Introducing, The Facts of Life

Hi. Welcome to my "new" blog!

New is in quotes for a reason. I've been blogging since 2005; somehow--and this is going to blow your mind so get ready--somewhere along the way prattling about my life got old. So this blog has waddled along toward its inevitable deletion for a few years now. Yet, I never quite got around to it. Then I got a new idea.

This blog has been polished, primped and prepped in anticipation of its reopening. It has been made faster, stronger...tastier?

It has become a food blog.

You're flabbergasted by my originality, I know, but please hold all applause for the end.

You see, I've had a burgeoning interest in cooking, baking and food for some time now. I've been taking pictures like a good little foodie (even though I am no photographer), reading other blogs, putting new cook books on my Amazon Wish List and feeding my husband all kinds of things he doesn't actually like. Then a few months ago, when I'd quit my day job in anticipation of a move, someone asked me what I'd do in the interim.

"Write," I answered. For some reason I assumed everyone in the office knew that I was a novelist, albeit an unpublished one.

"Oh!" they cooed. "A cookbook?"

(Through my Facebook updates, my meals had acquired some degree of status around the office.)

No, I thought, but not a bad idea.

While this is no cookbook, I felt it was time for me to start to share my ideas with the world. That's what I like best about writing--the sharing. Food is just one more good excuse.

I want to meditate a little on what this blog will be, then, and give you a feel for what I'm about.

This blog's meals will be cooked in a small space. This is a big part of the point of this blog. For the next few years, at least, I am damned to an apartment's kitchen that I can't, due to the fact that I don't actually own the space, change much about. I have very limited storage, limited counters and a fridge door which falls off (Landlord is STILL swearing he will fix it soon). None of this, however, is a deterrent to the determined!

This blog's meals will be small. I cook largely for my husband and I; there are no children and the cats sniff a lot but don't eat much. The single exception is my soups. I am incapable of making less than eighteen batches of soup.

This blog's meals can be made by hand. What I mean is, I will very rarely write about something that you can't do with a spoon, a whisk, a spatula and a metal bowl. While I've acquired things like stand mixers and food processors in the last year that make my life a lot easier, I have whisked meringue by hand. I (prefer to) make bread by hand. I anticipate someday making my first batch of ice cream this way as well. "By hand" can be slow, it certainly requires more effort, but if you really want to, you can do it.

This blog's meals will be made from scratch. I am actually famously bad at preparing pre-packaged products. I have turned rice into mush and Betty Crocker cakes into bricks. However, what this also means is that I advocate the whole-food, home-made movements going on. I am currently making an effort to know exactly what's in my food. I am steeping my own vanilla, brewing my own tea and preserving my own lemons. These things, you will find, are ridiculously easy.

This blog will talk about reusing. I am married to a man who more or less taught me to care about recycling. This attitude has changed me and my habits. Plus, the city of Toronto is aiming to force people into reducing their weekly garbage by accommodating a huge amount of recycling and green bin refuse. I appreciate the effort. Vegetable peels, ends and brown bits? Keep them for the stock pot.

This blog will take short cuts. Please forgive me. Sometimes I am just tired. Sometimes we will just order pizza. Sometimes I'd rather grab a damn high-sodium can of beans than cook some for two hours because I forgot to soak them overnight. I'm not a purist.

Settled? Good, then. Some things I won't do.

This blog will not be political. I enjoy reading other foodie bloggers' takes on the last Pollan article, the revelation of this or that practice, the reason for eating from a CSA rather than a Sobey's. While I have my own set of principles that will become clearer with time, I do not enjoy hashing such things out, particularly.

This blog will not be exact. You can blame me, here. I do not, for the most part, measure as I cook if I'm not using someone else's recipe. So take the measurements with a grain of salt and if you think the soup needs more water, give it more water.

This blog will not be simple, or at least, not all the time. I really enjoy a challenge. I get excited when I see a recipe with a long ingredient list. (Within reason, anyway. I recently read a cookbook where every third recipe had two half-page columns of ingredients. Aie.)

This blog will not, however, include impossible ingredients in these possibly-lengthy lists. I have a few blogs I love but despair of. They will describe a recipe that sounds incredible, only to inform me halfway through that I need tamarind paste. I will immediately realize that I didn't like the recipe well enough to hunt down an Asian grocer who might carry tamarind paste. On the contrary, while spelt flour always sounded obscure to me, I discovered you can get it at your local Bulk Barn. I'm likely to mention this, however.

This blog will not contain good photography. As I said, I'm no photographer. I hate a recipe without a picture, though, so I'll do what I can.

Can you tell that I also like the sound of my own voice? Or, at least the flow of my own print? Alas, it's true. I'm a writer; it's my fatal flaw. So, that all said, let's begin.