New Year’s Changes

Greetings, readers, and happy 2011!
As usual at this time of year I’ve been thinking about what lies behind me and ahead of me—in general and also on this blog.
I have adored our time together “In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens,” and I don’t want to end it.
I do intend to curtail it a bit. Here’s why.
My hope when I started writing here in September 2008 was that I would grow as a writer and a cook by having a regular outlet.
I also hoped to strengthen my “brand”—the recognition and readership of Tinky—so that when it was time to transform the blog into my second cookbook I would have a ready-made audience for that book (and thus a great argument to any publisher that I should be included in its lists).
I got halfway there. I think I’ve DEFINITELY improved as a writer and a cook. Nevertheless, my career hasn’t prospered as much as I hoped it would.
I have a small but loyal readership, for which I am grateful. But my blog’s statistics actually went down this year instead of growing. So clearly I’m doing something wrong.
Part of my problem, I’m sure, stems from timing. I first started writing about food more than 15 years ago because it was one of the few areas of journalism in which there seemed to be a growing demand for writers. Most newspapers had weekly food pages, and they didn’t seem to have the staff to fill those pages.
Since I loved cooking and knew that I could relate food to just about any topic, I was happy to move into this niche.
Things have changed, however. Today, the U.S. has more food writers than ever before. And it has a ton of food bloggers. So my blog and I simply don’t stand out.
I will keep posting here from time to time in the hope that I can figure out how to turn around my fate and that of “In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens.”
Much of my creative energy will be devoted to a new project, however. As regular readers know, I have been busy lately trying to keep up with my aging mother.
My new writing project will explore our journey together as her dementia progresses.
I plan to put vignettes from our life and from this new writing project on the internet on a blog called “Pulling Taffy” (Taffy is one of my names for my mother, thanks to her affection for swimming in salt water.)
So please do keep up with me here and there as we try to be true to ourselves and each other.
Meanwhile, happy New Year to all….

P.S. You DO deserve a recipe on January 1–but since I don’t have a new one here’s something appropriate from this past year: black-eyed peas, a traditional (and hearty) new year’s dish! Enjoy……..

27 Responses to “New Year’s Changes”

  1. Marilyn says:

    Tinky, you got one new reader this year in me. I’ve enjoyed your writing and your recipes (and I’ve used them, too), but I understand the important journey you and your mother are on now. They’re going to be hard, but also very rewarding, and I speak from experience. I’ll look forward to whatever you’ve got coming up (including an entry to the blogathon?). Bon chance.

  2. Happy New Year, dear Tinky! I have already visited and left a comment on your new blog. I hope you do still find time to post more recipes here ……. even if it’s just to confuse me with your American ingredients and measures! Love Anne

  3. E. Sheppard says:

    Here is hoping you have a great New Year. I do love your blog and hope that it can continue. I am sending a personal email your way too. I love the picture too! 🙂 I am sending hugs your way too. ::hugs::

  4. Sue Haas says:

    Tinky–Yes, there are many food blogs, but yours is one of the best! I’ve recommended it to many people. Hope you’ll keep it going, along w/ your new project. My sister, Cara, gave me your Pudding Hollow Cookbook for Christmas and I’m enjoying reading the recipes and all the local history! Well-done! Thank you for signing it so nicely, too. Yes, I hope we’ll meet someday soon.
    Good luck with your mother. Wishing you all the best in the New Year! Sue

  5. Sue Haas says:

    Tinky–P.S. Your Bread and Butter Pickle recipe was soooo good! My neighbor and I each made a batch and wish we’d made more. I’m almost finished eating my batch (not all at once, of course). Next summer we’re going to drive to Yakima (WA) and bring back a truckload of pickling cukes to make lots and lots of those crunchy, clove-enhanced condiments. Thanks!

  6. Ann Brauer says:

    Hi Tinky,

    I have learned so much from you and your blog–I am sure I will learn a lot from your new one too. And I do hope you do post recipes every once and a while. Thanks for all your work.

  7. Ann Schwenke says:

    I have enjoyed your blog and wish you the best in the new year. We miss you and your Mom in the neighborhood. I will be thinking about both of you as you navigate through the ups and downs of this journey. Your Mom is very lucky to have you!

  8. Ramona says:

    Tinky – I’ve loved your blog since Kari told me about you. I will continue looking for new posts on this site as well as read of your journey with your Mom.
    Sometimes I wish I had written daily or weekly instead of occasionally what it was like to be on that journey with my mother. There were times it was so hard, but I will never regret it, nor will you.
    These lines from “A Mother’s Love Is A Blessing”, by Thomas P. Keenan, often went through my mind: “Love her as in childhood, though feeble, old and gray
    For you’ll never miss a Mother’s love, till she’s buried beneath the clay.”
    You and Jan have my best wishes.

