Saturday, August 05, 2006

Getting started

This is written on a warm summer evening in Atlanta on a full stomach. Dinner was the country produce of the southland, lucious corn on the cob, young summer squash, and fresh field peas, plus a dessert of northwestern cherries, making an amazingly satisfying meal. I am writing accompanied by a glass of pretty good Spanish red wine (La Legua 2003 tinto, d.d.o. Cigales), fairly heavy and not as fruity as I would like, but hey it's poured. I was inspired to try blogging by the example of two friends who are young enough to do this sort of thing when they travel. Now on my first posting I am guided by the writing of one of these friends in particular who created a blog he told virtually no one about, feeling they could link into it, should that occur to them, from his face book (thus limiting readership, I guess, to those aged well under thirty who might even know to look for his face book, or what the hell a face book is). At any rate, he began his stealth blog with a virginal posting containing musings about what he was doing, how he chose his blog name, and the fact that he was probably only writing to himself. I don't know how far off was his presumption of no one but him reading his skilled phrasing, but since I may be in the same place in terms of readership, I'll borrow his model for getting started.

So why me? I like to write. Why does anyone blog, or write anything publically? Maybe it's mostly exhibitionism and self-amusement. I've tried writing before, drafting up articles for a freelance newspaper column, which were not eagerly received by the AJC food editor who had an abundance of young writers trying to make their careers. I write recipes for my international cooking classes for Evening at Emory, with explanatory headnotes. And I'm often writing out recipes for friends and family who requested one thing or another. So, whatever psychological underpinnings drive me or my two blogger friends, or the broader array of people who put their words out for others to read or not read, I find this an amusing way to share some observations and opinions on food and places I like to eat, occasionally some recipes and, with luck, some humor.

Why now? Well, I'm just back from vacation with family in the far north Adirondacks near the Canadian border. My non-culinary day job, while continuing, is now funded through a new mechanism, with a very different admistration I am stumblingly getting used to. It's a new school year, which affects which of my student friends are accessible in Atlanta, with several old friends back and several friends, sadly, moved elsewhere. Plus our food-related family business in Athens is starting its second year as UGA and the other schools come back into session, which hopefully means a spurt of new university-associated business which we were getting into in April and May. So much is transitioning, restarting, professionally and personally, it's maybe nudging me toward trying something new.

Finally, "JintanManis"? When we lived in Malaysia for those 7-1/2 years and I learned to speak Malay-Indonesian, food names in the local market where I did a lot of the shopping were in Malay, unless you spoke Chinese, which my wife did but I did not. I loved spices even back then, and with Malay, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and Thai food, there were plenty of seasonings to relish. Jintan means a spice seed. Manis, literally "sweet", is the adjective for "jintan manis", which means fennel seed, one of my favorite spices. Close behind were jintan puteh (white), or cumin, and jintan hitam (black), which is the black cumin used in some north Indian and Kashmiri dishes.

Those aged over 25, if there are any of you reading, will implicitly recognize that trying something electronic like this is subject to sudden loss with the wrong click or switch nudged, especially as the wineglass gets refilled and redrained, and thus I need to close down this first posting and see if I can get it "out there" successfully. This is still a trial, so I'll launch now and check what happens. More will come if this works. A threat or a promise.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a test of the comments function.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike Doyle said...

Tim- your writing makes me hungry for more information, more musings, more recipes. You're a good writer and an excellent cook and teacher. Congratulations on finding a new way to express yourself and your passion. I'll look forward to more of your posts.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Great idea, dad. Can we put in recipe requests this way and save on phone bills?

4:32 PM  

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