Three years ago when I started this blog, I had no idea that it would gradually become not only my preoccupation but my occupation as well. Over these years, the subject of food–buying it, preparing it, photographing it, and writing about it–has infiltrated every part of my life and home. Our dining room is no longer the dining room: it’s my computer room/photography studio/prop room. While other husbands buy their wives jewelry or perfume for Christmas and birthdays, my husband seeks out interesting napkins and bowls. In our bedroom, where there used to be current novels and slim volumes of poetry on my bedside table, cookbooks and food magazines form precarious towers on my side of the bed. Most tellingly, food has even entered our daughter’s academic life: her science fair project this year is to determine which combination of ingredients will make a cake (vegan, of course) rise highest.
As with all obsessions, there are some drawbacks. I often find myself unable to just throw something simple together for dinner because the blogging devil on my shoulder keeps whispering, “Don’t waste those bean sprouts on a stir-fry; think of something unique so you can blog about them.” I’ve even committed the ultimate food sin and let fresh produce get past its prime because I was waiting to find the perfect, new, exciting way to prepare it. I’m finally starting to get it though my thick head that sometimes bean sprouts should just be bean sprouts.
But despite the piles of cookbooks and tableware and the pressure (self-inflicted) to come up with new recipes, writing this blog has been the best job I’ve ever had…and not just because I can do it in my bathrobe. Reading and writing about food has forced me to think about it in new ways, to face the fact that food is not just nutrients that we put into our bodies but nourishment for our senses and spirits as well. Food–what we eat, how we grow it, and how (and how far) it comes to be on our tables–affects every segment of our lives, from the personal to the political to the global and environmental, and if I haven’t discussed such issues on this blog, it’s not because I haven’t thought about them but because I’ll leave them to greater writers and thinkers and stick to what I do best: tossing a few ingredients together and hoping for a miracle.
As much as I love writing this blog, I wouldn’t continue to do it if it weren’t for you out there reading it. If I were just interested in keeping track of my recipes for my own use, there are software programs and old-fashioned recipe boxes for that. No, I have to admit that I’m a comment-junkie. Whenever you leave a comment, whether it’s just a few words or an involved description of a recipe you’ve made, it tells me that there’s someone out there reading and, I hope, getting something out of what I write. Thank you for those comments and emails (and please forgive me if I never emailed you back–I have no excuse!) And even if you’ve never left a comment, thank you for reading, for returning to the blog even when the previous recipe didn’t look that interesting, for subscribing to the email alerts even though they don’t give you the complete post, and for putting FatFree Vegan Kitchen in your feed readers and sidebars. Thank you for listening.
And one final word of thanks, to my parents: Over the years their garden has supplied a lot of the fruit I’ve used in my recipes, as well as provided me with anecdotes to tell and pretty plants to photograph. I’ve managed to write about “home” with relative lack of self-consciousness because, well, I didn’t think they were reading. But last week my father sent an email out to, apparently, everyone he’s ever known, describing the blog in glowing terms and providing the link. So, while I’m not sure I’ll still be posting photos of embarrassing things in my parents’ yard, I’m thrilled to know that he’s reading and thinking the recipes look good even without “a little dairy product or meat.” Thanks, Dad, for your support. And thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to prepare all the fruit you’ve supplied me with over the years; I’ll be coming home as soon as I run out of grapefruit and oranges!
For those of you who enjoy the Louisiana photos, here are a few I took at Christmas: