sometimes, food has nothing to do with it

halloween 2013

If you happened to walk by my house last night, just before 6 o’clock, you would have seen my three favorite people in their finest Halloween attire. The tallest one celebrated a birthday the day before, complete with an impromptu birthday parade in my living room. Maddie played the recorder while Oliver sang Happy Birthday and threw confetti.

For some reason – and I’m not questioning it – the kids picked up each little bit of paper off the floor, on their own, with no nagging from me. It was thrilling to watch.

And so it is November. Creepy halloween decorations – ghosts made of white sheets, plastic skeletons, and fake zombie hands rising from the grass – still adorn the neighborhood lawns today, but they won’t survive the weekend. The weather is supposed to cool off again starting tomorrow. Men will soon be sporting mustaches for a good cause, and  aspiring authors are into their first day of NaNoWriMo. Briefly, I even considered joining in on the blogging version, NaBloPoMo, but I’m pretty sure a good 75% of you would unsubscribe after day five of me posting daily. I would be sad if you left.

I’ve been thinking about making some changes around here, and November may be the time to get things started. Or maybe I’ve already started these changes and am only just now realizing it and accepting it.

I’m planning to use this space to write more about personal things, issues for which there may not be a relevant recipe. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve already been pretty darn personal here in this space. So maybe that’s not the big change. What’s changing is that, sometimes, there may not be a recipe.

I’ve always felt this obligation to share a recipe along with each post, but what I find is that this pressure to post a recipe means I don’t always write some of the topics that I really want to write about.

I’ve gone through so much with my father these last eight months, from dealing with his worsening dementia to coping with the suboptimal care in his nursing home. I’ve wanted to write about some of these things – or write more about them – but what dessert pairs well with despair? What type of cake conveys the proper anguish of realizing you’ve lost your father?

Sometimes, life just isn’t about the food.

With that pressure to post recipes all the time off my back, I plan to write here more. It’s good for me, and I haven’t done enough of it over these last months.

Maybe I’ll even consider a modified NaBloPoMo, just to get me writing more. Because the writing? It is a very good thing.

Whew. I already feel better.

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17 Responses to “sometimes, food has nothing to do with it”

  1. 1
    Macaroni Mama — November 1, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    Good for you Merry Jennifer. Writing is good for your soul. If I don’t write, I feel like I will explode into a billion pieces out into the universe.

  2. 2

    I look forward to reading whatever you would like to write about. XO

  3. 3
    Winnie — November 1, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

    Love this photo so much, and I am quite certain we all want to hear from you more (and that there need not be recipes all the time).

  4. 4
    Steph — November 1, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

    I would love to read whatever you write. It’s a thing I’ve been struggling with as well…I have so much to say, so much I want to just get out there for my own selfish purposes and perhaps to help others. But I’ve to this point been just too scared. Too ashamed. Too censored.

    So please write away! I will always read.

  5. 5
    DessertForTwo — November 1, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    As a lover of your recipes AND your writing, this makes me so happy. Write when you wanna write. We’ll be here. Share a recipe when you feel like it, too. We love ya no matter what 🙂

  6. 6
    Lillian — November 2, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    Love the picture of your family. I think sharing your writing is just as important as sharing your recipes. I did NaNoWriMo one year and that’s enough for me. Maybe NaBloPoMo would be just what you need to do.

  7. 7
    jenna — November 2, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    Your so right…its not always about the food but what is on the heart! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  8. 8
    Eileen — November 2, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

    I love you’re writing, and I don’t need no stinkin recipes – lol. You always speak from the heart when you write and it’s hard to find that kind of candor elsewhere. I always shy away from writing anything personal for fear I’ll be judged in one way or another. I respect your bravery, so, writer away!

  9. 9
    Abby Lutman — November 3, 2013 @ 6:11 am

    I want to send you good energy and I can’t think how to write it – I recently went through a similar experience with my mother (in Israel) – specifically with what you referred to as “suboptimal care in his nursing home” – keep positive and remember to take care of yourself!

  10. 10
    Chris — November 4, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    Most of the food blogs that I really enjoy reading occasionally have non-food related posts and it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact I like those posts just as much, helps you know the author a little better.

  11. 11
    Di — November 5, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    I came for the recipes; I have stayed for the writing. Yeah you, Merry Jennifer.

  12. 12
    Kathryn — November 6, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    I always look forward to your posts whether there’s a recipe or not.

  13. 13
    Frances — November 6, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    Same for me—I have stayed for the writing, too! You have made me feel a real connection to your family and your experiences and emotions (both the up and the down ones. We readers care a lot about you. <3

  14. 14
    Rachel Winter — November 7, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

    MJ- long gone are the days when you would get McDonalds and put it on a plate with ketchup. How I remember that I have no idea. 🙂 These recipes that you post, and that I try to cook, are phenomenal. I love your blog. I love your writing. I love hearing about your family, and please don’t feel like you need a recipe each time. Just reading your thoughts, written so eloquently, I might add, makes me feel as if you are sitting next to me and we are having a face to face conversation. So don’t worry about a recipe. You can say, hey- the kids ate tater tots and dinosaur chicken nuggets tonight because I was on call and I went to see my dad, and that is ok!! XOXO Rachel

  15. 15
    Cate O'Malley — November 11, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

    Looking forward to following along your new journey. And it’s so true. Sometimes it’s not about the food, and sometimes those are the best moments of all.

  16. 16
    Paula — November 16, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

    I love that your husband dressed up for Halloween with your kids! What a great photograph.

    You convey your thoughts so beautifully, always sharing a little something of yourself/your life in every post and it has always been a pleasure for me to stop by here. Even when the subject matter has been extremely tough for you to write about, you always manage to reveal your heart with much eloquence and grace.

    I look forward with much anticipation to each of your posts whether they include a recipe or not is totally besides the point of my visits here. Never would I feel like I was missing out on something should you not share a recipe.

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