The short story is this: my name is Sarah. I started writing The Delicious Life as a food blog in 2005. Spewing love and hate (and everything in between) about food and restaurants saved my soul from dying a slow, cold, corporate death-by-bullet points. In 2008, my sanity buckled under the pressure of a PowerPoint deck teeming with metrics and I didn’t just quit my job; I wholly relinquished my MBA-crowned career to play full-time on the food web.
No, I didn’t get to do that because I landed a blog-to-book-realityTV-movie deal or a buyout offer from my favorite giant food website. That kind of fairyblogtale doesn’t happen to regular, marginally talented girls like me. I just write this blog and run TasteSpotting, both of which are enough to keep me busy when I’m not stumbling around LA’s dating “restaurant scene” in 5″ heels, roasting chickens to feed my babydog, or just causing all sorts of trouble on the web.
Slashfood, Styledash and LAist have all gotten a piece of The Delicious. There is better organized information about my “career” on LinkedIn and my day-to-day activities, which I exhibit as TheDelicious on twitter, are a pretty good representation of, um, well, my day-to-day activities.
This entire blog, obviously, is about me, but there are a few posts that are shameless.
By the way, I am not a “foodie.”
Now for the Details
Though it may not be apparent from the fact that I write a blog, and not only that I write a blog, but have inadvertently transformed what is supposedly a food blog into a blog that serves as a cheap form of therapy for me, I have trouble *ahem* talking about myself.
No, really. I do.
So when I first started The Delicious Life, back when I was a bright, fresh, naive young blogger full of energy and eager to gush and coo and sigh over food, I didn’t even have an “About Me” page because really now, it’s all about the food, is it not? Who the hell cares who I am? I eventually caved, but only to go with a QnD – that’s “quick and dirty” for all you layfolk – list. The Top Three Lists were to temporarily serve as a tiny window into who I are until I got my silly little self together to write a pithy, witty, little blurb about me.
“Temporarily.” Please. I have now come to terms with the reality that I will never be able to write a short paragraph about myself for reasons too numerous to list, but do include such things as “I have never in my life been all that very concise or succinct about much in my life ever,” and “I hate talking about myself, except when I blog about myself.”
The reality is, there is nothing all that interesting to say about me, TheDelicious, so let me just tell you about the blog, The Delicious Life.
First, a Disclaimer About Food and Blogging “Credentials”
I have no education, certification, formal training, or experience in anything remotely related to either of writing or food. I was an economics major in college. Not the intellectualization for Domestic Goddess, home economics, but the widget-producing, consumer surplus-ing, policy arguing economics economics. I crunched numbers and played with models, and they weren’t even the pretty, dumb ones that I could “tutor.” In grad school, I only learned how to edit “I’m the best of breed in this 800-pound gorilla so you should monetize the ground I hit running before I paradigm shift my high-ROI value propositions to another category killer that won’t take my bandwidth offline” to just…”MBA.” (I wanted to, but just couldn’t, work “synergy” in there.)
Basically, I only have “street cred,” and even those are shaky at best because I have no desire to trek out to the SGV for Asian food that is more authentic than Asia, and the last thing I “cooked at home” was a roast chicken only to pull off the crispy, salty, grease glisten-y skin and eat it as snack at my desk. I fed everything else to my dog, minus the bones, obviously. You think I’d let a roast chicken stock die without trying?
The Delicious Life Started Because I Talk Too Much
There was an article in one of the many food magazines I read – Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Gourmet, maybe Saveur – about a few of the “big” (back then in 2004) food blogs. I looked them up on the interweb, spent every free minute for the next couple of weeks reading through the archives of Becks & Posh, Chocolate & Zucchini, Chez Pim, and the like. Sometime during that period of utter fascination, something clicked in my head. And heart.
Instead of talking about food to all the people in my life who had to suffer my endless rambling about this restaurant, that farmers’ market, and the next recipe I was going to try, I could write about it!
(And maybe even get a mention in a magazine! This 15 minutes of fame was in the back of my head at the time, but I am much wiser now.)
2005 kicked off with a mad NYE hangover and the very first post on The Delicious Life – a recipe for Dduk Gook, Korean Rice Dumpling Soup traditionally served on New Year’s Day. At first, I didn’t tell a single person about the blog except my boyfriend at the time, and him only because I had to have an explanation for why I was choosing to fall asleep with my laptop over going to bed with him. (Hmmm, this explains everything, now doesn’t it?!)
This Blog Used to Be About Food. Yes, About Food. Seriously.
My intention was to “review” my experiences dining out in and around the patchwork quilt of cultural cuisines that is Los Angeles. I gave it a good go, and have a sizeable archive of posts that do nothing but very flatly convey information: vital stats like a restaurant’s address, the menu, what we ordered, what we liked/disliked, and pictures of almost every single thing that graced the table, from the bread to the candles. I used flash back then. See how far back that was?
Writing in that way wasn’t natural for me, though. The style was my own, but I wasn’t writing about the part of “Dining Out” that actually interested me. Sure, I adore food, but the reason we dine out isn’t that we’re unable to eat at home, but that we want to enjoy an experience. I had been lurking on a certain messageboard for years before I started The Delicious Life, and had been somewhat brainwashed/scared into thinking that I was a poser for actually caring about the vibe, the decor, the service in a restaurant, i.e. anything but the food.
I figured that on my blog, I could write what I wanted without feeling self-conscious. While the menu, the food, and its preparation will always be a huge part of any restaurant experience, the “experience” part of a restaurant experience received more attention from The Delicious Life.
Less “Delicious,” More “Life”
Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with blogging. Friends and family accused me of having an unhealthy “addiction,” but I like to use the slightly less noxious term, passion. The truth is, something snapped after I spent more than a couple of blog posts on the fear and uncertainty of being newly “funemployed.” The focus of my writing shifted away from food and toward me, my life, and my emotions. Food was still the theme, but it was really just a way for me to talk about myself without really talking about myself. Back then, The Delicious Life was still relatively anonymous (I never used my real name) and if there’s anything at all we learned from watching Fight Club, there’s something very special and cathartic (and I guess, a little weird?) about being anonymous in group therapy.
For various and sundry reasons, I don’t get to write on The Delicious Life as much as I used to, about food or otherwise, and to be quite honest, I don’t really know what The Delicious Life is about anymore.
In a weirdly wonderful way, that statement says it all.