Sasasunakku has been one of the longest running and most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken. I stumbled by accident into the wormhole that is the foodblogosphere one weekend in 2009 and didn’t emerge for a week, it was a revelation to me that other people thought about food as much as I did; I literally read the entire archives of Smitten Kitchen, Orangette and The Wednesday Chef, and other food blogs too. I thought I could read them all! I had no idea. Though I wanted to start a food blog, I didn’t quite know how but for a girl that spent the first month or so of each year at school tearing out the pages of exercise books and copying them out again because they were never perfect enough, I think I leapt in with a fair amount of gusto – I remember how impatient I was to start, the feeling of anticipation that soon I would have my own little corner of the internet that I could arrange, just so.
I started off using a cookie-cutter WordPress template and graduated onto a self-hosted one that I designed in a haze of bad posture, excitement, confusion, lack of sleep and frustration, scouring the internet and friends’ brains for instructions. I got better at taking photos of food, or at least, less bad. I made videos. I did interviews. I made audio recordings of Japanese food onomatopoeia. I told my stories and met so many lovely people online and in real life. I posted religiously at least once a week. Sasasunakku took on a life of her own almost; I couldn’t believe how many people subscribed to the updates by email, RSS feed and Twitter – or the amount of spam that can get sent out to one blog in a day.
When I left Austria, I wasn’t sure of exactly what was waiting for me at home in New Zealand but I never thought Sasasunakku wouldn’t travel with me, that she was a time-and-place bound creature. I didn’t post for a while but, I told myself, I’m just settling in and things will get back to normal soon. When they didn’t, when the feeling of wanting to share the food I’d cooked and photograph it and write about it didn’t come back I felt – at the risk of sounding a little silly – bereft. I did post a few times – and it’s fitting that the last post I was seized with a desire to write was a review of Luisa Weiss’s “My Berlin Kitchen” because not only was she an inspiration to start Sasasunakku but also to move on. In a recent post she confessed there were so many things she wanted to say that didn’t necessarily fit the format she’d established there but she worried that readers wouldn’t like a departure from that and she just stayed away. As it turned out, we all clamoured to read anything she writes – recipes and photos are lovely but it was her voice we wanted more of. Though I don’t compare myself to her, the responses from her readers reminded me how supportive you have all been of everything I’ve dithered about, or worried about, or confessed.
I’d been away from New Zealand for nearly ten years when I got back last June. I’m quite a different person now than I was when I was 21 and moving around so often meant constant adaption as well as, if I’m honest, a way of leaving certain things I needed to work through in a box with my things at home.
It took me more than a year for my new blog to take shape out of the ether; I don’t mean literally – most of it was gestating in my head unbeknownst to me – but this past week I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of hours changing font colours and cutting and pasting bits of code and felt as happy as Larry. It feels so good to be creating again, to be writing not just for myself but for you, my silent reader (and you not so silent readers! Hi commenters and emailers!) spaces inbetween is much broader in scope than Sasasunakku – there will be food (of course!) but there will also be a stronger sense of the place that I am in – there are restaurant and bar reviews, cogitations on gender politics and food security and round-up posts of things that take my fancy. It’s a more confessional style of blog I suppose, than Sasasunakku but it’s still me. I really hope you’ll come along.