Finally, I Can Write About Food Again

I have been crying, off and on for five days.

Out of anxiety, trepidation, exhaustion, joy and pride, for nearly the past week, tears will clog my throat and dim my vision at odd moments. A song, a word, a face, a thought–all of these will inspire the overwhelming flow of emotions welling up in my eyes. My voice is hesitant, shaky, a croaking whisper, because a part of me is so certain that this is all a dream, and that I will awaken to the world as it was before, the world where I was ashamed of what my beloved Republic had become, where I feared for the future of my daughters.

The world changed on Tuesday, and we Americans were all part of it. Hope triumphed over fear, love over hate, unity over division and the future over the past. And we were all a part of it.

No, this post isn’t about food, but it is important, because it explains why I couldn’t write about food for about a month.

These past weeks, I have been working to elect a leader I truly believe can help turn our country around,a leader who I believe will be as good for the world as he is for the United States. He is someone who thinks as I do, someone who, well, thinks–and very clearly, deeply and sensibly at that.

And every time I thought to sit and write a post, I couldn’t manage it. I didn’t want to write about food. I wanted to write about politics–and while this -is- my blog, I also know that my readers are a very diverse lot, especially politically, and they come here to read about food, not politics, religion, and social issues. So, I just censored myself and kept my thoughts in my own head, or talked about them to my friends and family, and to the people I contacted during the campaign.

The upshot of all of this is although I am relieved and overjoyed at the outcome of the election, I know that the work is not done. I have been inspired to become more politically active, not less, and so while I will be continuing to write about food here, I may also start another blog where I can write about the other topics which make my heart soar and where my gift for cogent thought and clear writing are put to good use. I will link to it here, but will keep the two blogs pretty well separate.

Thank you all for your patience and concern as I held myself incommunicado for a long stretch of time. I have been reading comments and will return to my usual practice of answering them, answering emails and writing posts soon. Probably after this weekend, which is Parents’ Weekend here at Ohio University, which means the restaurant will be a madhouse. (In a good way, of course, but it will be crowded and crazy.)


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  1. I was so worried about you because you didn’t post…even if you didn’t write about food couldn’t you have let us know you were busy but okay? Am I the only one who thinks a blog writer owes that much to their faithful readers?


    Comment by Dolores — November 7, 2008 #

  2. Thanks for not writing about politics here (until now)…I’ll try to do the same in this comment and just say: big thanks for whatever work you did to make things happen the way they did.

    Comment by MEM — November 7, 2008 #

  3. Barbara:

    I understand and share your feelings of the past month — and the relief and joy of this past week. I’m still in a state of shock, to be honest.

    I do hope that you will bring your voice to the political table as well as the dining table. The real work is about to begin.

    One small point of disagreement — I think the mix of food and politics is one of the great joys in life. Nothing better than discussing the problems of the day during a delightful feast and perhaps a few glasses of wine.


    Comment by Bucky — November 7, 2008 #

  4. So good to hear that you and your family are OK …. I was worried.

    Comment by Grace — November 7, 2008 #

  5. Thank you for fighting the good fight. It has been an amazing election season and Tuesday night was one of the most thrilling in ages. I cried big ugly tears most of the night. I was filled with joy!

    Comment by scotte — November 7, 2008 #

  6. Congratulations–to all of us! I look forward to your new blog. I think you are a terrific writer, and I’ve always enjoyed your posts on food politics, so it would be interesting to read your take on other kinds of politics.

    Barack Obama — the man and the style of his campaign — has also been inspirational to me. And it’s just wonderful to see and feel us as Americans coming together again, even those who did not support him.

    Comment by Shannon — November 7, 2008 #

  7. Good for you, glad you’re doing ok. Lets hope that we can work for a better america.

    Comment by jenny — November 7, 2008 #

  8. I’ve been the same! Weepy! Over the evening news for gosh’s sake! This is history we’re living in, and it feels amazing. I used to think that I was born too late, that I was really meant to be in my 20s in the 1960s, I was bummed that I missed Woodstock and all that stuff. Now I’m glad to be the age I am (42) in 2008, to be part of these exciting times!

