Earlier today, I posted a comment on Jaden Hair's blog Steamy Kitchen to win a trip to LA for an exclusive screening of the new film Julie & Julia. The film is based on Julie Powell's blog-turned-book, which inspired me to cook more and create my own food blog.
When I left the comment, I never thought I would win. In fact, I almost DIDN'T post a comment. But then I thought "what the hell" and wrote about how when I separated from my husband and was living alone for the first time in 13 years (without television or Internet), I started cooking and blogging as a form of entertainment and therapy.
Tonight, when I got home from dinner at a friend's house, I learned that I had WON THE TRIP!
So, I'll be flying to LA on Wednesday, attending a variety of movie/food-related events on Thursday, coming home on Friday, then posting all about it on Steamy Kitchen.
As soon as I found out, I quickly replied to Jaden's email and sent a few messages on Twitter, including a link to my original blog post about Powell's inspiration on me. Someone replied with this: "Awesome beginning! I see your post was over 2 years ago. So, what has your food blog done for you?"
What had it done for me?
Well, most simply, cooking and blogging has been my saving grace. It gave me something creative to do, something with instant gratification, something satisfying.
You see, I am an English teacher. After 8 years of teaching college composition and literature, I went back to teaching high school because I couldn't support myself on a college adjunct's pay. While I absolutely LOVE teaching English, high school is very challenging. It was a trying year, a year of many doubts, tears, and ENDLESS hours of planning and paper grading. (Whomever says that teaching is easy because teachers are done at 3:00 each day and get weekends & summers off is FREAKIN' CRAZY.) Cooking, on the other hand, was...IS...my solace.
Since I've started blogging, I've also gotten a job working part-time at a cooking school/chef's shop in St. Louis called Kitchen Conservatory where I teach cooking classes. I've gotten involved in the St. Louis food scene, joined the local Slow Food chapter, met some of the best chefs in the city (including Gerard Craft of Niche, who was named one of Food & Wine's best new chefs last year and was nominated for a James Beard Best Chef Award this year), spent a day in the kitchen at Monarch with the genius Chef Josh Galliano, who was also in the running for a James Beard Award this year. And, I was asked to write an article for Sauce Magazine, St. Louis's food magazine.
So, my food blog saved me. It defined me. I know it sounds corny, but it's true. I've found my calling, and for the first time I am truly happy with where I am in life right now.
Now...let's see if I can get over my very serious fear of flying!!