes a good food blog. Actually, no. I wish I could stick to writing the things I think makes for good food blogging. Honest, enthusiastic stories, about food, revolving around food, stories that ends - or starts - with meals, or cakes, or disasters. Stories with humor. And actually, not necessarily stories that ends with recipes. I'll take passion, and warmth and personality over written instructions any day.

I wish I wasn't a follower. Sometimes, I wish I wasn't such a pleaser. Sometimes, I wish I followed my heart, and not my head so much. There are days when my self-editing makes me want to kick me in the butt.

I wish I had more cupcakes. Even though I'm not really sure I like cupcakes. But I make them, again and again, because they're pretty to look at. Because I can. And that's probably not the worst reason to bake. Or blog. Just because.

Vanilla cupcakes with rhubarb compote and cream cheese frosting
Recipe for cupcakes: via Cheryl - THE queen of cupcakes, in my opinion.
Rhubarb compote: cut rhubarb into 3 cm. bits, couple of spoonfuls of sugar poured over and mixed in, baked in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about half and hour. Leave to cool.
Cream cheese frosting: equal parts butter and Philadelphia (or other cream cheese) beaten together; lots and lots of icing sugar beaten in (roughly the same amount as the total amount of butter and Philadelphia)


santos. said...

dear miss zarah, i do hope you continue with the blog and even cupcakes even though *i* don't particular like them either! (cupcakes and blogs, come to think of it.)

increasingly i find that food blogs like the ones we'd started are more and more difficult to find, and difficult to maintain--ones that aren't concerned with SEOs, profit and popularity. i feel much like you do, and i don't have the enthusiasm i once did to write all my experiences down, but i don't stop having them, i don't stop taking photos and i hope i don't stop blogging altogether because i think the little, un-optimized, unprofitable and not-so-popular food blogs need to exist.

and i promise to read your occasional posts, and comment more often, and let you know that even if you just want to post a photo of a tomato or dish or even a cupcake, i think that your voice in this weird little world we helped create is more than valid, but welcomed and cherished.

keep on truckin'!

margie said...

I understand your feelings - as someone who only recently started blogging, I feel that everything I write about is old news.

Also, I find myself struggling with whether or not a particular meal is "good enough" to be blog-worthy. Is this too mundane? To unattractive? Too uncool? Too hip?

I don't know what I'm going to do a year down the road, when I'm repeating seasons and cooking, as I so often do, the same things I eat every year at that time - I can only hope that struggling to keep my blog interesting will encourage me to keep trying lots of new things.

mina said...

welcome back, zarah! hmm... i, too, feel like the things i'm writing about (or attempting to) have already been done out there. there's nothing new under the sun. but what good will it do if you dont write? i think the blogworld is much better off with evidence of your cakes and breads and all those nice things, honestly. ^^

Tom Hansen, said...

It's easy to get a feeling like this when browsing through the blogs of the world... But do remember that nobody is quite like you - and you're not quite like anybofy else.

You opinion and feelings about a given subject counts - no matter who wrote about it first!

And... thanks a lot for a terrific day at "Madbloggersymposium 2010" yesterday.

Charlene said...

Hi Zarah, I agree with Tom Hansen's comments, he said it well. Please keep blogging (when you can!),you do have your own viewpoint even when other people write about similar things...I read a lot of food blogs so I can tell you that yours is not just the same as others! I like reading what someone in Copenhagen is doing or cooking, not just people here in the U.S.! :>)
I like your photos too!

from Charlene (San Francisco Bay area, CA)

Quilt crazy said...

So appreciate your blog and I too don't quite understand the cupcake frenzy. I've posted a link to you on my blog at due to my foodie nature and love of anything Danish, after living there years ago!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you do blog, and although I hardly ever have time to read blogs I have been coming back to yours regularly, looking up ideas and hoping to see a new post pop up. I come back to your blog because its honest and is done with style and flair.

I am a working mum and too wish I had more time for all the things I feel passionate about, such as my garden, but often don't. Keep trying to find the time, as will I.

I wish my garden will blossom with magnificent fruit and vegetables, I wish I could spend more time looking after them...

Zarah Maria said...

