The MAAF Writing Process: What Inspires Me to Perspire

I preface this post by pointing out how rarely I do these non-food posts. However, when it seems particularly interesting or important to me, the topics will find their way to Much Ado About Fooding (MAAF) and I apologize if they don't fit your fancy. Feel free to ignore this one then, folks! Anyhow, what is this post about anyway? I was mentioned/tagged by my blogger-friend Sandi over at Fearless Dining to participate in a blogger "writing process" unveiling series where I expand on what inspires pieces for MAAF and how writing happens. There is a list of questions to answer, and then the author "tags" three others to move forward with this "blog hop." As you probably have seen, I try to get four posts out in a week and that, as you can imagine, requires a lot of writing! So if you're interested in briefly delving into what gets this all going, keep on reading. If not, I've got plenty of other fun pieces for you to dig your teeth into!

What am I working on?
I'm not sure how to frame this question. If by working on, it means what drafts are on the table, then I have too many to count though they're all lined up for the proper dates to publish. If it means what is coming up, I'd have to default to visits to the new restaurant openings in Orange County. If it means in general, the blog is my way of working on myself as a person when it comes to the way I receive, make, talk about, and share food. I frequent restaurants to see what they're doing with the ingredients I use so I can be inspired to invoke that flair in my own kitchen. I cook to get a sense of cultural backgrounds and why certain items go together whether in taste, appearance, or even history. I'm also working on my own feeling of cooking confidence by (every once in a while) sharing my creations and trying to take pride in them if they go well.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I wish I could easily point to several other sites that are doing the kind of blend I am doing on MAAF in terms of topics but I can't quite think of (m)any in the local area. The blog has a division between original recipes, chef interviews, and restaurant information through menu and chef changes. It used to have reviews and will have some on occasion but I'm not a food critic by any means so I don't try to put those up too often. I think in the genre of food bloggers in general, that's how my work differs. I don't strictly do restaurant reviews nor do I strictly develop and share recipes. It is a mixture of the two and in some sense, represents a group of people that are fewer than the masses. I don't run often into people who absolutely adore both eating out and cooking so this makes MAAF different; it covers both worlds.

Why do I write what I do?
Should I give the long answer or the short answer here? I'll try to keep this at a medium length. First of all, I love to write in general so putting it all down onto a blog was a way to use this love of mine of the English language; I could write somewhere with a purpose outside of the "forced" academic essays that school had thrust upon us for years and years. My creative flow of words needed to be produced somehow! In terms of why I chose to write about food, I have a love for the culinary arts and how someone is able to make one thing out of a variety of other things. My recipes were posted up as an archive for myself but also to share my adventures with other people. I pursue interviewing chefs to see what makes them tick and how they got where they did. It is extremely motivational sometimes to hear the types of challenges that got in the way of anyone trying to succeed in life. I write about restaurants to give due credit where it is deserved and to help others find places where they can have their own special moments. In the end, I love seeing what food can do to bring people together and how it tells the story of a culture, how one was raised, and what inspires them now.

How does my writing process work?
I admit that I can be a little too verbose once I start writing. The sentences just spew forth from my fingertips for no reason other than I want to sit down and write something. For the most part, I attempt to take notes during cooking (though it doesn't always happen) to make sure the recipe posts are easily written once started. For restaurants, my writing process starts with physical notes written down on paper menus or even just taking pictures of full menus and remembering traits to each. For events and chef interviews, my writing tends to start at the voice recorder level through a phone app before moving on to transcription and then writing. I try to alternate my posts between recipe and restaurant news to mix things up.

What blogs do I think you should check out?
I actually found that choosing three bloggers I admire to highlight was a tad difficult because I didn't want to keep the range of my choices so niche to my area. There are so many people that I've met since starting MAAF though and various genres to look at. My pick of three (not in a specific order or rank) are below:

Mike writes Eating My Way Through OC and is on a personal journey to review 1,000 restaurants in the Orange County area. I'm not sure yet what his count is but I know it's quite up there. I'm also not sure he would really continue this blog hop on because his site is completely full of all the cool places he's been BUT I want to give a shout-out anyway. Mike was the very first blogger I ever met, and though we jest at each other every chance we get, I commend his dedication to his blog and finding great food in Orange County.

I've never met Bethany before from From the Pasture but I've met others who are involved with the source background of her blog. The site is part of Primal Pastures, a pasture-raised beyond-organic farm out in Temecula, CA that is focused on trying to change the world's perspective and actions when it comes to farming and sourcing our animal products. The blog itself is a fantastic addendum to the farm because it puts the educational information out there about best lifestyle practices on the consumer side along with sneak peeks of the farm life!

This series isn't limited to food blogs as far as I know so I want to mention Sarah of Sarah Wilson Dog Expert. I am constantly visiting her site to get solid advice about how to properly raise and train a dog, hoping to be the best owner I can be to Rusty. She has several articles also about busting myths about dog training that most people are not aware of. It's all very eye-opening and educational. Best of all, I trust her information from the demonstrations she shows of her training as well as appreciate how she can write adeptly to explain a point without sounding condescending with her expertise.

Hope you check them out! I really wanted to tag Sandi back actually because her work is so admirable. Her blog is based on being gluten-free but the work behind it is immense. She both posts original recipes and informational, educational restaurant news. I love that she personally speaks to restaurants in the Bay area about safe gluten handling practices (645 and counting!) whether it is to educate them on why those are important or to verify that they are doing what they say they're doing. I can tell just how passionate she is through her writing on Fearless Dining.