    Comment by Maria DaCosta — November 7, 2008 #

  9. I’m so glad you’re back, and that you’re okay! (And if you do start a political blog as well, please let us know where it is!)

    I will follow your request and not mention politics — while I share your joy at Obama’s election it is not unmixed, since the outcome of a local-to-me ballot issue hurt me very deeply.

    Comment by Andrea — November 7, 2008 #

  10. Thanks for letting us know why you had been so quiet, I was becoming concerned.

    I, too, feel inspired and empowered by the result of this election. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for campaigning on behalf of Obama. As much as I wanted him to be here now, I was unable to get past my deep fear of disappointment to campaign for him. I just couldn’t bear the thought of hoping, working, committing, and believing, and then being disappointed on Nov. 5 as I was disappointed in 2000 and 2004, except with the stakes even higher.

    I heard a man from California say on Nov. 5 that Obama’s win means Americans are “expecting government to do everything for them” instead of “rolling up their sleeves and fixing things themselves.” I was stunned, and I don’t think his words could be farther from the truth. We elected a man who will work to keep government and the “corporatocracy” from getting in the way of people helping themselves and one another, and I am inspired and motivated. I feel stronger than I’ve felt in my adult life.

    Thank you, Barbara. I look forward to reading a political/social issues blog if you decide to do one.

    Comment by Kristi — November 7, 2008 #

  11. If all the worry about you and the family; all I can say is thank you. And good to have a post from you again. Thank you

    Comment by Mochagold118 — November 7, 2008 #

  12. If your writings about food aren’t political, then I don’t know what is. I am a fan.

    Comment by sgt pepper — November 7, 2008 #

  13. I want the link to the political blog!!!

    Thank you for all you did pre-election. Really. It means a lot to me.


    Comment by Mama JJ — November 7, 2008 #

  14. Thank you for your work in Ohio. I screamed when it went blue. Please please please link me to your political site if and when it happens. 🙂

    Comment by Andy in NYC — November 7, 2008 #

  15. So glad to hear that everything is OK, Barbara. And your hierarchy of values, as well as your recognition of the idea that there are particular settings for particular writings, make me admire you even more! 🙂 Good luck with Parents’ Weekend!

    Comment by Olga — November 7, 2008 #

  16. Yay! Glad to see you back.

    Many of us have felt “on hold” for weeks or months now, anxious about the future. Thank you so much for helping to make it happen. Yes we can!

    Comment by Adam Ziegler — November 7, 2008 #

  17. If you think Obama will make anything better anywhere, you’re a moron.

    Hope over fear? Maybe, you haven’t noticed. There are real bears in the woods. There are many things to be afraid of. Especially if you happened to work in two tall buildings on 9/11/01.

    “There’s an easy way to tell in any leftist political movement whether you’re on the inside or the outside of the real power circle. It’s an important distinction. Those inside the circle prosper and are elaborately rewarded for their participation. Those outside the circle are expected to shut up, go away, be completely ignored until the next election cycle, and look happy the whole time nonetheless.

    Your side lives and conquers by the Big Lie.

    Are you starting to get it yet? No? You can tell that you’re outside the power circle if you actually believe the Big Lies your side is telling and expecting you to repeat to anyone who will listen. Because inside the circle, the crafters of the lies know that they are exactly that and exactly why and how they are using them to their own personal benefit.

    Do you believe the lie that George Bush went to war in Iraq, on his own hook, without massive Democrat support, based on worldwide intelligence that told the same story from nation to nation and spy agency to spy agency? Then you’re outside the circle. All the Democrat power brokers know that this was a gigantically huge lie which they used ruthlessly to destroy the president of the United States and savage his foreign policy.

