Friday, 11 March 2011

Two resolute bloggers

It’s not easy to summon up the self-discipline to knock out a bite-sized blog post on a regular basis (as opposed to just not bothering, or writing nothing for ages then blurting out a windy, baggy, ramble about the latest bee to have taken up residence in your bonnet). So I’d like to say thanks to a couple of bloggers who have recently taken up this challenge and run with it (albeit for differing lengths of time).

Stephen Nottingham’s Food Blog came back to life in January 2011. Stephen aimed to post each day for a year and has proceeded to nourish the blogosphere with regular recipes and posts on topics as diverse as  food in the movies, food in literature, food in songs, British pie week, the food scene in Cardiff, seafoods in prehistoric Wales, blood donation biscuits and why Jerusalem artichokes cause flatulence. Stephen recently guest posted in the Guardian.

The self-described ‘ex-eurodrone, unfit mother, and slattern’ responsible for Belgian Waffle has also made a resolution to write a daily post although hers only started about a week ago. I’ve rather enjoyed her quirky take on life from a Belgic perspective and I hope she keeps it up. Tip of the week so far; ‘if you save the old oil from your deep fat fryer, you can give a teaspoon a week to your cactuses.’ I don’t need a cactus, a deep fat fryer, or any understanding of why somebody would want to feed old cooking oil to a cactus, to feel better for knowing that. It just makes my life richer knowing that I could do it if I wanted to.

These two blogs have one advantage that mine lacks – a single unifying theme, respectively food and things Belgian.  Paradoxically, limiting your subject matter can help, rather then hinder the process of creativity:

Remember this: the freedom to choose anything does not inspire creativity.  It inspires panic.
Boundaries inspire creativity.  Limitations inspire creativity.  Guidelines inspire creativity.

(Daniel Schwabauer)

Just because you’ve got a theme, doesn’t mean that you can’t encompass other things. For example, the circles of food and Belgocentrism overlap in the Belgian Waffle post entitled "the most Belgian shopping ever":
The man behind me in the supermarket this week was buying the following:
24 cans of Jupiler and a small container of americain (delicious mince for consumption raw, non Belgianists). The only thing that could possibly make this more Belgian would be an economy bag of 40 heads of chicory, and I almost think that would have spoilt the perfect symmetry of it.

To my recollection, Stephen Nottingham’s Food Blog hasn’t yet ventured into Belgian cuisine, although it does offer the word ‘equivorous’ to describe an eater of horse flesh. Ever since I had a particularly succulent horse steak* in Brussels many years ago, I’ve never missed an opportunity to bore friends and acquaintances with the observations that horses taste a lot nicer than you’d expect and that we Brits** are barmy for being so squeamish about horse flesh when we gobble up sheep and cows without a second thought.

*served with frites, mayo and salad, natch.

** vegetarians excepted – if you don’t eat any meat, that’s a consistent position that I can understand and respect