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We’re All Winners! (Project Food Blog Challenge #1)

September 16, 2010

When I started this blog six months ago, I was armed with nothing more than an overwhelming desire to join a community of food lovers who seemed to have so much fun sharing their recipes, food experiences and connecting with one another.  I’ve mentioned before that I had no writing, photography or technical skills to support the urge to join this ever-growing group.  But like a new kid at the playground, I jumped right in and was warmly welcomed by all.  These last few months have challenged my web abilities and photography skills–just to name two–but one overall theme has been at the core of each post, each twist and turn on this road I’ve taken:  IT’S BEEN FUN!

So in the same vein, I entered Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog contest to have fun. In doing so, I’ve been forced to examine (in a good way) the reasons behind starting  Lemons and Anchovies.  The process of discovery has been fruitful, but fun factor aside, what makes me think I can successfully meet the requirements of this first challenge?  How will I define what sets me apart from others and show everyone that I “have what it takes to be the next food blog star”? The Foodbuzz community has introduced me to many talented food bloggers (my friends) many of whom have demonstrated excellence in all aspects of food blogging.  What of this?  Certainly, I am relieved not to be a judge.  You, dear readers, share this task with the Foodbuzz judges.  My responsibility for this challenge is to give you the heart of Lemons and Anchovies, to share what drives each and every post.

Reason #1:  For the Memories

My blog has been a satisfying outlet for expressing my passion for food.  I had a late start with cooking but my appreciation for the taste, smell, sight, sound, and touch of food has been a lifelong treat for my senses.  Frankly, I think eating is a special occasion three-or more-times a day.  Since my parents and grandparents strongly encouraged eating together at the table, I grew up regarding food as much more than just fuel for my body.  Food embodies the meaning of family–being together, bonding, connecting.  I was raised on heart-warming food like this…

…and ate it with gusto, not realizing that the grown-up me would, years later, learn to appreciate a simple stew not only for its wonderful flavor but mainly for the comfort, the memories and the love each bite would represent.

Reason #2:  For the Education

In addition to sharing my fondness for the food I grew up with, Lemons and Anchovies is also becoming a catalogue for “new” dishes that I’ve learned to make and have made my own.  Through trial and error, inspiration, experimentation, tweaks here and there, these recipes now bear my stamp and I share them with much pride.

There are also recipes that need little to no adjustments and I get all the credit when I serve them!

I have mountains of recipes yet to try and this food blog is a wonderful reason to keep busy in the kitchen, experimenting with new ingredients , tools, techniques.  I have set goals for myself–some that I’ve started to tackle like ice-cream/sorbet making…

…but many others like making my own fresh pasta and French macarons are still on my to-do list.  My taste buds will be happy with the new creations, I’m sure, and hopefully, you will never run out of new posts to read.

Reason #3:  It’s a Small World

Finally, in an attempt to define what Lemons and Anchovies stands for, I originally planned to frame this post around travel–another interest–and how it fuels my food love.  Before leaving home for vacation two weeks ago, I prepared a pasta dish, Spaghetti con Bottarga, convinced that it would best sum up what I’ve set out to do.  Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat (as evidenced by the many recipes I’ve posted here) while the use of bottarga (fish roe) combines my enjoyment of travel and discovering new ingredients along the way (I first encountered this dish while visiting Sardinia).

However, something quite fortuitous happened.  As I switched my mind to vacation mode on the plane, I came across this 19th century quote in my Paris guidebook:

“The only cooks in the civilized world are French…other[s] have different interpretations of food. Only the French understand cuisine…who has ever seen a foreigner succeed in making a white sauce?” – Nestor Roqueplan

When I read this I wanted to raise my hand and say, “I’ve successfully made béchamel and I’m not French!”  This quote struck a chord with me.  The world we live in today is much different than 150 years ago, and the food enthusiast in me appreciates it.  Access to exotic ingredients, technology allowing me to watch a video on how to make an authentic Spaghetti Carbonara on YouTube, and yes, reading other bloggers’ posts from around the world are just three ways that cultural boundaries in food are being blurred in a very good way.  The food of my childhood was centered on Asian cuisine but today, I, like many home cooks, can enjoy a proper Italian, French, Moroccan or even an African dish at home simply because I have the resources to pair with my drive to create them.  This is what excites me about food–there are no longer any limits to creativity!