    Do you believe the lie that raising corporate taxes and imposing “windfall profit taxes” somehow helps average Americans? Then you’re outside the circle. The truth is so simple that even left-wing legislators understand that corporate taxes are always paid, in full, every damn penny’s worth, by average Americans, who pay the total costs of doing business in the prices they pay for goods and services. When the corporate tax rate goes up, prices go up. You pay them with every loaf of bread, every trash bag, every used car, every prom dress, every condom you buy. But they tell you the lie that they are on your side and are looking out for you when they raise taxes on all the entities and institutions which actually create jobs, meaning that there will inevitably be fewer jobs for average American like you. Why do they tell you such a lie? Because the more helpless and dependent you feel on their power to intervene via government on their behalf, the more likely they are to remain in power.”


    Comment by johnmark7j — November 7, 2008 #

  18. johnmark7j: Did you, personally, have friends or family in the two towers or at the Pentagon? Because I did. And I am very, very tired and sad about every damn group who wants to make a political point using their deaths as a bludgeon. Please think about that before you post. Some of us lost more than our illusions that day.

    Comment by Betsy — November 7, 2008 #

  19. I was worried about you, but was caught up in the same efforts, and a similar swirl of emotions. Tuesday was quite a high. Finally I can breathe again. Nice to see such a solid outcome too.

    Ignore those like “johnmark,” who (I suspect) isn’t one of your regular readers. Anyone who starts a post with an insult cannot expect to be taken seriously.

    Comment by Diane — November 7, 2008 #

  20. Feeling bitter, johnmark?

    Comment by sgt pepper — November 7, 2008 #

  21. Barbara – I am so glad you and your family are OK and….thank you. Thank you for your hard work. These last 8 years have been tough and I lost hope. With your hard work as well as many others hope and pride in our country has come once again.

    Comment by Maureen — November 7, 2008 #

  22. Barbara,
    Thank you for the work you did in Ohio! I did miss your posts… but it was way worth it to be able to exclaim “WAY TO GO OHIO!!!” on Tuesday night; and to dance around the house with my 6 year old daughter trying to explain to her why I was laughing and crying at the same time.

    I’ll certainly read your new blog, if you write one – as long as you feed us some recipes over here now and then 🙂

    Comment by Stacey — November 7, 2008 #

  23. I only started reading your blog a few months ago, so I am new to peering into your life. The warmth and intimacy that you share is not commonly seen on the net. But, though I am a newcomer, I was given pause by the lack of postings. (I did not know if lulls like this were normal, given your family commitments.) I was both relieved and elated to read your newest posting, relieved that your family was well, and elated to be able to “share” with someone else the same sense of relief, joy, and giddiness with the outcome of the election. (Mind you, like others have posted, I was unable to accept that it really happened until yesterday, so great was my fear of “jinxing” it.) I “get” that I am guest here, and that you share with us as a gesture of kindness, but that does not entitle us to lecture you. I am sorry that one of your commenters did not have the decency to respect their host.

    p.s. I am sorry Andrea about some of the very un-American and cruel ballot initiatives that strove to continue to divide this country. While I personally was not effected, it did mitigate my ability to be “proud” of my fellow Americans after this election.

    Comment by Paul — November 7, 2008 #

  24. Glad to see you posting again, Chef… and thanks for your herculean efforts at the restaurant tonight!

    Comment by Hilarie — November 7, 2008 #

  25. I thought of you when the results for Ohio came through.

    What an absolutely amazing day for the entire world. I’m not American, but I cried like a baby for sheer joy when the results came through. It truly feels like a new era for the world.

    Comment by Stephanie — November 8, 2008 #

  26. I’m glad to have you back, Barbara. Your cooking and instruction have been an inspiration to me and have affected my own cooking in positive ways. And I appreciate your choosing to keep your politics off this blog. The cult of personality surrounding Obama is as nauseating as it is frightening.

