Six years ago I had a piece about street food in Khartoum, Sudan published in the 10th anniversary issue of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. A year before it ran, I started a food blog because I wanted a digital footprint out in the world that I could reference and also let people know where to connect with me.
I bought the domain name Pepper For The Beast, having run across the phrase at Seattle Art Museum exhibit that featured folklore from West Africa. It came from a fable about a dusting of pepper being used by a clever villager to disarm a large creature, thus conveying the concept of ingenuity triumphing over brawn. I like an underdog.
My goal was to update my blog once a month. I was going for quality over quantity. And to be honest, I needed to set a goal I could meet. Any more often felt like a stretch. It became a platform to showcase articles or experiences that spoke to the kinds of conversations about food I enjoy: what food communicates about a people or a person; how community forms around food; and how foods bridge cultures. By and large, I was a faithful blogger and got a post up every four or five weeks. I’m quite sure my mother was my most attentive reader.
I’ve heard plenty of stories of how blogs became books. Little did I know that my blog would lead to a book as well. Chin Music Press will publish my book on September 13.
The next few posts will focus on how things unfolded from then to now—along with some excerpts of what’s inside the book.