My hubby made an observation last night, one that I’ve thought a couple of times in recent months but hadn’t vocalised.
He said “we're so lucky, really, in that for the last couple of years almost every night we've had something different for dinner. Not everyone can claim that!” – and it’s true.
Obviously, an awful lot of this has been driven by the need to keep posting recipes to Rhubarb & Ginger, my food blog. However, it also met a need – in fact, more than one need – although I wouldn’t recommend it as a way forward for everyone!
I can vividly remember the days when we would shop once a week, during which I would float around the supermarket looking for “things that look nice”, “things that are affordable” and “things that you can do things with”. I can also remember that on very few occasions were these three requirements satisfied. We would wind up with a freezer full of mince, pies, sausages and pre-prepared foods like Chicken Kiev or lamb grills. Not surprisingly, when it came to thinking about what to prepare for dinner that night, inspiration was lacking.
Hubby and I would sit in our kitchen, looking at the fridge and freezer and contemplate what we had that we fancied eating. The response was usually “nothing” and we’d wind up with mince (again) or sausages (again).
This sad state of affairs was what spawned the meal plan that now is a fundamental part of running the household. Yes, it can be a drag to have to sit down and plan out seven meals each week, but these days I lighten the load by collecting interesting recipes as and when I see them. You probably don’t want to know about my filing system for potential recipes and I won’t embarrass myself by telling you about it.
So I started meal planning as a way of varying our diet and introducing interest into the process of eating. After all, we have to do it – so why not enjoy it?
Around this time (probably some 4-5 years ago) I became aware of the increasingly popular process of blogging.
Now I’ve always been the type of person who would talk to anyone who will talk back, plus I’ve always liked the creative process behind the composition of a written piece of work and have a fascination for the English language – so blogging was absolutely made for me.
I began, as people often do, by writing a social blog recounting the day’s happenings within the family – which included food. Very quickly, I realised that the recipes I shared were very popular and before very long, the recipes were taking over.
Enter “Jenny Eatwell’s Rhubarb & Ginger” blog.
I started writing it back in July 2009 and can remember being utterly blown away when my page views for the month achieved the heady heights of 200.
These days, the blog is attracting in excess of 12,000 page views in a month and some days, I feel as though it is driving me instead of the other way around!
There are many good things about writing my food blog and, more recently, writing for the Bournemouth Echo. Not least is the challenge of reclaiming a command of language following on from a stroke/seizure a couple of years ago. I have no doubt that the act of trying to string together an intelligible sentence has been fundamental in my recovery – along with just pure & simply providing me with something to do, now that I have such limited mobility.
Then there are the people involved. I’ve talked to some lovely people via the comments section of the blog and also via Twitter. I would hesitate to call these people true “friends”, as they are unlikely to come to my aid should I require ferrying to the shops one day. However, I’d like to think that the regular readers are as much friends as it is possible for them to be, in the circumstances.
I’ve been involved in some hugely interesting and fun P.R. campaigns through the blog, for people like Knorr, Barefoot Wines and South African Fruit and long may that continue.
The blog has taken me to places that I would never have visited, without there being some blog-orientated demand. We wouldn’t have our Jack Russell terrier, Rosie, if it hadn’t have been for a contact made through the blog!
However, because it is a food blog, consideration of the benefits derived from writing for Rhubarb & Ginger has to include the cooking. I’d like to think that my command of the cooker, understanding of preparation processes and flavour combinations (oh dear, there I go sounding like Greg Wallace) has been advanced in some leaps and bounds.
One thing is sure – we never sit and contemplate the fridge and freezer, wondering what to have for dinner any more!