I always used to think that the saying “Those who can’t do, teach” was quite unfair on teachers. I’ve had some pretty amazing teachers in my life, including one that practically became my substitute parent, taught me about The Lord of the Rings, showed me my first horror movie, and gave me my bad habit of saying fuck in front of sensitive people with small impressionable children.
Then I went to university and studied to be a journalist, quickly realising that the whole ‘can’t-do-teach’ thing was actually quite unfair on “those who can’t do”, because being a university journalism lecturer has marginally less utility, dignity or purpose than a conceptual video artist during an attack of the living dead. Although, I suppose there is still time to popularize the phrase “Throw the video artists to the zombies and let’s get the fuck out of here!”
Then I followed this up with film-school and realised that people should probably just stop saying things altogether, because at the bottom of the deepest, darkest tunnel of humanity’s ineptitude and folly is a film-school lecturer blinking up at you asking for five individual motivations for why you want to put the camera over there.
I guess it’s all a question of putting your money where your mouth is, and I suppose sometimes it’s more comfortable to just not do that. Now, I don’t have any money, but I do have a giant mouth – and most of the time it enjoys having delicious things shoved in it. And so, it’s all very well writing guff about risotto balls and taking pretty pictures of salad next to a gingham napkin, but that’s generally a low-stakes exercise. For all you know, most of the food on any given food blog tastes like a badger that hasn’t wiped its bum in a while, or the recipe was nicked from whatever new book Jamie’s just released that’s essentially just a license for him to print money. Or maybe in my case, I’m just taking pictures of things my mom made and passing it off as my own. Although, if this was actually what was going on I’d probably have a lot more pictures of happy mushrooms frolicking in the wild while somewhere in the distance a merry, cherubic Swedish infant plays Crosby, Stills and Nash back-catalogue on a trombone.
God, it seems like I’m being totally rude about everyone today. I’m really not trying to be a dick, promise.
Because, don’t get me wrong – I love food bloggers, they-slash-we are passionate and excitable about things like shrimp paste, and the world totally needs more people to be passionate about shrimp paste (no sarcasm!). And even though there’s possibly a touch too many pictures of poached eggs on asparagus floating around the internet, the spirit of the food blogger is one that I get a huge kick out of, which is of course why I am one for fuck’s sake.
Well, ‘became one by accident’ I suppose is slightly more accurate.
What I really started was an online diary of things I was making, because I found that I was forgetting the recipes to a lot of my experiments, and the Internet seemed as good a place as any to put them. It was always intended to be an isolated little corner of the web where I stashed some cooking ideas and maybe occasionally made a joke about French cars or people who don’t know how to eat hotdogs in public. That’s why there’ve never been any links to or from this page, why it resolutely continues to have the dumbest, most unwieldy name for a website ever, and there are no ads. If you find it, you find it – and if you don’t, that’s okay too.
I guess what’s happened over the years that I’ve started to think about food a bit more and write about it a bit more, is that I’ve realised why this food blog has become so important to me, even if it has been a slightly stuttering enterprise with some occasionally very long gaps in the timeline: and that’s because it’s kind of a way of forcing myself to try and be better at this stuff. To make a sort of public space where other people who are not my friends or family can look at what I’m doing and decide if they like it. Because, as soon as you start doing something in public, you’ve inevitably got to concentrate a bit harder. But I suppose even the relatively public forum of this blog has started to feel a little too safe, and the desire to test and expand the boundaries of what I’m capable of has been strong for quite a while now. Which is where the whole Foodhall thing started a long time ago, with a few irregular and stumbling steps at first, later on turning into a regular stride (which means I’m totally going to trip and fall on my face any moment now, stick around and you might be able to Instagram it). There’s nothing quite like the high wire act of cooking for strangers who have paid money to eat your food to focus the mind. And considering that I’m not quite ready to chuck my day-job to run a restaurant (because I quite like my day-job), this is as good a way to do it as any.
So, that is probably as good an explanation as any as to why this blog has been a bit quiet of late, I’ve been trying my hand at doing – and it’s been crazy and exhausting and simply, quite wonderfully – amazing.
I’ve met such great people and had strangers eat my cooking and (at the very least do an excellent job of pretending to) quite enjoy it – which is a feeling quite unlike any other. And far from diminishing my passion for food, it has just stoked it to a white-hot blaze. I want to get more adventurous, share with more people, find out what others are doing and ultimately, but not disdainfully – be a little more than ‘just a guy with a food blog’.
I want to say thank you to the amazing response and sold-out nights we have had thus far, to my incredible partners Hayleigh, Orly and Shoki at the PopArt Theater, to the people who have come and laughed and enjoyed, both friends and strangers-who-became-friends (some who came purely on the basis that they read this blog), and to those who have written nice things about us in the press: you are as much a part of this as we are.
Thank you, keep coming here to read my dumb jokes and silly recipes, and I hope to see you around my table soon.
Also, you can find a video from our first night here.