Back on the blog

I originally started this blog three years ago when I was on maternity leave. I wrote for a living, and I didn’t want my skills to get rusty. But I wanted to write about something fun and something that I love. So I became a food blogger.

I knew I would never be a “serious” food blogger, especially after I attended the International Food Blogger Conference last year. I don’t write recipes, I don’t take beautiful food photos, and I definitely don’t blog on any kind of regular basis.

But that’s okay. This blog has always been a fun hobby for me. I enjoy writing about whatever I want—my latest collection of random food photos, “the official snack of hip hop,” or belated gratitude to my parents for cooking thousands of meals for my brother and me.

I haven’t posted to my blog in over seven months. That’s a long time—eons in the blogging world. It’s weird—I hadn’t stopped thinking about it. I continued to develop ideas for blog posts and took many photos, but I had lost my will to blog.

I work full time, am married, have a very active 3-year-old and go to grad school at night. I’ve always been a busy person, but the last seven months have been particularly grueling. For a while, I had to cut out all extracurricular activities—including this blog.

I recently had a wonderful dinner at Zoë, which I have often described as my favorite restaurant in Seattle. However, while I was eating, I realized that the last time I had dined at Zoë was a few years ago.

I thought, “This place is awesome—why did I stop coming here?” And I could not come up with a good reason.

I had a similar realization about my blog. I really enjoy the creative outlet that my blog offers. So here I am blogging again.

When I started thinking about what has happened in the food world over the last several months, my mind kept returning to the deaths of two prominent members of the Seattle food scene—Scott Simpson and Kim Ricketts.

I had been a fan of Simpson’s since his days at Blue Onion Bistro, and I remember the intense disappointment I felt when Simpson abruptly closed his wildly inventive restaurant Fork in 2006, seemingly never to be heard from again.

Then he resurfaced in 2008 with a new restaurant—an over-the-top burger joint called Lunchbox Laboratory. The tiny restaurant was bought, and moved to a larger, swankier South Lake Union location. It seemed like things were finally on track for Simpson, who had struggled with manic depression.

Then Simpson took his life. He was 38.

Food writer Matthew Amster-Burton wrote this about his friend:

“Scott was not the kind of tortured artist who is hard to be around. He was warm, charismatic, and drew people to wherever he was cooking. If he had opened a diner where every dish was served in flames, or a milkshake speakeasy, or a lobster corn dog cart, people would have flocked to it…

Last night I was listening to Elliott Smith’s Figure 8. Whenever I listen to Elliott Smith, which is often, I sing along with gusto, and I think, ‘You know what? It’s bullshit that this guy is dead.’ That’s the word that comes to mind, every time. Elliott Smith, no longer writing songs? That’s bullshit. Scott Simpson, no longer flipping burgers and coming up with lunatic restaurant concepts? That’s bullshit.”

Kim Ricketts was a major force in Seattle’s food, restaurant and book industries, and her influence stretched far beyond the Puget Sound area. Author Dave Eggers wrote:

“The flag of the world of books is flying at half-mast right now, mourning the loss of Kim Ricketts. She was a pillar of the Seattle literary community, which means she was a pillar of the world literary community. She was tireless, she was funny, she loved books, and she loved celebrating everything associated with books.”

I didn’t know Kim Ricketts personally, but I certainly knew of her, and I had been to some of the lively literary events that she had organized, such as “Cooks and Books.” I followed her on Twitter, and we would occasionally chat online about food and restaurants.

The last time I saw her was at an event with Chef Grant Achatz who was promoting his book, “Life, on the Line,” a memoir about his life as a chef and his battle with cancer.

In a blog post by Ricketts’ friend Kathleen Flinn, I read that Ricketts had been annoyed with the audience’s focus on Achatz’s cancer, calling it “a total downer.” I believe that she was asserting (in her imitable way) that the most interesting thing about Achatz was not that he had cancer.

And though it was cancer that ultimately took Ricketts, it definitely will not be what people remember about her.

May Kim Ricketts and Scott Simpson rest in peace.

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