Lime Cheesecake Mini-tart – Somewhere Around #12 in the Life Cycle of a Food Blog

lime cheesecake mini-tart
Some time last year, I was surfing through a massive pipe known as the “blogosphere,” and came across a post about the blogging lifecycle, though I can’t remember on which blog it was or even the exact content. I only remember that it was mildly humorous at the time, but since I was fairly new to blogging, I didn’t “get” a lot of it. I clicked along and forgot about it.

Recently however, that post came to mind. I started thinking about how I got to this point – this point where I’ve made miniature lime cheesecakes and I have no idea how or what to write about them. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I want to write about them, even though they tasted so good I ate four of them. *sigh*

I think I am somewhere around #12.

1. Discovery
You discover this thing called a “food blog” when one day, while reading a regular glossy flossy magazine, you stumble across an article about food blogs and how they’re exploding all over the blogosphere, which you didn’t even know was so big that it had its own word “blogosphere.” You turn on the Internets in your house and visit Chocolate and Zucchini for the first time. Thirty seven hours later, you’ve read through all of Clotilde’s archives, marveled at Chez Pim’s tasteful adventures, laughed through Becks n Posh, and think you might have developed a mild crush on The Amateur Gourmet. You email the links to your friends but they don’t “get it.” Whatever.

2. Casual Reader
Whenever you’re taking a break, and sometimes during lunch when you’ve politely declined going out with co-workers to one of the same five places within walking distance of your office because they are dorks and everything along Venice and Washington is Thai, you sit at your desk and read the handful of favorite, familiar food blogs. You read the comments, but you don’t comment because you haven’t learned “comment etiquette” yet so you think it would be like barging in on a conversation amongst friends who have known each other for years. (OMG! How silly you were back then, huh?!)

3. Addict v1.0(lurker)
You don’t “work” at work anymore. You roll into work two hours late because the night before, you were up until 3:45 am at home surfing food blogs. All food blogs. After you get the crappy coffee from your office’s breakroom that tastes like it’s been ground in a food processor and steamed over a manhole, you sit down at your desk, ignore the 147 new messages in your Inbox and go straight to the “bookmarks” folder in your browser, because you haven’t discovered RSS yet. You get annoyed when your boss calls you when you’re in the middle of reading about how Stephanie’s adorable little boy tried to cook.

4. Addict v1.2(active)
You bravely make a comment on someone’s blog, then quickly close the browser because you put something out there and omg, you have no idea if anyone will acknowledge your comment. You nervously go back to the same post 11 times in 10 minutes. When someone comments back, you’re strangely overjoyed and feel like you’ve been “inducted” into the club. Pretty soon, you’re whoring your unsolicited comments out all over the place, you comment-making whore, you! You refer to bloggers by their first names as if you’ve known them for five years and talk about those BFs (blog friends) to your normal friends. Your real-life friends wonder when you ever flew anywhere to “meet” all these new people you talk about.

5. Entrant
You decide that it’s time to start your own blog. You scurry away to the “break room” at the office with a notebook and pens in different colors, drawing out designs, doing name-storming, trying to figure out how to encapsulate everything you want in your food blog “image” into a two-, maybe three-, word title. Your “Hello, world” post really says “Hello, world” because you’re a geek like that and you’ve treated this whole new blog thing as if it were a product launch for which you’ve done market research, surveys, and strategizing.

6. Blogger
You are now a blogger. You blog like mad, sometimes posting two or three times a day, planning where to eat because it’ll make for good photos. You participate in memes, and in fact, you’re brave enough to start your own. You still haven’t told your friends and family about your blog, so they wonder why you’re always taking pictures of food. You tell them you’re still just trying to teach yourself how to use your new camera. When they remind you that you got that camera last summer, you ignore them because the entrees have just arrived.

7. Blog Loner
You ignore all the BFs you made before you started your blog during the Addict/Commenter phase, because now all you do is spend time on your own blog. You fiddle with design. You add buttons and drop-down boxes. You add yourself to directories because seeing spikes in your stats counter gives you a high. You actually write your posts out and edit them, several times (!) before publishing. You have admitted to having a food blog to your friends and family, but they don’t read your blog. Jerks.

8. Stats Depression
Your stats are consistently low and it depresses you. You realize that they are low only because the BFs you’ve been ignoring are ignoring you back. You go back, visit the old BFs, and develop a strange jealousy because your old BFs have all these other new BFs who leave chummy comments. You read through all the archives to see what you’ve missed, then comment to prove that you aren’t a sucky blog friend.

9. Stats Revival
Your stats go back up because by some crazy mistake, an editor thinks your blog is “worthy.” You actually take a shower and go to the market because you don’t hate the world anymore. You make something that will look good for the blog.

