Today's post will not include a recipe (or any pictures...). Rather, I am announcing today that I am changing the name of my blog. After today, when you visit, you will no longer see the title "A Cooking Life...in pursuit of everyday excellence", instead you will see "For Love of the Table...pursuing excellence in the kitchen...every day".
Since I have been blogging under the name "A Cooking Life" for two years, changing the name of my blog will probably seem like a radical move—one that requires some sort of explanation. Never fear...I am never short on explanations. Today's post will be devoted to the story of why and how this change came about (and how I chose my new title).
Shortly after I began keeping my blog I discovered—completely by chance—that there was another blog called "A Cooking Life" (a lovely blog, by the way...but with such a great name, how could it be otherwise?). By the time I made my discovery some time had passed since there had been a new post on this other blog. I wondered about this...were they taking a break? had they quit? moved to another location? etc. I checked occasionally during that first year, always to see the same post still displayed. Because I had been blogging under the name "A Cooking Life" for several months at that point, I pretty much decided to forget about it and keep doing what I was doing.
Recently however, it came to my attention that the woman who writes the other "A Cooking Life" would like to resume blogging. Since she had the name first, and since neither of us wants to be confused with the other, it seemed reasonable to me that I should change my name.
Reasonable and easy are of course two different things....and this has not been an easy change. I happen to like the title "A Cooking Life". It is an excellent nuts and bolts explanation of what I do and how I live. I cook constantly—whether at work or at leisure....whether literally or mentally (no one would believe how much cooking goes on inside my head).
Rather than viewing this turn of events as a disaster, I decided to see it as an opportunity—an opportunity to review the contents of my blog and maybe give it an even more appropriate name. When I started my blog I really had no idea what I was getting into and where I was going with it. The two year mark seemed like a good time to look back to see what I had been doing and more importantly as it turns out, why I was doing it.
For the past two years I have filled my blog with recipes and short lessons on basic (and not-so-basic) techniques. I had originally intended to write more technique-driven posts (and will continue to write them occasionally) because my goal has always been to help people really cook—that is, to go beyond the recipe and apply good techniques to good ingredients in order to create wonderful food. I have always made sure that the recipes that I post actually work, because I want people to experience good success with the things they cook so that they will want to cook even more. But the recipes really aren't what this blog is about; cooking...learning how to cook...is nearer the mark.
Besides the recipes and the techniques, there are several other things that appear again and again in my blog entries—whether stated or not. My posts almost always feature ingredients that fall into the category of "fresh, seasonal, local". It would be hard to over-state how important this concept is to me. Also, with the exception of the occasional can of beans, I emphasize cooking with minimally processed ingredients...."real" food, if you will. Finally, even though I am a chef, most of the recipes I post have not been "chef-y" affairs, but rather the things I like to eat at home—truly accessible food. Once again my intention is that the people who visit my blog will actually prepare the recipes that I post...or at least be inspired by them to cook something similar. I have wanted my blog to be more like a cookbook that actually gets used as opposed to one that sits on the coffee table.
Pulling a title from all of this was, as you can imagine, not really possible. Something would be left out. I began to think it would be a bit more fruitful to think about why I wanted people to cook. Why, in fact, I cook. As it turns out, the title of my very first post was "Why I cook...". In the end I had to look no further than that first post to find a new name for my blog.
I concluded my first post with a long list of all of the things I love about food and cooking. I ended that list with the following statement:
"I love it...that as people we connect and maintain connections with family and friends at the table. ...I cook in private homes to give people a chance to make those connections with family and friends at their home table rather than in restaurants. I teach so that people will have the tools to create those moments in their own homes, at their own tables, every day."
And there it was. I cook....I teach...I blog.... for love of the table.
So, there you have it. My new title. There is of course also this matter of "pursuing excellence"...the subtitle. In many ways, this pervades all of my cooking and consequently all of the things I post about. There was never any question about changing this. I knew that whatever new title I settled on that the subtitle would remain essentially the same...it is who I am. But as I posted about back in July of my first year, even my pursuit of excellence is subservient to this best of all reasons to cook...the table.
Over the next few days I will be setting up my new domain (www.forloveofthetable.com) but I will still have the same Blogger URL too (which I understand is supposed to map to my new domain)—hopefully everyone will still be able to find me, no matter what. I will also eventually be updating my blog's Facebook page. I'm not particularly tech savvy, so this could all take a few days. If you try to find me and can't for some reason, please try back. Finally, I do hope everyone likes my new title....but even if you're not crazy about it, I hope you will continue to visit, continue to read and—above all—continue to cook, every day.