Beyond the Kitchen

Year Six

6 years of jtb

I’ve had a hard time starting this post about my sixth year as Joy the Baker.  I feel like there’s a lot to say, but really, I say a lot of things all the time…. so is there?

Every January I like to go back to the very beginning of Joy the Baker.  The first post.  The post where I’m like… ‘hey, so I guess I’m here and doing this thing on the Internet now’.  In the very first post on Joy the Baker, I was trying to explain the French culinary term Mise en Place to you. I spelled it wrong.  That was the first and last time I’ll ever try to explain anything French.  Out of my element.  What you didn’t know about me at the time was that I had finagled my way into a head baker position at a bakery.  I knew nothing about production baking so I was in waaaay over my head.  My general motto at the time was ‘just make more scones!’.  Being a production baker is hard hard work.  Not for the faint of heart.

It all started on a borrowed laptop, with a borrowed camera, on a stolen Internet connection.  Glamorous.

What’s so cool is that from all that silliness we’re here together! In the last six years, you’ve seen me make a best friend, you’ve seen me date various boys (which I totally don’t talk about anymore…), you’ve seen me develop an obsession with New Orleans, and write silly words about turning 21… for the youth.  You’ve seen my photography change, my writing change… you’ve seen me change.  Weird.   In return, I’ve been lucky enough to meet you at book signings, connect with you over social media,  and have even joined you in your kitchen through Instagram.  It’s all so rad.  Really!

This year in particular I’ve finished my second book (woot woot October 2014), and have finished a 14 episode web series which I was silly and annoying enough to call Bonkers Awesome.  I’m trying a lot of things and it means so much to me that you’re here to witness it.

What you might not know, and what I should definitely tell you more often, is that it means so much that you’re here with me. I treasure you (and I mean it when I say it).

What follows are a few of my favorites over the years.

what it's really like

My Favorite Posts

My favorite posts here are the ones where you let me talk about regular life.  Posts like The Days Run Away and What It’s Really Like (on book writing and smelly feet), or that time you secretly (or not so secretly) thought I was crazy when I wrote I Accidentally Saw A Picture of You.  I also really love when we talk about books we’re reading.  It fills my heart when you can relate to these kinds of posts.

Also… we made lip gloss together.  That felt pretty major.

brown butter doughnuts

My Favorite Recipes

Let’s make it delicious and melty!  Those are my favorite posts on Joy the Baker.  Delicious and melty include Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese and Lasagna Grilled Cheese.  I really have a thing for grilled cheese.

When it comes to sweets, I really patted myself on the back for the Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts and these Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls (taking it back to 2009!).


My Favorite Words and Work Around The Internet

Do you know Helen Jane?  You should.  She invented blogging, she’s both wise and hilarious at her core.  She is disarming, she has really nice handwriting, and she wrote about being in a blogging in the most perfect way.

Honesty on the Internet is so refreshing and it feels like honesty is Cup Of Jo‘s specialty.  A post from late last year titled I Had A Stillborn Baby literally had me laying on the floor feeling feelings.

Since I can’t live next door to Shutterbean, I have to obsess over her Everyday Life posts like you do.  It’s cool.  She’s got vision.

Megan from A Sweet Spoonful has the most beautiful way with words.  She’s a wonderful writer.  Her writing is like really good and comfortable eye contact with an old friend.  You know that feeling?   Megan is getting married and her words (and lentils) are lovely!

I adore Top with Cinnamon‘s photography.

Ok… I adore a lot of photography on the Internet.  Let me just download a bit here and now:

Minimalist Baker is a gorgeous site full of resources.  It’s simple, thoughtful, and gorgeous.  I particularly love this Super Thick DIY Chocolate Almond Milk.

Billy from Wit and Vinegar is not only hilarious but knows how to twerk photography and design.  I’m smitten with his Grocery Lists.

I’m thankful to have found a friendship with Jon from The Candid Appetite.  His food photography is stunning and his Lasagna Soup (!!!!) just blew my mind a little.

This is  by no means an extensive list.

thank you

What I’ve Learned

I’ve taken in a lot of lessons in the past few years.  Learning is humbling to matter how it happens.

I’ve learned that the Internet is a big world and the food blog neighborhood is a lovely and supportive space.  Of course, as in the regular world, some people dig on what you’re doing and some people don’t.  The people that don’t dig on your work generally don’t hang around and if they do hang around to give you a piece of their mind… fine then. Negativity can’t stick where sincere, hard work persists.

I’ve learned that you want to try to answer every email but sometimes you just can’t.

I’ve learned that cats really do eat granola if granola is left unattended.

I’ve learned that Pinterest breeds unrealistic expectations when it comes to interior design and weddings.

I’ve learned that you may not care about every detail of my engagement, wedding, pregnancy, birth, and baby.  I’m not even doing any of those things right now, but at least you can breathe easy.

I’ve learned that Facebook is the place where my family likes to post embarrassing pictures of me.

I’ve learned that collaborating with my peers is one of the best ways to learn things in this field that sometimes feels like the wild wild west.  Reach out.  Say hello.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

I’ve learned that hand-washing dishes is faster than dishwashing dishes.  Sigh.

I’ve learned that writing one cookbook is hard and doesn’t really make writing a second cookbook any easier.  That sounds like a personal problem.  Sorry.

I’ve learned that goodness in people overwhelms anything that is not goodness.  You taught me that.  I appreciate you every day. Thank you for coming here and baking with me.