For a long time I haven’t known what to do with this space. As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t featured a recipe in quite some time, and my posting is sparse. Partially this is due to the amount of time it takes me to settle into a new school year and a new set of students. Partially it’s due to changing focus.
I started this blog back in 2011 because I wanted to explore history in ways that the traditional classroom didn’t support. I missed working with history in a hands-on way, so I decided to recall the skills I learned one long-ago college summer and cook from historical recipes. But at the back of my mind I had another reason for starting this blog: I wanted to write, and I wanted to see it in print.
It’s the same story as many others: I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote and illustrated (okay, mostly illustrated) epic family stories in the boathouse up in Canada while my mom exercised on her stationary bike, when I was young enough to still write certain letters backwards. By 6th grade I had decided to become the next James Herriot, so I could cure animals of disease and write about the adventures I’d have in the charming countryside. There was always this practical side of me that knew I had to have a “real” job, one that kept me in the modest comfort to which I’d grown accustomed.
Once out of college, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I still wanted to write, but that pesky practical side reminded me that I had to pay bills and have health insurance and take care of all sorts of boring grown-up things. I tried working in publishing to be around books, but I missed history, and no amount of cupcakes and subway rides could convince me that New York was the greatest city in the world. So I got my master’s degree in teaching, and I met Josh, and we decided to stay in Rhode Island after graduation and find teaching jobs. But writing still called to me. So as soon as I’d taken off my cap and gown, I began research for a historical novel. If I didn’t start now, then when?
Here’s the thing I never realized while starting (and never finishing) books in high school: writing a novel is HARD. And a year into it, I was frustrated by the size of this undertaking, and frustrated by the demands and constraints of first-year teaching. So I started this blog, hoping that seeing my words in print, even if they were about something entirely different like historical cooking, would help. And for several years it did.
As my writing became more important to me, I joined a wonderful critique group, and began meeting other writers thanks to the magic of the internet and family connections. And as I worked to finish, revise, and edit my novel, I realized how much time I wanted to devote to my fiction. Teaching allows me limited time at night to write, and I want to take full advantage of it. Researching and cooking and writing about a historical recipe, all for one blog post, is just not where my interest lies any longer. If I had all the time in the world, then…yes, I probably would keep writing about historical food. But right now I need to prioritize.
So this space will begin to look a bit different. You’ll see much less about food, and much more about books and writing, often still with that theme of history (I can’t get away from it. I’ve tried.). I hope you’ll join me.