Spring Cleaning

We’ve had some really nasty weather in Paris during last couple of weeks. Some days were so bitter, dark, and cold that even though I had my heater on full blast, I was bundled up a wool coat and scarf inside of my apartment. And you know it’s really cold in Paris when the normally indifferent teenagers (who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything but a t-shirt and perhaps a down vest, no matter how bone-chilling cold it was), were bundled up in hats and scarves. Chic women had gone into survival mode, slipping off fashionable pumps and wearing bulky winter boots, with their faces tucked under hats with long side flaps.

For about a week I thought there was a national holiday because the streets and outdoor markets were deserted. Hardly anyone was in the bakeries buying bread or on the sidewalks. But no, it was just too cold for anyone to even think about going outside.

Then, this morning I woke up and the sky was blue and it was so warm that I could open the window and breath in some of the fresh air, hopefully signally that spring is almost around the corner. It also prompted some thinking today about a few things I’ve been considering, which I’ve decided to put them in action, some involving changes to the blog. A few you likely won’t notice, but there’ll be a few more substantial ones in the coming weeks.

The technical stuff (ie: the stuff you, fortunately, can’t see) has finally won its battle against me and I never dreamed I would be squinting at a screen for hours trying to figure out how to configure servers, write recipes in html code, decipher what the heck is an Apache error, or why mSQL matters. Last fall I made a major change to the site by moving to another blogging platform as I was no longer able to find support for the one I was using. However there were massive technical glitches and I spent weeks trying figure out what was wrong and how to fix it, which included many nights of being awake at 4am just so I could work with people as far away as in New Zealand and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am a baker and I started the site to share stories and recipes, and now I want to get back to what I do, namely sticking my hands in flour and writing about places in Paris that I think others might like more informally. And while the technical glitches are still there, I’m hoping they’re minimized and am working with a talented team that I hope will fix them for good. (I am hoping that sound out there is the sound of crossing fingers.)

I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been sitting on some posts that are resting in my queue, waiting to be published. However I’ve been terrified of hitting the Publish button because they’re not pristine. I haven’t closed all the points and arguments that are sure to arise, I’m certain there is at least one syntax error, and I probably wrote “it’s” instead of “its” by accident somewhere in that 8603 word document.

For the past couple of years I’ve decided to focus on the blog because I’ve really enjoyed doing it. For one reason, I like the freedom and I can share anything instantly, without someone telling me “no” or “Our sales team thinks that readers won’t want to read about a crêperie in Paris run by Japanese women dressed in all-pink who look like they just stepped out of Harajuku.”

However what that means is that unlike in books or magazine articles, there is no editor, nor is there a copyeditor or proofreader; it’s (not its) just me and my computer. I’ve also been having some vision problems lately, and as much as I try to read and re-read every post dozens of times (yes, really), things go up with goofs and glitches. But the main thing I’ve learned living in a foreign country is that no matter how hard you try, you not going succeed all the time and you’re going to make mistakes. You can agonize over it, and it might not make others happy either, but in the words of the great Miss Diana Ross; “There ain’t nothin’ you can do about it.”

Blog have changed and evolved, and in some cases, became “showpieces”, and you can read articles about how to blog, and all that you have to do. (And one of those unpublished posts of mine talks about that). And that’s all great and something to consider. But on the other hand, as I get older, I realize what’s important and what isn’t. Is it more important to re-read a post with eagle-eyes like a madman before I hit the publish button? Or should I walk over the Berthillon for a scoop of caramel ice cream? Do I want to spend the weekend figuring out how to code a page, or do I want to hit a flea market or catch up with a good friend at a café for lunch?

I know a certain number of bloggers have hired copyeditors and I had this same discussion with another blogger the other day. But to be honest, what I like about blogging is the raw nature of getting stories and recipes out, rather than planning weeks in advance and going through layers of people before I finally put something up on the site weeks after the idea was fresh in my head. Although even books and magazines have errors, but in those places at least writers can blame their editors ; )

(I met with some blog platform developers a while back who were interested in the steps I took to write and publish a post, and I didn’t realize how involved it was until I spent a little too long explaining to them the trail of steps that I take before I hit “Publish.” They were hard-core web people and they almost dropped their laptops.)

So in future posts, although I do my darndest to make sure everything is spiffy, like a tart whose crust isn’t perfectly even or an apple with a blemish, that’s what I offer readers. And as much as I love sifting through html codes and figuring out if a period goes inside or outside quotation marks (which depends on where you live), in the future, I’ll be moving the blog in various directions, some familiar—but expect a few twists and turns along le route.

The scourge of the universe, spam has overrun the comments in older posts, or they’ve become questions that are seemingly obvious. So unfortunately I’ve had to turn those off. If you go to an older post and there’s nowhere to comment, it’s because the site gets over 3000 spam comments a day (yes, really…), and as much as I’d love a to have a manhood that will “poke her eye out”, if everyone who read the site had the same wish as I do, there would be too many women walking around with eye patches.

