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My attentions will soon be moving away from foodvox and on to a few other things – some online, some not.

The Searching For Manna blog will be an exploration of manna. What it is, what it does, what we think it is and does, and any single other thing I can think of that touches upon the subject.

Hope you’ll visit and enjoy it!
Karen

P.S. If you’d like to come along on my new adventures, here’s a link to Searching For Manna.

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I’m not known as a person who is always full of sweetness and light. I’ve got a sharp tongue and know how to use it when I feel it’s necessary (how these times are determined is a highly personal thing, and to each their own in terms of hissy fits, I always say).

Factually, this has led me into many a tussle. I’d blame this on being a redhead, but nobody will believe it anymore  – though this recent story in The Guardian (Simply Red: Does Gingerism Remain the Last Acceptable Prejudice?) could lead one to believe that any redhead must stand always ready to defend themselves.

Aside from daily not-so-important tussles, it’s been a good thing. In business meetings (even those with big loud threatening hairy males of the species doing their best to come out the winner) I could always stand my own, and did. And so it was also, in the professional kitchen.

Sweetness and light as a sole and exemptive policy simply doesn’t work all that well as management tool for women who want to lead anybody into anything close to any sort of excellence.

But damn it all. Maybe I just enjoy a good brawl.

As a Mommy, I’m sweetness and light more than I should be. And of course, when I am I pay for it. Any mother will understand this comment. Any child will too, if they are being fair.

But regardless of my arrogance, crankiness and ongoing delight in pointing out how things aren’t always as cute as Hello Kitty on Crack in real life, I’ve occasionally been gifted with a few friends – both in real life and in virtual life. One of them is MakeRoux.

MakeRoux has a really interesting blog  . . . good food, interesting tales of life, and more. MakeRoux has given foodvox a blog award – you’ll see it posted below. Here is what the award says:

This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

Well . . . I am interested in prizes, and there you go! I got one! (And seriously, I don’t know anyone who if closely questioned would not love to indulge in a bit of self-aggrandizement.)

But thank you, MakeRoux. And here’s who I’ll pass the award on to – it is supposed to go to eight more bloggers:

Rachel Laudan – who I learn something from each and every day. Brilliant, fair, and bold.

Gherkins and Tomatoes – Cindy is an astonishingly prolific writer on food and food history who offers full and rich banquets of thoughts, information, resources and recipes on her blog.

French Tart – Though she does not post every day, when she does the posts are of recipes that work and that look good – with a voice that is charming and humorous. I like French Tart’s stories of life, too.

Luna Pier Cook – Luna Pier Cook is a pretty cool dude. Check out his blog for all sorts of food- things. Often something unexpected to be found.

Let’s Sharing – simply fascinating.

Toujours en Vogue – not about food but about fashion/art/more, written by a sixteen-year-old (who just happens to be my daughter). She’s on her way to the path of fashion designer or fashion writer. Her favorite food is anything with good cheese in it or on it, and she does not like frozen or pre-made foods. This is the downside of raising a foodie-kid. You can not get away with just popping something in the microwave for dinner without being made to feel like a failure for even trying to do so.

Months of Edible Celebrations – Louise has the most amazing posts on food and celebrations and food history and and and (and!)

The Old Foodie – Janet tosses out tidbits and delights of food history every day to her delighted readers. Once you click, you’ll be an addict.

Merci again, MakeRoux! 🙂

Proximity Blog Award

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One of the fun parts of blogging is looking at the reports that tell which search terms have pointed people in the direction of your blog.

I am quite sure there are great insights to be found by studying this. Some of the insights are definitely useful.  I am now certain, based on the consistently large number of mahi-mahi searches that have led to foodvox – that there is a big market out there for a blog solely about mahi-mahi. Mahi-mahi in all its mahi ways.

I even tried to put a mahi-mahi blog together once – it seemed to be such a fabulous and businesslike idea – but after just two posts bored myself to death and decided that the mahi-mahi blog market share would have to be left to someone with a greater tolerance for that sort of thing than I  have.

Some of the search terms that come up for foodvox really do make me wonder what on earth I am writing about that would lead these searchers here.

Here is a list of my current favorites:

Green plucker fingers suppliers

Hot housewife

Puffballs hairstyle for men

Adult coloring pages of animals

Food love

Thick woman . . . . . . (I hope this is not hinting anything about my intellectual capabilities)

Branstone if you love me

If this is not enough jolly confusion for your taste, you can find more things to muse about on the similar topic of website names at Troynovant under the ComWeb section – scroll down to find the essay ‘Domain Name Bargains‘.

Just be sure you are not drinking that mythic cup of coffee that will spray all over the screen when you do so because (mythic or not) it will.

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There’s a soap opera on TV which has somehow survived the programmers’ ax since the first episode aired in (gasp!) 1956.

‘As the World Turns’. I never watched it. During the short time I watched soap operas, I switched the channel to it now and again to taste the flavor but it seemed leaden and boring to me. But they must be doing something right!

I’d like to see a soap opera called ‘As the World Blogs’.

There’s always a story to be found in the world of blogging!

