I know I say this every week, but the week is going by so fast! Definitely not a bad problem to have, but how is it almost Thursday? I feel like the influx of work and things we’re doing around here makes time disappear. So where is life this week? Well…
We’ve been working for the past few weeks on trying to shape-up on our grocery and meal planning and letting food blogging take a bit of a backseat. We needed it, things were getting a little nuts. Trying to cook and photograph from scratch every night and deliver a gorgeous, thoughtful post the next day. It was exhausting, and constricting to an already busy evening schedule. Plus it was getting REALLY expensive. As Suze Orman would say, “you can’t afford it!” Is that taboo to admit?
We also can’t keep up with what feels like the necessary production value food blogging seems to demand nowadays to get any notice. While the idea of simply producing quality images seems reasonable, what appears in my reader every morning rivals what I see in Martha Stewart and Food and Wine. Everything is exceptionally and meticulously staged and styled and presented flawlessly. Everyone seems to have amazing lives, filled with freebies and travel. They’ve quit their ho-hum 9-5’s and hang out in gorgeous places styling food and consulting on recipe development projects. Amazing companies are constantly contacting them and whisking them away to exotic places where they learn to be even better. They go to every food conference. They’re all best friends. Do you see where I’m going with this? Sensing my frustration last year, my dad gifted me a copy of Plate to Pixel, a book dedicated solely to food photography. I was excited, until I started reading. Though filled with great ideas, it simply made me feel more inadequate and ill-equipped.
It’s probably not the whole truth. But that’s the way it feels, to us at least. Beneath what I’m sure is merely the desire to inspire and deliver an amazing product, there exists a rising standard where it is impossible not to fall short. It’s impossible not to feel “less than” or unworthy. It’s a cyclical beast. Maybe we’ve made someone feel that way. If so, I feel even worse.
The pressure to be an “expert” and for each meal to be successful from beginning to end on the first try leaves little room for enjoyment in the process or with each other. That’s why we started in the first place. Plus, let’s face it, we’re not professional recipe developers, chefs, or blogging as a full-time job. This is merely for fun. And while it would be great to find more notice or opportunities, if the community demands more than we can reasonably deliver, than I guess we’re ineligible.
I started thinking about this after one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post on the topic last week, a day marking both her anniversary and her departure from blogging. It’s heartbreaking because, while it’s obviously something that people are feeling about blogging, food or otherwise, as she said there doesn’t seem to be a real solution. For our part, we’re just going to be more honest about what works and doesn’t and stop trying to compete with the production. We realistically can’t do much more, and at the end of the day, we’re sharing the food. It may not look magazine-worthy, but correct us if we’re wrong, it still looks and tastes pretty good right?
So to that end, Neil put together our menu for this week. In our grocery shape-up, we took a hard look at not only what we were spending, but what our schedule necessitated as far as meals. Early in the week, we need effortless quantity. Enough effortless quantity that only a crock pot could deliver. We came across good Boston Butt at the store and while we’ve done pork roast in the crock (and loved it immensely), we’ve never attempted shredded pork. Game on!
Inspired by NOM NOM Paleo
1 (4-5 pound) pork shoulder roast (Boston butt)
2 onions, slivered
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
10-12 leaves Boston lettuce (you obviously won’t need this much if you don’t plan on using it all at once)
Rub (recipe below)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Spread rub over boston butt and seal in a zip lock or other air tight container. Store in fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to prepare, place onions and bacon into the bottom of a crock pot.Place pork on top.
- Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.
- Remove and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Shred pork and separate broth from onions using a mesh strainer, reserving both (see below).
- Spoon pork onto lettuce leaves and add choice toppings.
Makes roughly 10-12 tacos.
Served with fresh green beans and homemade hummus (not paleo, but still awesome).
So tell me what you think of this, because it’s relatively new on me as I’ve never been big on french dip or anything. We let the fat separate overnight and skimmed it off the top, basically creating an au jus. We assembled our “tacos” as we called them and used the au jus as a dip. SO GOOD!! Especially with the onions. We saved about about a cup to use with the rest of the pork (which won’t last if we keep sneaking down the fridge and snacking on it) and froze the rest to use again in 1-cup portions. Yum or yuck?
We will definitely be doing this again soon. It would be especially good for when family and friends visit!
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Jessica, I love your honesty with this post. I can so relate! When I first started reading blogs (and blogging), I was so impressed by the beautiful food pictures. I still am, but I’m more interested in posts that are “real.” I’m working, going to school, trying to get in marathon training, struggling to make a real meal or two a week……so for me, I find posts about real people cooking or trying out something new, MUCH more interesting. It also adds a bit of life to a recipe. You know?
I feel that way exactly. I want to follow a dialogue, an ongoing story and the developments of people’s lives with which I’ve become familiar and almost vested in in some weird and different way. And the dialogues I want to follow are realistic and relatable. Where people face similar challenges and obstacles that I do, and we’re all just trying to be better people, not the best people. So happy to follow you!
I also love this post. I’ve been reading a lot less blogs these days and the ones I’ve kept in my reader are the smaller ones, the ones with people I feel like I connect with and have formed relationships with, whose lives are am actually, sincerely interested in. And 99% of the time, those blogs are not picture perfect and meticulously styled. They written by real people, with real lives, which are reflected in their blogs. Like yours. And Sarah’s (above).
I say keep doing what you’re doing. You have a core of loyal readers and seem to enjoy blogging. And I enjoy reading. So as far as I’m concerned, we’re all winners here. 🙂
I went on a massive cutback over holiday break. I think I had over 1k blogs in my Reader, and I took it down to about 200, of which I think I only follow maybe 20. I love the good stories, and watching major milestones and seeing snapshots of people’s lives. Most of all though, I really like interacting with people, and the major cuts I made were to blogs where the author has never answered questions or comments I’ve made.
Thank you for your sweet comments, I hope to keep you entertained!
A thousand blogs!? Man, I thought I was bad! 😉 I just checked and I am currently subscribed to 110 blogs, but I am only usually caught up on my “favorites” folder.
Yeah that’s what I did, set up a Daily Reads folder, for the ones that I follow closely. I was some kind of hoarder with blogs at some point, luckily TLC doesn’t have a show for me yet.
I appreciate this post and I totally understand. Nine times out of 10, I will stop following a blog, even if the content is something that i am really interested in, if the author never interacts with the readers. And that interaction doesn’t necessarily mean responding or acknowledging a comment I made on a post–I certainly don’t expect everyone to do that all the time every time I make a comment. It could just mean popping over to a reader’s blog and saying hi or emailing a reader directly to answer a specific question. Or even recognizing questions or comments made by readers directly in a blog post…something, anything to show that the author of the blog is connected with his or her audience in some way.
But back to your first point…Jessica, seriously, you shouldn’t compare your blog to what others out there are doing. This should be fun, something you enjoy doing when you feel like doing it, and a way to express your own style, and you do have your own style. And I like your style. I could care less if the pictures of the food don’t look like they came from a Martha Stewart catalog. It’s like running–it wouldn’t make sense for me to compare myself to other runners out there because everyone is so different. So don’t focus on what other people are doing…focus on what you are doing and just work on perfecting your own style. In other words, keep doing what you are doing because you have a great blog here. It’s fun, it looks good, it’s funny, and it is interesting!!! hugs..E