I love comments and have learned more than I have ever imagined about your various cultures and countries, places I previously knew nothing about, and the interaction with you all is one of the things that I enjoy most about the blog. I’ve been taught by you about food and customs from other countries, I’ve learned language and cultural lessons about France and other European countries, quite a few of you have given me really good laughs (I hope, intentionally!) and I’ve even made some really good friends, both virtual and in real life.

But I’ve also been inundated by messages asking about modifying recipes and have found myself now writing posts composed almost entirely of phrases like, “Some bakers might ask if they can replace the chocolate with beef fat”, because I am sure someone might ask me that.

I understand and respect tinkering with recipes, and love to hear how people modify recipes to make them work for specific diets and situations. No one is more frustrated than I am when I want to make something and can’t find the ingredients. And I realize there are people from different places that don’t have access to the same ingredients or equipment as I do. However instead of me writing paragraphs and paragraphs on what you can and can’t do to the recipes, I’d rather people also learn to trust their instinct and use recipes as inspiration, and prefer to write a story about the recipe, or what prompted me to share it with you.

I’ve learned that those who are on special diets, like my gluten-free and vegetarians friends and such, are generally better equipped than I am at figuring out how to make substitutions and adjustments. For more about this, please refer to my Baking Equipment and Ingredient Substitutions.

Regarding authenticity of recipes on the site, I live in a country where things from other places are often, um, modified for local tastes. I don’t always agree with the results (especially when I see canned corn on a Caesar Salad) and I go on about it sometimes as well, but that’s that and it’s not the end of the world. As horrible as things like cheese, papaya and lobster quesadillas sound, instead of getting upset, they make me laugh.

Perhaps it’s an American thing to want to reproduce what we like and to be inquisitive about the food of other cultures. Or maybe because I worked in restaurants that featured American, French, Italian, Southeast Asian, and vegetarian food at various stages of my professional cooking career. On the site, I will often play around with foods from Asian, Central America, and European countries outside of France. I know not everyone is comfortable with people modifying dishes to suit their circumstances. But there’s not much I can do about it, unless I subsist on croissants and Comté cheese. And as much as I like them, often I need me some kimchi or Kosher dill pickles.

So my project this weekend is to do some spring cleaning and tossing out a few unnecessary things. I’ve also got a big pot of marmalade on my stove (that doesn’t seem to want to jell), a pan bar cookies waiting to be cut up (and sampled). But most important of all, I’m making a batch of Rice Krispies Treats to bring to a brunch Américain this weekend that a French friend of mine is hosting. And in case anyone wants to know, like their American counterparts, French Rice Krispies also contain prizes. But for the life of me, I’m trying to figure out what mine is…

Rice Krispies Prize

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310 comments

  • A light saber?

    David, I love your blog. Just. as. it. is. Please be happy and continue with those things that will bring you happiness.

    I made your tomato tart (again) for the millionth time this week. And then I modified it into something else for the millionth and one time. You are a source of delicious recipes, nice laughs and warm thoughts.

    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend and more spring cleaning!

  • lightsaber. I have a 7 year old obsessed with Star Wars.

    I think you are long overdue for a book signing or a class in your home state of Connecticut, just saying….

  • Be careful, “you’ll poke your eye out” !! By the way I love the idea of French people enjoying Rice Krispy Treats. There is no better diplomacy than food.

  • I love you, Mr. Lebovitz!!!

  • Bravo! I support your decisions.

  • Wow, I am feeling seriously inadequate as I read about how you proofread and edit posts before you put them up. I think one of the things I like most about blogging is the way you can go back and fix a mistake if you find one after the post is published (and just cross your fingers and hope not too many other people noticed it.) And no matter how you change the blog, your refreshing voice will always be something that is appealing.

  • I too am an American in Paris and was so excited about the beautiful day we have been given today. Just got home from a picnic at Place Vosges. In one of the fountains as they don’t let you sit on the grass…

    Just want to say how much I look forward to reading your blog. Its become one of my daily rituals, and I secretly hope to bump into you one day in Paris!

  • Eek! I was so nervous when I started reading this blog- I thought you were breaking up with us. I honestly don’t give a damn about typos (unless, of course, you type 1 cup of salt instead of 1 teaspoon) so long as you keep sharing your delicious treats and insight into food and culture.

    It’s miserably cold where I am, too, but I still had a little salted butter caramel ice cream last night.

  • Great post David, keep it up. No need to get a copyeditor because then your blog becomes something stylized and overly structured and one of the aspects of your blog that keep everyone coming back for more is your adept storytelling. Syntax errors and all!

  • I’ll take the ice cream, flea market, and friends any day. I enjoy your blog (even when dieting and can feed my imagination) and your recipes (always a success–unadapted). And, of course, am green with envy that you live in France and I don’t. So please, a blog is a blog and needed be a dissertation. Life is too good. I’ll take its over it’s in your blog vs. not having your blog.

  • Good for you, David — do what makes you happy! And I can assure you that for all of the times I’ve shared your blog with friends, family and acquaitances (and one time, a person on the street), your pristine grammar was NOT part of the conversation!

  • (and yes, I left in a spelling error on my previous comment. So there!)

  • I always enjoy reading your blog and appreciate how hard you work at it. Your subjects and photos are always interesting. You are amazingly prolific and so enthusiastic. I have made lots and lots of your ice cream and always think about you as I put the ingredients together. Thank you so much for continuing your blog. I, too, was afraid your were abandoning us.

  • I think your blog is perfect just the way it is.

  • What a great post, David. I’m a real fan and read your blog faithfully, but somehow this is my first comment. I never knew what huge amounts of time and effort were behind each post, and that’s because you make it look so easy! You are fantastic, even with typos. Thank you! xo

  • Just keep blogging! Anyone who cares about typos should “get a life” as my teenage son would say. What really makes your blog special is that it is very apparent that you are completely genuine (mistakes and all).Reading your blogs is like talking to a good friend who lives and works in Paris – a friend whom we miss when you’re off fighting the goblins of the internet. Keep up the good fight and keep blogging!

  • I’d almost forgotten about the prizes in cereal boxes, they don’t do them in the UK anymore as far as I’m aware (maybe I’m just not eating the right cereal). Every time one of my brothers or I opened a new box of cereal we used to hunt round inside the box and fish out the toy. As for what your prize is, I’m going to side with christy and shira and say it’s a lightsaber, but more specifically I think it’s Mace Windu’s lightsaber (I’m a bit of a star wars geek!)

    That was a really lovely post and I look forward to reading more about your baking, typos and all! It’s all too easy to get carried away trying to make everything perfect and I usually find it’s more hassle than it’s worth, it’s far better to be imperfect but happy. That doesn’t just go for blogging, I feel much the same way about most things in life, marmalade included- just call it soft set!

  • Hi, David,

    I feel you!

    I just recently hired a part-time virtual assistant who helps me with all that yucky stuff (after, like you, spending WAY too many days and nights trying to figure out PHPMyAdmin).

    I love cooking and writing, and I love reading and responding to comments, but I despise the technical stuff.

    I got so busy after I started my blog network that I had very little time to blog, which was terrible because it is blogging that I love.

    Since I hired the VA (as of last month,) I’ve gone from blogging 1-2 times per week to now 5-6 times per week. He is awesome. And I pay him less than my housekeeper (he’s in college, and he’d rather work for me than work in the cheese shop where he was employed).

    This is actually my 2nd assistant — the first one is a stay-at-home mom who left Walmart to work for me. She does all my ad serving and invoicing. Both of these people live in Canada and I’m in LA.

    I have also been able to launch an whole new blog, now that I am getting help.

    Here is the post I wrote about how I did it (on the new blog):

    http://socialmediastrategyblog.com/how-to-outsource-your-blog/

    I’ll be writing a post soon on that blog about how to find a virtual assistant. In short, you can use Craig’s List, or look for a college kid or a stay-at-home mom who wants some PT work. Since they don’t have to be in the same city or even the same country, the world is your oyster.

    Good luck and please email me if you have any questions. Also, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris if you haven’t yet. It will blow your mind.

    Ann Marie

  • David do as you please, whatever you do it obviously pleases us or we wouldn’t be here reading this.

  • Wahoo! I’m thrilled with your decision and hope other bloggers follow suit. Life isn’t about perfection, it’s about experiences.

  • Thank you David. Just keep doing what you love, that is why I ready your blog. Enjoy your life :)

  • Amen!

  • We love your blog. It doesn’t matter how many typos, we can still read and understand what you are saying about your latest adventures or run ins. It makes us happy and makes us laugh, (except the post about the car accident-which turned out well, despite the sheer terror!). We also think that people can take your recipes and modify them on their own without you having to do that for them. They are perfect just the way they are. And, that’s what makes cooking fun, making a recipe and trying new things with it in your own kitchen!

    We totally support your decisons and are glad to hear that you may be out getting that ice cream cone instead of sitting in front of a screen.

  • it’s an “unfortunate” light saber. i don’t think it will poke your eye out. oh the images this conjures up.
    i too love the blog the way it is and appreciate the work you put into it for our benefit. it is a staple in my daily reading and i thank you for it.

  • May the force be with you!

  • David, I read your blog every morning (almost religiously)! You have the best recipes along with the greatest sense of humor. Thank you for sharing both with your readers. Good luck with the upcoming changes and thank you again!

  • You found a Light saber in your rice krispie treat!?! How awesome is that!?! I didn’t know that the French did that! Well I am going to take a little inspiration and go crazy with it! I know that my 4 year old son would love to find a little toy in his food…. HAHA Its like a homemade Happy Meal…er treat! Anyhow I a new fan to your blogging site and enjoy your stories and especially your recipes. Don’t stress…que sera sera!!

  • After serving as editor for a short tour (the time between seller and buyer) I have become very critical of the written word, even more so the spoken word (TV reporters seem to have no concept of the use of pronouns). I even caught the typo in the above blog. (paragraph nine)
    Having said that, I have come to the conclusion that 40% of readers would never catch an error of its/it’s. Those who would catch the occasional error would not be bothered by such a mistake because the overall tone of your blog is always one of intelligence.
    May I congratulate you on conquering HTML. Having tried and failed, you have my admiration.

