It’s only in the middle of the conversation that I realise what my dinner companions and myself have in common. The conversation has wended its way through the learning app DuoLingo, Swedish sandwich cake, a red-themed dinner, insider visits to restaurants, an extended discussion about the wine list, pop-up wine-tastings and dinners as well as articles about cooks and restaurants, followed by the correct pronunciation of the menu items (this is where I thought my one year of French would help).
To set the scene, the dinner is for Eat With Me, a meetup that organises meals with strangers. Well they were strangers at first! Each meetup has always had some surprise for me. Which is why I keep returning. And this time was no different.
The location was Melbourne’s Jorg restaurant in Fitzroy North.
The reason was that we were supporting the Scarf community who help young people into hospitality. On this Tuesday night, the restaurant is turned over to Scarf trainees work at both front of house and back of house.
My reason was a belated birthday present to myself. I had intended to attend the Tuesday before but the Eat With Me invitation intervened.
Apart from agreeing about the beautiful food and great service, all of the company had at least two things in common.
All of them love food and blog (about food).
Except for me. I love food and blog (but not about food).
In truth, as my day job is a technical documentation writer (and sometime trainer), I actually do write (and speak) for food (like John Birmingham but not as successfully).
Except I began blogging because of food : a movie about food in fact.
About five years ago, it was my partner’s turn to choose our regular movie. Most of the time, she chose one, she knew we would both like or one I would like. This time she chose one more for herself. It was the new release movie Julie and Julia.
I didn’t know much about it and I didn’t know what to expect. But as it turned out, in plot, characters and setting, this movie is a food blogger’s delight!
It tells the story of Julie Powell played by Amy Adams, who works her way through Julia Child’s recipe book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In parallel, it tells the story of Julia Child and how she learned to cook and then created a career, allowing Meryl Streep to showcase her acting abilities and two impeccable accents.
As Julie Powell works her way through the recipes, she starts blogging. First she writes about the recipes but then as she makes connections, a community is created to whom she ends up reaching out for support.
This story left me with two gifts, one wrapped and one unwrapped. The first was that I can with enough effort make some progress in the area of cooking. The wrapping is slowly being peeled off. That’s probably not yet worth writing about though.
The second was that perhaps people may be interested in what I write. The unwrapping of that gift took a little while, a couple of years in fact.
Up until creating a blog, all of my writing had been in private. Even the speeches I had written for Toastmasters over several years, weren’t in my opinion accessible for any wider audience. My other writings were secret : private and personal.
I really didn’t think I had that much to say.
So I began. Since then I’ve continued. Along the way I found out what it is that I really do.
I don’t write because of food anymore.
I listen to stories. I tell stories. Sometimes my own story. Sometimes other people’s stories.
Every so often somebody gains some insight from these stories. Sometimes even me. That’s why I write.