how the sausage is made


Writing a blog is a pretty handy way to make life look pretty perfect. You get to immortalize the best moments and hide the ugly bits… usually by virtue of not mentioning them at all. In the case of a food blog, hiding ugly bits usually means it looks like you eat like a king. Today on The Answer is Always Pork we’re here to debunk that myth and show you how the sausage is made.*

*At least our sausage. Who knows, maybe all those other bloggers do have perfect lives/eat like kings and we got the short end of the stick?

Sometimes this food blogging thing is easy. The dish tastes great, I’m able to get a decent photo, the words flow freely. But most of the time, at least one of the following things happens: a dish turns out weird/bad/boring, it’s dark outside by the time we eat and my overhead tungsten lights make even tasty food look like death on a plate, in the rush of getting dinner on the table I forget to take a photo of the final dish all together, I stare at my computer screen failing to come up with something that will convince you that this is a recipe worth trying.

A lot of dishes are left on the cutting room floor. To call them failures seems a bit harsh, mostly they’re just pretty meh. But, meh isn’t something I really want to write about or subject you to. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet that have meh on lockdown, and my SEO could never compete.

And so for your reading pleasure, some of my most recent mehventures:

  • Salmon wrapped in phyllo that was delicious, but it’s essentially impossible to know when the salmon is actually cooked, which is rather terrifying for most home cooks, especially when you’ve got 5 guests sitting at your kitchen table.
  • Granola bars that were supposed to be studded with chocolate chunks but instead I prematurely added chocolate to the dry ingredients, added the warm wet ingredients to the dry and melted the chocolate completely. Somehow I also thought it was a good idea to add a banana to the mix. It wasn’t, it was weird.
  • Hot wings that were heaven, but the photos are terrible, and who eats hot wings when it isn’t the Super Bowl anyway. Maybe next year?
  • A mushroom pasta that sounded good, turned out ok, but a bit on the dry side. Dry casseroles are such a disappointment. Mostly it was pretty dull, and I’m not sure I can summon the will to finesse it.
  • Soft baked eggs in phyllo cups that absolutely tickled me with their adorableness in person, but I couldn’t get a good photo to save my life. Tragedy.
  • About 7 different smoothie recipes, none of which turned out better than this one that I’ve already shared with you all. We still drink that one every morning.
  • An omelette filled with mustardy bread crumbs that gave me a panic attack each time I made it because all that cooking happened so quickly. Plus, what is more impossible to photograph than omelettes? Except for maybe cassseroles? Lord help me.

Some good, some bad, most need work. We eat a few misses, and a lot of in-progresses. Pretty much every recipe that makes it to the blog I’ve made at least twice, usually more like three or four times, until the stars align and it goes from just dinner on the table to something you people deserve to hear about. Oh the pain of the creative process…

Now to keep things real honest, there are many nights where I combine a few Trader Joe’s ingredients with some random CSA veggies and call it a day. And because if some other food blogger was divulging her cooking reality, I’d want the nitty gritty details, here’s what that looks like. Wrap whatever you’ve got in a tortilla (chicken, cheese, beans, rice, veggies—any combination will do ya), pour some enchilada sauce on it, bake it 30 minutes and boom: dinner. Steam a few TJ’s pork gyoza, sauté up whatever veggies you’ve got lying around with an onion, throw some soy sauce on it at the very end and ta-da: dinner—just try and remember to put on the rice. Bake some TJ’s falafels, spread some hummus and tzatziki on a pita, top it all with some random veggies, hallelujah, you’re fed. These aren’t masterpieces (and I’ve got Mexican, Chinese and Persian grandmas rolling in their graves), but they’re healthier and cheaper than take out. We’re real people fighting the good fight, just like you are, and that fight is fueled by Trader Joe’s.

Today is Sunday, which is usually my cooking day (or it least it was when I wrote this). I’ve got a few projects in the works and I’m hoping I’ll break out of this funk and come up with something good—some signs point to yes? Fingers crossed, no guarantees. I might have a recipe for faux-enchiladas for you next week.


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By The Answer is Always Pork

Cooking and Eating in San Francisco

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