    • Actually I don’t mind folks pointing out grammatical and spelling errors (nicely) since there are few people that don’t make them. Even professional writers have editors and proofreaders go over their copy and fix those things. I’m all for proper grammar, but blogging (at least to me) is still somewhat of a “Wild West” and I just realized today at how far it’s moved along from when I started.

      Many of the people who started five or so years ago stopped for various reasons, which is sad because I miss their voices. I’m still enjoying it a lot, and want to keep it fun and interesting for me, as well as readers.

      (And hmtl isn’t that hard, it’s just proofreading with all that coding around the words that makes it hard.)

  • David: I have a confession. Your blog is the first thing I read after the Google News headlines every morning and, if you haven’t posted anything that day, I go right to the LINKS page and find someone, or something new, to mull over as I face the day. I appreciate the care you put into the effort and, as someone who reads more than one blog, I can tell the difference. That being said, I think all your readers are fond of the YOU that comes through your writing – not just the content of your site. So – do what it takes to nourish your soul and thank you for sharing a part of that with all the many strangers across the world who, after reading your blog, consider you their secret friend.

  • Yikes!! Just like Jill who commented earlier, I thought you were breaking up with us. I am relieved that you will carry on (in any form) as I find your blog and Facebook posts incredibly entertaining and enlightening – a rare and prized combination. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Like others, I also thought you were leaving us too. I am so relieved you aren’t.

    Your blog is so wonderful and honest that I was surprised to hear how much time and effort you put into making each post perfect. Typos and small problems don’t bother me any. I have my own blog (about an old house and not about cooking…although I did post once about making macarons…) and part of my enjoyment is pouring my thoughts out and then just pressing “publish” and letting things go, mistakes and all.

    I am obsessed with your blog and your recipes – I have ginger ice cream in my freezer and your devil’s food cake in my fridge. You always keep me inspired and my husband and guests loving your food creations. Cheers!

  • Have a great week-end! Good idea: Spring cleaning! And also marmalade muffins and Curry/curcuma soup! Mmm!!

  • It’s a whistle shaped like a light saber…
    I got one too, a while back.
    I was also making rice crispy treats.

  • truth is, your writing is fluid and delicious, even when it comes with some goofs and glitches :)

  • I come to this blog to hear your voice and don’t concern myself with grammar, typos or such. Your take on food, life and Paris are enormously entertaining.

  • Seeing your price makes me realize I have not gotten a prize out of a Rice Krispy box in my recent memory. SAD. And believe me, I go through quite a few boxes in order to make Rice Krispy treats. I wonder why this is…

  • Not sure what it is, but it looks like you could poke someone’s eye out with it.

  • Pork fat is a much better sub than beef fat for chocolate – lower melting point and all.
    But seriously, I appreciate your bolg more than you’ll ever know – you can quit worrying about typos and syntax, it’s all overrated.
    Enjoy the sun!

  • Seriously, your blog is amazing — please don’t agonize over the typos or any of the other stuff!! You have so many fans that love this blog just the way it is. Keep ‘em coming!! :)

  • People who are obsessed about picking apart your spelling goofs or grammar mistakes (and feel the need to point it out to you) can stop reading if it bugs them so much!

    I agree about the questions about substitutions – these are your recipes and if they want to change something, it’s up to them to take the initiative to experiment without the hand-holding… grow some guts people!

    Keep writing from the heart and ignore the people who want to point out every little mistake – these people prey on blogs to get their righteousness kick!

    I’ll keep reading anyway! :-)

  • Agree with everyone above, if you can’t read through a simple typo, wow! If it is any consolation, as a blog reader, I get annoyed when someone points out an obvious error, say if sugar is spelled wrong, that is so not what this is all about. Love you and your blog just as is.
    PS. Can’t believe how many times I reread this for errors!

  • Pamela: Actually I never minded questions about substitutions, but it’s gotten to the point where I am writing something and know what’s going to happen. Then the recipe starts going on and on and on. I realize everyone has various dietary restrictions or whatever and I do like getting feedback when people change ingredients, to see if they work. Plus I like learning about baking and cooking from others, so I encourage people to try other things they might want to know more about to see if they work.

    But if I say “Instead of corn syrup, you can use rice or malt syrup” invariably there will be questions about maple syrup, honey, golden syrup, cane syrup, etc..and unless I try it, or know for sure, I don’t want to recommend it. I spend a lot of time working on recipes and want people to have success with it.

    Molly T: Ha! And I didn’t even have to send off a money order to Nairobi!

  • Oh, David. David David David. C’est un Lightsabre! :) I look forward to see the changes and the grammatical errors. :)

  • I have a little blog of things we see here and there as we travel, or even just from our home in Hawaii. It is just for a few friends and family to keep track of us. I started it because emailing even a half dozen people from someplace, even home, was getting to take half a day. Now the blog posts — not nearly as long or involved as yours — can take half a day. So I feel your pain.

    I, too, have written a few books, and somehow when your name is on the cover you are the one who is constantly working to fix and edit and copy-edit. The same with the blog. A constant challenge and burden. Only for you, the burden is daily — with a book at some point you have to hold your breath and give it away.

    Your blog is consistently high quality, and the subject matter dear to our hearts. So, forge on — may the force be with you!
    .

