And to Think It All Began with a Pan

I was blogging along happily one day, when I realized I was approaching my 400th post.

I launched Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise on August 8, 2010, with a volley of posts I had written and prepared — there were posts on the great Yucatan pork speciality, cochinita pibil, and how with it I’d converted two vegetarians; the spectacular torta cubano; the importance of salt, and the unimportance of quinoa — a grain that would, for the purposes of this blog, play Lex Luthor to my Superman. I wanted the blog to look like it had been around for awhile, so within the first week I published a total of nineteen posts.

The old pan

The old pan, circa 2014

One of the earliest posts was about an old pan I had inherited in my 20s from whomever lived in my Santa Monica rent control apartment before me. Some two decades later, I still had the pan. And still used it more than the various Emile Henry, Le Creuset and other fancy bakeware I now had in my cupboard.

Four years on, and that pan is no closer to retirement. Just the other night, it caught the drippings of a dozen little fried Hawaiian coconut chicken wings. A useful piece of tin, it’s hard to imagine my kitchen without it.

Four years and 400 posts on… and what has changed? My audience has grown from a handful of family and friends to several thousands of people I don’t know on every continent but Antarctica (anyone know a research scientist who likes to cook??). I often enjoy colorful exchanges with regular readers in Ireland, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Australia, France, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, South Africa and other far flung locales. The erasing of distances and the realization that there are funny, friendly people who like the same things everywhere in the world is one of the best parts of blogging.

Not long into the adventure, I settled into a regular routine of publishing a post every Monday and Thursday afternoons. I even considered a tagline on my blog, “Fresh posts every Monday and Thursday-ish.” The “ish” part would’ve been important, especially the further along I got. I was pretty religious about regularity at first, even ensuring I had posts ready should I be traveling — or else writing while I traveled and calculating time zone differences.

Now a spirit of “ish” has taken over my blogging. I still try to post every Monday and Thursday afternoons, but sometimes I forget or am feeling lazy or don’t have any good ideas. (It’s challenging to have good ideas and write good essays twice a week for four years!) Sometimes if I miss a couple, I get an email from a reader: “Everything okay?”

It’s nice that people are paying attention.

I’m actually surprised, after 4 years, how easy it still is to come up with a subject for a post. I’m inspired constantly — see some coyote scat on the trail, fodder for a post! A friend gives you a book on cooking with offal and fermented foods — a post! Another friend unloads her freezer on you before a move — a post! Purchase a chicken that has two livers inside!?? Definitely post material.

At some point in the past couple years, a well-meaning housekeeper took a steel wool to the old pan and scrubbed off decades of patina, restoring it to a clean if beaten silverish. That would’ve been a good post. It required months of abuse and non-washing to return it to its formerly seasoned glory.

And now, 400 in, I consider what might be next for my humble blog. “We need to redesign your blog,” my wife often says, and sometimes even plays around with different looks when she’s not busy with work. A redesign would be nice, although I don’t mind the site the way it looks. Plus, I’m too busy thinking about the next meal to worry too much about it.

So stick around and see what’s in store for Season Five. You’ll get a new post every Monday and Thursday… ish. Perhaps there’ll be a redesign one day. And who knows, maybe I’ll even find a way to work Antarctica into a post.

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Cleall
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 00:36:09

    congratulations that’s a long time to stay interesting.


  2. Andy
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 01:12:03

    Very cute and yes, congrats!


  3. Marie -Michelle Hewett
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 08:06:20

    Reading right now from the French Pyrenees, home of the foie gras, duck and cassoulet and still finding it a source of inspiration and fun. Congratulations on your big milestone et bon appetit!


  4. Dragnfli
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 20:27:46

    Please don’t change the background! I love the doodle-ness of it. And congrats on keeping things going!


  5. Greggie
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 04:33:22

    I admire your dedication and commitment to SG&M as we probably know others who have started blogs with the best intentions but disappear far from anywhere near 400 postings. Congratulations from one of your initial readers who has learned more about cooking and food than I could have ever imagined.


  6. Conor Bofin
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 06:55:18

    Reading this in bed at 07:50 in a rain soaked Ireland. See if you an extract some inspiration from that! I have been enjoying your posts for a couple of years now. I too have some ‘old friends’ in the pots and pans area. My favourite is my rice pot. Given to me by my mother in law who was given it by her mother. It’s old, chipped and I would not swap it for anything.
    Keep at it. Looking towards the 800 posts now.


  7. Michelle
    Aug 03, 2014 @ 00:42:07

    My favorite spatula came to me like your pan, left by somebody in a rental kitchen. I’ve looked everywhere for 20+ years for another like it to no avail. Looking forward to the next 400 Mondays and Thursdays … ish.


    • scolgin
      Aug 03, 2014 @ 15:43:32

      There’s something more special about orphan utensils that come into your life that way… like lost puppies showing up on your doorstep. You get a sense it was just meant to be.


  8. Alma Shin
    Aug 03, 2014 @ 06:10:25

    Your topics always seem so effortless. Starting my own blog now I find it so hard to write about things already! I hope that one day my blog will be as good as yours. Thanks for inspiring me 🙂


  9. pal-O
    Aug 03, 2014 @ 16:39:28

    Very nice Seamus!


  10. Jessamine in PDX
    Aug 04, 2014 @ 05:04:54

    First — I need to know more about those chicken wings! They sound seriously delicious. Second — congrats on the big 400 — I totally appreciate the need to “ish.” I started off trying to do Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then realized I’m not a schedule type of person. So I generally try to do 2-3 posts a week unless I get too sidetracked by life (and wine).


    • scolgin
      Aug 04, 2014 @ 17:23:27

      Chix wings: pushed the meat up to the end to make little chicken lollipops, and then basically did a buttermilk fry with coconut milk instead of buttermilk — flour, coconut milk dip, more flour. I think I added some Asian-ish spices to the flour — dried dashi powder, five spice, etc.

      You’re forgiven when life (wine) sidetracks your efforts. 🙂


  11. Glennis
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 02:40:09

    Looking forward to the new you! I am experiencing the same blog blahs myself – need a new inspiration!


  12. Leo G
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 04:45:18

    Hey Sean, I am catching this late, but congrats on reaching 400! I love the blog – its full of so much goodness, plus lots of great memories of Topanga. I know that you and the pan have many thousands of meals more to go!


  13. overzelousdesign
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 05:38:15

    Catching up on the blogs a bit late….Okay, so we’ve got to find some food loving people in Antarctica!! They eat too YA know.


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