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.

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.

40 comments

  1. Congrats Adam – I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and book and appreciate all of the energy you put into your work – Hope you are enjoying the day!!

  2. Adam,

    Congratulations on five years. I’ve been reading your blog for close to four, and you were one of the five or so that I was inspired by to start my own blog four years ago. I’m so happy to see that AT has evolved into a full-time thing for you.

    I think one of the things that attracted me to your blog was how honest you were in writing about your hits and misses. Photos of failed cakes in the garbage made me laugh out loud with feelings of amusement, relief and appreciation knowing that we’ve all been in the same boat. I think a lot of bloggers (myself included, at times) only want to showcase the best of what we’ve cooked….and it was so refreshing to see someone out there who literally put it down the way it happened…warts and all.

    Your photography, cooking, writing….EVERYTHING has evolved and watching it happen gradually makes me feel like part of the AT family. All of your “co-stars” are just as entertaining to read about- Diana, your parents, Craig…I find myself checking AT to see what they’re up to- what amazing (or bad) meal you’ve eaten together or where you’ve traveled together.

    Your blog remains a highlight in the ever-worsening traffic jam that is the food blogosphere and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

    I like you. I really like you!

    Here’s to another five years.

    TAG

  3. Adam,

    Congratulations on five years. I’ve been reading your blog for close to four, and you were one of the five or so that I was inspired by to start my own blog four years ago. I’m so happy to see that AT has evolved into a full-time thing for you.

    I think one of the things that attracted me to your blog was how honest you were in writing about your hits and misses. Photos of failed cakes in the garbage made me laugh out loud with feelings of amusement, relief and appreciation knowing that we’ve all been in the same boat. I think a lot of bloggers (myself included, at times) only want to showcase the best of what we’ve cooked….and it was so refreshing to see someone out there who literally put it down the way it happened…warts and all.

    Your photography, cooking, writing….EVERYTHING has evolved and watching it happen gradually makes me feel like part of the AT family. All of your “co-stars” are just as entertaining to read about- Diana, your parents, Craig…I find myself checking AT to see what they’re up to- what amazing (or bad) meal you’ve eaten together or where you’ve traveled together.

    Your blog remains a highlight in the ever-worsening traffic jam that is the food blogosphere and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

    I like you. I really like you!

    Here’s to another five years.

    TAG

  4. Congratulations on 5 years. Ive been reading the site for about a year but first read your post on serious eats back in the day on whether cooking makes you gay, which i only recently found out was written by you (and by the way i thought your sentiment was spot on with that piece). Your site has fast become one of my favourite sites around and i actually find it very inspiring, im cooking more and even started my own occasional blog on my efforts. I hope you every success for the next 5 years

  5. Adam,

    Congratulations on your five years and hope there will be many more. I haven’t been a very frequent commenter, but I have been a very loyal reader and huge fan for nearly four years and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate you and tell you how much your writing, videos, songs and books have brought to me personally.

    First, I was hooked by your writing style and sense of humor. I thought I had found my long lost twin!

    Then I loved that you had the same passion for food and the desire to seek out the best food whether by trying out a new and strange types of foods/restaurants or by trying to do it yourself.

    Then, I was hooked on your family and friends. They felt like my family and friends. Then the music and videos – seriously Adam, you and your friends are pretty darned intelligent and talented! Me too! I thought. I was in theater in school! I play the violin! Let me play!

    Then I fell in love with Craig. Who couldn’t? He and his family are the best as well.

    Facts of Life sealed that one.

    That video of you with Rachael Ray and that cringe worthy, uncomfortable silence is so why I love you. Love that you didn’t say anything or play it up as anything other than what it was.

    I don’t know what the future has in store for you, but if you follow your heart and stay true to yourself, you will be exactly where you need and want to be. Thanks for not becoming a lawyer and thanks to your parents/family/friends for supporting you. You really do bring a lot to people that you don’t realize. Many times I have a had a rough day and checked in on your site and you completely made me forget about it and get lost in your humor or educated about a recipe or new place you discovered and that is priceless to me. I bought your book and hope there is more to come.

    Well, this has totally made your head way too big, so I may just have to send you another comment under my pseudo name “CougarLetter” and tell you to “Suck it!”.

    “It’s not what you thought

    when you first began it it. You got

    what you want….”

    Success!

    Many, many more….

    Carol

  6. Congrats on 5 years! What a milestone. I started reading about 2.5 years back and it was one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own, so thanks for taking me with you on your culinary journey :)

  7. Congrats on 5 years! What a milestone. I started reading about 2.5 years back and it was one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own, so thanks for taking me with you on your culinary journey :)

  8. Congrats on 5 years! That’s truly a remarkable feat. I’m relatively new to your blog, but I am a great admirer. Your blog and where it has taken you is an inspiration to those of us who love food too.