  • the sound you might be hearing is ::applause:: I could not agree more. For my own blog, I almost got swept up in the perfection of grammar and editing until the food became secondary. I got caught up in the making it relevant to readers so much that I forgot my own voice. I’m back now and I am having fun. I am a big fan of your food, and your voice.

  • David, your posts are like listening to a friend tell a great story. I’d never dream of correcting his grammer … I’m just thankful he chose to share it with me.

  • … but I can correct myself … that should have been grammar … LOL !

  • … but I can correct myself … that should have been grammar … ha !

  • Baking, cooking, tasting, and learning are life-affirming. Checking for grammatical errors and contemplating endless questions about ingredient substitutions are not. Period.

    Keep doing what makes you and all of your readers so very happy!

  • I both “want to read about a crêperie in Paris run by Japanese women dressed in all-pink who look like they just stepped out of Harajuku” and know a tiny Star Wars lightsaber when I see it. My kids could tell you which character it belongs to. I’ll continue to know a little about Star Wars and a little about Paris and a little about baking. And I’ll continue reading!

  • David, your blog is perfect the way it is. The nuances, grammatical errors, etc. make it all the more unique.

    My grandma was an English teacher who would return cards and letters to you, marked up with a red pen, to show your grammatical errors, so I try to be diligent about correcting grammatical errors when I write. However, inevitably, I always find errors when I reread my writing(s).

    It’s a waste of time to obsess over grammar… I’d choose a scoop of ice cream over grammar anytime! :)

  • Love it all. Keep doing your thing the way you see fit and we’ll keep reading.

  • I just want to know if you can use that Rice Krispy prize as a lint roller?

  • I lived and went to school in Strasbourg in the 80′s . . . I enjoy your blog tremendously. Your writing and sense of humor is genuinely entertaining. So many have eloquently expressed admiration and appreciation – hope you can “feel the love”!

  • Love your blog and if there are any rare typos, love them, too. Just keep doing what you do. It’s just wonderful to read about your adventures in Paris and elsewhere, the beautiful markets, your classes and your great recipes. You’re fun and funny and so very knowledgeable that I learn something every time you write. Your blog is always the first one I click in my reader or e-mail. Thanks for being you!

  • I will read whatever you want to write, typos and all.

    Your blog is the warm spot in my (wicked cold NY) day. Your humor and recipes are a wonderful surrogate until I – hopefully – get to visit France again.

  • I get so excited when I see that you have a post up on Google reader. I always read it first. You make so many of us so happy; we are in your debt.

    Keep them coming! (I, too, like Jill got extremely nervous that you were breaking up with all of us.)

  • David,
    Phew. I was a bit worried there that you were divorcing us!!!

    A few weeks ago, I forwarded your link to a friend of mine since I thought she would enjoy your writing. I ran into her a couple of days ago and she told me that now her mother, her sister, several cousins and a couple of friends all read your blog and they are having a great time talking and laughing about your posts and are now reading your book “The Sweet Life in Paris”.

    This morning I read this post and I thought “this is what your blog is all about – not perfect grammar or typing!!!”

    So keep on exploring, keep cooking and keep writing – typos and all!!!

  • What I love about your blog is that it’s all you – your thoughts, experiences, and fabulous recipes. That’s what makes it so enjoyable for me and readers everywhere. Through your words we are transported to so many wonderful places. Your personality and sense of humour shine through as you take us along on each new adventure. I hope your blog always stays this way; the way you would like it be is also the way we enjoy it most! Quite frankly, some of those slick, fancy blogs with flashing pictures everywhere can get kind of boring.
    As far as the recipes go, I am lactose intolerant and will substitute lactose free milk or sour cream here and there, but I try to maintain the integrity of the recipe as much as possible. Sometimes there are ingredients that I can’t substitute (cream for example) but I’ll make the recipe as it is (passion fruit ice cream this week) because I don’t always make things just for me; I enjoy making others happy with food, too. (There is no passion fruit ice cream left, I’m happy to say.)

    Thanks so much for all the pleasure you’ve given us readers!

  • It looks like a mini lightsaber! I think Mace Windu had one in the newer movies…

  • I applaud you folks that have something to say and schlog through all the technical stuff to tell us your stories. I am the anti-technician, anti-speller, anti-gramarian (are these even words?) person who would love to do what you do, but the roving police of the written word would discredit me at every turn (even my comments are iffy). I don’t have the guts for what you do. That said, I don’t judge those things but I can tell who should and who shouldn’t be telling stories publicly. But that’s more about the way the story is told than anything technical. Yes, there’s that! I guess we’re all police about something,

  • David,
    Write what you like, how you like and enjoy yourself! People obviously like your style and honestly, it doesn’t really matter if you have the odd bit of punctuation go AWOL. The only accuracy we need is in the actual recipes, other than that I think we can work it out!

  • It only took my son a fraction of a second to tell me it’s Mace Windu’s lightsaber.

    David, we love this blog for what it is, as simple as that. Whoever is on the same wavelength with you will come back, and there are so many of us – well, you know the numbers. Who appreciates other styles and other kinds of stories will visit other blogs, there’s room for everybody.

