Why should I blog in precise detail about how I frugal my food, make homemade house cleaners and personal products, or my recipe for whatever? There’s millions of people on the internet already doing that. That’s what Google is for, that’s how I find all my information. InstantPot Chicken Pizza? Nope, that’s not my original idea, a quick search of the interwebs produces plenty of detailed recipes from others who did it before me. Delicious, though, used up that mozzarella that was on the edge, and aside from the cheese, was Whole30 compliant, or at least Keto friendly. #Winning. Who cares if the recipe is mine? It belongs to all of us, thanks to the work and investment of time, energy, and money of food bloggers already out there making it happen. I will, however tell you in general detail, how I frugal my food, make household cleaners and personal products, and my strategies for making this or that, and probably wax philisophical about how happy it makes me or the deeper exestential lessons I took from the experience, like I did over on Divinely You’s Body Builder Project podcast, because this is not a recipe blog, it’s my wanderings at the intersection of food and happiness. I have ideas of my own, search the interwebs for what has come before me, try it out, and usually immediately have opinions about how I’d do it differently in the future or whether or not my substitutions worked out.
Food Bloggers & Our Stories
As a blind person, I use speech technology to browse the internet, and if you think recipe blogs are visually cluttered, you should try accessing them with voiceover, on an older model, slower iPhone. Literally standing in my kitchen spasming with rage at my inability to just get to the damn recipe. And I’m seeing more and more validating comments and memes that tell me it’s not just me: “Unless you’re J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, no one cares,” read a comment on one food blog post, and “By the time I scroll to the recipe, I’ve ordered pizza,” reads a meme, etc. Can’t say I don’t get a giggle out of these comments, though it does raise a fair question about what people come to these blogs for.
It’s my adventures with food and happiness, not a recipe blog, so while I’m happy to link to resources I’ve used to get here should you want to go learn more, I’m not posting recipes, you don’t need to scroll through my life story to get to one, this is just the story. I don’t even make the same recipe twice, really—my superpowers are using the resources I have at hand, repurposing leftovers, sweeping the fridge, and squeezing maximum life out of food purchases—that means the menu is constantly changing depending on what I happen to have around. If you want to frame it in terms of trending topics, I’m passionate about minimizing food waste, and I can still see my 5-foot and just a few inches grandmother getting a little red in the face and exclaiming, “waste! Waste! Waste!” While pumping her clenched fists every time food meets its end in the compost bin instead of my belly.
Paprika 3 is the Revolution
My happiness levels in the kitchen literally skyrocketed overnight when an extremely tech-savvy friend turned me on to the Paprika 3 app. “It strips out all the advertising and soccer mom life stories and just gives you the recipe—ingredients and directions,” she told me. My kitchen life has never been the same. I can strip out all the clutter and lengthy diatribes about why the recipe works and why it’s the blogger’s favorite and how it came to be, and go straight to the important stuff—does this recipe call for things I have or can get readily or potentially substitute for? How do the ingredients and their proportions compare to my existing understanding of this kind of recipe or others I’ve looked at? How complicated is the prep? By copying the URL into Paprika’s in-app browser and clicking a button or two, I have what I need, searchable by recipe name and in a format that allows me to quickly re-visit that cluttered website should I want to refer to any of that more superfluous content, remind myself of where the recipe came from, and/or quickly share it with someone else. I can also edit the recipe, adding notes about how it worked out or things I might change in future itterations, or just make those changes and make the recipe my own. I also like the list feature, where I can search for and pull specific recipes into a dedicated list for quicker, easier reference, should I, say, be using multiple recipes at the same time, like when I go to a friend’s house to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner and I’m juggling Sautéed Pears with Bacon and Mustard Dressing, Lemony Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Bread Crumbs, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples. It’s a lot easier to switch back and forth from that custom list than the main recipe list. It also just gives me a centralized and easy place to save and organize all the recipes I encounter in my social media channels—I follow a lot of food blogs and sites and am often just googling and searching for specific things, and it’s like having a convenient folder to just quickly file things in and easily reference later when I want or need them. Looking for ways to use citrus? How to use up all that extra half & half I bought from Costco? What to do with leek or fennel? Unusual things to do with frozen banana besides bread? Wanna be sure to hang onto that savory recipe for Hot Sesame Noodles with Pork? Have at your fingertips the right time and temperature for roasting pork chops slathered in mayonnaise? Or keep track of all those ways to use the 5 gallons of apples you picked with your bestie and her kiddos? It’s all neatly stored and easily retrievable in my Paprika 3 app. I’ve even been capturing word of mouth recipes from friends and transcribing old family recipes from their print format into something electronic and much more accessible.
This blog is for people who like the stories behind the food and are happy to do the recipe follow up as an afterthought, not a primary goal. It’s a qualitative, storytelling food blog, not a recipe blog. I’m here to hammer out my relationship to food and how it dovetails to happiness, and if I can share some culinary wisdom along the way, concepts or ideas that will bolster and enhance your own adventures with food and happiness, then my work here is done.
But no recipes. OK, maybe just here and there where it feels really appropriate. I’m also still enough of a rookie that none of the legit arguments for the format of most food blogs presented by Barley & Sage apply to me just yet. We’ll see how this adventure turns.