According to a recent article I skimmed in The Economist, it’s estimated that one trillion photos will be taken in 2015. And according to IBM, about 90% of all the data in the history of the world—mostly text, voice, and video—was created in just the fast few years.
I suspect approximately 900 billion of those photos will have food as their subject, 600 billion of which are intended for a nascent food and lifestyle blog that will inevitably enable the creator to quit his or her day job within a year to become a gluten-minimal, local-maximal, über-raw, squeaky-clean-colon guru-for-hire.
It seems entirely likely that within just a few years, instead of the internet consisting of approximately 90% porn and 10% misc., it will be 50% porn and 50% defunct cooking blogs featuring only four posts, all between October and December 2013. The electronic medians and shoulders of the "information superhighway” will be littered with virtual metric tons of overexposed pictures of fancy BLTs. The alarmist headlines will read "Are food blogs the next Friendster™???"
In all seriousness, upon seeing figures such as those that I began with, I often begin to question the relative value of creating and maintaining a blog such as this one. With numbers that staggering, the notion that this particular tiny beacon could ever be received amidst the universe of noise seems pretty infinitesimal.
I suppose I could pour myself into search engine optimization, paying for promotion, or spamming the bejesus out of social media, but that would beg the question: what is the purpose of this exercise? Is it simply to attract eyes to the page by any means necessary, even if that means trading creation for promotion?
No. That certainly is not the purpose.
However, if the purpose is not page views for the sake of page views, another question then automatically cascades along: if eyes on the page aren’t important, why bother with a publicly viewable website? Why not simply take Polaroids, paste them into a notebook with a few notes about recent life events and a little vague introspection for posterity’s sake, and call it a day?
The short answer is this: I do want people to read. I want to make them hungry, make them laugh, and make them want to visit again; I simply don’t want to do it at any cost. I want it to happen organically and authentically—whatever that means.
I’m ashamed to admit that there are times when I mindlessly surf the web, and feel a low-level resentment of other foodbloggy type offerings that seem to sustain significant engagement. I hear that quiet cynical voice that feels the need to be critical of the things others are saying and making that, in my petty moments, I deem to be vapid or pandering or contrived or otherwise without merit and/or sincerity.
But no one is ever going to crown me the arbiter of sincerity, nor should they.
As a result, I have no choice but to cast off the tendency toward bitterness. The engagement that other sites receive in no way precludes the same readers from visiting my site, so in the end, the point is moot.
Furthermore, the genesis of this site was personal and its continued existence will follow suit. The best way for me to proceed is with the earnestness that I alluded to previously.
When a friend asked me recently if I get a sizeable amount of hits on my site, I responded that, while I wouldn’t mind that outcome, I most certainly did not.
He replied with something to the effect of: "that's still a cool project—your grandma probably left you a bunch of recipe cards. You’ll leave your kids the digital version."
That scenario wouldn’t result in massive page views, but that would be the kind of reader engagement I’d consider ideal.
In accordance with current trends (and, admittedly, the tenor of much of the preceding monologue), I very much enjoy a bitter taste. So it’s only apropos that I attempt to create a recurring theme of some sort related to all the heavenly herbal bitter ingestibles. If I am able to muster the discipline, I would like this to be the first in a regular offering of a cocktail that involves some bitter or herbal component: bitter tinctures, herbal aperitifs, etc.
And what better day to do so than Monday? The perennially bitter weekday that inevitably involves missing a bus, losing keys, or blowing an important meeting.
Indeed, what better way to erase the bitter vapors of a smoldering Monday than with a bitter cocktail to match.
This one is a brilliant idea that I've adapted ever so slightly from the Il Palio featured in Saveur a couple years ago. I love Manhattans thanks to the discovery that quality vermouth is actually delicious (who would have thought that good things are good???), and by extension, I love the classic Boulevardier, which is essentially a Manhattan with the addition of Campari. The brilliance of this cocktail, which I've cheesily dubbed the Manhattan Blvd is that it morphs slowly from the former to the latter as the ice melts.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add rye, vermouth, and bitters. Stir 10 to 20 seconds to chill.
- Place 2 to 4 Campari ice cubes in a rocks glass and strain the liquor mixture into glass.
- Garnish with orange.
- Campari ice cubes*
- 2 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. Punt e Mes (or your favorite sweet vermouth)
- Several dashes orange bitters
*Combine 3/4 oz. Campari and
2 oz. water. Pour evenly into ice molds and freeze.