In many home kitchens today, gastronomic excellence is being achieved.  No longer does one culture or a Michelin restaurant own the license to refined food.  I have come across many food bloggers who are proving this statement wrong everyday and through this blog I also strive to be an example.  It all goes back to fun–we’re having lots of fun writing about food and in my opinion this makes us all winners.

BUT… if at the end of the day you find yourself in Paris, it would be silly to deny you’re a fan of one of their best creations!

75 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 3:42 AM

    Your photos looks just as beautiful as usual! This was a great post! And you’re totally right, we’re all winners..there’s just going to be one of us who comes out of it with $10000 🙂

    • September 19, 2010 8:17 AM

      Evan, thank you so much! So glad to be participating in this fun Foodbuzz event with you. I look forward to seeing your great sweets on the next challenges. 🙂

  2. September 16, 2010 5:47 AM

    Well said! I’m even more impressed that you are doing this during your vacay!

    • September 19, 2010 8:24 AM

      Thanks, Amy. Really, the biggest challenge was getting decent wifi. Glad to finally have it today. 🙂

  3. September 16, 2010 5:52 AM

    Beautiful post! Looking forward to following you thru this! Good luck!

  4. September 16, 2010 5:54 AM

    I so enjoy your writing and stories and recipes! I find myself sharing the reasons you do for starting a blog- it has been a tremendous motivator in learning new recipes for me. And Laduree- mmm, I’d move to Paris just for that.

    • September 19, 2010 8:41 AM

      Thanks so much! Laduree was quite a treat to visit. This trip has inspired a lot of French-themed cooking and I can’t wait to return home! 🙂

  5. September 16, 2010 6:00 AM

    What a great post! I love the entries that are sincere and fun, too.

  6. September 16, 2010 6:07 AM

    Very well written post. Best of luck with the competition!

  7. September 16, 2010 6:48 AM

    Love the pics! I’m really enjoying reading all the entries! Good Luck!

    • September 19, 2010 9:06 AM

      Thanks! I’m catching up on all the entries now myself and really enjoying it. Good luck to you, too. 🙂

  8. September 16, 2010 8:42 AM

    I feel honored to have watched your blog grow from the beginning, and to me, you’re already a winner. Beautifully written, Jean, you’ve captured the reasons why so many of us do what we do, each and every day! I’ll be rooting for you!!!

    • September 19, 2010 9:08 AM

      Awww, thanks, Liren! It amazes me everyday how much enjoyment food blogging brings and I’m sure it’s the same for you. I’ll be cheering you on, too, as you advance from challenge to challenge. 🙂

  9. September 16, 2010 8:43 AM

    Incredible post!

    Very well written and frankly, I am surprised to see how many of these blogs for PFB are still quite young (less than 1 year old). I admire the ambition and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors in cooking, food blogging, and with PFB.

    • September 19, 2010 12:13 PM

      Kim, thanks so much. I have also noticed how many bloggers are so new. We’re all having so much fun, aren’t we? Thanks for your support and I wish the same for you and your blog. 🙂

  10. September 16, 2010 8:53 AM

    Only six months back??!! Really?! I would not have thought that at all!! Lovely post, Jean!!! Good Luck, girl!

  11. September 16, 2010 8:54 AM

    It’s amazing what food blogging has done… it definitely is a smaller world! Smaller in a good way, a way where we can share so many things about something we all love — food! Safe travels to you and best of luck with PFB! Looking forward to reading your posts.

    • September 19, 2010 12:21 PM

      Jun, likewise. I always enjoy your posts. Beautiful writing and photography. It’s been fun “meeting” other foodies like you. Thanks!

