When I started this blog, I was 25 and living in Akron, Ohio, in a house I’d bought because, well, that’s what I’d thought I was supposed to do. Everyone else was settling down, so I strapped a mortgage on my back, and hunkered down. I spent my first summer there in the backyard, mulching and weeding like a good homeowner. I filled the rooms with second-hand furniture, replaced the water heater, and worried endlessly about that weird clicking noise the fridge made. The house was a fun and infinitely stressful addition to my life, but after a year or so, it lost its luster. I was bored. With the house, with my job, and especially with living in NE Ohio. And that, my friends, is when I decided to start a food blog.
I named the blog Fervent Foodie because I love food, I can be a little intense, and I love alliteration. *dusts hands off*
[mug by JMNpottery]
Since then, the word “foodie” has developed some negative connotation. Eatocracy referred to it as “the other F-word” and HuffPost Taste listed it (along with “moist” and “nom nom”) as a most-hated food word. I don’t care. Definitionally speaking, I’m a foodie.
Fervent Foodie was birthed five years ago, to the day, which is, by all accounts, the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. That’s what this blog is to me. A relationship. A life partner, of sorts. Like any relationship, there have been ups and downs, times when my blog was my priority, and others when it was a burden. But through it all, the blog was there. Every time life got turned on its ass, I poured myself into the blog. My blog became my wingman, support system, and crutch. When I wasn’t confident enough to go at it alone, I used the blog as my excuse. We’ve even traveled together, me and the blog, to Chicago, Nashville, Birmingham, Greenville, and Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference, TWICE (soon to be thrice).
Shortly after moving to Charlotte my birthday rolled around. I didn’t have a friend in the entire city, so I sent an email to a group of random Charlotte food bloggers asking them if they’d like to come to lunch. Guess what? THEY CAME. The food blogging community is incredible.
After that birthday lunch, I implemented a new life mantra: say yes to lunch. If someone asks me to lunch (or coffee or dinner or drinks, whatev) I just say YES. Even if I don’t know the person, or think we have nothing in common, and ESPECIALLY when I really just don’t want to go, I just say yes. This is how I built a circle of friends and colleagues from scratch in Charlotte. “Say yes to lunch” was my personal policy, but somehow it seemed everyone else was on board. I can’t think of a time when I’ve asked someone to lunch and had the invitation turned down. That’s Charlotte for you.
[#cltfoodbloggers Holiday Potluck]
Looking back over my posts in those early years is somewhat embarrassing. My views of healthy living have shifted drastically. Back then, I was the captain of Team Fat-Free Everything. The fewer calories, the better. PB2? I was all about it. For those who aren’t familiar, PB2 is basically peanut butter that they sucked all the fat out of, turning it to peanut dust, which is then reconstituted with water to a flavorless, peanut butter-colored paste. Yes, I was ALL about that.
These days I care more about whole foods than about how many calories are on my plate. Thank god, because I don’t want to live in a world without peanut butter. My cooking skills have improved drastically over the years, so it’s somewhat embarrassing when a friend mentions she looked up an old recipe post. The most popular post on this blog to-date is by far the Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe I posted back in 2010. Part of me considers this a personal failure, but ultimately, I’m just happy to contribute to game-day grubbing festivities across the globe.
[#cltfoodbloggers group dinner at Red Ginger]
It’s been five whole years of recipes, ramblings, and restaurant reviews. Through the blog, I’ve written for the official Urbanspoon blog and Our State Magazine’s Food Blog, did a series of recipe videos for Tropical Foods, and appeared on the morning news to talk about sausage, not once but twice. Yes. I’ve made friends, found inspiration, and grown immensely. It’s been a heck of a ride, these past five years. That’s the thing about anniversaries–they force you to reflect. What I’ve realized, over the past year or so, as I’ve watched friends pursue their passions and opt to take the roads less traveled, is that I’ve spent a lot of my time working toward things that I’m not necessarily passionate about, just going through the motions, doing what I thought I was supposed to do. For what? For who? For why?
My new favorite line is, “You’re in charge.” I say it to myself and to my friends all the time. Each of us is in charge of ourselves and our lives. I believe that if you don’t take the time to set your priorities, someone else will do it for you. Over my four years in Charlotte, I’ve watched from the sidelines as Charlotte’s food scene exploded. This year, I want to get involved. Get my hands dirty. Work with organizations whose missions I’m passionate about.
Because, why not? Change is coming, and I’m excited.