What It’s Still About

Today is the second anniversary of my first post on this blog. Since it’s my party and I’ll indulge myself if I want to, I thought I’d take a look at my very first post, which was about why I love to bake and why I wanted to start a blog, and see how things have changed, or not, over the past two years.

This is the entirety of that first post, with today’s annotations:

What It’s About

Let’s be clear up front: I really have no credentials, no business writing a blog, much less one that has anything to do with food. I’m not young, hip, witty, artistic, or visionary. I’m not a foodie, a chef, a writer, a critic, or a photographer. I can’t cook, although I sometimes try, but I don’t eat out much either. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a “trackback.” [At least I've pretty much got the trackback thing down by now.]

Yes, the sad truth is that I possess a solitary qualification: I bake a lot of bread. [Still true enough.]

That’s all about the bread, of course: perhaps the most universal of foods, a thing virtually synonymous with food itself. Infinitely versatile and varied, everyone likes it, every cuisine includes it, and no meal is complete without it. [I dare anyone to argue with that.]

But I’m a stone’s throw from San Francisco, and great bread of all kinds is in no short supply here; you don’t have to bake your own to eat very well indeed.

So, as it turns out, it’s equally about the baking.

It’s about a process that engages and satisfies every single one of my senses. Really, how many activities do that and don’t scandalize your mother when you let it slip that you gave some to your husband, your boss, and the guy next door, all in one day? [Ooh, talk gluten to me, baby! And let's not forget the tutor, the carpet cleaner, and the window washer.]

It’s about nurturing my inner geek; lots of science, and a little math too – what could be better? (No, I’m not kidding.) There’s always something to learn about or experiment with, if you’re the curious or experimenting type. [No doubt about it, I'm geekier than ever. I've kind of learned to accept this. But guess what? If you bake bread, you're a geek too.]

It’s about knowing that there’s at least one thing my kids like about me. (There used to be more, but then they became teenagers.) [By now one of my kids is well out of teenagerhood and liking more about me, I think. At least tolerating. But he still likes the bread the best. The other, well, I love her to pieces, and she, in turn, likes the bread.]

It’s about the amazing professional and home bakers and teachers I’ve met in person, in print, and in this virtual world. You won’t find a more friendly, generous, smart, talented group of people on the planet. [The absolute, 100% truth. I don't think this will ever change. And thanks to this blog, the group of friendly, generous, smart, talented people I've found is growing every day.]

(Sappy analogy ahead; don’t say you weren’t warned.) It’s about something that’s a lot like the rest of my life: I try to control every variable I can think of, and it’s still entirely possible that something I didn’t think of, or can’t completely control, will crop up to produce a completely unexpected result — for better or worse. It keeps things interesting, and me on my toes, and a little humble. [Some of my unexpected results, for both better and worse, have been shared here. Others… haven’t. So I guess I am not quite as humble as I would like to say I am.]

And if I’m being honest, it’s about being able to look at something well-crafted, delicious, just plain necessary, and be proud that I made it. (So I suppose it’s about nurturing my inner narcissist as well.) [Do we get less narcissistic as we age? In my case, I guess not.]

I get paid to help people get and stay well. Baking is part of what keeps me well (take that, Dr. Atkins), and happy. Why start a blog about it? A few things:

To create a place to park my thoughts and observations, successes and failures, to clarify and organize them for myself. [It turns out I park more of my successes here than failures, for sure. I think we've established that that exposes a lack of humility. Maybe it's dishonest too. So sue me.]

To share what I’m learning with other amateur bakers, and to meet and learn from them in return. [Wow. I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet through this thing. This is the absolute, hands-down, unqualified best thing about having a blog. Seriously.]

To find out why blogging is such a phenomenon. [I'm still not sure I know why, but it is.]

So thank you for reading! [You know, when I wrote that, I actually didn't think anyone would be reading at all, much less all the way to the end, but it's always good to say thank you just in case. So just in case: Still and always, thank you, thank you, thank you! Not only for reading, but for baking with me and for being my friends.]

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. wee says

    hi susan,
    congratulations on your blog! i love your blog and will come out of my lurking to thank you and to say keep up the good work. Honestly, am very grateful. I have tried at least one of your recipes – the Norwich Sourdough (lovely taste, not so lovely form, but that’s entirely my fault). And i appreciate how you teach us more about baking by sharing your experiences and knowledge, and how you’ve built up a network amongst bakers – love yeastspotting and look forward to it! You are one talented baker, thank you once again :))

  2. says

    What a great post, the first time around and with the comments two years later. Yours is one of the best food blogs I know. Regular, consistent, varied, educational, beautiful to look at, inspiring, funny, smart, open and warm but also without too much personal information…
    I can almost smell the bread coming out of your oven when I read your blog. Congratulations.
    (PS I’ve been blogging for several years and still haven’t figured out what a trackback is.)