In the latest episode (set on Karen’s computer) there has been some excitement. Two new and startling dramas were performed for her viewing pleasure. The first was the moment when upon clicking on an incoming link the world itself started to renew itself over and over again, faster than a speeding bullet – and even kryptonite could not stop it. The world of the Constantly Renewing Page had been entered without warning, and what a ride it was! Zap zap zap zap zap! went the pages of the link entered at a rate previously unseen by the human eye. Excellent, I imagine this is – for viewing counts. I envy that blogger. They must be able to read much much faster than I!

The other drama was not as vivid but more quiet. Sinister, if you will – if we are talking drama. More like a minor Pain in the Neck, if we are not. Into Karen’s computer entered an intruder. Quietly and without fanfare the intruder moved in and hid under the ‘most clicked pages’ section, though the WordPress measurements did not show him as ‘most clicked’. The intruder was a link to another world . . . the world where the intruder usually sits. Rather like a guest who comes to dinner then never leaves, getting fatter and fatter by the clicks. The action continued as Karen, acting in her sometimes bitchy authoritative way, moved quickly to flick off click off and remove the intruder’s link, whereupon he disappeared into the fog of the always-swirling virtual universe.

‘As the World Blogs’. Stay tuned for more episodes.

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In a general sense, every person who blogs on food is blogging food history. A rather remarkable record exists of our current times free of most of the constraints which limited real-time documentation of foodways in past times – today’s blogs document both high-end and lower-end dining. What’s blogged today is what is actually on the tables across the world of everyone who has access to a computer and the internet and who is literate enough to create a blog. Oral histories – served up on a plate!

Aside from food bloggers who write of the foods they cook (or the places they have dined) there are bloggers who delve into the topic of food history. What a wonderful way to look upon times past! Food is so close to us in our daily lives – reading of the history of it can conjure up a picture of “the way things used to be” with such intimacy – moreso for me than do stories of historic wars or political conflicts. In some way the history of food makes the past personal and know-able, whereas the stories of historic wars blend the past pretty much into one big mass of sameness with not too much different but the names of the people and the tactics they undertook. Chacun sa gout. I, remember what hits my tongue . . . the smell of garlic rising from around the corner of the next street, the crisp bits of breadcrumb upon the tablecloth, the essence of soy sauce, or chicken stock, or steak grilling in undertones as one walks by a window, the pots or pans and fires and electric coils or charcoal briquets, the bamboo steamers so soft and light, the firm grassiness of a black eggplant in a pile of firm grassy black eggplants capped with their elfin stem of bitter green. I like to know how others have experienced this, in past times. So much the same, so much different. So much to know.

Several of my favorite bloggers-of-food-history are already linked to in the sidebar, but happily today I have another to add: Gherkins and Tomatoes is a fairly new entry into this group – and I love it. I hope you do too.

The history of food always must touch upon the mysteries of food, and of the people (all of us) who eat and what we eat – for so very many reasons, and not only just to fill the tummy.

It’s always about more than just filling the tummy. Ask anyone who makes a meal.

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Ah, the tangled webs we weave. The online experience certainly is a curious one. And there are times when it becomes curiouser and curiouser, in ways that resemble Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The cast of characters exist right there on the magical screen.

There are the Wizards who (as in Oz) pretend to be one thing when they are another. There are Mock Turtles and White Rabbits, Queens, Tweedledeedees and Tweedledeedums.

There are real people and there are pretend people. And then there are the Trolls, of course.

My first experience in any online community was only several years ago. I thought then that a “troll” was something from a children’s story – a fairy tale. I looked up the word in an online dictionary after hearing it and not quite “getting” it.

I’ve seen and met several trolls online. Some are known in the communities they lunge into once in a while, some are of a more secretive or hidden variety.

My first blog was hit by a troll. His comments did not show to readers. I deleted them. They were ugly comments of a “carnal” nature, to phrase it gently. And there was no way to find out who it was. This is just how the web is, people told me.

Most women who blog have had experiences like this. Funny (and not in a ha ha way) how one doesn’t even have to walk down the street in a short skirt or do anything at all except exist in a public space to get this sort of attention from someone – someone who walks right up and into your space to foul it with their own inner ugliness.

My second blog was also hit by several trolls. Then there was the time someone started following my posts on a forum while making odd comments, using an old screen name of mine while doing so.

Disconcerting, to say the least.

Embarrassed and anxious to be out of the eyes of all those who were reading, I invited him to discuss what he wanted to on my blog – he claimed to be related to me by blood – though not in any legal way. Tempting to believe in one way – for someone like me without a large family. Very tempting.

On the other hand, this person also claimed his mother’s name was Caroline Kennedy. And he also directed me to telephone him at the “Rockefeller” offices and left a phone number to do so. He also said he does not know how he decided to use my old screen name as his own screen name – that it “just happened”. I love serendipity but wooooo hoooo some of these facts are more serendipitous than I can swallow.

I did not call him, of course.

The week before my online bank account had been hacked into. It appeared that act may have been accomplished by the simple act of my answering an e-mail from someone I did not know.

