I'd like to say that Exploring Food My Way started out as a fully-formed, mature concept that suddenly burst forward from my brain one day with fame and fortune to follow shortly thereafter. A more accurate representation would be that this blog turned out to be a destination of merged ideas rather than a single departure. I'm still waiting for the fame and fortune to materialize.
I had actually been reviewing restaurants for quite some time prior to starting my own blog. Frustrated with the fact that very few people seemed to be doing honest, critical reviews of restaurants anymore, I turned to Yahoo reviews. While I initially felt some level of satisfaction with the reviews I wrote, the problem I had with the reviewing process at Yahoo was that it limited my ability to do the kind of thorough reviews that I preferred.
Reviews were limited to a fixed number of characters, no photographs could be included, there was a question in my mind as to who owned the content that I submitted, and the most vexing of all the limitations was that only one review could be written per restaurant. As I continued to write more reviews and participate in the reviewing process, I began to get the sense that I needed to seek out a medium with a little more generality to fully express my ideas. At around the same time, a friend of mine had begun a blog dedicated to writing about her adventures in food, and with the freedom that the blogging format offered, it became apparent that it might match my reviewing needs quite well.
If you've read a number of my blog posts where I talk about baking bread, it is clear that the subject has more than just a passing interest with me. I have a passion for good bread and in the process of trying to figure out what good bread should be, I decided to not only self- educate through reading and doing, but also sought out the help of many amazing teachers to guide me along the way, too. To that end, I started my first food blog, Breads My Way, as a way to document my experiences through that specific world.
After creating my bread blog, it essentially sat dormant for about four months. It wasn't that I had lost interest, but due to work commitments, I just didn't have the time to bake and write about it. But still I felt the itch to write about something, even if it wasn't about bread. In mid-December 2008, still frustrated with the limitations of Yahoo's review process, I decided that since I had an unused blog just sitting here gathering dust, I'd go ahead and publish a restaurant review here and there, while convincing myself that most of my entries would still be about bread.
As it turned out, I ate out at restaurants far more often than baked bread and before you knew it, four months had gone by and I had written quite a few reviews on restaurants and no posts on bread. Around March 2009, I began to look at visitor statistics that I had gathering and realized that my little dog and pony show was actually getting read by people around the world. Not a lot of people, mind you, but enough that I began to think that perhaps a rebranding was in order to better align the blog with the topic on which I had been spending a lot of time. Not wanting to rebrand more than once, I gave it a fairly good amount of thought and finally came up with the idea of changing the title from "Breads My Way" to "Exploring Food My Way". While the former lent itself to a fairly specific slant on food, the latter gave me the freedom to write about anything food-related, including bread.
In mid-May 2009, I launched the new site, ported over all my existing entries from Breads My Way, and for about a four week period, maintained both blogs in parallel. On June 15, 2009, I officially cut off Breads My Way, turned off the ability to leave comments, and left a number of links pointing from the old blog to the new. Even now, I still get anywhere from 2-10 page loads on a daily basis on Breads My Way, a dormant site that hasn't been updated for more than a year. Fortunately, I brought all my previous readers with me when I made the switch and since then have added even more.
On August 25, 2010, I posted my 250th restaurant review. Looking back over the past twenty months, I realize what an incredible journey I have undertaken. I've met some remarkable people along the way, some of whom are now personal friends. I've seen my blog grow from getting 5 or 10 readers in one day to over 500 on the day that an article was published about me and the blog in the Akron Beacon Journal. I don't know where I'll be a year from now, but hopefully I'll have another 100+ reviews for you to work your way through. At the very least, I'll be well fed.