One year ago today, Jenny and I were doing something we’d never done before – setting up a food blog. While that ‘first’ may not have the same excitement factor as, say, jumping out of an airplane or buying a house, for us it was a pretty big deal. It got us into the world of social media and has allowed us to learn a lot about that world in a short amount of time. It gave us an outlet to combine something we’re both formally trained to do – communicate with words – with things we both love to do – enjoy food and share interesting stories. And perhaps most importantly, starting this blog gave us yet another thing we can enjoy doing together as a team.
We started Communal Table last March not quite knowing where we were going with it. As our About Us page says, we chose the name Communal Table because we liked the idea of it being a place to gather and share food as well as conversation about passions, interests, opinions and life in general. If you look through posts from our first three months or so, you’ll see one focused on music (another shared love of ours), and a restaurant review interspersed between our more common recipe posts. I originally intended to provide the occasional music post here, and I think we both thought we’d do more restaurant reviews. But it didn’t take too long before we both realized that those types of posts just didn’t feel like a natural fit.
Jenny and I love cooking together, so our original recipes have been the focus of most of our posts over the past year. In fact, we’ve shared so many of our recipes that we recently added a recipe page to the blog so that our readers could access meal ideas without having to scroll through a year’s worth of our posts to find something that appeals to them. We’ve posted about some of our long-time favourite recipes, like our meatballs with pine nuts and raisins and my olive oil ice cream, and we’ve also written about creations that came to us in a moment of inspiration, like our poached egg on grilled Portobello and asparagus pesto, and aglio e olio pasta with seared fennel-dusted tuna and broccolini. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these dishes – and hopefully trying them out yourself – as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them.
The blog has also given us the chance to take part in some great events and explore some amazing places. Our trip last fall to Prince Edward County stands out in particular, because it got us out to an area we’d heard so much about but hadn’t yet seen, and it turned out to be a beautiful place with so many inspiring people. The recent Almost Famous Chefs’ Competition gave us the chance to see the next generation of great chefs in action. And of course, we participated in the February Kitchen Play event, which forced us out of our culinary comfort zone by asking us to cook with a common ingredient (Canadian beef) in an unconventional way (by using it in a cocktail recipe).
Along the way, we’ve met many people – fellow food bloggers, chefs, PR people, store owners and others – who’ve let us into their worlds and given us some great advice and support. Mary Luz Mejia at Sizzling Communications, the team at Rock-It Promotions, The Drake Hotel, Fiesta Farms, and Toronto food promoters and social media stars like Joel Solish and Suresh Doss are just some of the people we have to thank.
We’re moving into year two with a much better idea of how this blog will look than we had at the start of year one. But we also have some new ideas, both for Communal Table and for other projects we’ve been brainstorming, so we’re not entirely sure what the next year will have in store. Of course, the adventure is what continues to make it interesting. Thanks for reading over the past year, and we hope you’ll continue to do so and share your thoughts with us along the way.
Neil and Jenny