Who'd have thunk it would come to this: hundreds of hits for the word "macaron" (and many nice comments)? When I started Syrup & Tang two years ago, I set the scene with the things I love: books (a review of Fast Food Nation), a quirky travel-related item (Eurostar), a moan about yet another overrated café, and comments about the un-camp, un-crazed, un-wonderful Iron Chef America. Somehow readers had to wait until April 2007 before they hit baking (Swedish easter buns – "semlor").
Little did I know that my own baking nightmare back then, macarons, would prove so attractive! (Seriously, I wasn't paying attention to the pretty blogs; I was too busy crying over spoilt macaron batches. Thankfully I don't need to cry much nowadays!) Now, if I could generate as much attention for reviews of foodbooks, life would be just peachy, given the extraordinary amount of time and technical indigestion that has gone into my recent baby, The Gastronomer's Bookshelf!
What else has happened? Rather a lot of baking, often following my rather obsessive approach to cooking projects (Portuguese custard tarts/pastéis de nata). To celebrate this anniversary, I baked minimum-effort little thingies, Tante Kremer’s Walnut Egg White Kisses, which I found over at Culinary Types. Lovely. No hassle. No tears. A bit of washing up.
The last two years have seen me visiting restaurants far less often. I'm tired of the take-the-punter-for-a-ride thing. I'm sick of deafeningly noisy high- and low-priced eateries. I'm disappointed by technically competent, unmemorable food. I need deliciousness in my life (and I thank Robin Wickens's Interlude (now closed), some tapas bars in Seville, the meat roasters and chip fryers and cheesemakers of Portugal, and some funky French bacteria for the highlights). I find myself happier eating well prepared "budget" food (e.g., at some decent southeast Asian eateries popping up in Carlton/Parkville) than chucking dollars at dining with attitude.
It has been great getting to know many of the really warm, fun people who form part of the online food world. I think it's a pity more non-bloggers don't participate, often because they don't feel they "belong" to the community. I hope to meet many more as time passes. Just need to keep my motivation to maintain Syrup & Tang going! Thanks to all my pleasant visitors, readers, commenters.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen… in the works is a new baking obsession. Let me summarise with a photo. Note that these are a failed batch. Continued burnt bulgey bottoms are not an option!
In the next months you'll be able to read more about these, plus stuff about pretzels, oven temperatures, food issues, and a big trip to Europe!