10. Therapy
You forget that it’s a food blog and start writing about other weird personal stuff – your tormented “oh-wee-en-tal” childhood in Wonder White middle America, your perfectionist-producing immigrant parents, how you “peaked” in high school, your colorful romantic history, and how losing a job saved your sanity – partly in the hopes that it will bring in the non-food blog readership, but mostly because you’re *wahwahwhyme* self-centered. It backfires when readers leave nasty, sarcastic comments about how no one cares about you and your personal issues, and isn’t this a food blog? You ignore those comments and continue to write about every guy in the history of your life that ever caused one ounce of pain.

11. Stats Depression
Your stats are low. (See #8.) You add sitemeter to your site in addition to the three other (free) site statistics tools because you want to make sure you’re getting the right numbers. Every pageview counts.

12. Breakdown
You realize you’ve forgotten how to blog about food and you go back to your archives and read through how much you gushed over this restaurant and how cute it was when your lemon tart was tossed into the trash because it sucked. You *sigh* with a sad realization. Since you can never regain your innocence, you decide to “quit” your blog. Yeah, “quit,” as if it were a job or something. As if your blog sent you a check every other Friday. Yeah, you quit!

13. Withdrawal
You can’t quit because if you did, then you’d be really bored because you don’t have a job.

14. Re-entry
You go back to your blog, but instead of blogging about food, you blog about food blogging. And every post has to have some snarky comment embedded in the text about a past relationship that has scarred you for life. Stupid, cheating bastard. I hope you and that little hussy are happy!

Lime Cheesecake Mini-tart
I have no recipe to post because I winged it, which can result in new and creative dishes when cooking, but is always a dumb idea when baking. However, I did get very lucky with lime cheesecake mini-tarts because cheesecake is not as scientific as something like…cupcakes. *phew*

“Mini” anything is usually meant for a party where guests will be eating either with fingers, or at very best, while standing and trying to balance a plate, a utensil, and a cocktail. Foods need to be easy to eat and clean. A graham cracker crumb crust is delicious, but if the tarts are eaten with fingers, the crust could potentially disintegrate all over those fabulous Richard Tyler sandals, so I used a regular flaky pie pastry instead. Just roll it out, cut into small circles (a large round cookie cutter would have been easy, but i love making things difficult on myself so I used a paring knife and a small ramekin as a guide) and shove the pastry into the bottoms of a muffin tin. I baked them for about 10 minutes, then filled with my favorite cheesecake batter that I had embellished with fresh lime juice and zest. Bake again to set the batter.

Don’t be sad about the pale yellow color; the cheesecake will never be green.

** a year ago today, deciding it sucked was a cinch **

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  • Catherine

    lol! i know what you mean. my blog life cycles seem to have an ebb and flow about them.

    is it sick that i just insinuated my blog has an emotional behavior?

  • Acme Instant Food

    **AACCKKK!!**

    What stage number is it where you begin to panic and become paranoid that people are spying on you, bugging your home, planting tiny cameras and observing your blogging cycles BOTH at work and at home?

  • Neil

    One of my favorite posts.

    Another question: how do you like being seen as someone associated with food — and ONLY food? You are Sarah, with the food blog.

    I’m assuming you have a real life and do things other than eat and think about food, but you’ve now been associated in my head as “the girl who writes about LA food.”

    I’ve actually mentioned you when I’m in a restaurant:

    Me: “Hey, I wonder if Sarah ate here?”

    Friend: “Who’s Sarah?”

    Me: “I don’t really know. But she likes food.”

    Yesterday, I wrote a post about a really bad gyro sandwich I ate in Redondo Beach. After I posted it, I said, “I wonder if Sarah is going to make a comment about this?”

    But you haven’t yet. But I’m waiting.

    Because to me, you mean food.

    Is that part of the blogging cycle? Realizing that others who don’t KNOW you actually THINK about you?

  • onetomato

    i dont’ have my own blog yet…still in that shy mode i guess. and strangely enough, your blog is the only blog i post comments on, although i do read a few regularly.i’m stalking you sarah…is that part of the cycle? stalking?

  • Anonymous

    Sarah—
    You need to smoke a fat one.
    I live vicariously through your blog;
    don’t quit. You’re always quitting, huh?
    The Magic 8-Ball says, “The outlook is delicious.”
    Dwight/pulsepacific

  • Anonymous

    I love reading your blog and was just telling one of my co-workers that I had breakfast with that I had to check out my usuals in the “blogosphere” and you are the “girl in LA”. Please don’t quit!

  • Anonymous

    I love reading your blog and was just telling one of my co-workers that I had breakfast with that I had to check out my usuals in the “blogosphere” and you are the “girl in LA”. Please don’t quit!

  • Nicky

    Hilarious! I still remember my friends reactions, like “And why are you reading these sites…?” One year and a half later they still don’t get it ;)
    But, hey, don’t even consider step 12!