    Comment by Jim — November 8, 2008 #

  27. I was in bed with Lucy Goose when I saw the election results for Ohio. I hopped up and down in bed and cheered. I’ve been thinking of all of you. I hope you got the Halloween critter pics.

    Comment by artcargirl — November 8, 2008 #

  28. i would love to read your political writings! i’ve missed your posts here – i was thrilled to read that your absence was because you were helping turn ohio blue (YAY!!!!) and not for any negative reason.

    and of course, i’m also looking forward to more food posts.

    Comment by andrea — November 8, 2008 #

  29. Oh Barbara – I am so glad to see you posting again. I was caught up with the election as well so didn’t check here very often but was beginning to be worried when I didn’t see a new post for ages. I will take a page from our new President Elect and not comment on those who don’t share our joy and new hope for the future. He wants to bring civility and transparency back into public discourse and if he can do it, so can I.

    Comment by Nancy — November 9, 2008 #

  30. You already write beautifully about food politics so why not just expand it to include all the other stuff too. Either way I’d love to read it all.

    I’m very excited about Obama, my fiance and I were the first two at our polling place before it opened. I do have to say though that Prop 8 and similar things have sullied it a bit for me, but I now feel all the more resolved to roll up my sleeves and wade into the culture wars. We’re going to get down & dirty here in Washington State and see if we can’t rustle up some equal rights. Having Obama as President has shown us that anything is possible.

    Comment by Benjamin — November 9, 2008 #

  31. I’m so glad you’re okay, and I can’t think of a better reason for posting. Fabulous work, delivering your state like that.

    Also, I look forward to hearing your thoughts about politics, as well as food (and food politics).

    Comment by bread and roses — November 9, 2008 #

  32. I want to chime in on the:

    I was worried!!

    Post a link to any blog you start!!

    Nice work, USA!

    Seriously, I felt like a pushy granny-type neighbour-lady, peering at your still-unlit windows from the street and worrying over what to do for reassurance.

    Post a photo of the World’s Best Red-Headed Child, though, and all will be forgiven.

    Comment by wwjudith — November 9, 2008 #

  33. Where Ohio leads, the world follows. History has been made. Now all he’s got to do now is deliver. The pictures of Jesse Jackson in tears were amazing.

    Comment by Trig — November 9, 2008 #

  34. Hey, everyone!

    Thank you all for your kind words and understanding. I really did keep meaning to post something, but between the photos being messed up on my software and the election and the anxiety that it produced and work and the trip and Kat–I just was maxxed out and flaky.

    So, I am very, very sorry to have caused anxiety for any of you–I really am. After the big stomach lurching moments I had in the past month, I do understand how nerve-wracking worry is.

    As for the election–I have never been so energized by the democratic process as I have this time around. It is pretty amazing–and it was very amazing and fun to work with the volunteers here in Athens, particularly the young people. It is so good to see the end of apathy and cynicism.

    Which is why I am not going to respond in kind to johnmark’s insult. I refuse to be brought down to someone’s level who cannot express his political beliefs without belittling another person’s beliefs.

    As for a cult of personality surrounding Obama–I don’t see it as disturbing or nauseating in the least. Partially, because I am amazed to have a president who is not only intelligent and eloquent, but also charismatic.

    Now, if people start blindly following Obama and turning into simple “yes men” or if Obama uses that charisma to take a deep turn into evil wackiness like some other historical, charismatic leaders of the past, I will become concerned.

    Political writings–I think they will happen, in large part, because I really feel moved to write about topics other than food. Not that I don’t want to write about food, and not that food is not political, but I do want to branch out. You can blame President Elect Obama and Bill Maher for that–they got me fired up.

    Anyway–thanks again for writing, everyone–I do appreciate it. Look for a post about how to make saurkraut soon, as I have local cabbages, antique crocks and the kraut cutter that my Grandpa made and my Grandma used for years and years in my possession.

    Comment by Barbara — November 9, 2008 #

  35. Sauerkraut – I can’t wait! I’ve been thinking about making some myself – looking forward to the advice and inspiration.