  3. mary beth says

    I have to agree, if you can’t give “it” to them. Give them bread (sometimes muffins or cookies too!).
    “Love to make people happy”!
    Happy Anniversary

  4. Judy says

    I just discovered blogging after all these years. I guess the “draw” is you can exchange ideas, learn so many things, eavesdrop on people’s lives, and just be entertained and never have to get dressed and venture out. You can do it all hours of the day or night. I LOVE it….and YOUR blog is one of the best of the amazingly thousands there are out there. It must take huge effort and time to not only bake so often, be a super photographer, and come up with something to say every day. Congratulations…and don’t get tired !!!

  5. says

    I never read your first entry so I am glad your reposted it with some editing.

    So you are geeky, I see…Never thought of someone who bakes from the heart and shares with other as a geek. I would call you a perfectionist.

    I agree with you 100% about the satisfaction of the senses and the love of sharing….of the gluten that is.

    I am so happy I found your blog, I consider you one of my bread muses, so keep inspiring us with your lovely loaves.

    Keep on baking! And Happy 2nd Anniversary!

  6. says

    Happy 2nd anniversary, Susan!

    Wild Yeast is a wonderful blog and I always look forward to reading your words of wisdom (the many successes and rare “failures” alike). Thank you for baking with me, and being my good friend too – your comments are always so encouraging – and thank you for inspiring me to become a bread geek! That’s the best kind of geek there is.

    May you and your blog have many more happy anniversaries to come. :)

  7. Linda says

    Happy Anniversary Susan! Thank you again and always for sharing your musings, your successess and, sometimes, the failures. You’ve been a great inspiration to me and have caused me to have successes that I never would have had. and of course some failures too, but hey, if you’re not falling, you’re not learning, right?

    It was you that showed me the power of blogging. How a person talking into the void can create a community. And how generous so many people are when some days it doesn’t feel like that’s the case.

    I look forward to our next year (virtually) together!

  8. says

    Happy anniversary, how wonderful to share your first post with us. (And fortunate that it was a good one!)
    You have certainly been instrumental in promoting the celebration of bread baking and introducing bread bakers of all abilities to each other as well as to new types of breads and techniques.
    A success story indeed.
    So happy to be your friend. :)

  9. says

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and you have prompted me to take some chances and move beyond the breads I’ve been baking for (at home) for about 30 years. I now have baked my first batch from BBA, and will bake the second batch today (both poolish baguettes, but with some variations in flour proportions).
    Your blog is a real stimulus package. Thank you.

  10. says

    Congratulations Susan! I for one am glad you decided to share your knowledge and passion with the rest of us. Your beautiful bread always gives me hope for a future of well-risen bread!

  11. Kristen says

    Happy blogiversary! I am so happy to have discovered your blog. I don’t bake even 1/4 as much bread as you do (damn diabetes), but I love to read about your baking adventures and gain inspiration from them. Thank you so much for sharing with the blogosphere.

  12. says

    And you know what else a blog is? It’s a tool to help us know ourselves better! Didn’t know it when I started, but it’s curiously refreshing just to record one’s thoughts on whatever subject(s), and then to read it yourself – doesn’t matter who else reads it, ’cause you’ve already accrued the benefit – this of course is the philosophy of a blogger whose blog is relatively free of readers! When/if my blog has as many readers as does yours (much congrats for your success!), I may develop an alternate philosophy – I hope not.

  13. says

    Happy Anniversary Susan!

    I just want to say a big thank you to you for always being here to entertain us, educate us and be our friend.

    You’ve made me a much better baker and that is why you blog. Without YeastSpotting, I wouldn’t have any reason to bake more than one kind of bread, that’s for sure!

  14. says

    Happy Anniversary. A blog is all about being authentic and relevant and a also a place to do two things simultaneously…escape and reveal oneself. Yikes that sounds too poetic. But a blog is that too, even when it doesn’t try to be. It has it’s own rhythm and you’ve found yours, and many of us love it. Cheers!

  15. Heather says

    Ahhhhh. (big sigh) and this is why I read your blog. CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is a spectacular milestone, and a wonderfully crafted commentary about it. :) It made me happy.

  16. says

    Wow, two years is a good long time for a blog, and especially impressive for one that is so consistently excellent! Love what you do for the bread community. I too have vowed to publish my failures, but somehow they tend to stay pretty far down the drafts folder backlog! Looking forward to your next 2 years…and beyond.

  17. says

    Congratulations on 2 years! I always enjoy your posts even though I’m not currently baking all that much reading your posts makes me, at the very least, think about baking again. :-)

  18. says

    congratulations on your blogiversary – I don’t read your blog as much as last year when I was able to bake bread more but I keep an eye on it so I am inspired enough to want to bake bread again when I have more energy – it always looks gorgeous (and I am impressed with your articulateness when you started the blog – I was quite tongue tied)

  19. says

    Happy anniversary, Susan!

