Anniversary, Part 1
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we decided to get this little website of ours up and running. In fact, the time flew so quickly that we forgot all about it until earlier this week, so busy were we with getting engaged, making candy apples, and mildly endorsing diet beers. But a quick look through the ol’ clock on the wall reminds us that it was fifty-three weeks ago exactly that we became convinced that the world needed to know how we felt about food, and decided that making fun of the Barefoot Contessa and complaining about salesmen was a great way to get started.
We’ve learned a lot since then, and along the way we’ve been able to enjoy some really unique adventures — the triumphs of food that tickled our fancy, stories that surprised us, and a group of fun and engaging readers who’ve grown with us. So in order to celebrate, we thought we’d compile the ten brightest spots of the last year, from the early days when we would count every page viewed by the hour until now… when we count every page viewed by the hour.
Some things never change, what can I tell you?
1. Laura Calder
In another life, one of Mike’s greatest accomplishments on the internet was to achieve the #1 search result in Google for the term, “Jennifer Aniston’s nipples”. He would talk about it socially, it meant that much to him. It wasn’t that he had a great interest in Jennifer Aniston’s nipples — no more than anyone else did at the time, which was during the peak and slow decline of Friends — but there is an insane sense of accomplishment that comes from being #1 on Google for anything, regardless of anatomy.
Yep, a few gags about Laura Calder’s unique mix of awkward humor, difficult recipes and camerawork that seems intensely pre-occupied with how often she bends over to stir something managed to result in one of our earliest weird Internet victories — not only did we begin to accumulate a disproportionate share of Internet traffic about Ms. Calder, but we found ourselves becoming a resource to the strangely intense internet community dedicated to ogling her boobs.
We have no idea whether Laura has seen us (though in correspondence with her publicist, Tina was promised that our “warm words” would be passed on to her), and we’re actually pretty all right with that. Laura apparently lives in our neck of the woods these days, and it might end up being kind of uncomfortable if we ever ran into her, face to, uh, face.
“What’s that, Laura? Your eyes are up where?”
(images courtesy of the dedicated — and non work-safe — perverts at Celebritycaps)
2. Espresso Mole Shortbread
One of the first recipes we ever published that seemed to take on a life of its own, Tina’s espresso mole shortbread cookies were the alternative Christmas cookie hit of the season. Her brother was so taken with them that he still insists to this day that we have entirely ruined our chances at fabulous wealth by not licensing them to Starbucks, and they were the perfect grown-up cookie for every holiday party we attended.
Spicy, chocolately but not in the slightest bit heavy, these were just so easy to feel proud of. They were also one of the first recipes that so many of you tried and told us about, which was even more of a thrill.
Plus, look at them! Wee little coffee beans!
3. Watermelon and Serrano Chili Salad
Speaking of audience participation, one of our happiest, most touching surprises came when Tina put together her recipe for a simple, sweet and spicy watermelon and chili salad.
First, it was amazing to see how many people were excited about the combination of watermelon and heat in a summer salad, and were willing to give it a test drive. But more importantly, it was hugely gratifying to see so many of our readers de-lurk to share their unconditional wrath and loathing of Tina’s hateful aesthetician, her commentary on Tina’s thighs and her overall crappiness. It’s not always easy to strike that balance between sharing too much about ourselves when we talk about our food, what a lovely surprise to how many of you were really out there.
And how much anger is out there, too.
And how willing so many of you are to punch a lippy aesthetician in the face.
We’ll have to keep that in mind.
4. Mike Stocks Your Liquor Cabinet
If this website was college football, then Tina would be the star quarterback, and Mike would be the flute player in the marching band. This is well understood, and so it should come as no surprise — being the person who can barely cook a slice of toast, but who is highly proficient with a dishwasher and a passive-aggressive attitude — that Mike feels much more comfortable writing about the beers he drinks, the cocktails he concocts as a result of dreams he had, or sometimes just superheroes.
It keeps him happy.
But on occasion, we’re happy to find that he can make a solid contribution, the first of which was probably the premiere entry in the Mike Stocks Your Liquor Cabinet series. A happy mix of history, nerdy chemistry and snobby elitist reviewing, it was one of the most fun things we’ve ever had the opportunity to post. We’re not entirely sure when the history of alcohol became so interesting (very possibly behind our backs, and without our permission), but there’s just so much to say on the topic that it never stops being fun.
And best of all, despite what so very much of the internet would have you believe, there is a way to talk about liquor without coming off as a pompous jerk! What a privilege it is to explore that apparently unbroken frontier, and while the occasional commenter may call us “fucking heathens“, that only proves that non-snobbery has room to grow.
Drink on, brave frontiersmen!
5. Apple Pie Liquor
…and hey, if you’re looking for a place to start, how about with our most successful cocktail recipe ever?
We weren’t entirely sure what would happen when we invested two gigantic bottles of Mike’s favorite vodka in our infusion experiment, but man were we ever so very happy with the result: an apple cider flavored vodka that turned out so perfectly that we quickly dispensed with even the pretense of a martini. Sure, we would initially shake it with some butterscotch liqueur, but so sweet and balanced was the spirit that even the most timid visitor would consent to drink it straight.
Straight. Straight vodka shots. Straight vodka shots that, for all the world, taste just as sweet and wonderful as apple pie. And what did you all do with it? You made it! You made variations on it! You made stews out of the liquor-soaked fruity remains of it! You gave it as gifts! You took this idea and absolutely galloped with it, which only made the whole idea more fun that we could have ever expected.
If that doesn’t just define victory in the kitchen, we aren’t entirely sure what does. And this is only the beginning of the good fun we’ve had so far this year.
Stay tuned for part two, where we enjoy the thrill of exposure (not that kind, sicko), the duty of serving the public, the joy of a beautiful snack, the horror of a terrible snack, and the surreal oddness of comment-thread marketing.