Behind the Fantasy

Dear Reader,

As my blog turned two last week, I thought it might be time to make a confession. These thoughts came to me yesterday as I was writing about Du Fu, the Tang Dynasty poet. As I spent hours indulging in the treasure trove of ancient Chinese poetry now available on the web, I came to the conclusion that I am an escapist. I spend too much time in the land of fantasy. I use blogging to time travel to past centuries or places or to recall some tasty meal I have made and was organised enough to photograph, or better still, that someone else made for me in some other country. And I do so to escape from this….

An overdue renovation. Any one fforr plaster reemoval?
An overdue renovation. Any one for plaster removal?

And the day before that, I was considering making a Lent dish to be eaten in Spring, as it would be, if I only I lived in the northern hemisphere where I think I belong. I was simultaneously researching the background of one of my favourite cookbook writers, Joanne Weir, hoping to weld together a story about the history of pre-Christian Lent diets- Lent meaning spring after all – with one of her fine recipes. I made these Greek lentil and bulgur koftas. I was keen to introduce you to the recipe, but then they tasted so bland. Mr T said the Greek potato dish that accompanied them made all the difference. Code for crap koftas. The story about Lent in Spring now remains idle. Perhaps it will re-surface one day.

Lentil Fritters with yoghurt and dill. Bland!
Lentil koftas with yoghurt and dill. Too bland!

And the day before that, I made another sourdough loaf, but the kids came around for a swim, someone opened a bottle of white wine and time just evaporated. The loaf over proved, I shoved it in the fridge overnight, then baked it the next morning and it came out like this, tasting like a worn out shoe.

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Even the chooks might reject this loaf.

For every published post, there are 10 more sitting in the draft pile, left behind because something went wrong, or the photos weren’t up to scratch, or the recipe was a flop or they became too long. Some posts take weeks to write and research, others write themselves and come together quickly. Some are more popular than others and I’ll never know why.

The post below has had 1200 views since it first appeared. Maybe I should just stick to cake recipes? I recommend it to you as the apricot season draws near. It is a reminder of my more pragmatic self.

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https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/apricot-almond-cake-with-amaretto-easy-frangipane/

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Thank you dear Reader for following, reading and commenting. Sometimes you’ll get a gem, and at other times, an ordinary little nugget.

49 thoughts on “Behind the Fantasy”

  1. Your thoughts make me think. Really my blog is more for me as it gives me the luxury of re living my beautiful travels and re seeing my many lovely photographs. The fact that others like it along the way can only be a bonus and a pleasure for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I often feel just as you describe yourself. I escape into my head to write, or walk and take photos or read or just ‘fiddle’. The realities and pragmatic requirements of day to day life are often onerous, if not just plain boring. I read once that when you feel you are daydreaming too much, it is probably a sign you are not doing it enough. I hope the renovations are not too painful, and hearty congratulations on two years blogging. I talk about your blogs to others as if you and I have met and had a conversation. It’s a wonderful escape. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely response Ardys: I feel exactly the same way, as if I lived next door. I often feel like I have been with you on those early morning walks in the bush and delight in your discoveries along the way. I relate to your quiet concerns about things, your introspection, and your aesthetic approach too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s refreshing to see someone writing to say they have failures in the kitchen as well as brilliant successes. It makes for more honest reading. One gets sick of reading resume-type blogs all the time and it’s good to be human and show a bit of honesty. (I say this because I was a resume writer for a few years for complete strangers and made sure I only included the glowing bits!)
    Sweets recipes are usually a hit if they look nice in the photo as most people have a sweet tooth. Sometimes the fresh and crunchy vegetables look a bit disappointing to cooks once they have been boiled or fried – I think that’s why the sweets recipes win hands down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha this sounds all too familiar. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say, other times I start something and it takes me weeks to publish it. Regardless, the posts are time consuming. Some posts I expect to be super popular, but aren’t, and others I don’t expect get lots of hits. But it comes back to why we are writing, are we doing it for an audience (and yes it is nice to get engagement and feedback) or are we doing it as a record, a memory, proof that we were here and lived and breathed and felt? Or both? In any case I love your writing. Happy blogaversary.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have come to value engagement over the last two years and this really surprised me. The little conversations sprinkled throughout the day have enriched my life.
      Indeed we write for all those reasons you list. I have always kept journals, for me mostly, but find it more rewarding to hit that ‘publish’ button. And, I get to talk to you, my friend, which is always a pleasure.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Happy anniversary! Good to see someone else getting into the plaster dust! We all need some escapism, essential mental health therapy. I sometimes think I should be more focussed on stylising posts, using props etc but it just isn’t me and I would never post anything if I did that. I post more as a record of what we are up to and the way paths of some wonderful people with similar interests have crossed is a very nice bonus How lucky are you that you have people just pop in and you can enjoy their company, especially with a bottle of vino! 🙂

