Some time last year, I was surfing through a massive pipe known as the “blogosphere,” and came across a post about the blogging lifecycle, though I can’t remember on which blog it was or even the exact content. I only remember that it was mildly humorous at the time, but since I was fairly new to blogging, I didn’t “get” a lot of it. I clicked along and forgot about it.
Recently however, that post came to mind. I started thinking about how I got to this point – this point where I’ve made miniature lime cheesecakes and I have no idea how or what to write about them. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I want to write about them, even though they tasted so good I ate four of them. *sigh*
I think I am somewhere around #12.
You discover this thing called a “food blog” when one day, while reading a regular glossy flossy magazine, you stumble across an article about food blogs and how they’re exploding all over the blogosphere, which you didn’t even know was so big that it had its own word “blogosphere.” You turn on the Internets in your house and visit Chocolate and Zucchini for the first time. Thirty seven hours later, you’ve read through all of Clotilde’s archives, marveled at Chez Pim’s tasteful adventures, laughed through Becks n Posh, and think you might have developed a mild crush on The Amateur Gourmet. You email the links to your friends but they don’t “get it.” Whatever.
2. Casual Reader
Whenever you’re taking a break, and sometimes during lunch when you’ve politely declined going out with co-workers to one of the same five places within walking distance of your office because they are dorks and everything along Venice and Washington is Thai, you sit at your desk and read the handful of favorite, familiar food blogs. You read the comments, but you don’t comment because you haven’t learned “comment etiquette” yet so you think it would be like barging in on a conversation amongst friends who have known each other for years. (OMG! How silly you were back then, huh?!)
3. Addict v1.0(lurker)
You don’t “work” at work anymore. You roll into work two hours late because the night before, you were up until 3:45 am at home surfing food blogs. All food blogs. After you get the crappy coffee from your office’s breakroom that tastes like it's been ground in a food processor and steamed over a manhole, you sit down at your desk, ignore the 147 new messages in your Inbox and go straight to the “bookmarks” folder in your browser, because you haven’t discovered RSS yet. You get annoyed when your boss calls you when you’re in the middle of reading about how Stephanie’s adorable little boy tried to cook.
4. Addict v1.2(active)
You bravely make a comment on someone’s blog, then quickly close the browser because you put something out there and omg, you have no idea if anyone will acknowledge your comment. You nervously go back to the same post 11 times in 10 minutes. When someone comments back, you’re strangely overjoyed and feel like you’ve been “inducted” into the club. Pretty soon, you’re whoring your unsolicited comments out all over the place, you comment-making whore, you! You refer to bloggers by their first names as if you’ve known them for five years and talk about those BFs (blog friends) to your normal friends. Your real-life friends wonder when you ever flew anywhere to “meet” all these new people you talk about.
You decide that it’s time to start your own blog. You scurry away to the “break room” at the office with a notebook and pens in different colors, drawing out designs, doing name-storming, trying to figure out how to encapsulate everything you want in your food blog “image” into a two-, maybe three-, word title. Your “Hello, world” post really says “Hello, world” because you’re a geek like that and you’ve treated this whole new blog thing as if it were a product launch for which you’ve done market research, surveys, and strategizing.
You are now a blogger. You blog like mad, sometimes posting two or three times a day, planning where to eat because it’ll make for good photos. You participate in memes, and in fact, you're brave enough to start your own. You still haven’t told your friends and family about your blog, so they wonder why you’re always taking pictures of food. You tell them you’re still just trying to teach yourself how to use your new camera. When they remind you that you got that camera last summer, you ignore them because the entrees have just arrived.
7. Blog Loner
You ignore all the BFs you made before you started your blog during the Addict/Commenter phase, because now all you do is spend time on your own blog. You fiddle with design. You add buttons and drop-down boxes. You add yourself to directories because seeing spikes in your stats counter gives you a high. You actually write your posts out and edit them, several times (!) before publishing. You have admitted to having a food blog to your friends and family, but they don’t read your blog. Jerks.
8. Stats Depression
Your stats are consistently low and it depresses you. You realize that they are low only because the BFs you've been ignoring are ignoring you back. You go back, visit the old BFs, and develop a strange jealousy because your old BFs have all these other new BFs who leave chummy comments. You read through all the archives to see what you’ve missed, then comment to prove that you aren’t a sucky blog friend.
9. Stats Revival
Your stats go back up because by some crazy mistake, an editor thinks your blog is "worthy." You actually take a shower and go to the market because you don’t hate the world anymore. You make something that will look good for the blog.
You forget that it’s a food blog and start writing about other weird personal stuff - your tormented "oh-wee-en-tal" childhood in Wonder White middle America, your perfectionist-producing immigrant parents, how you "peaked" in high school, your colorful romantic history, and how losing a job saved your sanity - partly in the hopes that it will bring in the non-food blog readership, but mostly because you're *wahwahwhyme* self-centered. It backfires when readers leave nasty, sarcastic comments about how no one cares about you and your personal issues, and isn’t this a food blog? You ignore those comments and continue to write about every guy in the history of your life that ever caused one ounce of pain.
11. Stats Depression
Your stats are low. (See #8.) You add sitemeter to your site in addition to the three other (free) site statistics tools because you want to make sure you’re getting the right numbers. Every pageview counts.
You realize you've forgotten how to blog about food and you go back to your archives and read through how much you gushed over this restaurant and how cute it was when your lemon tart was tossed into the trash because it sucked. You *sigh* with a sad realization. Since you can never regain your innocence, you decide to “quit” your blog. Yeah, “quit,” as if it were a job or something. As if your blog sent you a check every other Friday. Yeah, you quit!
You can’t quit because if you did, then you’d be really bored because you don’t have a job.
You go back to your blog, but instead of blogging about food, you blog about food blogging. And every post has to have some snarky comment embedded in the text about a past relationship that has scarred you for life. Stupid, cheating bastard. I hope you and that little hussy are happy!
Lime Cheesecake Mini-tart
I have no recipe to post because I winged it, which can result in new and creative dishes when cooking, but is always a dumb idea when baking. However, I did get very lucky with lime cheesecake mini-tarts because cheesecake is not as scientific as something like...cupcakes. *phew*
"Mini" anything is usually meant for a party where guests will be eating either with fingers, or at very best, while standing and trying to balance a plate, a utensil, and a cocktail. Foods need to be easy to eat and clean. A graham cracker crumb crust is delicious, but if the tarts are eaten with fingers, the crust could potentially disintegrate all over those fabulous Richard Tyler sandals, so I used a regular flaky pie pastry instead. Just roll it out, cut into small circles (a large round cookie cutter would have been easy, but i love making things difficult on myself so I used a paring knife and a small ramekin as a guide) and shove the pastry into the bottoms of a muffin tin. I baked them for about 10 minutes, then filled with my favorite cheesecake batter that I had embellished with fresh lime juice and zest. Bake again to set the batter.
Don't be sad about the pale yellow color; the cheesecake will never be green.
** a year ago today, deciding it sucked was a cinch **