I am restless by nature. I love trying new things, I love learning, and I’m always looking to see what to do next. As a child, I never stuck with one activity for too long – one week watercolors, the next week writing and recording 80’s style pop songs.
I think at the core, I am still very much the same person today.
After graduating from law school in 2007 (a grueling 3 ½ years in which I worked all day, went to school at night, and didn’t have time for much else), I felt free! Free to finally try tons of different things!
My list of things to try was predictably ambitious, with activities ranging from “taking an art class” to “running a 10k.” Buried in the middle of that list somewhere was “start a food blog.”
Consistent with my personality, I didn’t stick with anything for a long time. I dabbled in an acting class before switching to oil painting. I learned Brazilian capoeira and stuck with it for about 6 months. Most recently, I became obsessed with sewing, churning out handbag after handbag. Alas, that only lasted 3 months before a trip to Japan cut that momentum short.
In the background during this whole time, my tiny little personal food blog, “jglee’s food musings,” silently hummed along. Unlike all those other activities, this one stuck.
I registered tinyurbankitchen.com in September of 2009 when I decided to “go public” with the blog (happy 1-year birthday!) . I signed on with Foodbuzz and began interacting with other food bloggers on the blogosphere. I recently renewed my URL for another 5 years. Clearly, Tiny Urban Kitchen isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Why do I have the passion and stamina to passionately pursue this "hobby" while I inevitably lose interest in most other things? What makes this blog so unique? What defines this blog?
After some soul searching, here’s what I came up with . . .
Fearless Pursuit of Crazy, Ambitious, and Fun Ideas
To say I’m overly ambitious is probably an understatement. Sometimes, it’s tough because I set myself up for failure. Usually, however, I think it pushes me so much further than I ever would have gone without the crazy ideas and goals I set in place. I’ve tried all sorts of crazy things on this blog, like making an entire meal look like Japanese anime characters, preparing a multi-course meal from Michelin-starred chefs’ recipes using sous vide, and bravely experiencing a “tasting of offal” which involved things like lambs brains and duck testicles. Heck, I even made a bento that looked like my husband. I’m not afraid to try most things at least once, and I love a good challenge. This past March, I entered and shockingly won the coveted spot to attended the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition in Napa Valley on behalf of Foodbuzz. Life is an adventure, and there are so many amazing things to experience. Seize the day and make most out of each meal. In short, this blog is defined by my personality - creative, ambitious, slightly crazy, and never the same thing twice.
A Deep Commitment and Passion for the Local Community
I have lived in Cambridge for over 15 years and I absolutely love the city. It has a wealth of restaurants that belie its small geographical area. I especially love the wonderful diversity and concentration of ethnic restaurants – Brazilian, Afghan, Tunisian, Eritrean, the list goes on and on.
I am highly committed to supporting these local businesses and partnering with them in various things. I take my camera with me wherever I go, and I blog about almost every restaurant I visit (complete with many photos and a detailed review). I strongly support events that promote fair trade, sustainability, and helping out those who are in need. Furthermore, I really enjoy the relationships I have developed with chefs, restaurant owners, and marketing people in the local food industry.
A Love of Food, Photography, and Friendship
Bryan’s mom is really observant and wise, and had some keen insights about why she thought food blogging was so perfect for me.
“You are relational, you really like people, and you like to share with others.”
I’m not the most introspective person by any means, so her comment actually surprised me. It seemed to be so true yet was something I had never realized.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do love food. Heck, I’m willing to travel anywhere for good food, and I center my trips around the interesting meals I want to enjoy.
And I also love photography. Instead of watching TV to relax, I actually like to process my pictures. It’s oddly calming for me to adjust exposure and white balance all while munching on a snack (yes, I'm nuts).
But most importantly, beyond all that, it’s the people that really motivate me to keep this blog going. This food blog would be NOTHING without its readers. Seriously, at the end of the day, why do I keep on blogging? Why haven’t I abandoned this “hobby” unlike most things I try?
Because it’s not just about cataloguing cooking experiments. It’s not just about writing down restaurant impressions or taking pretty pictures. In fact, if it were just about those things, I probably would have abandoned this a long time ago. Instead, I’ve kept on writing because of the people. I love sharing my ideas with others. I am relational at the core, and I love the interactions, conversations, and support I receive from my readers.
I could have all the passion in the world about cooking, eating and photography. Yet without readers, I would have no motivation to write.
So thank you. Thank you all for interacting with me, encouraging me, and pushing me to try my absolute best to make this blog as good as it can be. I sincerely appreciate it and I will try my hardest to fulfill that goal.
Folks, Tiny Urban Kitchen is here to stay.
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