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  6. Oh Francesca, you made my day! Yes, I think there is a little (or a lot in my case) of escapist is all of us. Plaster dust is not something to be taken lightly. It lingers in the air, falling and covering everything – even inside closed drawers – for days and days afterwards. By the way, I like all of your cakes (and pastas, and soups, etc. etc. etc.) It is odd that that particular cake gets so many hits. Well, the photo is a particularly nice one!

    Happy anniversary. Our blogs are about the same age!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The plaster disaster is in our city house, which has been an intergenerational home for 19 years and now begs to be updated from grungy retro student house which we all love to something a little more comfortable and modern, but maintaining its Victorian features. All this on a tiny budget, family labour and one paid helper. I happily to run back to the country house.
      Thanks Debi and happy blogaversary for yours.

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  7. Happy anniversary Francesca! I too have a file full of gorgeous photos that relate to rejected recipes, though I’m inclined to reshoot another day if the recipe’s good. We all have an individual reason for maintaining a blog, I’m always pleased to see your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Blogaversary 🙂 I love popping around to see what’s happening in your life, and I don’t mind plaster dust, or recipes that have gone askew… Blogging has opened up a whole world of my kinda people; none of us have perfect lives but what we share, from new food to new places and everything inbetween, enriches us all.

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  9. Francesca, Sorry the kofta came out bland. That recipe is in one of my first cookbooks, right? I think it’s from Tapas to Meze? Maybe more herbs, spices and salt perhaps?
    Maybe I can make it up to you and send you my newest creation, Kitchen Gypsy:Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food. It’s a personal food memoir and I’ve never been so excited about a project in my life! Alice Waters loved the book and wrote the foreword. I truly am a gypsy. I left Provence yesterday where I was teaching for a week and am now in Marrakech for another week of classes in a gorgeous Riad. Anyway thanks for the inclusion and sorry they didn’t work out. Your photo looks delicious however!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joanne, Your book, ‘Tapas to Meze’ is my favourite cookbook of all time. I own two copies, just as insurance. Every Spring, the book comes off the shelf and stays by me in the kitchen until Autumn. ( in Winter I travel for three months and can relate well to your gypsy lifestyle) .
      The lentil kofta failure was probably due to my distraction with renovating an old Victorian house- and all it needed was a little tasting for salt along the way. The post was a little tongue in cheek thing about how good things go wrong when you are distracted.
      I am hoping, since your “Tapas to Meze’ book is out for the season, to make and then blog something from it each week. I love the way you use herbs and don’t back off from robust flavours.

      I would love a copy of your new book, Kitchen Gypsy. I cannot think of a more wonderful book to read- your personal food memoir, given your passion for the two things I love in life- Medit food and travel. And a forward by Alice Waters- I can see why she would love your life’s work.
      Also, thankyou for your blog- it is inspiring.

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  10. Congrats Francesca on turning 2 for your blog 🙂 I’m neither a cook or a baker but I enjoy your reading posts as it also forms an escapism for me to imagine myself eating these delicious foods. Probably after that, I might pop by at a shop or cafe to buy something delicious 😉 Also, your travel posts are interesting..looking forward to read more of your posts 🙂

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  11. Hi Francesca,

    This is Taylor from Dadascope Communications. We represent Joanne Weir, Author of “Kitchen Gypsy” and we would like to send you a copy of her book! I was unable to find any contact information for you so I am trying to get a hold of you via this comment. Please email me at taylor@dadascope.com.

    Best,
    Taylor

    Like

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