Four hundred and fifteen

Why do people write and  read blogs?

I believe that a good writer is also an avid reader.  Especially with non-fiction writing.  The more knowledge you have on a topic, the better you can write about it.  So, I read a lot – mostly non-fiction books on specific topics (for example the few books I read on veganism while being vegan), but since starting writing this book, I’ve started to read more autobiographical works.  I’m really interested on how other people tell their story – specifically those who are also bloggers.  I read these not to copy those writers, but only to get a sense of how they incorporated their own voice into the information they wanted to share.

One of the most famous bloggers turned authors is Julie Powell of Julie and Julia – about how she cooked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  I’m reading her book right now.  There is one section where she decides she’s going to “whine” on her blog about how she’s about to turn 30 and she doesn’t have any children, is a secretary at a government agency, and living in a small apartment in Long Island City, Queens, New York.  The comments she received from her post where fairly encouraging, but then one of her biggest “bleaders” (what she calls her blog readers – I thought that was cute and links back to my post last week, with a slightly different spelling) wrote:

Julie, on my 30th birthday I was living in a homeless shelter.  I made a homemade pizza for the other residents.  That was my 30th.  All I had to show for my life was that I didn’t have kids and hadn’t dragged them through the hell my life had become.

The bleader Chris goes on to say that things looked up for her, then offered some encouraging words to Julie.

I’ve had a few moments since starting blogging where I have whined about something and others have responded with times in their lives where it has been much worse.  I had a hard time dealing with this and fighting between whether I should share how I’m feeling or not.  Am I being narcissistic by doing this project?  Being a blogger means sharing your life and therefore being “all about me”.  But I also try to show my gratitude as much as possible for what I have and those who support me.

My uncle said to me the other day “why would I care?”  He was asking why anyone would care about the ups and downs of someone else’s life.  Why would anyone read that?  He has his own problems to deal with, why should he read about mine?  He was saying it in the most loving manner and as a serious topic of discussion, not as an insult.  It’s true, though, why do we care?  Why do we want to read about other people’s lives?

It’s a fascinating thing about this time of humanity that we are able to share our stories with each other so easily.  I think of it like if you meet someone new and you talk to them about their life and you learn and laugh and cry with them – it’s just with someone you’ve never met and is most likely in another part of the world than you.  It makes us all realize how alike we really are.  We all go through many of the same things, just with different circumstances.  And those who have completely different circumstances we can learn from and be more of a tolerant society.

I had a much shorter response for my uncle, though, when he asked me why people read blogs.  I answered him with a question: “why do people watch reality television?”

TMI Award

Sorry, it’s going to have to be another week before I talk about the blogger award Pink gave me.  I half wrote it, but am running late (as usual) to help my grandmother pack, so my thoughts on it and my dedications to other bloggers will be next week – I promise.

A photo

Finally, a photo, just for fun of the vegan tomato pasta sauce I made from scratch the other day.  Take that Julia Child! (ok, I know – completely different kind of cooking – maybe if I added some cream, lots and lots of butter and some calf liver I’d be getting closer to her style…):

One hundred and fourteen

Before I get into the amazing French meal I had yesterday, here are a few updates from other months:

  1. Coupons.  I got a free chocolate bar with a coupon today.  My coupons are still helping me out! (Although a bunch of them have expired before I could use them, and I’ve stop checking my Groupon e-mails every day)
  2. Art. Another flash mob!  The National Ballet School, in partnership with the Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture, is doing another flash mob – hip hop style.  You don’t have to have experience and all ages are welcome.  The performance will be on Sunday September 25th at a secret location.  Rehearsal schedule is still being finalized.  Sign up here if you are interested and they will add you to the mailing list.
  3. Dating.  One more dating website to add to the list.  Clique is a New York-based website launched last month that connects friends of friends. “In real life, you meet people through your friends. Why? Because you trust them. They know you. They know what you like to do, where you like to go, your passions and your quirks. And since they love those things about you, they’re going to have other friends who share the same interests—you just haven’t met them yet. That’s where Clique comes in. We surface those connections for you so you can date people who are only a degree or two from your immediate social circle, rather than complete strangers.” Click here for an interview with Click founder Christy Purlington.  I’m not sure how successful this will be because the only way for it to work is if all of your friends join (you can join if you’re in a relationship as a “wingman”) or if you have friends who have time to devote to this site (how many people in relationships will actually spend the time playing matchmaker?).

French

Chicken supreme with gratin dauphinoise and asparagus topped with hollandaise sauce. Yum!

Being cooked for is such a treat.  Especially when it’s high maintenance French food!  Being the sous-chef of our ‘cuisine’ I was taught how to properly chop shallots and mushrooms for the Chicken Supreme.  I observed the master’s perfect slices of potatoes for the Gratin Dauphinoise.  I scraped the hollandaise sauce out of the blender (see Julia Child’s recipe below) because I don’t own a spatula (bought one today). Dinner wasn’t served until 10pm because of the complexity of the recipes, but it was so worth the wait!  The flavours and richness of the meal was divine.  I couldn’t have it every night (or else I’d be the size of a cow), but it was such an amazing treat, and I feel a little more confident in the kitchen learning from the chef of the evening.

The French meal included Chicken Supreme (chicken fillets baked with shallots and mushrooms, then topped with madeira or port and cream sauce), Gratin Dauphinoise (thin potatoes, topped with swiss cheese and milk and baked), and asparagus with hollandaise sauce (egg yolk, lemon juice and butter).

Perfectly sliced potatoes for Gratin Dauphinoise

My contribution - chopped shallots

The finished meal, with vin (notice the wine is almost gone - dinner took a little longer than we expected and my brother and his girlfriend polished off the bottle before dinner)

Julia Child’s Hollandaise – a la blender:

3 egg yolks
2 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of white pepper
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted until bubbling hotPlace egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Uncover, and still blending at high speed, start pouring in the hot butter by droplets. Allow time for the butter to absorb and emulsify with eggs. When about two thirds of the butter has been added, you can pick up the pace a little more. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Tonight

Italian with an Italian.