What would you think if this happened to you? Would you believe this person was your unknown “family”? Even if they used facts which sounded personal but that could have been found by some good research on the web?

Beyond that: Why on earth would someone bother to take the time to “fool around” like this? Do these people have nothing better to do?

Pitiful. I still don’t “get it”.

………………………………………………….

Some of the characters writing on foodvox are not “real”. This happened because I’m a writer who likes to be creative and imaginative. It has always been clear to anyone who bothers to read the slightest bit about the blog that these characters are me, writing in a way that is satiric or somewhat of a parody. It says exactly that, in the “About” post at the top of the blog.

That the “About” post is the one most clicked on by readers would hint that this is something people are interested in and curious about. And some curious things have happened, too!

Under my own name, a google search will only reveal a few of the many things I’ve written on the web over the past four years. Yet a google search of foodvox (which is a blog started relatively recently) offers four or five pages of links, filled with the writings of not only foodvox but also with the characters of Barry Fig, Moira Tuscanaro, etc.

How odd! That these characters appear to be more real, more “there” in the virtual world, than I do!

This is part of the nature of the beast that is the internet, I guess.

I’ve wondered since these occurrences (of meeting trolls and having satiric characters appear real): Are some of the people who post on forums in talk posts as real as they appear to be?

I wonder if when a blog or site is started with the intent of making $$, if the need to be “sticky” – to be interesting, to maintain reader interest, to keep things moving (particularly on sites where a substantial investment has been laid out for start-up, with a profit goal set to re-pay investors) – might give rise to the idea among those in charge that when things get slow, posts by faux-yet-interesting posters could be created for the purpose of livening up things.

Nobody would know, would they. Not the readers, anyway.

I wonder.

………………………………………………….

My own resolution is that there is only one thing I can imagine doing to answer these vague yet troublesome thoughts and realities: Take a pinch of salt and apply it to web. Each and every time you enter it.

It may not dissolve the imaginary creatures who pretend to be real . . . and it may not prevent trolls from trying to enter your space to make their mess in it.

But simply having the salt at hand can be quite useful.

As a matter of fact, forget the pinch. Bring a pound. And it doesn’t matter the least bit whether it’s pink, gray, Kosher or iodized. It’s not all about the snob factor in this case – it’s about the chemical reaction.

Apply liberally to web as required. It won’t untangle it all . . . but it may make things clearer. Which – as they say – is priceless.

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Wake Up, You’ve Been Tagged!

Table Cat

Everyone should have one of these table accessories.

It’s a Scottish Table Cat. Or so she told me.

Really it is otherwise impossible to exactly create this elegant yet lazy ambiance, perfect for summer dining.

If you can not find a Scottish Table Cat you will have to somehow survive till the day one appears and plops him-or-herself down on your table for your pleasure and glances of admiration.

Until then, let’s play blog-tag!

foodvox was tagged by Gumbeaux Gal whose very blog name creates a mouthwatering image of savory delicious seriously yummy things to eat (besides being a fun place to visit where one can learn some useful Cajun words!): Gumbeaux in the Kitchen.

So on with the hunt! Here’s the rules of the game:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Facts About Me:

1. Somehow I think I am really Pippi Longstocking.

2. In the second grade after my mother left for work I changed my usual school clothes into a special outfit I’d secretly made without her knowledge. It was a miniskirt and vest outfit I’d eyed-out and hand-cut with pinking shears out of some blue and green swirly satin upholstery material from a pile of old fabric that was in a closet. The whole thing was sort of “sewed together” with big safety pins here and there. It was beautiful. I wore it to school and was very happy (even though it sort of was falling apart all day).

3. I have a thing for cotton candy and was appalled at a fair this summer when the vendors were only selling it pre-made in plastic bags. Where’s the fun in that?!

4. Twice in my life I’ve had what is generally known as a “religious experience”. I’m not religious, though.

5. Almost every time I go to the Taco Bell drive-through with my daughter something happens to make me laugh so hysterically that instead of ordering I gasp and choke and squeak out the words while slapping the lowered car window trying to catch my breath.

6. If I could write like any writer at all, I would like to write like Mark Helprin. Or like Mark Twain. If you know of any other Marks that I should add to this list please let me know.

Now for the fun part! I’m going to tag . . . .

Banana Nanika at Brazil by Accident because I love her writing!

Mike Licht at Notions Capital whose site is full of general hilarity and some of the most creative smart artwork I’ve seen on a blog.

Judith Weingarten’s Zenobia:Empress of the East. An amazing world-of-a-blog.

Kristen at toujoursenvogue who writes about high fashion with a creative eye and who also naturally is one of my very favorite people in the world. (She’s my daughter.)

Rachel, whose blog Rachel Laudan always pushes the envelope of thought on food history, politics and culture (besides the fact that she herself is a graceful generous and gentle soul).

I’d thought I’d be like the Scottish Table Cat, napping all summer long on top of the table in the sunshine (in-between all the other fanciful ideas I’d listed) but this has been a wonderful thing to wake up to!

Thanks, Gumbeaux Gal!

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