Santos - you say it so well. And thank you. I should be better at commenting on other peoples (yours included) blogs. Otherwise, it's not a community, it's just a million people on their own little soap boxes. And that's not really interesting, now, is it? Smooches to you!
Margie - I hear you. If you take a look at my archives, there's no doubt I was a lot more active in the beginning when everything was fresh! and new! But then again, some of the pieces I'm most proud of has been written at times when the posts had some days, weeks or months between them. I guess it's the way it has to be. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, it makes me happy that even though you are new to blogging, you feel like there was something you had to say. I way too often have a hard time commenting on new blogs I find, it feels weird, but if they stop by my place, I feel like it's an invitation to stop by theirs. So I did with yours and I'm loving it already :)
Mina - well, you found your mission, didn't you ;) and I think you have a point - in the big scheme of things it really doesn't matter at all, whether I write or not, but I like writing. And taking pictures. So why shouldn't I? Sure, I could keep a journal, but that's so 1980. Rather keep a blog.
Tom - Thank you :) You're right. I'm me, luckily. I actually like being me. Thank you for a couple of great days at Madbloggersymposium, too - it was great meeting you!
Charlene - Thank you to you, too. I guess I can never be told enough that I'm special ;P And you are all right, we all do it differently, it's not a matter of being right or wrong or perfect or nothing. It's mostly for fun, and that's why it should be done. Because I like doing it.
Quilt crazy - THANK YOU! I thought I was just about the only one thinking Cupcakes? Why? When I can have brownies? Sure, they're pretty and whimsical and cute, but c'mon already! (but actually, if I was to eat a cupcake, these aren't all bad - the rhubarb compote cuts the sweetness just so) Also, can't look at your blog (but I did, and hurried away ;)) Years back, I wanted to start quilting and bought a lot of gear for it... And then proceeded to procrastinate. Ahem. Ooops.
Anon - I guess wishing for things could be the first step to actually making them happen. I mean, if you don't even have the desire for something, why should you even try to get to, at one point, for even a couple of minutes a week, do them. We have to start somewhere. And I have to realize that now may not be the time I start posting every week, or even every other week. Heck, once every other month would be great! But I should keep trying to get to do it, because, as I already said a couple of times, I like doing it. It's me, it's a tiny part of me, and it's all mine.

foodfanatic said...

Kære Zarah Maria
Jeg tror, vi alle har det på den måde ind imellem. For et år siden, var jeg gået i stå. Der var gået lang tid siden mit sidste indlæg, og jeg tænkte, at det hele ligesom kunne være lige meget... lige indtil en læser (Kim fra Jonas' Kogebog) lagde en besked i mit kommentarfelt, hvor hun spurgte, hvor jeg var blevet af. Det varmede at vide, at der var nogen derude, der rent faktisk læste, hvad jeg skrev, og som havde lyst til at læse mere (jo man kan se det på statistikkerne, men det er ikke helt det samme). Derfor vil jeg gøre det samme nu og gentage, hvad jeg sagde i lørdags: jeg elsker din blog. Personlighed skinner altid igennem, og du virker som det sødeste og det varmeste menneske, som så samtidig har en dejlig smag, når det gælder det kulinariske. Derfor vender jeg tilbage i ny og næ for at se, om der eventuelt skulle være nyt fra din hånd. Hver gang der er, bliver jeg glad :)
Jeg håber ikke, at det virkede alt for fremstormende og underligt, at jeg, et fremmed menneske, kom over og roste dig til skyerne, men jeg har det sådan, at hvis jeg mener noget godt om andre, så kan man lige så godt sige det.
Kærlige hilsner

santos. said...

woman, please! i don't even comment on my blog :) just say hi sometime, i'll come over here and do the same!

Zarah Maria said...

Nadia - Tak for dine søde, søde ord. Her, ligesom til symposiet, varmer de - for det ER altså rart at vide, at der er nogen der følger med derude, og synes det er hyggeligt når der er nyt. Så kan jeg nok så meget prøve at bilde mig ind, at jeg gør det for mine blå øjnes skyld/træningen i at skrive/fordi det er fedt at tage billeder - men i bund og grund udstiller man vel ikke sig selv og satser på, det bliver helt forbigået? Så. Det var super hyggeligt at møde dig, og indrømmet, din opmuntring har klart været med til, at jeg fik tænkt lidt over det hele igen, og ikke bare opgav. Så tak :)
Santos - will do!

Žiupsnelis Druskos said...

What are you talking about? Your blog is gorgeous and your writing style admirable! So keep on the good work ;-)

chloe heller said...

dont you worry, youre doing great you have great posts. im an aspiring blogger and love reading your posts.. xoxox

melissa said...

Dear Zarah, I know I'm embarrassingly late to the party here, but I have to put in my two cents. I really hope you don't give up this space just because you think everything has already been said or done before. In fact no one else out there cooks, thinks or writes about things the way you do, and what I've always loved about Food & Thoughts is how honest and poignant your posts are and how much of YOU shines through in them. Reading your blog has never been like it is on so many others where I flick through dozens of recipes and photos like I'm absentmindedly browsing a magazine at the dentist; instead your posts have always given me the feeling of sitting down with an old friend and catching up over a piece (or three) of something tasty. It's a rare feeling these days!

I guess what I'm trying to say is please don't worry so much about what everyone else is doing, and for heaven's sake don't let it keep you from doing something you love! I'm sure I speak for others when I say I miss your writing, and I really hope you'll find the time soon to tell us more about what's happening in your kitchen and at your table, not to mention your little guy's highchair!

xo melissa

Anonymous said...

Zara, how about some tasty baby friendly dishes?

Jess said...

These are adorable! Love them!!
Jess : )

Sprinzette said...

This is lovely - and I hope you continue to blog.

Kelsey said...

Your voice contributes more to this "community" of food bloggers more than you probably know. I'm new to this whole thing too, and sometimes it's mind boggling to think just how many of "us" there are out there trying to share something with... who knows? Right? I've just found your blog recently, but I can tell you that it's honest and authentic and that's more than I can say about a lot of other recipes and stories out there. I know you posted this, hmm, a while ago now. But it still stands. Take care!