You might have noticed the Project Food Blog widget in my sidebar lately. That's because I've entered the competition! Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands (around 2000) of food bloggers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for a chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year.
Ten years or even two years ago, I would have laughed if someone told me that I was going to have a food blog in a few years. Any blog, really. I always thought I had nothing important to say and I couldn't even keep up writing a diary because I never knew what to write in it. But food? I never cared much about food. When I was little I only ate a handful of things and my mother was always trying to feed me. I opened my mouth when someone was taking a picture of me (I still don't know why I always did that) so that's when my mother shoved food in my mouth. When we were on vacation in Indonesia, I didn't eat anything for almost a week because all the (male) waiters were wearing skirts. When they brought food into our room I didn't eat anything because there were no waiters around. My mother told me all this, but I still don't have a rational explanation for my behavior. My parents actually considered going home early so I wouldn't die of starvation. Finally, someone made me Pasta alla Bolognese and I didn't starve to death. I still order this foolproof dish whenever I eat out - except where I can order fish.
At home, I always ate the same food. Beef soup, meat and potatoes (or the occasional rice) for lunch, cereal for breakfast and bread with Nutella for dinner. I live of meat, potatoes, rice, bread and chocolate. I have never eaten vegetables in my life - and yet I'm alive.
The last two years have been different though. I moved to the country's capital to attend university and suddenly, if I wanted to eat out, I had to try new things because only the cheapest cafeterias offered just meat and potatoes without any sauce. I didn't like the majority of things, so if I wanted to eat something good, I had to cook it myself. That's when I discovered pasta with salmon and realized that I can actually cook something delicious (I still make better salmon sauce than any restaurant I've tried it at). Only a handful of dishes though, but it's better than nothing.
Cakes are different. I've always had a thing about sweets. I've eaten numerous store bought cakes in my life; sometimes I ate them as a reward and sometimes just because. My favorite was and still is chocolate cake. I never even thought about baking cakes because I was sure that I wouldn't succeed.
I ordered my first cookbook in May 2009, it was full of cupcake recipes. It opened my eyes to numerous possibilities that exist in the world of baking. And then I discovered I can bake delicious food and everything changed. I didn't depend on store-bought cakes anymore; I could make my own cakes and I could make hundreds of different recipes. My cakes were better than the store-bought ones.
Baking in Slovenia is a lot different from that in the United States. In the eyes of our bakers, baking soda is the same as baking powder and you can't change that no matter what you say. Muffins are the same thing as cupcakes. Sour cream and Coca-Cola cannot be used in a cake, that is just outrageous. People, as I have observed, don't like trying new things and as a consequence, they often despise everything that comes from the United States, just because. There is only one recipe for cake here, with a few alterations, and it's called cake. It doesn't matter that I have books with a few hundred different cake batter recipes in them; only one recipe for cake exists and that is the truth. I refuse to think like that, so after reading a few food blogs, I started blogging myself. I knew there are a lot of bloggers just like me and their blogs are not much different than mine, since I'm writing in english. I didn't even tell any of my friends and family about the blog because I was afraid that they would be judgemental and I didn't want to hear what they had to say about it.
I've been blogging for nine months. In this short time, I have learned that baking is a very precise art. I have learned how to measure ingredients accurately. How to make my own vanilla extract. I did what I never thought was possible: after joining the Daring Bakers, I tackled croquembouche, Baked Alaska, ice cream (without an ice cream maker) and Tiramisu, all from scratch. I made buttercream and tiramisu with raw eggs, which has always terrified me. I've learned so much just from reading recipes and blogs and of course, trying them.
Baking wasn't enough for me though. Since I observed different things while baking, I wanted to write them somewhere just in case I ever returned to that recipe. I wrote my tips on post-its and placed them next to recipes in my cookbooks. It wasn't a very elegant solution, so I decided I would try to share my observations with the world. That's how this blog was born. Even though I don't bake five times a week like some other food bloggers but once a week or even less, I try to feature the best recipes and I always provide my honest opinion, for others who might to try the recipe and for me, if I ever want to try it again. At the beginning, my photographs were really amateur and ugly. But with time I learned some tricks and they have only been getting better.
Considering everything I've learned in less than a year when I could only bake during the weekends when I was at home with a working oven, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I've been having a hard time finding most of the ingredients that are used in the United States, but I try to make an adventure out of it and I often use different substitutions. My photographs have only been getting better and my experience helps me with baking more complex dishes. I still have hundreds of recipes in my cookbooks that I want to try and I'm certain that I'm going to succeed. And that's why I should be the next Food Blog Star. Or just a blogger, who will advance to round number two. :)