Two years of Syrup & Tang… it’s an anniversary!

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!

15 thoughts on “Two years of Syrup & Tang… it’s an anniversary!”

    Looking forward for more of your delicious project.

    The cannelle actually look good, I also try to make it with no success. I read that you must coat the moulds with beeswax? I didn’t do that, so mine was stick like glue. I’ll probably make it again, if no success (again), I’ll just wait for your post.

  2. Bon anniversaire!!!

    At first, I thought your walnut egg-white kisses might have been one of those failed macaron batches!

    And best of luck with your cannelés and their burnt bulging bottoms!

    Looking forward to your trip to Europe 😉

  3. Congrats, Duncan! Happy Birthday, Syrup and Tang.

    Cannelés? I LOVED them in France. Even more so than macaron…can’t wait for a sample…

    Now. How do we get non-bloggers to feel comfortable enough to engage?

  4. Happy 2 years, Duncan! Congrats again on the Gastronomer’s Bookshelf. Any chance you can wing some cannelés my way? 🙂

  5. Happy blog birthday, Duncan. So glad I decided to click on that lovely coloured link on your eGullet signature those many months (er, year/s?) ago!

  6. Happy, happy birthday Duncan. Well done you. Looking forward to reading more and more and more and more of your writing, recipes – as well as following what’s happening on Gastronomer’s Bookshelf.

    Hope you have a macaron or two to celebrate.

  7. Duncan/Douglas, keep up the good work my friend.

    It’s been a pleasure to get to know you through our food blogs. Who said blogging was anti-social.

    Canneles eh, they sound like yet another macaron roller coaster. I’ll wait for you to perfect them first, then I’ll give them a try.

  8. Two years is a long time in blog years Duncan, kinda like cat or dog years I reckon, so well done! Keep posting & I’ll keep reading.
    Cheers Steve

  9. Hi Duncan, I’m a bit late saying Happy Birthday to Syrup and Tang, so please excuse. You inspire others to try and of course some people get to taste the goodies and those baddies too; not a fan of burnt cannele. Maybe some perfected samples will come my way some time.
    Happy Birthday S & T.

  10. Happy Birthday Syrup and Tang! You are totally awesome and inspiring!

    I love your blog Duncan! It really inspired me to start my own food blog, but being a busy Uni student leaves me with no spare time. I’m a macaron addict and I’m always trying to find good ones in Melbourne, so far I think Noisette is kinda good. What do u think? I’m from Singapore and back home there’s a crazy obsession with macarons currently.

    Continue to excellent work and I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiments with making canele. Btw are u using the traditional mould or the new silicon ones?


  11. A Happy Blog Anniversary. I think I discovered your blog while searching for pasteis de nata. I also appreciate what you and Mark are doing over at the Gastronomer’s Shelf.
    More grease to the elbows (does this term exist anymore?)

  12. @Elra and Felicia. Thanks! Yes, beeswax is part of the story, and as for the different moulds… I’m using both and will tell more in due course:) Felicia, navigate around the site a bit and you’ll find more opinions about macarons in Melbourne.

    @Lucy: getting more non-bloggers involved? I dunno. It’s tricky. The recent blogger get-together elicited a few enthusiastic responses from non-bloggers, so there’s clearly interest.

    @Y: I’ll keep you in mind on my next trip to Sydney 😉

    And thank you to all the rest of you too! So kind!

  13. Duncan,

    Congratulations on S&T’s Anniversary. I really appreciate the effort that you put in to ensure that there’s always something good to read here, and also for regular news updates from the old country.

    From a non-blogger, it has also been great getting to meet you here (Singapore) and in Melbourne.

    Hope you keep up the excellent work!

  14. Happy blog birthday! (Blirthday? Blogday?) I am an absolute blog voyeur who reads Melbourne food blogs avidly but can’t quite seem to find the time to blog myself – although I’m thinking of skipping the blog and moving straight to Twitter 🙂 I would love the chance to try out your fabulous macaroons and the tasty tidbits of other Melbournians possessed of the myriad skills required to successfully blog. Maybe it’s time for a a bloggers and readers get together? Or maybe a mini blogger’s-market, where you make batches of hundreds of macaroons and we pay you $2 for the priveledge of eating them?

    Regardless, keep up the good work and be sure to shout loudly when you require a food science grad (me) to assist you in setting up the maracoon shop!

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