Over the past year or so, I have been struggling with the idea that my blog wasn’t very well-known. But then I realized that I was using the wrong parameters to judge success. I can’t compare myself to some of the top-notch bloggers that I adore – we each have our own distinguishing feature. My photographs are good, but they’ll never compare to Shaina‘s, Heidi‘s, or Alice‘s. My recipes will always taste delicious (unless I am writing about a flop) but they won’t be as refined and well tested as Elise‘s. And I’ll never draw in the Gluten Free crowd the way that my friends Stephanie and Shauna do, with their funny and touching stories and delicious recipes.
But I am confident in my experience as an educator. Maybe it’s the 5 years I spent as a high school teacher, my 10 years as a parent, and the 7 years I spent starting and running a certified green cooking school for kids. (Some of those overlapped, of course. I am not that old. Yet.) Yes, I can teach. So I realized with a huge sigh of relief that I have my own niche. And I am good at it.
I can teach you how to cook with your kids. I can teach your family to consider their environmental footprint with the food choices that you make. I can show teachers how to integrate cooking into their existing curriculum, so that it enriches what their students are learning. I can inspire kids to make better food choices – for their body and the planet. And I can inspire communities to come together to use food as a way to help the less fortunate. Not too shabby.
And it didn’t hurt to be recognized as an expert by the Washington Post in an article by Jane Black this week. The article spoke about Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools campaign, which I have been fairly critical of, since I attended the launch in June. From the start, I have voiced my concerns about the sustainability of the program. Without adequate funding for coordinators or trainers experienced in culinary education (and classroom management), the volunteers may not have the confidence to stick with it and offer long term support for our nation’s children. I never would have thought that my voice would be used in the same article with quotes from Michelle Obama, Sam Kass and Ann Cooper. Wow – that’s good company!
And yes, I have one more reason to feel like I am, indeed, competent… My book is coming out in 6 months! Stay tuned for more information and special announcements about The Whole Family Cookbook – Celebrating the Goodness of Locally Grown Foods.
It took longer than it should have for me to realize what my strengths are. Have you thought about yours?