- If you want some background about why I'm on the ALI blogroll, you can read my post for the 2011 Resolve Bust A Myth challenge. It's not for the faint of heart.
- You could also start with the Things I'm Afraid To Tell You, which will give you insider information about my laundry habits. Or you could just salivate over my cupcakes.
- I'm doing NaBloPoMo this month. Because I need more acronyms in my life.
- Even before I had a blog, I wanted to go to BlogHer. I wanted to meet the amazing writers I found online. And this year, I'm going!
Which brings me to the meat of today's post.
~~~~~~~~~~~From an early age, I thought of myself as a writer. I spent hours in the ditto room during lunch in the fifth grade, with my best friend, inhaling purple ink fumes and co-writing an adolescent romance complete with hand-drawn illustrations which we actually--this is completely laughable now--sent off to a publishing agency. In the seventh grade I authored a short science fiction story that my teachers swooned over, and which I was sure would sell hundreds of copies. In eighth grade and in high school, I dominated the literary magazine with my poetry. I majored in English in college, and even won a poetry award one year.
Like most of my fellow English majors, I tired of people asking me what I was going to do with my major. How many times did I have to hear "do you want fries with that?" Why yes, yes, I was preparing myself for a career in the food service industry! How did you know?
Somewhere along the way, my passion for writing got swallowed up by term papers, and then a thesis, and then my dissertation: the ultimate writing killjoy.
Then, two and a half years ago, I started this blog. I don't know when I started reading blogs, but something about the genre appealed to me. Since its birth, it's been quite the wanderer, venturing into pregnancy loss, food porn, yoga, infertility, career uncertainty, parenting, mindfulness, even--though less frequently--politics. I've often found myself wondering, sometimes aloud, where it's going. And whether that matters. Whether my meandering might lose me readership.
Last week, Jjiraffe posted something that rocked my world a little bit. She suggested that maybe, just maybe, good writing wasn't about finding a niche, but about finding--and using--your voice.
The weird thing is that despite the fact that I write here, I often don't think of myself as a writer. Which is sort of silly, right? Every once in a while, someone like Mel waves a magic wand and BAM. I'm a writer ... but then something happens, I lose my glass slipper, and I'm back doing laundry again.
The funny thing is that in my own way, during these past few years, I've made myself a career in the food service industry, just as those jokers predicted long ago. I feed my readership, one post at a time. (My new business card says "food for the palate. food for thought." Congratulate me on my cleverness.) But in the process, I think I've also started to find my voice. Here's what NaBloPoMo is reminding me: if I just write (*thanks, again jjiraffe), I'm a writer. The paralysis that comes from some overblown idea of what my writing should be, or consistency of topic, or impressing readers? I never had that problem when I was in the fifth grade. Because I wrote. I was a writer. And that was enough.
Our CSA has had a particularly successful potato harvest this year. So like a good food services employee, I'm offering you some fries. I hope you don't mind; I'll be serving them up with a side of prose.
Perfect Oven Roasted Fries
I don't usually even like fries. But these? Damn.
3 russet potatoes (about 24 oz. total), peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
5 T. vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 475F. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 20 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet or a heavy baking pan. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil. Sprinkle the pan evenly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning, and feel free to flip them again.
When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.