At the start of the year I decided to make 2020 the year of exploration. I was moved by my friend Craig, who called 2019 his “year of the yes” and came out of it with a lot of wonderful experiences and stories. I wanted to make this a year of trying new things. Part of it was about exploring my city: locally owned restaurants I’ve never tried, museums and venues I hadn’t experienced in decades because they are “always there.”
You better fucking believe I won’t be taking those opportunities for granted once Mother Nature says we aren’t grounded anymore.
But exploration is about more than the external.
I love to cook, but it had turned into nearly all meal prepping. I got into a rhythm of cooking the same few things over and over again in big batches and eating off them all week. I decided to make it a focus to expand my horizons by trying two new recipes each week (one of them meatless) moving forward.
When COVID hit, I leaned even further into that mindset as I was quickly reminded that cooking was also a great way to help bolster creativity, pour my energy into something productive, all while combating the stir crazy. And it has been a wonderful, and fattening, experience.
I’ve learned that it’s easier than I thought to cook for myself multiple times a week without creating a fuckton of leftovers. I’ve learned how to maximize perishables and make sure nothing goes to waste when I try new things.
And I have learned to absolutely worship my dishwasher.
This all also means that I’ve spent more times on food blogs than I’m comfortable with. I mean seriously, what the actual fuck is wrong with these people, and why in the fuck do they think I care so much about their personal lives?
First, your websites all have so many goddamn widgets, links, buy my shit and donate buttons that it takes half a fucking century to load. By the time it’s done I’ve said fuck it, gone to Taco Bell and shame eaten my way through a 12 pack of tacos.
Second, I don’t need 87 pictures of the food taken from different angles to make sure you got it’s good side. You know how to plate your shit, I get it. Anything more than one photo of your food is a gratuitous cry for attention (says the guy who writes shit like this and pesters all of his friends to read it, sorry not sorry guys).
Third, I don’t give a shit about you or your family. I really don’t. I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t give a shit about how much your kids love it. Kids would love torn up pieces of cardboard drizzled with ketchup if Baby Yoda called them Chicky Nuggies. Your repugnant rugrats are not a selling point. I found you because I was looking for a mashed potato recipe that wouldn’t give me carpal tunnel, don’t read anything more into it.
Speaking of the recipe, I don’t need the story about how it was created.
“So my husband John and I were on vacation in St. Barts, splitting a bottle of Pinot Grigio on our balcony overlooking the ocean. We picked St. Barts because that’s where we had our honeymoon, 20 years ago. Can you believe it! Between the wine and view the mood was right and we were both feeling kind of randy. As he was squirming on top of me and my fingers were digging into his doughy flesh my mind wandered to how much I loved mashed potatoes, but hated the work, and that’s when I came up with this recipe.”
I came to find a recipe, not read an autobiography. I don’t need to hear about how feeling your husband’s flabby body on top of you while he was struggling to finish, and you had given up all hope, inspired you to create this dish.
Fourth, after navigating all of this, you still make the recipe impossible to find and follow. Even if I do magically find the ingredients list, there is a barrier of three more paragraphs of your dear diary bullshit and more pictures of food, which by the way are way too big for your page, before I can even get within striking distance of the instructions.
Speaking of the instructions, the purpose of them is to instruct the reader on how to prepare the dish in the most direct way possible. This is not the time to prove how smart you are, or how many big words you know. I don’t need to know why I need to pre-heat the oven to 350, or about the new oven model that you got from Sears at a good price (click here to purchase!), I just need to know that’s the temp to set mine to. Instructions are about vital information, nothing more, nothing less.
Finally, reviews (which were all written by your friends) belong in the comments section of your blog, not in the body of your four part feature on the perfect mashed potato. Suzy with a Z raving about your dish isn’t going to sway me in the slightest. If I am on your site, it is because I am looking for a specific recipe that I want to try, and chances are I am going to modify it to suit my preferences (none of you use enough garlic).
In short, if you want someone coming back for your recipes just to see what you are up to, make the food the story, not your life.
God Damn It, now I really am craving mashed potatoes.