  • Definitely a light saber.

    I read your entire post, had all these thoughtful comments to add, and then you distracted me with Rice Krispie treats! Darn you!

    Usually when I find a typo on someone’s site, I send an email or ping the blogger privately – there’s no need to nitpick….But I do suggest using Firefox and turning on the check spelling if you haven’t already, and also After the Deadline will also check grammar and spelling inside your post http://afterthedeadline.com/ – a little extra help if wanted.

    I don’t think you need a copyeditor. Maybe an intern to go and fix errors after it’s posted ;) – they can parse the comments for suggestions eheh.

  • The force is with you David.

    Your blog is amazing, your time and effort shows, it is a gem among a saturated market.

    Keep it up, however you see fit.

  • I feel for you, David!

    Many years ago, I read an article about how unlike their English-speaking counterparts, Spanish-speaking news anchors in the US have to deal with the public contacting them directly for advice on their personal lives. I don’t know Spanish well enough to wonder if the delivery in Spanish is more personable, rather than the impersonal / indifferent / objective manner Americans are used to. I certainly wouldn’t email Katie Couric for relationship advice.

    With Twitter and allowing comments on blogs, celebrities like you make it easy for everyday people to have that direct link to you. And you’ve been wonderful in obliging.

    The internet has made you and other food bloggers so accessible to everyone that no one thinks twice of asking about substitutions (or about basic cooking / baking techniques). I personally would not have the patience, and I routinely shout at the monitor, yelling at the commenter to try the substitution, Google it, or take a cooking / baking class. I feel bad for people who have allergies, but they really can’t expect you to know the usability of every available substitute.

    Please do what you have to do; I will continue to live vicariously through your posts.

  • I loved the receta para atole! Gracias!!!
    I see that you have made your Mexican hot chocolate with ABUELITA brand which is good- but may I also suggest my favorite brand EL MAYORDOMO ( from Oaxaca )-
    LOVE your blog,
    BZ from Mexico

  • David,

    Many people have already said what I wanted to, much more eloquently than I could ever do.

    You blog inspires me at every turn. For every recipe of yours that I modify, there are ten that I have made, following it to the letter.

    I laugh with your blog, sometimes it brings a tear when I consider a similar experience. Your blog is unique because it reflects who you are and your journey to being that.

    Please don’t ever consider leaving us, please just don’t!

    And if you ever fancy a colder climate, you could always visit us here in Edmonton, Canada. When its -40 outside, your Belgian hot chocolate is the only thing keeping me sane.

    OK, now that you’ve got me all sentimental, I think it may be time for that Super Lemon IceCream!

    Cheers!

    Michelle

  • PS – You’re also incredibly patient, which is an amazing thing for someone who’s probably followed by more people than the population of a small country!

    And my marmalade set fine, by the way :-)

  • I have been an avid proofreader since I could write. Words that are spelled incorrectly, missing words or errors in grammar or punctuation seem to jump off the page and slap me in the face. Yet I still have errors in my posts and it drives me CRAZY when I spot one weeks or months later knowing proofread that post eight times.

    It also doesn’t help that now with my iPhone I will sometimes type up a post when inspiration hits. I’ve had a few embarrassing auto correct issues like found being corrected to fondled.

    That said, if a blog obviously is loved by its author, if I can they put time and effort into it, I am immensely forgiving. I don’t think any sane person visits a blog for its fantastic grammar and syntax. Bravo to you David for cutting yourself some slack. You are one of my blogging heroes and it helps to read this reminder that I’m not a failure if my post isn’t perfect.

    I know everyone else already told you but that’s gotta be a little light saber. The colored part of it is sadly disproportioned compared to he handle. I don’t think it’s long enough to poke anyones eye out!

  • Great post, David! As others have said, I will read whatever you choose to write here. It is truly a highlight of my day when I see that you’ve updated your blog.

    I am also really glad to read the bit about substitutions. I think you do a great job of offering alternatives where appropriate, but in general people should take on the burden of their own dietary restrictions and deal with the availability of ingredients in their area. On so many cooking blogs, I’ll see dairy/egg/meat heavy recipes get comments like, “This looks so good! How can I make it vegan/gluten free?” To this I say, (1) FIO (figure it out), and/or (2) accept the fact that the braised short ribs with melted cheese topped off with meringue was maybe not a recipe that was meant to veganized. (I was vegan and vegetarian for several years of my life, so I’m not maligning that choice — merely asking people to be realistic about what recipes will and will not make sense within the confines of their chosen diet!)

    In any case, I think people should trust their instincts more and make the recipe their own based on what they can find — maybe they’ll end up with a lifelong favorite that was inspired by the spirit of a recipe you’ve posted and the food culture they are surrounded by. Maybe it won’t turn out well, but you’ll have learned something from that failure that will make future endeavors that much more informed.

  • Oh David. I pray that I was not the straw that broke the camels back-if so, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I love your blog. (I wrote you yesterday with a pickled pepper corn syrup question). I have made so many of your recipes and I just love your perspective on food and life.

