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.
Although, strictly speaking, an amateur is one who engages in an activity as a past time, rather than as a profession, so–again, strictly speaking–I’m no longer an amateur: “The Amateur Gourmet” has become my full-time job.
But, semantics aside, I am still learning: always. Like, for example, in the post below this I posted a video of Katy baking a pie. I watched it again and I saw that Katy makes her pie–a killer pie–in a Kitchenaid mixer rather than a food processor or with a pastry blender. Now, next time I make a pie, I’ll consider trying it that way; I’m not insistent on any one method, I’m not pig-headed about how I cook, I try to be the opposite. In fact, that’s pretty much my M.O.
And that, I suppose, is the best summation of my five years of food blogging: by trying to keep an open mind–by seeking out new experiences, new cooking techniques, new recipes, ingredients, and people–I’m constantly evolving, constantly growing. It’s not about being superior or snobby or elitist; it’s about enriching yourself and those around you. I don’t think I’m a better person because I make a roast chicken from scratch rather than buying it already roasted at the store; I just think I’ve had a fuller experience, one that enhances my life in countless–but mostly intangible–ways. Tangibly speaking, we’re all equals in my book.
What do the next five years hold? My goal is to immerse myself even more in unfamiliar environments, exotic locales, challenging situations and to confront the things that scare me. In other words: I think I’m going to join a gym. But in all seriousness, I just want to stay engaged with what I’m doing and the only way to do that is to never fall into a routine, to never take the easy route, to always have butterflies in my stomach when I click “post.” I think this Beckett quote says it best: “Habit is the great deadener.” As long as I’m not cooking, eating or writing by rote I think I’ll be ok. And if you ever think I’m getting boring, please–I beg of you–let me know!
Thanks to all of you who’ve been so supportive over the years; those of you who’ve e-mailed me, left comments, bought my book. It’s an amazing feeling to know that people care about what I make for dinner or where I’m going to eat when I go to Spain. I never expected my food blog to become my life–I just thought it’d be a little hobby while I worked on playwriting. But now playwriting is my hobby and food blogging is my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks, to all of you, for making all of this possible: I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true–I couldn’t have done it without you.