I’ve finally found some clarity when it comes to this struggle that’s been twisting around inside me over the past few weeks.
Both of these feelings, that I figured were separate, came into sharp focus this past weekend as originating from the same issue.
A very dynamic woman, a catalyst of inspiration, stood in front of me saying, “But what do you want? But what do YOU want?”
What do I want? Looking around at people who inspire me, who make incredible, insightful, layered and important food, thoughts began to form. I want to write things that matter. I want to make food that feels compelling and substantial. And in the midst of this realization, someone mentioned my Cheesecake Fudgesicles, and I cringed.
I want to stop making stupid food.
The issue is that stupid food gets shared, pinned, and trafficked. Smart food is scary, intimidating and gets ignored.
But what do I want? I want to be taken seriously, I want to be respected and I want to grow as a cook.
I have to stop making stupid food.
The conflict is that I need to pay my bills, and stupid gets noticed. This is just how the world works, in almost every area. InBev makes billions more than Russian River, Carly Rae Jepsen sells more records than Delta Spirit and Oreo Funfeti Cake Batter Fudge will get more traffic than homemade Duck Confit Raviolis with Stout Cherry Sauce.
Although I can eat nachos like a champ, and I’ll never pass up a good brownie, when it comes to building a food resume I need to ask myself: what do I want?
I want to make smart food, I want write things that matter.
Taking a step back from the trenches of Google Analytics and the Traffic Trap of caring more about numbers than content, I thought about what I love when it comes to writing and food.
Writing: The piece I wrote on Homeboy Industries for Honest Cooking iPad magazine is the best thing I’ve ever written and possibly the only thing I’ve ever written that is truly important.
Food: Even though a food blog may never really matter in any real way, I used to cook food that a friend once described as “with food.” He said I could never just make a cake, it had to be a Chocolate Stout Cake with Orange Mascarpone Filling and Smoky Chocolate Ganache, everything I made had a “with” somewhere in the middle of the tittle. Layers, flavors, thought, and time spent on the food I really love somehow got replaced with Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes and Green Beer Cheese Soup.
Everything I’ve made for the blog is delicious; the issue isn’t really with the recipes, but with me. Cupcakes are fine, so are Beer Cheese Nachos and Oreo Funfetti Slutty Nutella Red Velvet Brownie Cake Pops, especially if that is what you want to make, then do that. It’s not about “right” food and “wrong” food, it’s about finding what I want, and figuring out how to get there.
There is a magnetism to the S’mOreo Cake Pop posts, because it brings in readers, and seems to make people happy, things that I care more about than I should when it comes to what do I want?.
I’ll lose traffic, I can guarantee that. I can promise that my numbers will go down.
But I can also promise that nothing that I post will be difficult. Maybe you want to come on this journey with me and make layered “with” food, even if it doesn’t sounds as sparkly as those Red Velvet M&M S’mores Krispy Treats.
I just need to have faith in what I want, faith that the Universe will conspire in my favor, faith that this will lead to path in which traffic won’t matter, faith that seeking the answer to what do I want? will lead me down the right rabbit hole.