    Thank you a lot! You cannot imagine all the beautiful times i’ve passed in my kitchen working with your post. Please, stay here for a lot of time! :-D

  20. says

    Happy Anniversary, Susan, and I am thankful for your blog and thrilled to count you as one of my blogging buddies and friends! You and your Yeastspotting have pushed me to reach beyond my limits and face my fears about yeast baking and, lo and behold, I bake bread!

    I think so many of us started our blog for the same reasons and I hope that we have all inspired others (as you have) and have made many friends (as you have). Your little blog here is truly Manna from heaven!

  21. says

    Susan – you’ve shared shamelessly and baked beautifully. Happy 2nd! No one who blogs doubts the work you’ve put into this, and no one who bakes can doubt your talent.

    Thanks for everything – looking forward to the next two.

  22. Paul says


    May I join in with everyone else wishing you not only congratulations on your second anniversary but more importantly my heart-felt thanks for all you do here. Finding your blog and learning more about baking, among other things, has brought more to my life than you can imagine. You absolutely deserve the kudos of those who have already written and who, like me, eagerly await each of your posts.

  23. says

    Just discovered your very yummy blog – so interesting to read your first post on your anniversary too. I need a bib to wear – looking at all your wonderful recipes. Thanks for all the hard work and sharing. I will definitely add your blog site to my favorite places to visit!
    Celebrate your day.

  24. says

    Wonderful! I’m so glad you’re blogging and that I’ve come across your bread. I have found that my motivations are very similar to yours, and while I started this very casually, it’s now a treasured hobby. Best of luck to your next year of blogging!

  25. says

    Nice nostalga piece. I too have started a blog about my experiences as a professional cook. I was inspired, in part, by this blog and some others I have been reading.

    I guess, I have the same hopes and purpose in mind when writing mine.


  26. says

    Happy anniversary Susan, I’ve learned so much through this blog, so thanks you for taking the time and effort to write it. Lovely to have met you too!
    On many years more… Cheers!

  27. says

    Happy 2nd blog anniversary! I have to admit, I don’t usually bake your bread, but I love to look at what you’ve done and hope that someday I’ll be as talented as you.

    And thank you for recommending the super peel. I love mine!

  28. says

    I’ll be reading for years to come. Go ahead and be narcisstic, I’m here for you no matter what your ‘head-game’ is, but I think you should re-evalutate yourself….give yourself a bit of a break. Actually, I don’t think you are ‘in’ to yourself, but rather, ‘into’ making others feel welcomed.


    You do a very fine job of it, too!

    Kudos to you on your second year of all things, Blogging.

  29. says

    A very happy blog anniversary, Susan. I definitely read your blog (late sometimes but I do) and your blog has been quite an encouragement to my bread baking ventures.
    So here’s to more yeast in your hands. :)

  30. SallyBR says

    What a great idea you had, bringing your first post on the anniversary of your blog!

    I had not read it, so I’m very glad you posted it again.

    Congratulations on your blog-Bday!

  31. says

    Happy anniversary Susan!

    Of course I didn’t know you before you started this blog so I can’t say with any reasonably modicum of accuracy as to in what state your talents were then but as of now (hell lets go one by one for fun) “I’m not:”

    young – Not touching with 10 ft pole.
    hip – Not touching with 10 ft pole.
    witty – you are definitely this.
    artistic – I think your work speaks for itself here.
    visionary – I suppose it could be argued that you couldn’t foresee how much everyone would love this blog (not to mention yeastspotting), so even if it was by accident, you are indeed also this.
    I’m not a foodie – By what definition? Bread = food = you love = foodie (how’d you like them maths?)
    a chef – this is fact.
    a writer – this is patently false (Read: BLOG)
    a critic – of recipes, yourself, etc.
    a photographer – your photographs alone sometimes inspire me to bake, so I’m not giving you this one either.

  32. Anet says

    Susan, such a nice anniversary — to blog is to keep track, creating a diary that makes the numbers clearer. We’re all having fun with your blog. Thanks.

  33. says

    Happy blogiversary! I’m really glad that I found your blog–I really enjoy reading it. And thanks for all you do to share wonderful bread through YeastSpotting. =)

  34. says

    Happy anniversary!

    You know, I agree. Just like baking bread, blogging has many wonderful advantages. The people we meet is absolutely at the very top of that list. ;)

    I haven’t been in this neighborhood for long, but I’m glad to be here. :)

  35. Jude says

    Congratulations on your second year of blogging. I’m surely not alone when I say that well be hanging on every word and continue reading each post to the end. :)

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