Like many of you, my intentions for starting a food blog were quite innocent.
First, it was a way to document favorite dishes and also become more familiar with my camera. And I have always had a passion for sharing how easy home cooking is, and to hopefully inspire people to cook.
I had never looked at another food blog when I decided to start mine 3 years ago. Mostly, I think, because I didn’t want to be discouraged.
I knew nothing about blogs, I just loved the idea of blogging about all things food-related.
If I had actually seen some blogs, I would not have named my blog Chef Mimi Blog. I had no idea names are supposed to be catchy, like Lemon and Lime, or Thyme and Rosemary. In retrospect, my blog’s name would have been Culinary Madness. It goes with my subtitle, which is “so much food, so little time.”
Speaking of time, I do believe that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I might take it to an extreme occasionally, but I don’t regret eating that second croissant, taking the time to peel tomatoes, or spending hours in the kitchen to make my family happy.
So in the beginning, as I ignorantly trudged along with my blog, I began following other blogs. Hundreds of them.
I would quickly get tired of the “fancy” blogs with all of the ads, but that’s not because I don’t wish these people abundant income and many cookbooks in their future. It’s just that many of these bloggers are extremely capable of all of the glitterati part of blogging, but there was always something missing.
To me, it’s nearly impossible to be a great chef at the age of 20, even if you’ve attended culinary school. Learning about food is experiencing food from different cultures, learning how they cook and eat differently, tasting unique ingredients, visiting farms and orchards, dining at all kinds of restaurants, and even gardening.
As much as food styling and photography are huge parts of food blogging, they are so much less impressive to me. So you have a warehouse full of props? Cameras hanging from your ceiling? Professional lighting? Cool. But you haven’t convinced me that you know food. I prefer down-to-earth and passionate bloggers.
Do I sound jealous? I hope not. I’m certainly not wanting a book deal. But what I have experienced, the best part of being a small part of this food blogging world came unexpectedly. I’m sure it was unexpected to many of you as well. It’s the camaraderie of food bloggers. Our little, virtual foodie world.
Some of us have been lucky enough to meet some of these other like-minded, foodie “friends.” For me, it has been the best and most unpredictable outcome from these few years of blogging. Actually meeting these friends in person and best of all – breaking bread with them!
One Texas gentleman I met was just by happenstance. I discovered that he was hosting a visit from Dutch food blogger Stefan from Stefan Gourmet for a long weekend, and I jokingly asked, “Can I come, too?” To which he immediately responded with a jovial “of course!”
After I invited myself I felt like a schmuck, because I’m normally not an aggressive person, but I had gleaned from his blog sincere generosity of spirit. The more the merrier, I can imagine him thinking.
And that’s how I got to meet Richard McGary. Lawyer by day, wearing his white, “good-guy” Stetson, and foodie extraordinaire the rest of the time. He embodied passion not only for great food and drink, but also for life.
Richard had impressed me in many ways while reading his blog posts over the years. First of all, he referred to his wife, Elia, the love of his life, as Baby Lady. Right? Who wouldn’t want that?!! Secondly, we shared a love of Southwestern and Mexican cuisines.
But here’s the big deal, which I have to share, if you’re not already aware. Richard sent chile pepper care packages to Stefan in Holland and to Conor, of One Man’s Meat, in Ireland, along with a chile pepper challenge.
This act of culinary generosity still makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Can you imagine these two men opening packages of chile peppers? And also some of Richard’s pickled chipotle peppers and hot sauce? Neither of them had ever touched chile peppers of any kind, to my knowledge.
To quote Stefan, “There was enough capsicum in the box to eradicate a small village!”
But Stefan and Conor followed through with Richard’s challenge of cooking with the chile peppers, and neither of them has quit experimenting with chiles to this day. Richard single handedly changed culinary history in that part of the world, which makes me smile.
So the thought of driving a mere 5 hours to visit Richard and Elia was a given for me. I wanted to meet them, watch them cook together, drink wine with them, and eat. And we did.
Below are two courses from the lovely meal, which Richard wrote about in his post here. In this post he also writes about meeting and following the lives of fellow bloggers.
Plus, I got to meet Stefan as well, who is an extremely talented cook, and has helped me immensely with his scientific approach to testing sous vide methods!
The featured photo at the top shows, from the left, myself, Stefan, and Richard.
What’s funny about this trip, which took place in March of 2014, is that I had a few friends stop me and ask, “Wait. You’re going to drive to meet some guy you met on the internet?” Which is an odd way of looking at it. But that was the point.
After following Richard’s blog REM Cooks, and communicating with him often, I felt that he and his wife are friends, in spite of being virtual friends. Three cheers to foog blogging!