It’s the end of yet another long month. And while many could be looking forward to a pay check, my head is in another place all together. Although I’ve never been one to turn away from what I’m due after a job well done, my payment takes a different form now.
As the end of each month nears, my anticipation builds until the day arrives. Not just any day. The designated day. I have whiled away my time and have analyzed and questioned. I’ve mulled and had a bit of angst. I have done my duty by following the protocol. And after it all, I am still left to wait. Time is the one thing I don’t seem to be able to twist to my submission.
At times, the days drag. The end of the month feels as if it couldn’t stretch any farther into the distance. But when the day arrives, like a child awaiting her birthday, I stay up until the wee hours of the night, or rise at the first light of dawn, creeping downstairs to quietly make my coffee, and then upstairs again to settle in.
To finally check on the post that has already been written and saved — saved and designated to publish at the appropriate time just in case I happen to be asleep.
I’ve waited to reveal the photos that have been planned and scrutinized, but kept under wraps.
I’ve tested my patience to find that I would either bask in the glory of success, or plummet in flames of having tried and failed.
And the day is finally here. The day that all 97 members of an uber secret virtual society can unveil the results of their latest challenge. Sounds scintillating, doesn’t it? Now you know where Dan Brown got the idea for The Da Vinci Code.
At the end of each month in an amazing number of blogs around the Bloggosphere, the same recipe appears over and over again. You notice these blogs sport odd badges in their sidebars you never really paid attention to before, and you begin to wonder…who are these people? And was this planned? How….? They hail from France, from the Southern U.S., from Ireland, Canada, Sweden, and the UK. From SoCal and San Francisco, from Ohio and from South America. They’re everywhere, and they’re quite the amazing group of kitchen zealots.
You do know that I have currently raised my arms to exhibit my biceps, don’t you? And I’m looking for someone with whom to bump chests in solidarity…or something like that.
Okay, maybe just a high five?
I love the anticipation of events. Anticipation is the best of everything as far as I’m concerned. And when this day arrives, with coffee in hand, I begin my visit to each of the Daring Bakers’ sites to read their posts, wallow in their despair, or cheer in celebration of a success. It’s rather amazing this business of belonging — this getting to know people you may never meet face to face. And to participate in an event each and every month with them as well.
It’s amazing. Period.
Yes, I’ve always loved to cook. And if you’ve been reading my blathering for the past five months, you’ve most likely learned that I’ve been at it since about the age of eight. As have many of the Daring Bakers. No, I haven’t been to culinary school. But some of the Daring Bakers have. And I’ve never worked in a restaurant. But some of those in the Daring Bakers have — in fact, their family has owned one. I’m most certainly not a professional pastry chef. But yes, there are professionals amongst the members of the Daring Bakers. How. Cool. Is. That?
My days are often filled with thoughts of food instead of my makeup. I stare at glossy photos in magazines or cookbooks of marinara and walnut tarts instead of whether my abdomen is as concave as it once was. I wonder what a particular recipe might taste like instead of whether others are checking out my new jeans — or my glutes in my jeans. I spend my time questioning whether I’ve got quite enough cardamom for that apple cake, deciding whether to purchase green onions because the grocery store is out of leeks, and risking the purchase of those interesting looking little eggplants to try a recipe for something I’ve never liked. I can’t imagine doing without exceptional flavor, of not wanting a meal to be more than just eating. Of not being interested in any of it at all. What a loss for those who aren’t interested. I weep for them. And I’d offer to light one of those little candles in church to help them out of their misery, but consider it just a thought.
I’m a hopeless foodie. A gonner plain and simple. I swoon over perfectly sauteed chantrelles with just the right amount of marsala in the cream sauce, and a boca negra with a hint of cayenne and a sweetened tomatillo sauce on the side. When I die and walk through the proverbial pearly gates, there better be a 60″ duel fuel 8-burner Wolf range at my disposal, or someone is going to pay.
When I do my perpetual laps around the Bloggosphere, please know that as much as I love this particular piece of virtual heaven and all of you who so graciously help to make my days go by, only half of me is here. My heart lies in the land of plenty. Food Land. The land of the Daring Bakers. The land where you don’t have to think about Technorati ranking, or Google Page Rank. None of that matters. All that matters is that I belong. Well, if I constructively participate I belong. Otherwise, I might be gently invited to leave. And why not? Why would anyone belong to something they weren’t involved in….Hmmm?
Take a walk through my challenges from past to present…and if you’ve never checked out my other blog, well…
Unofficial First Challenge: Red Velvet Cake (If you eat it, will your mouth turn red?)
First Official Challenge: Gateau St. Honore (This complete disaster looks interesting, but don’t let the brick fool you. Have you ever made puff pastry by hand? You have? Whatever.)
Second Challenge: Honest to Goodness Real Bagels (Yes, they’re hand made. Completely. Not a Kitchen Aid dough hook in sight. Just my mom who is very good at telling me how to think.
Third Challenge: Strawberry Mirror Cake (Have you ever even heard of this or seen one anywhere?)
Current Challenge: Milk Chocolate & Caramel Tart (Go ahead and melt that sugar with nothing else in the pan and resist touching it until it melts. I dare you…)
Yes, I prepare savory dishes as well nearly always on a nightly basis. And rarely does a month pass that we have the same meal more than once. Am I swaggering? No, merely confessing my very odd culinary proclivities. Life in my kitchen is just a grand experiment. It always has been and always will be. Realistically, what is the risk? Someone might not like something? Goodness. Life is too short to be worried about not liking something you’ve eaten. Excepting those individuals who have serious food allergies, I’m sad for those who are afraid of trying something new.
What could happen?
And consider the incredible sense of satisfaction that can be had by simply trying. Not just the tasting, but the cooking as well. And who cares if others don’t like it. It’s all an experiment. An amazing way to widen the boundaries you’ve set for yourself in life.
Go ahead. Try the escargot.
I have. But would Andy Beard…? Hmmm… I wonder… Just an experiment.
And so have these wonderful people: the Daring Bakers. Not all of them may have posted their challenges today, but I’ve checked nearly all of them, so know that most have. Give ’em a round of applause. Keeping a food blog can be ass-kicking difficult work.