    • Hi Wendy: I actually liked your question because normally people are asking if they can take out the corn syrup in a recipe, not add it into one! Even though I didn’t recommend it, it was mostly in response to another post (recipe) on the site where I was being asked repeatedly about all sorts of alternative liquid sweeteners and the comments had descended into a discourse on how severely one could change the recipe when in fact, I’d spent a lot of time working on that one and liked it just as is : )

  • David – Hi there from Berkeley. I’ve never posted before. I *love* your website. I too got scared reading your posting as to what you were saying…. Please know how much happiness you give to your readers, all over the world – as well as to everyone who gets to taste your recipes. I love your sense of humor and your writing voice – and am in awe of your knowledge. All the best.

  • being a newbie to your blog, I would have to say I am more drawn to the “perfect” recipe of the moment…not the perfect grammar. whether baker or cook, we have all experienced a glitch or two. thats the beauty of the journey, enjoying and advancing our technique and creativity while sometimes stumbling along the way.
    how many times have you stayed up late, trying to perfect something (or cursed its collapse)…its in your dna, so embrace and enjoy! C’est la vie.

  • In the words of the formidable Mr. Mark Darcy – I love you just as you are. Not thiner, not with more hair, not with less typos, not wittier. Just as you are.

    No one here who seeks your sage advice and wry sense of humor will think anything less of you or your delicious concoctions if “theres one two many typos!”

    Just as you are. So, don’t go changing…….

  • Hi there, David,

    This is the first comment I’ve ever written on your blog, as much as it shames me to say, even though I am an avid reader. I’m an américaine living in Bourgogne right now, with a kitchen replete with deux plaques de chauffage and an oven the size of a shoebox. And I have been so inspired by your blog, imperfect though it might be, just as many worthwhile things are, that I’ve explored the places you’ve suggested in Paris and I’m heading to Lausanne this weekend (fondue, here I come;).

    I hope the extensive labor and the naysayers haven’t discouraged you. Whenever I have a tough few days I check to see if you’ve posted something new and delicious on your site [as a native Houstonian, I heartily approve of your approval of Central Market]. And although I can’t often try your recipes, you inspire me to enjoy the life and the stupendous food and the good company I have here, in one of the most stunning countries I’ve ever been to, even though it isn’t necessarily the easiest place to live in.

    Reading your most recent post made me realize that maybe I should indicate, in some way, how your continued correspondence with the vast, wide world has helped just one solitary person in France. Alors, dis donc, merci bien. And I look forward to making butterscotch pudding for the very first time, eventually, with your recipe. Or banana bread. Or banana cake. I do know, however, that the poached coing is amazing :)

  • David,

    I could be honest and say that once I went to Paris often! So privileged. And ate out a lot and well, enjoyed. Then I was richly blessed and got pregnant and had a complication that meant being very sick as a dog for the duration. That’s when I found your blog. Then the baby, now three, turned out to be allergic as in anaphylactic to egg and milk and peanuts and strangely yellow bell peppers. I still read your blog every day without fail.

    Because I love to read about your life in Paris, bought the books too, all of them I could, and most of all I love the way you describe all the wonderful foods and experiences. It reminds me most happily of life Before. Not that I’d trade life After for anything, but it gives me such vicarious pleasure to see you tuck in.

    It also gives me real pain to think how hard it is to blog, and yes, I want you to eat that ice-cream, meet the friend, see the flea market. Really. Really really.

    And not just all that wonderful humour and pleasure reading, you also gave the family your chocolate sorbet recipe that adapts really well to non dairy milks.

    Very thankful. And very thankful that you’re not closing the blog!

    Hope that doesn’t make me sound a strange stalker.
    And you gave us chocolate sorbet that adapts so well to non dairy milks too.

  • The light saber belongs to Mace Windu from Star Wars. So say my kids.

  • Well said David. Your readers love you and you should not give a second thought to the handful of people who are trying to spread their own misery around to well intentioned bloggers.

    You have literally improved the quality of my life for the last three years. I am living in Paris and your blog is my ‘go to’ guide for just about everything.

    Merci beaucoup cher David et bonnne continuation !

  • Love your blog just as it is! It’s one of my daily small pleasures to drop in here & read, to get inspired to cook something new, try something new–ever since I discovered it via my search for good recipes in advance of taking the plunge & getting an ice cream maker. As someone who misses Paris dreadfully (I’ve lived in the city for research for stretches of time in the past decade), I find the bits of Paris combined with the lovely food, your sense of humor & grace quite pleasurable to read!

    Technology is both wonderful & the bane of existence! When it works, it’s great … and then there are those other times …

  • I’m an avid food blog reader and over the years I’ve discovered that the only thing that keeps me going back to a blog is whether I ‘get’ the blogger and their personality, so all the other stuff is unimportant (except when there are photos showing you a dish that have been shot with such a shallow depth of field that you can’t even see it – pet hate). I think I’ve been reading your blog religiously for about six or seven years now…

  • You can have an intern be your copywriter for free. Advertise on craigslist in the US for a “Web Editorial Internship” you will get many responses.

  • I love reading your blog. Thank you for writing, and I hope you continue.

