Back in January, when I decided to name my blog Sweet Napa, I knew that it was both a challenge and a limitation. Would I stick with blogging through the duration of my 30 week program? What would I do if I wanted to continue it after I graduated and moved away from Napa? Would I try to retain the “spirit” of Napa somewhere else?
My major reason for starting a blog was to contribute information that I couldn’t find when I wanted it. When I was researching culinary schools, I had a hard time finding out differences between schools beyond geography, and I couldn’t find much about what culinary school would be like day by day, and month after month. Now, I hope that others like me will find my “Culinary School” category useful in the future — it’s a rather thorough account of every single block that we did and just about everything that we made. Of course, it’s seen through my eyes, but I tried to keep it as objective and informative as my stronger opinions would allow. And now, that category is complete, available for others to read at any time and for me to read if I need to remember something that we learned.
Also, when I was in law school nearby during the Fall of last year, I had a hard time finding reliable information about what restaurant in Napa to go to for my birthday. The fact that I put so much time into deciding on one should have been an indication of where my interest in food would take me, but deciding on a restaurant is something that I’ve always taken seriously and wanted to help others with. Going out to eat is expensive, chock full of opportunity costs, and for many people, the highlight of a day or a vacation. So, I think that every meal should count. Written descriptions are helpful to an extent, but even then, people have different tastes and impressions. That’s why I felt that taking pictures of a dish was an important attempt at objectivity… Readers may not be able to taste the food, but they can get a snapshot of what it’s like so that they can judge for themselves. And of course, a snapshot is just that — a glimpse into what was served one night at one table at one restaurant. I’ve never been comfortable “reviewing” restaurants for many reasons, and honestly, I think of my accounts of restaurants as descriptions, not really critiques. As someone who’s changed careers, I really use them to study food and its arrangements.
So, what am I going do now? Well, first of all, I’m going to New York City to do an externship at a fabulous bakery for the month of September. As a student, I felt comfortable writing about culinary school and restaurants, but as I move into the professional side, it feels different. Writing about work is much dicier than writing about school, and posting about restaurants and other bakeries seems a bit unfair to colleagues. But the former law student in me has convinced me that an extern isn’t a full professional, so I can still write about the food that I eat at restaurants and bakeries… I just hope that I’m not called out for being, say, “that extern at that other bakery who talked smack about our cinnamon rolls online.” And I’ll see if I can write about what I’m learning at the bakery. I doubt I’ll post as often, because of my short amount of time there, but I’ll make it interesting when I do. Or I’ll do shorter, guerrilla-style postings.
As for October and beyond, I’m not sure where I’ll be yet. I may stay in Napa or I may not. Once I get a real job, I’ll probably continue blogging, but probably about food that I make and food stuffs that I find interesting. I’ll see how it develops.
If anybody reading this doesn’t have a blog (food or otherwise) but has thought about starting one, I highly recommend that you do. Although I’m not as active as I wish I could be in the blogging community, it’s full of amazing people around the world who share your passion and are extremely generous with their knowledge and goodwill. I couldn’t imagine having gone through culinary school without my blog. It helped to keep me as informed, thorough, honest, and humble as I could be on subjects that I knew virtually nothing about when I started… Unveiling your exploded cherry pie to the world is as humbling as sharing an exciting new tip about cake is rewarding. When I thought about all the people from all walks of life electronically looking over my shoulder as I considered my food (some tens of thousands of people total at this writing), it never failed to invigorate me. I’m very grateful for my fellow bloggers and readers.
This may sound like a goodbye post, but I’ll probably be posting again within a week… about New York… and Provence!