  12. September 16, 2010 9:12 AM

    Wonderful post…and I LOVE your photography! Very captivating.

  13. September 16, 2010 9:31 AM

    Great post Jean, inspirational with strong punctuations of yummy-ness:) Your trip sounds amazing, I just checked out your twitters, I love the south of France! Continued safe trip, look forward to your pictures and tales of adventure from La France!

    • September 19, 2010 12:32 PM

      Thanks so much, Patty. Will be home in a few days. South of France was wonderful; already planning our return. 🙂

  14. September 16, 2010 9:56 AM

    Love the post! I whole heartedly agree with you, there are so many winners in the competition! The best part for me has been meeting and getting to know some of the bloggers I’ve been reading better! Good Luck!

    • September 19, 2010 12:37 PM

      Thanks so much! I agree with you, too. The best part about this experience for me has been getting to know our fellow bloggers better. Good luck to you with PFB!

  15. September 16, 2010 10:04 AM

    Great post, Jean. I love your sensibility and outlook on food. So glad to to have found your blog; I feel like we’re incoming classmates at that new playground!

    • September 19, 2010 12:38 PM

      Ben, likewise! I really feel like you’re my buddy in this playground. Glad to be doing PFB with you. 🙂

  16. September 16, 2010 10:26 AM

    Beautiful post! Good luck!

  17. September 16, 2010 10:58 AM

    Lovely post! Good Luck!! And have fun on your vacay!

  18. September 16, 2010 1:42 PM

    Good luck with all the challenges! I enjoyed learning more about you!

  19. September 16, 2010 2:22 PM

    It’s hard to believe you’ve only been at this for SIX MONTHS! You’re a pro and you’re gonna take this thing all the way. Just look at the passion oozing out of this post! Good luck!

  20. September 16, 2010 3:38 PM

    Love it! It’s so much fun reading everyone’s motivations for blogging. I can’t wait to see more Paris pictures so I can live vicariously through your fabulous adventures!

    • September 19, 2010 12:58 PM

      Gosh, I’ll have so many pictures to look over and edit. It’s been a fun trip, though. It’s drawing to a close and I’m already missing France. Good luck to you with PFB; I’m sure you’ll do very well. 🙂

  21. September 16, 2010 4:07 PM

    I echo everyone’s earlier statements: six months…wow! You have done an amazing job here, and I know you will have fun and success in this competition! Your photographs look lovely, as always, and I appreciate you sharing with us!

    • September 19, 2010 1:05 PM

      Monet, look who’s talking. Just happy to be a part of this event with some of my favorite bloggers like you. 🙂

  22. September 16, 2010 5:19 PM

    couldn’t agree less with you. this is a great post and a real testimonial to why we, albeit with all this hullabaloo on the competition, can be considered winners in our own ways 🙂 thanks for sharing this with us and all the best!

  23. September 16, 2010 6:58 PM

    This is quite wonderful, and a great pleasure to read. I completely agree that the world of food has grown far past that quote. Best wishes with the contest, and have fun (most important) and I know you will 🙂
    P.S. We are also 6 months old as of the 13th of this month…

  24. September 16, 2010 7:09 PM

    good wishes lovely post

  25. September 16, 2010 7:17 PM

    Nice job! I love your photos too. Good luck!

  26. September 16, 2010 8:09 PM

    Great post! Hope you are having fun in France! Best of luck to you with the contest. 🙂

  27. September 17, 2010 8:43 AM

    You may be new to blogging, but you are super strong. Certainly one to watch. GREG

  28. September 17, 2010 2:12 PM

    Are you in Paris right now? I’m so envious…I hope to one day see it too. Please bring back some macarons from Paris! 🙂

    I very much enjoyed your post and how you included your gorgeous food photography into it. It is an amazing time about food and learning more about it now with the foodie communities, technology like the internet and the availability of ingredients that not too long ago were not as accessible. You said it all very well … all my best to you for the FB PFB contest!

