I am often asked to describe my blogging "process." How do I come up with recipes? Where do I get my inspiration? Do I follow any type of formula? Mostly, I feel flattered that the asker considers my work to be something requiring of a process (like, say, art), since I generally consider my occupation to merely be the result of my being lucky enough to have stumbled upon a way to make money combining the two things I am reliably pretty good at (cooking and writing). I usually stammer and "umm," and end up saying, "No, not really. I kind of just look in the fridge and make something. If nothing looks good, I'll go to the store. Then I write it down."
But that's kind of a lame answer, isn't it?
So I decided to explore the way I spend my days a little further, to see if I could uncover the secret algorithm of food blogging that surely lies beneath my fumbling-towards-success approach. Here are my findings:
7:30AM-7:35AM: Wake up. Get out of bed, turn on the coffee pot (having set it up the night before). Stand half-asleep in pajamas, waiting for the coffee to percolate. Pour a cup. Return to bedroom.
7:35-9AM: Check email, online banking, Facebook and Twitter. Respond to all personal emails.
9:30-10:30AM: Read HuffPost, NYT and McSweeny's. Refill coffee cup 1-2 times. Respond to work-related emails. Peruse a plethora of food blogs, particularly the kitchn and smitten kitchen.
10:30AM-11:30AM: Get dressed (in something I don't mind getting flour/olive oil/chili sauce/peanut butter/etc on). Look in refrigerator. Decide to go to the grocery store. Walk to Duc Loi to buy ingredients. Wander the aisles, allowing the ingredients to inspire me. Think of something. Place ingredients in basket. Attempt to spend less than $12. Succeed (less due to my talent for budget-shopping than the fact than the fact that the place is so well-priced). Walk home. Unload groceries.
11:30AM-4PM: Cook, while writing down process and measurements (er, mostly). Usually cook 1-2 dishes. Sometimes 3. Attempt to make food look extra-palatable by garnishing with fresh herbs or citrus zest (or whatever, really). Carry plate and camera outside to shady deck. Pretend to find it funny when annoying neighbor asks for the umpteenth time if I made whatever is on the plate for him. Take 18-20 photos of each plated item. Carry back inside. Eat a little bit of each finished dish, then wrap up and save for roommates/friends/later. Edit photos, choosing the prettiest one, showcasing all of the dish's components. Crop to a perfect square, warmify, add highlights and upload. Repeat with remaining photographs. Write recipes, mostly from memory, though referencing notes. Post to blog, then Facebook, then Twitter.
4PM-5PM: Check website traffic obsessively. Check reposts. Thank Facebook/Twitter followers who repost. Check web traffic again. And again. Literally every five minutes. Force self to stop. Clean up kitchen. Decide I must get out of the house.
5PM-7PM: Go running/go to a farmers market/meet a friend for coffee/run various errands.
7PM-the rest of the evening: Come home, shower, eat dinner, check web traffic/reposts (slightly less-obsessively). Either go out, watch TV or read.
It is, I must say, a pretty sweet gig. But I still don't think I'd call it a process.