  • I was worried you were going to stop blogging! Have that caramel ice-cream, don’t worry about perfection. I just want to hear about food and France and everything else you want to talk about. Thanks for all the fun :-)

  • Bless your little heart. Yes, do stop worrying about the stupid typos and ignore the dumb substitution questions and just do what you want to do! I will never forget reading comments on another blog and the person said she hated sesame and could she use something else – in a recipe for sesame noodles!! Sheesh. Have fun with your light saber and rice crispy treats and everything else in your life.

  • What you give us via your blog is a wonderful gift. I liked it and visited just as often in the early–I assume simpler design (?)–days. It has always been attractive and appealing…because your writing, recipes and innate sense of style are. That’s what keeps us around and coming back for more.
    I say, fret less, enjoy more. I’ll bet anything that once you feel less pressure, your readers will enjoy it even more, just like you will.

  • Great blog and recipes. In your above comment you said “proofreading with all that coding around the words that makes it hard”. You can make your life easier by making labels for your headers, then write a simple parsing scheme such as using RegularExpressions to convert your text, links and images into html. Also, a good editor such as notepad++ can help with syntax highlighting. (maybe you know this already, just trying to help)

  • David
    I should have write long ago to say THANK YOU, because of you I got the courage to bake, cook and experiment in the kitchen, every recipe I have try was perfect and delicious, when my boyfriend seats for dinner he ask if the recipe came from Au Pif (his name for you) and he even start reading you.
    I don’t know if there are grammatical errors on your posts (English is my second language) all what I know is that if I read your post I will laugh, I will learn something new and if I follow the recipe there will be a GREAT dish at my table.
    All of this is to say I love what you do, the blog, books, your Facebook page and phone application.
    I think you and your recipes are perfect just the way you are. No substitutions are needed : )

  • Well, after skimming these comments, I guess you can stop worrying about perfection in the typo dept. and I think, as you so aptly pointed out yourself to a group once recently, your blog is about YOU and that is what people love and come back for. I know I do!

    I am so tech-averse and bogged down in trying to learn a new format right now that I am wondering if I should throw in the towel altogether and can’t rid myself of the perfectionist obsession that my blog looks bad–or it doesn’t look like I want it to. Luckily, I only have a few readers. (Too many is another problem/e.g. recipe questions oy vey!). Yet it never fails that when I am at the breaking point I get an encouraging e-mail from a friend (no comments, mind you, but enough to inspire.)

    So I hope you can go easier on yourself. The real charm here is you and for readers, following along with what inspires and interests you. It’s a little like taking a peek at the inside of someone’s house. People are curious and enjoy going for the ride, wherever it might take them, especially since it is not the one they would take themselves. It’s not always about the recipes!!

  • What you’re doing cleaning up the blog is a lot more demanding than my spring cleaning project – attacking the attic. It’s (it IS!) a treat to read your blog and it was a treat to read how many people do so regularly and with joy. I hope you feel really, really validated today.

  • Count me in the “threw thick and thin” column.

  • David, please go have some caramel ice cream at Berthillon and eat an extra scoop for me!
    I love your blog and will love it no matter what changes you make.. as long as you keep writing about what you love!

  • David, I’m happy to proofread for you, for free. You are a great writer, and anything that can make your prose shine even brighter seems worthwhile to me. I’ll happily turn it around in less than a day. Just let me know. Try it once, and see if you think it’s worth it.

  • Keep it coming! I look forward to all of your stories and living vicariously through you!

  • Thanks for your generosity in sharing all that you do here David, it’s always so entertaining and informative …
    Found a newish store specializing in international products (from 80 differnent countries apparently) with a resto too called Ethnic Angel. It’s right near Chartier.
    Hope you enjoyed the glorious spring day !
    Bonne continuation with the blog and looking forward to more of your fantastic posts.

  • [i don't expect to see this posted, just wanted to send some info]
    hey david-

    been trying to keep up with your great blog for a while now…

    just an idea- i’ve got a couple blogs that i run as well. they’re not terribly well trafficked, but they were getting their fair share of comment spam.

    i noticed that you’re running your blog on wordpress and, if i may, i’d recommend a plugin/comment service called disqus. i think the spam-bots prey on comments sections that don’t require any additional steps like captcha or entering the comment in another window (like disqus).

    disqus is free and, if you’re so inclined, you can do your comment moderation on your phone or on their site or your own. you could just google them and find out more.

    just thought i’d pass that along…

    take care!
    scott

  • oh boy david isn’t that funny about the reader comments/questions. Jjust today i got an email from someone asking if i had a good goat cheese brownie recipe. I didn’t want to tell them I hate goat cheese but rather said to try your cheesecake brownies with goat cheese. LOL I think that was a good idea? Yes?

  • I love your blog! Personally, I’d much rather that you have more great times and then write about it then spending all that time proofread the blog post again and again.

    I’ve started/kept/ended a couple blogs and the spam is a pain. Have you tried asking for word verification when posting comments? that should cut down on the spam.

  • As a tart whose crust isn’t perfect, I say publish and be damned – and make haste for Berthillon and that scoop of caramel ice cream.

  • Dave.. Your blog is so grand; so honest !!! Don’t sweat the small stuff… Keep on, keeping on. We love it !!!