Allison Day
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Trying too hard

I’ve realized lately that I’m trying too hard.

Breakfast at a diner in Berkeley
Bags of homemade peanut butter cookies for WCLA

Sometimes that’s okay.

Steamed clams for my birthday last year
Tons of homemade sushi for New Year’s 2011
Papaya salad at the 2011 Tet Festival

For example, for my family’s little Memorial Day BBQ (which you’ll get to see next post), I made quite a few dishes that I had never attempted before. That’s a lot more effort than what normally goes into our barbecues, but… that’s okay. Everybody enjoyed it, and the work was well worth the effort.

Sandwich from the Manila Machine food truck
Nem nuong (Vietnamese pork) sandwich

On the other hand, I definitely try too hard when it comes to blogging. I want every post to be perfect and have an amazing recipe and gorgeous photos. (Don’t we all?) But then that just results in me not blogging at all, because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t have a recipe, or maybe the photos were merely taken with my iPhone.

Saltine topped with sliced tomato and tuna salad
Clam chowder in Santa Barbara
Deep-fried red and white bean-filled mochi balls

But I do eat.

Apple pie on a stick

A lot.

A whole lotta bacon
Munchies at trivia night in Monterey with my family

(Every day, in fact!)

Fried rice topped with a fried egg
Toasted sandwich thin with Nutella

It’s not always fancy…

Fried egg, bacon, and kimchi sandwich
Bacon-fried rice (a New Year’s tradition)

But that’s okay, right?

Red bean-flled taiyaki (fish-shaped mochi cakes)
Food from the Flying Pig food truck

(I mean, just look at all these food photos you’d have never seen if I hadn’t decided to write this post!)

Shredded zucchini for zucchini bread
Japanese donut with adzuki bean filling

I have a lot of food stories that I could share with you… even if it’s of a day that consisted of other people’s recipes (like our Memorial Day BBQ), or a visit to a restaurant, or simply a sandwich I made that I thought was fantastic. But you guys never get to hear these stories, because they’re not… well… they’re not perfect.

Food from The Counter Burger at Fiesta Hermosa
Mother’s Day tradition: salmon from Otani’s
Tempeh and spicy daikon from the farmer’s market

Why the sudden change? I’ve been reading Shauna’s blog, as part of a job that’s requiring me to go through all the posts she’s ever written there. She’s an amazing blogger, a wonderful writer, with great photos and well-tested recipes.

Shauna’s daughter Lucy at IFBC 2010
This is how you know you’re eating with food bloggers
Not an unusual sight

But if you read from the beginning, you see that she doesn’t try to force herself to be perfect. Some days she didn’t have the words, and posted nothing more than a photo. Sometimes there was no recipe – she just needed to write… about celiac disease, about her wedding, about where she went that day. (And with all due respect – and I think she’d agree – her photos from the first year of her blog weren’t all too great.)

Tortilla soup from The Soup Bar
Slicing the turducken at Thanksgiving 2010
Layered cherry, coconut, and spinach gelatin

Now, this woman is a very, very well-known blogger, with multiple cookbooks (and another on the way), articles about her in all sorts of well-known publications, and (from what it sounds like) a TV show currently in production. (I’m so honored to be able to call her my friend as well.) So if someone like her is allowed to be imperfect, and just post whatever she wants, whatever moves her… then why on earth am I trying so damn hard? (After all, this blog is hardly anything… it can’t even hold a candle to my sushi blog, never mind to a blog like hers – and that’s okay. It’s not like I’m trying to get a cookbook deal or a TV show out of this… it’s just here for me to talk about my food, nothing more.)

Blueberries never try too hard.
Neither do tangerines.
California strawberries don’t have to try at all
Kale chips – amazing. Hardly any effort.

So I’m not trying so hard anymore. No more waiting for the perfect recipe with perfect photos and a perfect essay to accompany them before I allow myself to put up a post. That’s just silly. Nope… now you’re going to get to see what I’m eating, when I’m eating it (more or less)… no more silly perfectionism for me, thank you.

Pasta w/sauteed bacon+onion+garlic & a fried egg.
Taco time!
Flourless chocolate cake. Decadent.


5 Responses

  1. I quit trying for perfect on my blog about 3 years ago. Very freeing. If I want to post a rice krispie treat (like today) so be it. It doesn’t all have to be a 9 layer cake.

  2. Shauna’s was the first foodie blog that I ever read. We thought I ‘may’ be celiac (I’m not) and I found her blog through a google search. Her recipes are amazing.

  3. Oh can I ever relate to this. There are so many recipes I don’t post because I don’t have or don’t like the photos, or because I think the recipe isn’t “fancy” or “important” enough for my blog. Which is silly. My blog isn’t fancy or important! Like you, I just want to talk about food. It’s something I struggle with in many aspects of my life, but I’m going to try harder to not try so hard to be perfect about blogging!

  4. Pea – That’s one of the reasons I love your blog so much… you post what you want to post, without worrying that maybe it’s not ‘gourmet’ or ‘foodie’ enough. So many food bloggers wouldn’t be caught dead admitting they make rice crispy treats or use boxed cake mixes. I think that’s a part of why your blog is so incredibly popular. 🙂

    Mel – Shauna’s an amazing blogger. Also, how did I never know you have a food blog?!?! Just subscribed… ^_^

    Theresa – Exactly! I think a lot of food bloggers feel the same way – as if everything we make has to be amazing (not to mention organic, in-season, local, sustainable… and worthy of being served in a five-star restaurant. Eeesh.) Too much pressure. I say, go for it – post your imperfect photos, your sandwiches, your un-fancy recipes! Your food blog should be about you, and what you eat. 🙂

  5. I wouldn’t call it a food blog Allison, it’s an ‘everything in my life’ blog. It’s just that at the moment I’m doing a lot of cooking since closing down my business. 🙂

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