Two weeks ago I wrote two posts in in which I mentioned that I recently lost a job and felt uninspired to blog. After a few days, my mother, an avid reader here, suggested I remove the “depressing posts” in case prospective employers or clients were reading my blog.
Though I certainly don’t want to represent myself here as a pessimist or a constant “glass half empty” type of person, I also don’t want to pretend that my life is all rainbows, cupcakes and unicorns. If anyone says that about their life, that doesn’t make them an optimist. It makes them a liar.
When I started blogging in 2008, I had no idea that this would become a place where I would write about food. I started this blog days after I sat at the bar at Stout on 33rd Street in New York City with my coworker Joey, having a beer before a Kanye West concert that I’d had to attend with clients for work and Joey happened to be attending with friends. We’d already exchanged typical colleague banter when he asked me: “what do you like to do with your free time?”
I told him I’d always liked to write, but didn’t do it much anymore.
“Why haven’t you started a blog?” he asked.
I didn’t have a good answer for that one, so within a few days I signed up for a free URL on WordPress and before long, realized that writing came easiest and was most enjoyable when my topic was the food I had cooked, the recipes I invented when I was bored at home on a Saturday night and the dinners I made for the occasional date night (that were never as good as the random one-off dinners I made for myself on uneventful Tuesdays).
I want this site to be a place that inspires people like me to cook more because it’s healthy, it can be fun and in a generation raised on take-out and packaged food, it’s becoming a lost skill. For me, cooking is what I’ve done to cope during the difficult times that inevitably crop up when you’re in your twenties and figuring out the ups and downs of life on your own terms.
The reason I wrote about losing a job and being upset a few weeks back was not to evoke sympathy, undeserved praise or pity from anyone. I write a lot about life’s “ups” like wine and cheese parties, dinner parties and the excitement of leaving my last job to work for myself and start my own business, I haven’t been very fair to my readers. I haven’t written about the downs: break-ups, moving to Chicago because I truly wasn’t happy in New York, the insecurity of being self-employed with no one else to rely on for financial support.
These might not be the realities of life for other people but they’ve been the realities for me over the past eight years as a twenty-something. Throughout the experiences I have had since I graduated college: the good and bad, the ups and downs, being in the kitchen has grounded me. Food has been both a celebratory mechanism and a coping device for me, (but not in “my boyfriend broke up with me, so where’s the Ben & Jerry’s” kind of way…seriously). It’s cooking that gives me the most satisfaction, taking raw ingredients and creating with them. The fact that you get to eat something delicious when you’re done? Just a bonus.
When I was 23 and I clashed with my binge-drinking Craig’s List roommates, I would make big pots of vegetable soup to keep myself occupied on lonely Saturday afternoons and bake pumpkin bread to bring into the office as an icebreaker to get to know new coworkers. When I moved to Chicago, the first thing I did was invite blog friends over for baked brie and wine. When I cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family, I can feel like I am taking care of them even though I moved 800 miles away.
I write because I want to share my experiences with as many people as possible. I want to inspire you to cook. I want cooking to give other people the same pleasure, the same sense of pride and the same satisfaction as it has given me. I want people to learn new things here and I want it to be a place where you come when you’re looking for a recipe that you know you’ll be able to make.
I know that there is no shortage of recipes on the internet and that there are hundreds of thousands of places that you can go to find apple pie or pulled pork, probably accompanied by a prettier picture than the ones you’ll find here. What you won’t find anywhere else are my experiences: my ups, my downs and the things that have made my life my own to share. I want to share the good and the bad…and when it’s the bad, I want you to know that it will all be good again too.
Now that you know why I blog and what motivates me to continue writing this website, it’s only right that I thank you for reading on this far with a recipe: a creamy, indulgent fall breakfast that tastes comforting, decadent and good for you in equal measure.
If you have a blog, why do you write what you write?
Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal for One
Inspired by Peanut Butter Fingers
What You Need:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup low-fat or reduced-fat milk (I like 1%)
1/3 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
On the Stove: Place milk in a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Add oats and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about three minutes, or until oats begin to soften. Add pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until oats have thickened, about three to five minutes. Pour oats into a bowl and top with banana slices. Garnish with additional brown sugar, if desired.
In the Microwave: Combine milk, oats, pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high heat for 90 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir to make sure ingredients are evenly combined. Cook for an additional minute on high. Stir and let sit for about a minute to cool. Top with sliced bananas and additional brown sugar, if desired.Print This Recipe