Saturday, April 3, 2010

Of Wonder and Eggs.

On this Easter Eve, I find myself looking back over nearly a year of posts. My blog will be a year old on April 8th, and I can hardly believe that a year has gone so quickly. I was recently asked what made me start blogging. I've been doing what you faithful readers have been seeing here for the past 12 months, for a much longer time than I've been writing about it. I may not have been quite as prolific when I was working a job or multiple jobs, but I was still making my own noodles and chicken stock, and stockpiling quick homemade meals in my freezer, and reading as much (usually in the way of cookbooks or magazines back then) as I was able.

But what made me decide to start writing about the food I make was the sudden passing of my uncle a year ago. It really affected me. It made me stop and realize just how precious our day to day lives are, and on a grander scheme how the things I love are important to others. While food blogging could seem frivolous and lighthearted at times, I often draw so many correlations to the bigger picture, especially during this Easter season which is very important to me.

One of my favorite food ruminations is that of milk and honey. Nearly all life on our planet must be sustained by eating foods that first must die. This goes for people of all dining preference: vegetarian, carnivore, vegan. All diets contain that element of the brevity of life, be it a lamb or cow, or a stalk of wheat or a lowly legume. When God promised the Israelites the land of Milk and Honey, it confirms to me the amazing knowledge of life everlasting. Milk and honey are two of the only foods that are nutritionally valid and contain no death to produce. (I think an argument for maple syrup could be made, but to my knowledge, there were no maple trees in the desert...)

Food blogging has been a series of personal kitchen adventures for sure, but it has also changed the way I see this basic necessity for life. I've heard it said that there are two types of people, those that live to eat (*raising hand*) and those who eat to live. No matter your category, you can't escape the fact that everyone, everywhere, needs to eat to live. In this incredible era of computing, I can immediately have access to hundreds of thousands of ethnic recipes from cultures around the world. If it is edible, I'd wager it has been written about somewhere. And it's all because we have the amazing privilege, I believe by design, to eat.

Not only does eating sustain us physically, but it does mentally as well. Conversation that can be had over mealtime is often among the most memorable. And what you ate on a first date, or an anniversary, what kind of cake you dreamed of for your birthday, what foods are served after a funeral of a loved family member, these are all very powerful things that we carry around with us, intrinsic parts of especially our childhood memories. They are the things that unite food bloggers of all types, regardless of all the external things that hang up all of us humans in endless debate and argument.

I think the egg is an important part of Easter for me personally. Though I wrote a very inarticulate essay by comparison, in his book The Elements of Cooking, Michael Ruhlman's discussion of the egg is alone worth the cover price. I read this book for the first time a couple of months ago, and I really find myself thinking about it often. A sample of his passage on the egg:
My reverence for the egg borders on religious devotion. It is the perfect food - an inexpensive package, dense with nutrients and exquisitely flavored, that's both easily and simply prepared but that's also capable of unmatched capability in the kitchen. Yes, an egg is just an egg, but it is also ingredient, tool, and object, a natural construction of near mystical proportions..... Eggs are appropriate to serve at any time of day for any meal. They can be the main item or the garnish, they can be served simply in rustic preparations, but they are equally suited to four star cuisine. No other ingredient has so many uses and effects. The egg is a wonder.
Easter in particular holds a special place for eggs. We dye and hunt for them. We make them out of chocolate. We fill plastic ones full of jelly beans. As I type, I'm waiting patiently for my Chocolate Schaum Torte (courtesy of Burp! Where Food Happens) to bake; it is full of the wonderful levity that egg whites produce. I'm glad I decided to make it, since this is my first ever Easter dinner at my house - with just my little family. A dessert appropriate for Easter in my 33rd year...

One night this past week, we had eggs for supper. My Husband: two fried, with runny yolks. I decided at the last minute that I had to have a soft boiled egg. I have never had one! I've eaten eggs all sorts of ways, including raw, but never have I soft boiled one. I remember Sasa telling me how she loved them as a child, and called her to ask how many minutes to boil them. She said 5 minutes without hesitation, and then Googled to be sure. Bring water to a boil, carefully lower eggs into water, and boil 5 minutes. That's it. Without a doubt, the best way I have ever eaten an egg - even if I had to improvise an egg cup by using my 1/8 cup measure and the 2 ounce side of a bar jigger. I am not sure I could eat two of these every day as Nigella Lawson does, but I can tell you I will be eating many more of them in the future.

As CakeWalk bravely enters year two, I have no idea what will be in store. I am frequently surprised even at the direction my thoughts take me as I type away, let alone what will be on the docket of food adventures. I do know that I am thankful for this opportunity to share what is important to me, and that I live in a place where I can sit here and type whatever comes to mind without fear. (I just recently read of a blogger who was visiting China, and had to post her food adventures when she returned because they do not allow blogging!) I enjoy being a small part in other people's lives, and in some cases discovering what that little part is. It's also quite contenting to know that I may never know some people who read about my little life, just as some others don't know that I read about theirs. A great mystery in this wonderful life.


  1. As a soft-boiled egg novice, how did you know that the BEST part is cutting up the toast ladyfinger-like so you can dip it all the way in?

  2. From seeing food tv, Mary! Nigella likes her "soldiers", and I have also seen someone dipping asparagus into one, too.

  3. The egg is such an important part of many of the worlds nations. If I remember correctly it contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals except Vitamin C. And isn't it wonderful that we have such a miriad of ways to cook them! Happy Easter to you and yours. Continue blogging- it is not as frivolous as some may think. What a wonderful means of sharing ideas, recipes and interests. As one of my friends says - it is my hobby that connects me with like minded people. Keep up the great work. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  4. Lovely sentiments! We were caught up in our own celebration of the Eastertide, so I didn't get a chance to read this until now -- but I'm equally as moved as I would have been yesterday.

    Blogging is far more than it seems, as you well know. If you're anything like me, it connects you even more deeply to those things you've been doing for so many years already -- and puts you face-to-face with genuine, sustaining, work. Blogging is a joy. When I think about how we may never have met, had it not been for our blogs, it really brings the sentiment home.

  5. I think that blogging, like most things, can be both frivolous or not depending what you put into it. And at its best thinking and writing about food is thinking about how we live and who we are. You thinking is always as enjoyable to read about as your cooking -- Happy anniversary cakewalk! I love seeing the slices of your life - and look forward to the next year of them!

  6. That was T, this is N - I totally second with what T wrote above. In addition we are really glad we 'virtually' met you through your blog. Friendships are formed in the most unlikely ways.

  7. Congratulations on 1 year. It is quite an accomplishment and it's nice to find you in the rhythm of a blog you dearly love. I'm glad I found it and I'm delighted in your motivations. Keep it up! Your meals look fantastic and your writing is gorgeous and inspiring.

  8. What a lovely post. I definitely relate to your feelings about food -- it is a great pleasure.

  9. I love the passage from the essay. I found most of the essays from "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant" (please read if you have not!) all emphasized that eggs were the best meal to have when cooking for one. It makes sense - spoil yourself with an indulgent food.

  10. I love the idea of dipping the soldiers!

  11. Happy Anniversary my sweet friend!


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