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One year ago I mustered up the strength, vague coding skills and whatever cutsey thread of illustrator I had left in me to start this blog.

DID YOU KNOW? I only learnt to cook a few years ago. Living with my family I found little reason to as the food that pours from my mum’s kitchen, and extended family’s too, is close to perfection. I began fending for myself out of necessity when I moved out of home and soon learnt that preparing an honest meal for my friends and neighbours was one of the most humbling and enjoyable things to do. I began cooking more and more, documenting everything I did along the way so I wouldn’t forget. Eventually the scraps of paper and my poor memory weren’t cutting it and I’m certain the flood of ~food pics~ in my friends’ Facebook feed was becoming more of an irritation than some quirky fun; it was around this time I decided to create a delicious outlet of my own. The Sydney food blog scene at the time seemed a curious thing, however; super cliquey and with more emphasis on outings than to meals itself, or so I thought. I wanted to contribute to the pool with some dishes and stories of typical things I prepare at home for myself and treats I create for the special people in my life. Couple this with a drastic yearning for a career change, bringing my yuppie, inner-west lifestyle to a screeching halt in order to return to university to study something that actually resonated with me and hopefully assist in finding myself a job that didn’t have me questioning my life anytime the morning alarm tore me from my bed, so relentlessly, each and every day. Throw in a new found appreciation for digital photography and bam. Hello alanabread.

Since a year ago my photography has improved immensely. I no longer identify myself as a cupcake/macaron girl as my savoury repertoire is ever expanding. I’m working on a little book and have even submitted food photography as fine art prints for my final year of university. I occasionally intern as a café photographer for a Sydney magazine and here and there I receive little jobs to bake a box of treats for a special somebody’s event. Hey, I’ve even written a little book review. A couple of posts have won some prizes. It’s snowballing, and that’s awesome. Combined with my studies this is a great foundation of skills I’ve managed to piece together from this little blog. The above image is a chronological excerpt of every post thus far, it’s like a crazy gradient of memories and self-improvement.

The point I’m trying to make here is that putting yourself out there, especially on the internet, is hard. Weird and hard. And although I am passionate about so many things I barely possesses the ability to act on them these days, unfortunately ambition doesn’t rank too highly in my skillset (I can say the same for drive and confidence) due to a number of stupid reasons I am trying so desperately to change, so this is kind of a big deal to me (it’s been a difficult year). I’m clearly getting a little sentimental over here however I cannot end this longwinded sentiment without thanking all of my super friends, new and old, for their immense encouragement. So, thank you!! I appreciate you guys so much it makes my heart explode.

Anyway. This is getting a little too real, all I wanted to do was post some pretty pictures! Hahahahaha… ahh. Anyway, I’m going to shove my emotions aside for a moment with this small list of a things I’ve discovered and learnt as a “food blogger” over the year. They may or may not be relevant to you but I felt compelled to share nonetheless:

  • The term “foodie” isn’t a swear. It’s ok. Embrace it! Don’t shudder.
  • Did Foodgawker or Tastespotting just decline your photo? Who cares. This has no bearing on your amazing skills; they are but a couple of people with opinions. These kind of foodporn sites may attract pageviews but statistically these guys only stick around for a few seconds; true fans will visit your site over and over.
  • There’s no shame in mentioning and crediting your inspiration; don’t be that guy who rips off others! Bad reps spread like wildfire. If somebody does rip off your stuff however then try to take it as a compliment. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, etc etc.
  • Ignore the haters. For every good thing you do there’ll be somebody to try and drag you down. Whatevz! Jealousy is a horrible thing and it’s a big, big shame what it can do to people.
  • Shaking your head at Tumblr idiots who never credit your images, no matter how hard you shake, won’t make them go away.
  • Take a break if you’re too flustered to take photos after cooking! Have a rest, make some coffee, come back to it a little later. You’ll end up with a an uneditable, subpar image (and probably a sticky camera).
  • Lightroom, guys. PHOTOSHOP. Adjustment layers and all that. Post-processing is just as important as hitting the shutter on your camera. Don’t just throw a filter over all your images, zoom in and have fun emphasising all the best aspects of your images.
  • It’s better to over-cook than under-cook (I’m talking quantities here).
  • Second hand stores have the best styling props.
  • If you’re into sugar then kitchen thermometers are a must have (sugar is a harsh mistress with no time for those of us who attempt to wing it).
  • Cream cheese filling in a macaron is a no-no.
  • Salt works in everything, especially chocolate.
  • If an experimental recipe doesn’t work out then try it again some other time. Never dismiss anything even if it takes a few months to get back to that recipe.
  • If you feel as though favourite cuisine or baked good has been over-saturated or played out try and re-invent it! Make it bigger, better, tastier, cuter.

And, most importantly…

  • Don’t cook for your blog. Cook for yourself, your family and your friends, then blog about it.

Thank you for reading and thank you so much for visiting my humble blog. I mean that with my entire essence and every thread of all that is me. :’)

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