    And as someone who couldn’t get to a swing state to help out, thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did in Ohio.

    Comment by Hannah Mae — November 9, 2008 #

  36. Barbara, I made a facetious remark on our site about being grateful to you for being responsible for swinging the vote, but I had no idea how true it was. I send my deepest sincere thanks for the work you have done. This is the first election where a) I have actually voted for someone I believe in (as opposed to voting against the worst candidate) and b) I really wish I could have been in the US to campaign myself. The end of apathy indeed!

    With people like you on his side, Obama was bound to win – and I am sure you will be one of the many who will keep him to the task and keep him honest.

    Bless you.

    Comment by Meg — November 10, 2008 #

  37. Thanks, Barbara. For your work, for being honest enough to post about it, for all of the great food blogging, of course.

    To the naysayers, go away. The adults really are in charge now, thanks anyway for your childish comments, but we don’t want or need them any longer. Grow up, shut up, and deal.

    Comment by donna — November 10, 2008 #

  38. Yay, you’re back! I’ve been checking in a few times a week and hoping you’d be posting again sooner or later. I completely understand why your attention was elsewhere, and I applaud your political efforts. I was crying off and on as the results began to come in — first from fear, and then finally the hope that I’d been so scared to let myself truly feel in case it ended up being crushed (again).

    I still can’t type “President-Elect Obama” without tearing up.

    Comment by Amy J. — November 10, 2008 #

  39. I’m a new but avid reader of your blog and am really enjoying cooking your recipes and learning about techniques and ingredients. We have similar tastes so you’re an official name in our house now, “Barbara is cooking dinner tonight. Isn’t this great, yum yum, mm hhmm, Barbara’s idea..”

    This site and cooking have been my election refuge! I live abroad so have been cooking up a storm while making phone calls because I couldn’t canvass. This was a special election indeed.

    Dailykos is my political home but I’d welcome reading your political thoughts as well. I can see your point about wanting to keep the two blogs separate, and it is probably wise.

    Comment by Lizah — November 11, 2008 #

  40. I’m glad you’re back. I was missing this blog.
    I’m probably your polar opposite in politics (did not vote for Obama and am extremely disheartened at his election, though it does cheer me that a major racial and social milestone has been passed), so I hope politics won’t creep in too often! I want to be able to enjoy your wonderful food blogging without getting annoyed over politics.

    Comment by Christy — November 11, 2008 #

  41. Oh, and while I may be more on johnmark’s side on the issues, I disagree with his use of your blog to berate you. Sorry about that.

    Comment by Christy — November 11, 2008 #

  42. Glad to see you back! As far as I can tell, I agree with you on most, if not all things political, but I agree it was a good idea to keep the politics on this blog to a minimum. If nothing else, I just came out of a long period of being totally sick of politics, not even wanting to hear from people who agree with me. I’ve just now started watching Keith Olbermann again, and I’m glad I did, since I caught his Special Comment on Prop 8, which was amazing.

    I’m amazed at how well the election went. Texas went for McCain by a terribly slim margin, considering how solidly red my state usually is. All the major urban centers (Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio) went for Obama. I know that didn’t matter electorally, but it still made me glad.

    Ok, I’ll stop with the politics now, and say I’m going to bookmark that taco post you just put up, because as a grad student I’m always looking for easy, cheap, tasty, healthy meals, and that often seems like too much to ask. 🙂

    Comment by Neohippie — November 12, 2008 #

  43. glad you’re back Barbara! Kat has grown so much since the last photos of her. Thank you for the work you did on the campaign – I was crying in the streets of Brooklyn last Tuesday!

    Comment by leppi — November 12, 2008 #

  44. Welcome back! I have not been reading any of my favorite sites (and you are at the top of my list) for the last month because I was working on the Obama campaign also. Very glad you are back posting – I love your site.

    Comment by TheTraveler — November 12, 2008 #

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