Food blogs: let’s get real

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September 1, 2014 by carolinetanski

Look, I enjoy food blogs. I like cooking, I like baking, I’m pretty invested in what goes into my body. I read food blogs to accumulate recipes, to look at pretty pictures, and to get general ideas so that next time I have quinoa and seven zucchini and a pouch of za’atar I’ll maybe be able to wing it and have something edible as a result. 

Sometimes, though, I read these food blogs and get frustrated. With the exception of Thug Kitchen, most food blogs seem to be written by beautiful, skinny, chipper ladies with shiny hair who married sort of young but not too young and have nice cameras and esoteric kitchen equipment and enough disposable income to run to the store and grab whatever random ingredients they need to make whatever has come to them that day. Which is not to deride the food bloggers or their industry—as a person who regularly cooks food I fully appreciate how much time it would take to get a recipe right and not, as I usually do, just right enough to eat it and go to bed. What frustrates me, though, is that these shiny lives I read about look nothing like mine. Like I said, I care about my food and try pretty hard in that area. But just for today, just for contrast, let’s take an honest look at what this particular young lady consumed. 

Breakfast. It was a warm, humid day, so of course I woke up and thought, “This is the perfect opportunity for a run!” I went out and ran and sweated most of my life away in the process. I got back to the house, gasping and leaking sweat like a perforated bathtub. I guzzled half a liter of water and a glass of iced coffee, then toasted a high-fiber, multi-grain bagel with cream cheese and shoved that in my face. That only sparked my appetite, so I ate a piece of Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cheesecake, followed immediately by a piece of Trader Joe’s tuxedo cheesecake. Cream cheese is delicious, guys. 

“Lunch.” In quotations because I ate this at 4:30 pm. I stopped at the local booze and cheese store (it is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world) and got a bottle of rye, a demi baguette, and a can of San Pellegrino Pompelmo water. Like I said, it was hot as hell here today, so I drank the water while putting air in the tires of my car. When I got back to the house I raided the fridge for assorted cheeses and ate them with most of the demi baguette while watching a marathon of “Rizzoli & Isles,” which I had never seen before, but it’s set in Boston and I’m a sucker for local flavor. 

Apertif. I took a coffee mug of white wine onto the back deck to scribble in a journal while the sun went down. 

Dinner. First I had some of the rye I bought earlier today, in the same coffee mug I’d used for white wine. I rinsed it out between. I’m classy. I drank the rye while sending out some submissions—I have a deal going with a couple of friends in which we only get to drink if we’ve submitted work in the last two weeks. I figured it counted if I submitted while I drank. Meanwhile, I made a pot of rice, which is one of the pillars of my diet. Rice, coffee, and dairy fat. I decided at one point to make a salad, since I’d had not a single vegetable in the train of the day. I put a bowl and a Tupperware side by side and repeated the steps in both, so now I also have lunch for tomorrow. I put some hummus in the bottom, drizzled it with olive oil, and whipped it up with a fork—an old voice teacher taught me this, and it’s the easiest, most delicious, protein-filled salad dressing. Then I threw in baby kale, tomatoes from my uncle’s garden, some avocado, and some three-bean salad I found in the fridge that still smelled okay. 


And that’s it. Fancy, right? I mean, in an ideal world we all would be able to luxuriate in making healthy, balanced, delicious meals that satisfy all of our individual dietary needs. But I’m looking at a full week with a nasty commute, and there are microwavable noodle dishes in my future. Aspirational media can be great motivators. I’m envious of the people who manage to make, or at least post, a homemade stovetop buffalo-bacon mac ‘n cheese with a side of sauteed Swiss chard and shaved Manchego every day, or whatever. Once a week or so I also like to do that. Let’s be honest, in the meantime, about what we do and what we can do between those days. Let’s celebrate the fact that some days we remember to eat vegetables and decide not to have a third piece of cheesecake before going to bed. Cheers. 

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