Hello Again.

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I don’t follow a lot of blogs. I don’t follow any, actually. It’s presumptuous of me to stick a little “Subscribe” button at the bottom of this page and assume that you would follow mine, I know. I would love it if you did, of course, but, you know…no right to hard feelings if you don’t. But even though I’m not on their official mailing lists, I do have my favorites. Mostly about food. And every now and then I’ll pop in to swoon over the photos and breeze through random selections of text. Mostly I find myself just admiring, in a perplexed kind of way, how the creators have managed to turn their everyday existence into an actual brand. The ones I most admire have one message, one theme, and one light and ethereal photography style that is consistent throughout all of their photos. Clearly a course in photo editing happened somewhere along their way which is also on my own list of “blog to-do’s” buried somewhere in one of my desk drawers. Invariably I click away thinking, Nope, you don’t have it together quite yet. But maybe almost. 

I’ll never be a one-track person. And not that these bloggers are - surely no one is one-dimensional - but they do have the discipline to show up in the same space, in the same way, on a consistent basis.  Perhaps they just know themselves better while I’m still, after so many writing starts and stops, figuring myself out, fumbling around attending to every whit and whim of my indecisive mind and restless heart like a preschool teacher in a room full of rambunctious five-year-olds, all clamoring to be held and heard at once. My business is a brand. But my life is not. And here’s the kicker: my business is not my life. Not by a long shot. 

I live in two very different worlds, both of which I love and need in very practical and also intangible ways. And mine is a heart of many loves. Cooking and writing are two of those loves but they’re not everything. I’ve been trying for years to fit everything I am all at once in one neat and tidy digital package but no matter which direction I turn there’s inevitably one part that gets shadowed or left out. Will living my faith out loud cost my food styling career? What price will I pay for authenticity? I’ve started and sloughed off so many food blogs over the past 10 years I’ve honestly lost count. When I started to get an inkling to start fresh I thought, what is honestly going to be different about this time? Well, maybe nothing. But maybe everything. What I have finally figured out is that I don’t want to write a food blog. I just want to write. For some reason, pretty pictures of food make it easier for me to do that. Beautiful food photography is to me, I suppose, what the French countryside was to Monet. On a significantly less epic scale, obviously, but inspiration is inspiration. 

Whether for beauty or blunder (or both,) technology enables us to be whatever version of us that we want to be, out loud, in a million little corners of the inter webs, which is generally why blogging tends to rub me the wrong way. Having someone’s best foot shoved forward into my face all the time does little to inspire. Mostly it just makes me feel bad about my own ugly feet and anxious about all the things I should be doing to make them more presentable. I want to know all of a person, particularly the imperfect parts which are far more interesting. And often far more inspiring.

After so many iterations of trying, growing, failing, and growing some more, the enthusiasm for trying again can wear pretty thin.  What is honestly going to be different about this time? I may still be 3-5 blog attempts away from wildly unabashed and fearless authenticity but I’m many steps closer to real than I was with the last one. And just as expectant of this round as with the last nine. There’s plenty of imperfection to be had here. My complete ineptness at adjusting for a consistent white balance in my food photos is just the beginning, trust me. So who knows? Maybe we’ll end up connecting over some of the really good stuff. The less than perfect. I hope so.

How to make this romesco

Drain one 16-ounce jar of organic roasted red peppers and put them into a food processor. Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of raw sprouted almonds, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of sherry vinegar, a handful of parsley, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, and a big pinch of salt and pulse until the texture is consistent throughout. Add more vinegar and salt to taste and more olive oil to consistency.

Abby StolfoComment