What constitutes versatility in your opinion?
Thanks to Geni of Sweet and Crumby for bestowing a “Versatile Blogger Award” on my site. The award also makes me want to consider the meaning of “versatility”. I am grateful to Geni for the recognition of versatility – not to mention, an intriguing coincidence, as I was referring to her Chocolate-Malt Cake on the same day as she was doing her post in which she gave this award to me.
One of the conditions is that I create a list of 10 things I like and pass it on to 10 other bloggers. While the award (like the Sunshine Award I received from Ewa of Delishhh this spring) makes me think of chain letters of yore, I do think it is nice to recognize other bloggers.
First, I will do the list of 10 things I like. This list was fun to compile (see # 1), but it also made me think that it would be just as fun to do a list of pet peeves or “10 Things I Hate About…” (to borrow from the movie title) and create a “Crabby Curmudgeon Award”. Until the time I develop such an award, here is my non-hierarchical list of likes, all of which I will try to relate to food:
10. Travel. I have been to Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, Latin America, and North America (48 of 50 US states and all Canadian provinces except Manitoba). Many of the more far-flung destinations were with work. On this list, I have been to a total of 41 countries, of which I have lived in four.
I view food as the essence of culture and enjoy exploring other cuisines, markets, and approaches to food while visiting any place, be it near or far.
9. Islands. While “no man is an island”, no island is a man, except, of course, for the Isle of Man. I am fascinated with islands…so fascinated that I live on one. My travels have taken me to 51 islands (not counting Iceland, Japan, England, Australia, or the two principal islands of New Zealand).
Island cuisine often involves seafood and home-made things – hooray! – as well as lots of quirkiness, which can be hooray or not-so-hooray, if you catchy my islandy drift….
8. Writing. Not all bloggers like to write, I am convinced. Yet writing is the main reason I have chosen to create my blog. (This is my list, so I expand this too include reading, as it is essential to read extensively to write – whether in-print or online, books or newspapers, fiction or non-fiction).
Food-writing captures the most primal connection to food, from earliest memories to great sensory experiences. Writing about food helps us to understand ourselves and others.
7. Language and languages. I enjoy studying and playing with language. Formally, I have studied five languages, speaking one fluently and two well but not fluent as a native speaker.
Language is obviously essential for recipes, development of technique, and the evolution of cuisine.
6. Volunteerism. My entire career – as professional work, that is – has focused on the voluntary, charitable, independent, or not-for-profit sector, and I have volunteered extensively since the age of 12. My latest role, which I have just accepted, is Chair, Canada, Alumni Schools Committee, University of Chicago.
I have worked in senior management and/or served on boards of organizations providing home-cooked meals to people with life-threatening illness (including some meals-on-wheels), food banks, sustainable organic agricultural development, food security, and training youth-at-risk for careers in the food industry.
5 . Vintage stuff – collecting thereof. From some posts in the past, you will see a few examples of vintage and antique china, some family heirlooms, other from garage sales, flea markets, and antique shops.
Vintage housewares and kitchen utensils can be more fun, cheaper, and better than new things for preparing and serving food.
4. Museums – especially art. Particularly when traveling, I like visiting museums. However, a certain travel companion might say that five in one day in Vienna or six on a Sunday in Bologna could be considered over-kill…some of them were very small and took little time, OK?.
The connection is a bit more tenuous, other than food as a subject of art, food-related museums, or cafés in museums, all of which interest me.
3. Cats and dogs (and other domestic creatures, not to mention all wildlife). OK, these are not “things”, in my book, but I am an equal-opportunity pet person, as I will not take sides in this futile debate – nor will I choose to take a stand in the cake v. pie battle. Do not try to force me or tell me that I am wishy-washy, either!
Again, this is a stretch, but cats keep rodents out of one’s house (and we all know that a rat in the house may eat the ice cream, or, at least, teach you how to spell “arithmetic”), and dogs can help in hunting, as much as I really do not want to go there.
2. Baking. This should be apparent from the majority of my posts, which are baked goods. But, like the cooking v. baking dichotomy, I enjoy both but know baking better and focus more on this as a broad discipline.
1. Lists. Is it not obvious by now that I like lists?
Lists are essential for grocery shopping, ingredients for recipes, and enumerating all the restaurants, cuisines, or dishes you might want to try.
And the Versatile Blogger Award goes to…