Last night I went to a talk and book signing featuring David Lebovitz. David is an American chef most known as one of the original food bloggers and pastry chef who worked for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. David started his “blog” in 1999 before blog software existed. He simply used his web site as his forum. It is interesting that his current blog does not have a print option so you cannot print his recipes, he said it is because his writings have been around so long that we have to go back and modify a decade’s worth of pages!
To quote the program for the evening:
It’s been ten years since beloved American chef David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet and his laptop and moved to Paris. Join him as he shares stories of his new French life that reveal the quirks, trials, beauty and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world. These stories, and 100 sweet and savory recipes reflecting the way modern Parisians eat today, are collected in his new book, My Paris Kitchen.
One of the observations he made about the crowded online world of food blogging really struck me and encouraged me to be more open and tell my story and life as it is. In David’s opinion most food blogs are a boring collection of recipes or what so and so is having for dinner tonight. To paraphrase, “We are having ham for dinner tonight. Ham reminds me of Easter. I love Ham.” What he wants to hear is the story behind the ham, how was the grocery clerk in the supermarket? Was he/she rude and instill fear in all the customers like the grocery checkout clerks do in Parisian supermarkets? (Read the chapter in The Sweet Life in Paris dedicated to going to the supermarket in Paris).
My blog thus far has been a collection of photographs I take and some observations on nature and cooking (two of my passions). So now I will tell my story. I am in my early-50’s and recently laid off from an industry that I started working in in its infancy in the mid-1990’s. I specialized in database marketing and marrying marketing with analytics. I have always been good with numbers and I took great pride in executing successful campaigns. My “lay-off” came as a shock to me, more because of the reasons given, which were blatant lies to those that know me. I believe it was my age and rank (and as I recently found out I was not the only one laid off under similar circumstances). I wanted to leave/retire on my own terms and the lay off left me deeply depressed and questioning so much.
I created my web site Natural Kitchen and Home as a labor of love. It is something I have always wanted to do, run my own business doing something I love. I selected home furnishings and decor because I believe in surrounding yourself with things you love, that inspire you, that make you smile. I’ve always loved art of any kind, drawing, painting, sketching and being outside in nature. I can become fixated on a color of wildflower and imagine what the color would look like painted on a wall or in a fabric. My passion for photography has come a bit later in life but I remember all the photography classes I took and being in the dark room watching images emerge. Now it is full blown passion and I take solace in being outside in nature alone with my camera. I hope to merge my photographs with textiles and create beautiful silk scarves and home furnishings.
Being laid off has given me the opportunity to expand my online boutique and build my brand. I individually select each product that I offer for sale. It is fun creating a collection of beautiful furniture, home furnishings and decor items inspired by the things I am drawn to – a color or texture that stirs my imagination from my walks in the woods or on the beach. Also, I focus on products made in America (approximately 75% of products listed are American made) – small to medium size furniture makers, wrought iron products that are still hand-crafted, small family owned textile or stoneware ceramic artisans.
So thank you David Lebovitz. I expected an entertaining talk last night but not to find the inspiration that I did to open up and let the world in. I am looking forward to sharing more intimate thoughts on recipes, cooking, color, photography and my lifestyle and to highlight new products on my website and tell their story through my eyes.