  9. Congrats on 5 great years as The AG. I can’t wait to see what you you do in the next 5. Carry on. Mwah.

  10. hi there – I’ve been reading your blog for a few years, but haven’t been much of a commenter. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the great food ideas! I was reading through your ‘greatest hits’ series and it made me realize that despite the many cookbooks on my shelf, most of the new stuff I’ve tried in the last few years has come from you! So thanks, because ‘the best pie ever’ came out of my oven yesterday, the almond cake is now a staple in my home, the roasted chicken was a huge success and I actually braised a pork shoulder. Crazy.

  11. Adam,

    Thanks for making it REAL. You’re no expert (who really is?) but your joie de vivre is certainly infectious and by showing us your triumphs as well as disasters you make yourself accessible to the average cook and that is why you are still here five years later…relevant, amusing and inspiring.

    Great job!

  12. Happy Anniversary Adam! It’s been great watching you and your blog grow over the past five years.

    And in French, the first meaning of amateur is someone who has a predilection for something and is knowledgeable about it — seems perfectly fitting!

    Clotilde.

  13. Congratulations, Adam! Five years is no small feat! It’s been great reading through your blog and seeing the evolution of your writing, cooking, and tastes. You’ve made your blog incredibly fun to read. Here’s to another five!

  14. Hi Adam,

    Congrats on your 5 years! … I discovered your blog a few months ago and have read every single posting. Funny thing is, my boyfriend sends me random recipes he stumbles across that he wants me to make and he linked me to your No Knead Bread this morning … I had to tell him that I’d already bookmarked that link a long time ago!

  15. Hi Adam,

    Congrats on your 5 years! … I discovered your blog a few months ago and have read every single posting. Funny thing is, my boyfriend sends me random recipes he stumbles across that he wants me to make and he linked me to your No Knead Bread this morning … I had to tell him that I’d already bookmarked that link a long time ago!

  16. Adam,

    All this reminiscing is making me jealous that I didn’t catch on to your fantastic site sooner. But I’m here now, and have been for about a year. I love your style, sass, and the way your posts can brighten even the dreariest 2:30 lag at the day job. Thanks for everything and please keep it up–for our sake!

  17. Adam,

    All this reminiscing is making me jealous that I didn’t catch on to your fantastic site sooner. But I’m here now, and have been for about a year. I love your style, sass, and the way your posts can brighten even the dreariest 2:30 lag at the day job. Thanks for everything and please keep it up–for our sake!

  18. Congratulations, Adam. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the last couple of years (I was late food blogger bloomer). I love your honesty and humor, and have enjoyed the flops as much as the greatest hits because you always press on no matter how disasterous the experiment. I once made Martha’s Boston Cream Pie and the cake was rock hard and the custard was liquid. But these things happen and it’s nice that you show it on your blog.

    Keep it up!

  19. Congratulations, Adam. You’re an inspiration to everyone who has a dream to follow their passion. I’m glad to have “met” you in little ways online, and it’s very cool to have your book as well as read the wonderful articles you write here. I’ve not seen many of the FN Dish eps (mostly due to bandwidth issues here at the office…), but you’re so personable and earnest and fun that it’s hard not to get carried away with your enthusiasm.

    Thanks for your honesty and insight, and here’s to another 10 years of the Amateur Gourmet, in all of the forms you’ll take. :)

  20. Happy 5 years! While that chocolate cake looks yummy…..I can only drool over all those cookbooks in the background!! :)

  21. Congratulations! I’ve only been reading for about 6 months, but I can always count on your writing to both entertain and teach. Good luck!

    Megan

  22. Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog since the Janet Jackson Cupcake. I love your blog and your approach to cooking. Here’s to another five years.

  23. Hi Adam,

    Dad and I want you to know just how proud we are to be your parents.Your accomplishments have far exceeded our wildest expectations. You truly are a creative genius ,and can only imagine what the next five years will bring. We love you, Mom and Dad

  24. I am stuck inside the house with the sub-zero temperatures here in Milwaukee, and stumbled upon your blog. LOVING IT! Congrats on the five years, can’t wait to be a regular!

  25. Adam,

    I’m a devoted reader of two years and I usually don’t comment, but I couldn’t pass up extending my congratulations! You are the reason I sweep every food-related category on Jeopardy. But seriously, well, that was serious, but SERIOUSLY, I feel like I’ve gotten to know you since I first stumbled across the Amateur Gourmet, and I can say that you are smart, talented, humorous, honest, inspirational… I could go on. I love your blog, I love YOU, and I can’t wait to share many more AG moments with you for many more years!

    Dana

  26. Congratulations! I love following your food adventures and especially love your honesty and the “real-life” quality of your posts (dirty stovetop and all). Looking forward to reading more.

  27. Happy birthday to you Amateur Gourmet! We all know you are no longer a complete amateur and we’re so proud of you! It’s been great to get a look at the people behind the scenes of the AG blog this week too.

  28. Adam: Thanks for five years of great reading. You were one of the first, and still, right up there on top. Glad you’re reaping success from your talents. Thanks for all the terrific posts.

  29. Hi Adam! Congratulations! I can’t even remember when I started reading, but I do remember meeting you, haha. Your blog is fantastic, and I look forward to another five years.

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