The A.G. Team

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You can all breath a collective sigh of relief: this, I’m pleased to announce, is the very last post of my 5th Year Anniversary Week. Ok, maybe I went a little too far profiling anyone whose visage ever graced these pages, but, I must confess, it was quite a kick taking such a long stroll down this blog’s memory lane. Our final gesture is to give some credit where credit is due–that is to credit The A.G. Team, the people who keep this blog running.

Starting on the top left you’ll see Leah McCombe who gave this blog its beautiful, useful, whimsical and memorable design; next, on the upper right, is Ben Lim who is my savior and saint–he responds to all my pesky IMs when the blog goes down (which it’s been doing quite a lot lately)–and, more importantly, he’s the one who programmed all of Leah’s design and brought this blog to life; beneath Ben is the irreplaceable Lindy Groening who illustrates our awesome, hilariously kooky banners each month (she really is amazing: if I dream it, she can do it!), and–finally–next to her is Justin Dickinson who started here as an intern and graduated to our design team where he seamlessly uploads Lindy’s banners as soon as she’s done with them.

I’m really proud to call these guys my A.G. Team and I’m so, so, so grateful for their generous, thankless work. (Well, I hope it’s not entirely thankless.) I decided to ask them all a few questions which they’ve answered for you below. Let’s hear what The A.G. Team has to say.

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Craig

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One of the more hilarious moments in this blog’s history was when I casually mentioned that I was dating someone named Craig in this post about soup dumplings in Chinatown and all my readers went crazy. “Thank God you finally came out!!!” said reader Bryan. “Wheee! You finally told who you were kissing!” said reader Marcy.

Now, almost three years later, Craig has become a virtual staple of the blog. How does he feel about all this? Let’s ask him.

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My Parents

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Certainly any celebration of “The Amateur Gourmet” has to include an acknowledgment of my parents. Many of you, in your kind congratulatory e-mails to me, said the posts with my parents were your favorite posts of them all; and, in many ways, my love of dining out and my eagerness to try new places comes directly from them. In fact, a day doesn’t pass when my mom doesn’t e-mail something about a new restaurant with the question, “Have you heard of this?”

More importantly, the fact that you’re reading this at all right now is partially due to my mom. When I got into NYU’s Dramatic Writing program, after finishing law school and just a few months into starting this blog, I told my mom I was going to stop blogging. “I want to concentrate fully on playwriting,” I told her. “I wouldn’t stop blogging,” my mom advised. “You never know, it might get even bigger than it is now.” And, most definitely, that was some pretty good advice.

I’m going to call my parents right now to conduct a little Q&A with them about their history with “The Amateur Gourmet,” where it’s been and where it’s going.

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Five Years

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Today’s the day, the official five year anniversary of my blog. Exactly five years ago today, at this very moment (well, actually, at 1:30 AM), I wrote these words: “I’m The Amateur Gourmet: a completely untrained, unaccomplished culinary lout with absolutely no expertise in anything having to do with food.”

Despite my five years, now, of food blogging, I can’t help but think that’s still mostly true: I’m still untrained, I’m still a lout (definition: “an oaf”), and I still have no (formal) expertise. “But Adam,” you might say, “surely you must acknowledge your cooking has improved, hasn’t it? And surely you’re more sensitive to the finer points of fine dining now, aren’t you?”

To which I’d reply: “Eh.” In the world of food, I’ve learned to be wary of anyone who deems themselves an expert on anything gastronomical; the smartest thing ever said to me about food and cooking was said by my friend’s mother, a brilliant chef, who said: “I’m always learning; anyone who says they already know everything isn’t ever going to learn anything new.” My philosophy exactly: once an amateur, always an amateur.

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Josh & Katy

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As many of you know, this blog has parents and you’re looking at them right now. That’s right: Josh & Katy, my friends from Atlanta, were the ones–five years ago–who told me, no URGED me, to start a food blog. I had no idea what they were talking about but I acquiesced and that’s why you’re reading this RIGHT NOW. I decided to do a little Q&A with them to see what this whole experience has been like from their perspective. Here they are, in their own words.

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Lauren & Diana

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In the history of this blog, I’ve had not one but TWO roommates. Both of them were women. They still are. The first, Lauren (pronounced LAW-ren, like Sofia Loren) was there at the very beginning; we lived together (we were attending Emory Law School at the time) and I said, “Hey I’m going to start a food blog.” And she said, “Sounds good to me” and then she was there for disaster after disaster in the kitchen, with a few successes in between. Here’s a quick Q&A with her about our time living together.

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Greatest Hits

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It was easy to pick out my biggest disasters–they sort of speak for themselves–but how to narrow down five years of food blogging to just a few favorite recipes?

The truth is that I can narrow it down pretty easily because there are two specific recipes that are all-time greats; so great, I make them at least once a month. The first is the picture you see above: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I gleaned the recipe from my favorite TV Chef, Lydia Bastianich, and it’s just one of those recipes with singular ingredients–sun-dried tomatoes, red chile flakes, garlic, cannellini beans–that, through the process of being cooked together, become a beautiful whole. Added to cavatappi noodles, which look like Slinkies made of eggs and flour, it’s a squiggly, scrumptious feast. Topped with cheese, it gets even better.

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