nicole's new kitchen

Food Blogger’s Rehab

Nicole's new breathtaking kitchen. Lo quiero!

The still-cool warmth of the late spring sun toasting, kissing flesh; strands of hair fluttering in the breeze pulsing through the valley; strains of nature’s music as singing birds provide the melody to the ballad of rustling leaves. Sensations that define the movement of spring into the depths of sweltering summer heat. Nostalgia-inducing sensations which feel as identical as a life-evolved thirty-something as they did in the innocence of childhood.

What a relationship I have with words. Neither positive nor negative, neither skilled nor completely without comprehension. Prior to college I loved to read. Frankly, for the majority of my youth, I would have equally enjoyed a night lost in a novel until the wee hours of the morning as much as a night spent with my closest girl friend revealing our souls to one another. Somehow through the long, tolling road of academia followed by the reality of adulthood, my passion for words and reading dissipated, and to be honest, I haven’t read much more than a short internet article in the past year. I haven’t posted to my once beloved-more-than-anything OG food blog (this one) in pushing five months. The written word has simply escaped me and, dammit, I find that really sad.

It’s funny, I’ve liked to think (and say) that I’m a good communicator; I can talk to anyone from any walk of life for seemingly hours, but to sit down and write out even one engaging paragraph to accompany a recipe I’ve developed is like pulling teeth. But maybe that isn’t even an accurate statement. Sure, I love people and have no problem talking to anyone, but that isn’t necessarily the definition of a good communicator. I think, like most people, I have a much harder time expressing myself rather than just engaging those around me. While this makes me a good listener, things that are dependent on my own personal expression (like this blog) tend to get neglected.

As the 8th anniversary of What We’re Eating quickly approaches, I feel a bit saddened at the level of neglect I’m responsible for on this site. Months ago the ads got turned off, years ago my inspiration took a similar downward turn after my relationship with co-founder, life-long amigo & ex-kickass boyfriend came to an end. I wanted the site to continue, but it was started in a conversational style where we had an actual dialogue about the food we had actually just eaten. For years it was uncensored (aka unedited-oops), it was raunchy and it was the humor that we shared as friends. Writing a fluffy paragraph by myself to be able to post the recipe/photo of whatever dish I had just created was the last thing I wanted to do. And sadly, I never searched for a way to redefine what the site was and mold it into something that inspired me.

Now, a little over a month from WWE’s big day, I have awoken to find myself in what seems like a floundering food blogger’s heaven; the newly remodeled incredible home of one Nicole Emmert Hamaker, aka Pinch My Salt. The open, bright, naturally-lit interior of her entire house emits tranquil vibes of calming and warmth; her beautiful, spacious, state-of-the-art, fully-equipped kitchen, overflowing pantry and array of props are pretty much all a deprived ex-food-blogger-turn-tropical-expat could ask for! Not to mention the perfectly manicured and landscaped lawn lined with pots of any herb you could imagine, a variety of fruit trees in every stage from ripe to just beginning to bloom, a garden filled with tomatoes, squash, melons, peppers, etc. Simply put – a cook’s paradise.

I was giddy with excitement when I boarded the train yesterday in the Bay area headed to Madera in a way most people headed to the Central Valley might never understand. I was heading to the one person on this earth that I’ve connected with who fully gets the journey I’ve been on; blogging, career and even relationship/lack-there-of wise. Every time I get to reconnect with Nicole it’s like the hibernating little muses in my head awaken and start to prance about singing chants of ingredient pairings, dish concepts and yes, even blog posts. What the f*ck, hibernating muses, I need your asses arouse by more than just Nicole! Awesome as she is, she lives nearly across the world from my day-to-day life. And as much as I’ve warned her that I am going to crawl into her freaking amazingly comfortable spare bed and hide until she goes to sleep at night then conduct food-elfin magic during the witching hours, I doubt the concept is gonna fly in reality. ;)

For the next several days I consider myself checked into a very elite ex-food blogger’s spa/rehab program. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen re-enacting How Stella Got Her Groove Back with local CSA produce and a pantry full of awesome. Do Not Disturb.(Except to comment on this and future blog post – all food blog inspiring interactions welcomed.) ;)

3 comments so far:

  1. Denise says:

    May I just say this is simply brilliant Amanda? It’s a learning journey. Enjoy the time spent away!

  2. Nicole says:

    I really do think you can make this space into something you enjoy again if, instead of looking at it as an obligation or something you feel guilty for neglecting, you see it for what it is – a creative space that belongs to you. Period. You are a great writer with lots of stories to tell and feelings to explore, you are an artist in the kitchen and your creativity with food astounds me (and everyone else), and you have a great eye for photography, whether the subject is a plate of your stunning food or a hot surfer in PR. You have so much to share with us and it’s time to quit worrying about expectations or putting restrictions on yourself when it comes to this site – just let it evolve and enjoy the journey. Now let’s get started on those enchiladas you keep talking about!!

  3. Bobby says:

    If you could stand living in BR again, I have a couple of locations spotted for a burger & fries /Frozen custard place. I’d do it, but I don’t have the money and if I did, I’d lose it all in the divorce.

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