  9. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks to you all for the support, the laughs (Anne, I’m not TRYING to confuse you with my American measurements!), the loyalty, and the touching notes. Ramona, your poetry lines will be my mantra.

  10. Tinky – Good luck on your ongoing journey. I follow your blog regularly, but you need to do what you need to do. Even a tidbit now and then will be nice, but whatever you do, don’t stress out on behalf of your readers – they’ll get by. All the best, Matt, the Palate Jack.

  11. Carol says:

    Dear Tinky:
    Happy new year! I have enjoyed your blog and will miss it even though I am more in tune with the music and movie references than the cooking ones. You are truly a renaissance woman! I have shared many of your recipes with my husband who is the better cook in our family. Best wishes in your new venture and with the care of your mother. You are a very dedicated daughter. Now, that you have your own place in my area, I may get to see you more!

  12. tinkyweisblat says:

    Matt and Carol, I promise that tidbits WILL still appear. And Carol, I’m looking forward to seeing you as well. Someday the boxes will be unpacked!

  13. Doris Matthews says:

    Hi Tinky, I want to wish you well in your new endeavor to explore the world of your mother’s ongoing process of transitioning into “older” age. I know from my own experience that you will both laugh and cry together. Your life will change in so many ways. I look forward to reading excerpts of “Pulling Taffy” on your website. I have been one of your regular readers although this computer stuff is new for me and difficult at times to figure out. I have enjoyed reading (and preparing) your recipes as have my family (eating them not helping me prepare them-they’re boys so as much as I want them to and encourage them to help, they’re really not in to cooking). All the best to you and your family in 2011! Doris PS I regularly read Edie Clark’s blog and enjoy reading your comments there as well!

  14. Jack Estes says:

    Your honesty humbles me, Tinky. Makes me wonder why I’m still publishing. Maybe if I had Jan to take care of, I’d be wiser. Anyway, I respect your decision and will miss the regular blogs. It will make the ones that do come through all the more ‘juicy,’ I guess.

    Certainly your new project sounds wonderful. I hope you’ll share that, as well.

  15. Carrie Needham says:

    Dearest Tinky,

    I will surely miss this blog but I think your new idea is wonderful. I think it will be good therapy for you and interesting and helpful for your readers. Let them know how much time you have spent with your mother over the years. I have always thought the two of you were not just mother and daughter, but good friends and companions. This adds another dimension to the story. You may find a book in this material. It is sad to see your mother’s downward spiral. She was such a dynamic gal, as you well know. Tell her story and tell yours too. I look forward to reading it.

    Remember that our thoughts and prayers are with you my dear friend.

    With love,


  16. Betsy Kovacs says:

    What a great idea! Your devotion to your mother is exemplary and I am a fan of your writing. I love your style and the depth of your content. I also love your mother and you and will look forward with great anticipation to hearing about your life with your mother. I love your optimism and humor and how you find the good in all people and happenings. You’re an inspiration to me so often!

    So I look forward to reading your new blog and following your and Jan’s journey. Please write often. I’m eager to hear how the move went, how Jan is adjusting, what she says about it all. For sure you’re a chip off the block as she’s the most positive person I know!

  17. tinkyweisblat says:

    Doris–Thank you for the wise words. And as you know I’m a big fan of Edie, too!

  18. tinkyweisblat says:

    Jack, you are still in publishing because you have a passion for it and you publish books no one else would. Carrie and Betsy, thanks for recalling the old Jan (who still comes through from time to time). I am grateful for you all.

  19. Nan says:

    First of all, I am so sorry for what your mom is going through and for you to have to see it. And I want to say, I love this blog. I have had such fun reading it.

  20. tinkyweisblat says:

    Why, thank you, Nan. I’ve had fun writing it, too (I’m sure you can tell).

  21. DeeKnitter says:

    Shoot, I just discovered you last week or so and now you are going on. I understand, but…….. Best wishes and blessings on you and your mother. Dee

  22. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank you, Dee, and please don’t give up on this blog!

  23. Eric Johnson says:

    That sucks!! (all, well most, of it…except the new stuff)

  24. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks, Eric! I’m working on minimizing the suckiness of it all.

  25. I’ll miss your regular food posts but I do understand the problem. I can be so hard to turn our words into something that makes us money. I’ll look forward to reading your recipes and the fact that they’re only occasional will make them that much more highly anticipated.

  26. Oops…should have said IT can be so hard, not I can be so hard…

  27. tinkyweisblat says:

    EveryDay, I agree about rusticity (is that a word?). And Abigail, you’re a pal; thank you!