I haven’t posted in a long while. One big reason is due to acquiring a spectacular stomachache. This, as you may imagine, is very problematic for a food writer. And being unable to cook is worse than not being able to enjoy eating. The few pieces I tried to write would have depressed readers as much as it depressed me.
But there’s a deeper reason and it has to do with a reckoning with life’s fragility. I think this is something we may all have felt to one degree or another throughout the past year. It seems more important now to feel connected to the world. To understand and learn to live with one another. To my mind–and what I have to give in writing–is through food. Everything in life flows from the act of eating.
This blog started in earnest in the fall of 2019 and I’ve loved everything about it. I meant it to provide an alternative narrative to the perfection demanded of cooking these days. It strived to show through our kitchen mistakes, though history and through cooking for others, the sheer joy one should always find at the table.
The dumb, frustrating truth, though, is that the blog has never taken off. I’m vain enough to feel it’s not so much the quality of the writing as about the approach to its subject. The majority of people attracted to food sites are looking for fabulous recipes and a firm hand behind them. That, as my blog’s title clearly warns, was never in the cards.
Which leads back to the second paragraph above and a decision to move to another platform in the hopes that what I want to say through food is better represented and understood. This week, I am welcoming readers to my first newsletter post on Substack. It’s called America Eats. As I wrote in my introduction, “In this historic period of political, racial, ethnic and cultural upheaval—and most especially as we emerge from the pandemic’s isolation—it’s important to understand whether common ground can still exists around a table. Twice a week, I’ll be sending out stories about my wanderings around the country to find if we continue to be a nation where strangers may find common ground around a table. It will go from biker rallies to ethnic festivals, urban farms, town fairs, church suppers, local fundraising events and into many many home kitchens to discover, in these precarious times, how we live today in America.”
I hope you’ll also sign up to America Eats come along for the ride! It’s free to subscribe and I promise you’ll have a lot of fun! https://patwillard.substack.com/publish/settings/edit