  • elmomonster

    Isn’t it odd? I started blogging to document my food experiences, sort of like a journal I can read and enjoy for myself later, but then as more people began to read it, I realized, “Oh my, people are actually liking this and commenting. This is kinda cool.” Then you get addicted to page hits like they are hits of heroine. I sometimes look outside of myself and think, “Dude, go do something else. This is pathetic.”

    I share every high and low you’ve succinctly and perfectly recounted.

  • Rebecca

    Ha HA! I love you Sarah (in the the I like your blog sense, not the creepy, I think I’ll go to LA and sit outside your apartment way) Cause I “just knew” that Jennifer had had her baby when she missed SHF! I was excited for her, but didn’t know how to share that joy with my family!

  • BoLA

    Hey Sarah! I laughed as I read through this entry. Like Elmo, I started my blog as an online journal of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, what I’ve eaten to help me remember. And didn’t know that this whole food blogging world existed until I stumbled upon your page last year. =)

    Keep eatin, keep cookin and bakin, and keep bloggin! ;)

  • sarah

    cat: what do you mean sick? blogs totally have emotional behavior. just ask mine. she’s very moody.

    acmeinstandfood: that is stage 7.5, section (a). i just didn’t write it in there, because i didn’t want people to think we’re freaks or anything like that.

    neil: is that all i am?!?! just another burrito?!?! a tiny taquito in a giant warming bin???

    *sigh*

    i love it :)

    and yes, i read the gyro post. but i did not comment because YOU GET ENOUGH COMMENTS AND I AM JEALOUS!!

    tomato: yet. you said “yet!” lol! another food freak will fall into the blogosphere! you are at stage 3.5 with an unusually large side order of lurkerdom.

    dwight: i quit! i did! no smoking for me! but no, i don’t think i could ever quit. maybe for, like, 12 hours. then i start shaking and have strange hallucinations about blue cheese.

    anonymous: aw, i am your la girl! :)

    nicky: they will never get it. poor things.

    elmo: that is how i started too, though i was “journaling” my food entries by hand for a LONG time before i ever put it out on the web. other girls would write about boys and cheerleading and new clothes in their diaries and i wrote about what i ate for lunch at school that day.

    becky: so funny. i was just saying the same kind of thing to a friend – “omg, everyone is having babies!” and he was like “everyone? everyone like who? we don’t know anyone who’s having a baby!”

    oh yeah. never mind.

    bola: and look where it got you. LOL!

  • julianne

    i think that i’m at 5 1/2. i love your writing style! i’ll never tire of your blog:)

  • Stephanie

    If it would help, I could just email you when he does something cute and sweet.

    Then again, you need to sleep some time!

  • Stephanie

    If it would help, I could just email you when he does something cute and sweet.

    Then again, you need to sleep some time!

  • Anonymous

    It kind of sounds like you’re past #12 and are already at #14, blogging about food blogging.

    What’s after #14?

  • sarah

    julianne: aw, thank you! hopefully, i’ll never lose that writing style. :)

    stephanie: yeah, but then wouldn’t you be emailing me like four times a day?!?! which wouldn’t be a bad thing, of course :)

    anonymous: actually, i think i go through this ENTIRE cycle once about every three days. LOL! after 14…i don’t know. i’ll let you know if i ever get out of this continuous loop…

  • Caroline

    Wow! That’s so true. I remember when I was at #3 and I loved reading your blog but never dared to post a comment. Now I’m at #12, too, but have come full circle in that I feel like my writing has suffered from my being too self-conscious.

    As for you, don’t you dare quit your blog.

  • Pamela

    Love your blog, just discovered it thanks to the wonderful game at food Blog S’cool

    http://foodblogscool.blogspot.com/2006/06/links-for-when-you-are-bored.html#comments

    Hope you don’t mind that I’ve linked to you!

  • Stephanie

    Exactly my point! You need to sleep at some point…

  • Sam

    sarah – the food blogging world would bever be the same without you. You are unique, you are a shining star. Whatever you do, whether you blog or not, the world will always be a better place for having you in it.
    xxx

  • Sam

    sarah – the food blogging world would bever be the same without you. You are unique, you are a shining star. Whatever you do, whether you blog or not, the world will always be a better place for having you in it.
    xxx

  • Emma

    Ha ha brilliant! Scarily so! But no, don’t quit. OK?

  • the domestic minx

    How hilariously and horrendously accurate that was! As a fairly new blogger I understand most poignantly all the emotions and levels of exasperation you have described.
    Please don’t abandon your readers, of which you have many I’m certain! You are a brilliant writer and food blogger extraordinaire – a comment expressed with no hint of suckiness I assure you…

  • the domestic minx

    How hilariously and horrendously accurate that was! As a fairly new blogger I understand most poignantly all the emotions and levels of exasperation you have described.
    Please don’t abandon your readers, of which you have many I’m certain! You are a brilliant writer and food blogger extraordinaire – a comment expressed with no hint of suckiness I assure you…

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