Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nectarine Blossoms and Musings on the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

On the first day of Tet (Vietnamese New Year), I went into my backyard to take a photo of whatever was growing in my garden. I was happily surprised to see these gorgeous pink blossoms on my nectarine tree. As I was getting ready to post the photos, I decided to do a little blog hopping first to wish all my friends a Happy New Year. And found out that my friend Christine D.'s dear aunt Cindy had passed away from colon cancer. She was only 32 years old. I've never met Christine, but when her aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago, I followed her online journal as she underwent chemotherapy, planned her wedding, married her sweetheart, and then struggled with thoughts of death. She was too young. With too much life left to live. With too many people left behind who would miss her. Christine, I'm so sorry for your loss. Anything I say would be inadequate, but I thought of these blossoms to honor your aunt Cindy. I've been thinking a lot about community and connections lately. When I started this blog, I figured I'd share some recipes and some of my favorite restaurants. It seemed easier to have a central repository to direct my friends to instead of retyping a recipe again and again. But somewhere along the way, I formed unexpected connections -- some became real-life friends, but most are people I've never met. When mainstream media occasionally swoops in to write a story about some of the more popular food blogs, they often miss the whole point of blogging in the first place. Sure some people start blogs hoping to get famous, but most food bloggers do it purely out of a love for food and a willingness to share it with others. We're not trying to compete with mainstream media. Although many of the subjects people used to get from newspapers such as politics, sports, celebrity gossip, and food, they now get from blogs. And even though reporters and some cookbook authors now have blogs too, few of them actually engage with readers or other bloggers in the same way. Build a niche. Be unique. Or so goes the advice because everyone and their mother has a blog these days. No one cares if you ate a grilled cheese sandwich? Ah, but I beg to differ. Because over the course of the past year or more, I've discovered that people really do care if I ate a grilled cheese sandwich. Last summer when I was busy entertaining Norwegian cousin and hadn't blogged for weeks, several of you checked in with me to make sure I was OK. Last fall when the wildfires blazed all over Southern California, some of you again checked in to make sure I and my family were alright. Last year when I had just started blogging and whined about being sick in a post for chao (Vietnamese rice porridge), you checked in on me. And because it's Valentine's Day, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of you -- my blogging friends and regular readers. Your comments and concern really do touch me. It's what keeps me blogging. So thank you. ***** 1 year ago today, chocolate buffet at the Sofitel Plaza Saigon, Vietnam.


  1. I think you've hit it, WC. Many do it for the community and connectedness - not necessarily to garner attention or to make money (though many do and do it successfully). Thanks for the Valentine :-)

  2. Even though I'm a niche blogger, I agree with you. It's all about connecting with your readers, and ultimately, it doesn't matter how you do it, even if it's through a grilled-cheese sandwich.

    You're all over the place with your topics and posts, but that's what I like about you Dub C., and that's why I visit here everyday.

  3. I read a lot of blogs but yours is one of the few ones that I regularly visit. I've tried out so many of your recipes (as you already know it).Your blog is not just a normal food blog, I guess that's what I like about it. belated happy valentine :)

  4. Yup! I agree about the community and connections aspect of blogging.

    Thank you for following my Aunt on her journey and getting to know a very special person in my life.

    Did you know that pink blossoms were her favorite flowers? It feels as if she's saying "Hi" through your blossoms.

  5. Our condolences go out to Christine's family. You blog is always full of good food, quirky humor and insightful musings. :)

  6. Nikki,
    Well, I wouldn't turn down a book deal if it comes my way. ;) But I think most of us just go about doing our thing, regardless if whether we garner any attention.

    You've got a great niche! I've learned so much from you. All over the place, I did mention food didn't I? ;) But thanks for checking in with me each day, even when I'm not posting.

    I appreciate every time you make one of my recipes! :)

    I only wished I got to know your aunt Cindy in real life. She seemed like such a warm person.

    You know, when I got ready to post these pink blossoms, I just couldn't do it without thinking of her. And it didn't seem right to not acknowledge her passing. Then I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not, but I friend said you'd probably appreciate the sentiment.

    Thanks! I can't compete with you two on photography so I gotta do it somehow. ;)

  7. 32 is so young. :( I just read the website ( and I'm glad that through blogging her story lives on to inspire people like me to live life more fully and to not take things for granted.

  8. Jeannie,
    32 is too young. And I think Christine would be glad to know her aunt Cindy is still inspiring people.


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