I'm sure by now you've vacated your corner cubicle at Salon, but I just wanted to send a note to let you know how much the Salon Kitchen Challenge has meant to me over the past 15 months.
I came to Salon looking for Ruth Reichl and her quiver of writers, following the shuttering of Gourmet in Fall 2009. When I read about the Kitchen Challenge, I knew that I should at least try to form sentences around these ideas I had about food. It took me two weeks to get up the courage to submit an article, but when I did, you wrote something nice about it on Salon. I submitted a story the next week, and heavens to Murgatroyd, my story about breakfast with my 4 year old won! From that moment on, I was hooked, and my 2010 routine was set: Monday night, get assignment; plan, shop, cook and photograph by Friday; write like a madwoman Saturday; post on Sunday.
As the year progressed, I made friends with the other SKC regulars - Linda Shiue, Grace Hwang Lynch, Paul Hinrichs, Mamie Chen (still miss her!), Felicia Lee, Lisa Kuebler, Fusun Atalay, Theresa Rice, Bellwether Vance, and many others. Some time in June, Linda and I realized that we both submitted stories each week and we both planned to finish out the year. One year, 50 contests, and by the end of December, we high-fived via Open Salon private messaging. Along the way, we wrote about peas, peaches, pumpkins, cookies, cocktails and candy, among others. Nearly each week, you wrote something nice about my stories, and I would walk on air for a day, before diving into the next story, because, as any daily newspaper reporter can tell you, you're only as good as what you have for the next deadline.
More than a year later, I have a blog-full of timely and seasonal stories, and a group of friends who share the same goal - writing about food and the ways it touches our lives, fills our bellies and expands our souls.We're branching out beyond the borders of Open Salon, finding new avenues for our work.
All this is a roundabout way of saying "thank you," Francis, for reading my stories and being so encouraging throughout the Salon Kitchen Challenge. I also enjoyed your stories, tutorials and Sacrificial Lam posts. I learned so much about cooking and writing just by reading your stories. Even though you're moving on, I want to join the chorus saying please keep writing your sweet and snarky stories.
A popular complimentary close these days is "best," and I truly wish you the best in your new venture,