    • September 20, 2010 12:59 PM

      Cristina, I’m spending my last evening in Paris–it’s been a wonderful trip. So inspired to cook again. Thanks so much!

  29. September 18, 2010 1:18 AM

    Liked your focused post. 🙂 And really must say I’m in awe that u got this done while on vacation!

  30. September 19, 2010 12:15 AM

    Has it only been six months since you started blogging? Your photos, writing and recipes are all so inspiring. I glad to have gotten to know more about you. Looking forward to many more yummy recipes to come.

    • September 20, 2010 1:01 PM

      Trissa, you know it seems like a lot longer, too, but it’s been so much fun. I feel totally the same about your blog, my friend!

  31. September 19, 2010 5:19 PM

    you are absolutely right, we are all winners! If we got nothing else from food buzz, just that it brought us all together is priceless!
    You are an amazing blogger and I love reading your blog and enjoying those incredible images you post…..You will do so well in this competition!
    Good luck in the competition my friend!

    • September 20, 2010 1:02 PM

      Chef Dennis, you’re so nice to say this. I feel exactly the same way about your blog. I’m flattered that you continue to pay my humble page a visit. Thanks so much! 🙂

  32. September 19, 2010 9:26 PM

    Ohh you had me at bottarga, Jean! What a great post and I love your observations about the blurring of boundaries in food. When people ask me what food I like the most, I tend to say “ethnic” but at the same time, feeling ridiculous because what does that word even mean anymore?! Anyway, good luck on PFB! I’m honored to be in PFB with so many amazing bloggers!

  33. September 19, 2010 9:33 PM

    Bonne Chance!
    Your photos are exquisite!

  34. September 20, 2010 12:55 AM

    Jean, your photos should be in a professional cooking magazine or book! Just tried to vote for your blog, since it is the 2oth here, but it is not open yet…
    You can count on my vote! 🙂 With 400 advancing, I’m thinking you’ll be in that group.

  35. September 20, 2010 2:45 AM

    Great post, and you are 100% right in that everyone are winners ! Happy to hear that you enjoyed your Parisian trip.
    bonne chance !

  36. September 20, 2010 7:46 AM

    Great post!! Good luck and enjoy the vacation 🙂

  37. September 20, 2010 9:45 AM

    I’ve been waiting for your post, and I know I’m not alone. Best of luck and looking forward to the next!

  38. September 20, 2010 9:51 AM

    This is a beautifully written post! We’ve voted for you because your love for food really comes through in your writing – not just in this post but others too – and also in the fantastic pics. Good luck.

  39. Jacqueline Lewis permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:11 PM

    Beautifully done Jean. So so proud of you & what a yummy looking site. I know you will be a winner!!!! Miss you my friend. Lunch when you slow down. Congratulations on your success on doing something you love.

  40. September 20, 2010 5:05 PM

    Nice entry. I’m casting one of my votes for you.

  41. priscillawillis permalink
    September 22, 2010 3:09 PM

    I’ll be in Paris in October! Beautiful sentiments and photos, as usual. Good luck in the competition, but I agree, you’re all winners!

  42. September 22, 2010 10:18 PM

    Very lovely post and photos. You have one of my votes. Good luck in the competition.

  43. September 23, 2010 7:20 AM

    Beautiful post! I love that quote you found! Too funny! (and French)! I am glad you have found so much joy and happiness here…. me too! – You have my vote –

  44. September 23, 2010 7:52 AM

    I voted!

  45. Tastes Better With Friends permalink
    September 23, 2010 9:41 AM

    I went to Laduree too and got the evil eye when I tried to take a photo! luckily, they still let me buy their macarons:)
    Voted and good luck!

  46. September 23, 2010 4:54 PM

    hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. 🙂 I voted for your blog. hope that helps. feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @

  47. September 23, 2010 10:19 PM

    voted! good luck and enjoy PFB


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