Sunday, December 13, 2020

2009 Was A Very Good Year

If the number of posts is any indication, 2009 was wonderful for blogging. It was also the year of bread, so much so that in March I created a new blog Bread Baker's Dog, to take up some of the extra bread recipes I wanted to blog about...why?...because I wanted Feeding My Enthusiasms to reflect ALL my enthusiasms, not just my passion for bread baking. 

Many of my recipes this year came from cookbooks, often tweaked a bit as I like to do. Do you have favorite cookbooks or do most (or all) of your recipes come from the internet...or hand written recipes from a recipe box...or a combination?

Another great thing about 2009 was that my loved ones realized that cooking and baking were taking a more prominent place in my life, so they gifted me with culinary laurel leaf wreaths, shears to chop herbs, foldable colander,  a good scale, a digital thermometer and more.

A lot of thought goes into each post and then more time writing and editing photographs and putting it all together, then proofing (usually but not always) the post before posting. Dishes that we have as part of our normal life get posted once then are not posted later, so what you see are in some ways extra things that I want to make. Every now and then I will repeat something, but I try to keep it fresh and new.

One of the Christmas cookies that we have every year has been posted a number of time or has been linked to. It is Sweetie's favorite because of all the molasses. It's the Swedish Ginger Cookie recipe and I love it, too because it's a roll-out and cut-out cookie that is easy to roll, keeps it's shape when baked, and is delicious. I usually decorate the cookies with white Royal Icing, which contrasts nicely with the brown cookie, and maybe a few cinnamon red hots for a pop of color.

In 2009, towards the end of the year, I did my first post with suggestions for Thanksgiving, including links. I had a number of positive comments, plus a comment from No Handle on making a brined turkey with great gravy. Since it has been just a bit over a year since he died, it was a jolt to read the comment...I had forgotten that he had written. Rest in peace, Brother No Handle.

The fall also brought a few good recipes for squash including a fairy cake that is really a kind of pumpkin muffin, a two squash soup, and pumpkin pie made with sugar pie pumpkins. Truly there is something special about using locally grown fresh squash to make these fall treats.

October included two French treats that I have made again over the years...macarons and French yogurt cake. Both are fairly simple, but the results are wonderful. If you get a chance, follow the links and try them yourself.

Of course October is also my blog birthday. Here is what I wrote for the third birthday:

"One of the best things lately to start in the fall is this blog. Three years ago I barely knew what a blog was and there were far fewer food blogs.

I checked back to the brave folks who were the first few to comment here. The first four or five no longer are blogging. I guess it didn't match their needs in the same way that it matched mine:

I love the fact that I have 'met' people from all over the world through blogging...and that we are mostly the obsessed :)

I love that blogging brings out my creative side. I get to play with food. I borrow lots and lots of cookbooks from the library and sometimes even bring the librarians samples of things I've baked to enjoy, especially of the sweets. I love that my photography has improved. I love that I have come under the sway of the magic of bread baking, seduced by all things baking, inspired by combinations of flour and butter and sugar and seeds and grains. Most of all I have been amazed that I can sit down at the computer, find words to fill the Blogger template time after time, and create something that other people actually read and look at and are occasionally inspired by.

As Sweetie would say (in jest), "Not bad...for a girl." He is actually my biggest fan and promoter, telling perfect strangers that they have to go visit my blog. Sometimes they even accept the URL from him.

I love hitting the
 Publish Post button and I especially enjoy the comments...and wish that there were more. You CAN comment anonamously as Natasha did recently. If you give me hints and I already know you I can even figure out who you are...a sort of puzzle. However, even if you never comment, I do hope you will continue to visit now and then. The place to click on to comment is usually at the bottom of the post. Try might enjoy it.

Believe it or not, I don't have a clue how many people actually visit this blog. I could find out easily, but I guess I'm not really interested. Recently one of my sisters assured me that many family members stop by and read to see what I am up to. I suspect that there are a few folks beyond immediate family...and I welcome you all!

This is the 360th post. I think that comes out to an average of something like a post every third day."

One of the advantages of having this be a blog that includes a few things other than food is that I can get creative. In late September one post included a Land of St. Honore' story, a recipe for
vol au vents as part of a Daring Baker challenge, and a photo and explanation of a set of model World War II ships that Sweetie made and created a display case for, too. My Mom had asked for a photo (we talked every week on the phone on Saturdays) and I knew that she would be looking for the St. Honore' story, so I included the photo. I suspect that I might have had more followers if I had stuck strictly to baking or baking sweets, but what fun is that?

September also brought the first Index for the blog. Since there were at least 300 recipes by now, that was a good thing. Now there are well over a thousand recipes and a multi-page Index. I still need to migrate the old index recipes into the new one, but maybe that will happen in January when the weather is usually rainy and it's a good time to hunker down inside.

Although I usually try to write out recipes so they are like those in cookbooks, sometimes I just write them out as I would if I were giving you a recipe on a piece of scratch narrative form. A good example (and a delicious recipe) is for bruchetta, a great recipe for harvest time.

This is the year that I began baking with the Bread Baking Babes, my longest running blog group. I still bake bread with them and post it on or after the 16th of the month. First I baked as a Buddy and eventually was invited to join. The group kept the number at 12, so I had to wait until there was an opening. These days we hardly ever get Buddies and our numbers have been reduced, but the challenges are still fun and educational and the results are usually delicious! The first bread was in February for the Babes first anniversary. It was 5-Grain Bread with Walnuts by Carol Field, an artisan loaf (or two) that was really hearty and delicious. 

Another fun, new thing this year was that I did a journal of our first trip to Ireland, with most of the posts being in June even though the trip was in May. These included little maps to show where we were. There are also lots and lots of photos and usually a recipe at the end, often not really related to the Ireland story. Here is the first one (and it has a recipe for Irish Brown Bread) that is set up as a real journal, although there were a few I wrote while there that can be found in late can follow the rest on your own.

Sometimes there is a recipe that becomes a favorite with you, dear readers. One of these is
Spinach Rice Casserole from the Moosewood cookbook of 1977, so it really is an oldie but goodie. It can be a main dish since it has milk, eggs and cheese along with brown or wild rice and spinach, but it can also be a great side dish if you have someone in your family, like I do, who really likes some meat with their meal.

Another milestone from 2009 is one that from 2020 looks almost quaint. In January Barack Obama became our President and many were very hopeful that we had turned a corner in our nation and could put racism behind us. We celebrated at my work and arrived early enough to watch the inauguration on TV...and I baked and brought bagels for part of the celebration. They are a lot of work, but so delicious. As it turned out, racism just went underground and grew in the dark. People of color knew that the election had not changed much for them, but it took the rest of us a long time to realize that so much of it was systemic that it still blights our nation. That needs to change.

I'm going to end with a pair of recipes that are perfect for this time of year. I just picked the first two Meyer lemons from the shrub by the barn. I have quite a few this year, so look for more lemon recipes in the next few months. The one is a link to a post that has both
gingerbread and my Mom's clear Lemon Sauce. They go really well together!

If you have read this far, you are a trooper! 2009 had 135 posts, most of them with recipes, so feel free to wander around and discover the ones I didn't include in this round-up.

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