I have been writing a certain post since February 3. Two weeks of writing and rewriting. Adding and then deleting bits of text that after a few days seem so extraneous or inane as to be too embarassing to allow other people to know were originally floating around in my brain.
That’s kind of how the birthing process went for this blog, too. Weeks of agony. At least two months of suffering. How can I be interesting and funny when it comes to food? Can anyone? Really? Should I just post recipes? That’s safe. Can I really write about food that has its origins in other countries? What do I know about those things? Can I even find Sweden on a map?! Who do I think I am, anyway?! Should I scrap the whole idea? What if I’m repeatedly wrong about everything? EVERYTHING?!?
The funny thing is, this post I’ve been trying to write is about chutney. And, really, how complicated is chutney? Not very, as you will shortly ascertain. A friend recently pointed something out to me: I don’t actually have to be an expert on chutney to write something about it. If I’m wrong or ill-informed or wrong or inadvertently culturally insensitive or just plain wrong on every count, my hope is that someone who knows more about the subject than I do will offer some direction. Also, my friend Charity points out, I can always revisit the topic, which I have always assumed I will do with many of these topics anyway. The topic of chutney alone could be its own blog. And probably is. This thing my friend has pointed out is not just the case for posting what I consider to be a prematurely truncated discussion of chutney, but really something I should try to remember every day of my life.
Charity writes a very thoughtful and insightful blog, by the way, called Imperfect Happiness. and I’m pleased to shamelessly plug it here. She wrote something once in her blog that has stuck with me: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.”
And, by god, doesn’t that make sense? I’m postponing a post on chutney because I feel like I can’t possibly do it justice. Chutney! We’re not talking about my opinion on the protesting in Egypt here! We’re not talking about World Peace! Yet I feel strongly that chutney is worth thinking about and learning about and making and eating and sharing. Doesn’t that make a post on it worthwhile? Maybe my historical facts will be inaccurate – I wouldn’t cite me in any term papers at this point. But if one person makes the recipe I intend to post and enjoys it and finds that it spices up a dreary winter day just a little, then doesn’t the horror of my inadvertently irresponsible historical inaccuracies somehow fade a little? Just a little?
The thing is, I’m still finding a direction for myself with this blog so you might as well be in on the journey with me. I haven’t found my voice here yet. I haven’t worked out everything I want it to be, but nevertheless, I keep finding that I do want it to be. I’m a student here, but then, from the beginning, I intended to be a student, not a teacher. Or, rather, if I can be a teacher at times, I’ll take it, but it will be incidental.
I guess if the only way to do it is to do it poorly, than I want to do it poorly.
And I do, in fact, believe chutney could be an avenue to World Peace. That’s why I’m doing this.