Cajun Chef Ryan Considered
||The Project Food Blog Challenge championed by Foodbuzz is an exciting adventure, and it is great to be a part of this opportunity along with the online foodie blogger community. Having started the Cajun Chef Ryan (CCR) blog in May of 2008; it has grown into something more than ever imagined over just two years ago. And with this post, I hope to convey the uniqueness of the CCR blog, what set’s it apart from other food blogs, and why I have what it takes to be the next food blog star. Moreover, coming up with what describes me as a food blogger with just over 29 months of blog history, I decided to find out for myself what illustrates the Cajun Chef Ryan blog.|
|The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” so lets go back and see what CCR has been up to for the past few years to understand our story.
Looking back, the CCR blog has evolved from a quiet little place where original recipes from my bygone era in the restaurant business get documented and recorded for preservation, and today, where we share a world of cuisine. The CCR blog is also a place for home cooks and foodies alike; they join in comment, and share their own piece of culinary history through guest blog posts. Over the short period in existence, the CCR blog has added over 300 posts, with 6 pages, in 71 categories, including over 1,335 tags, has accumulated over 3,100 approved comments, and gathered a legion of fellow foodie friends and family from social networking sites including Foodbuzz, Stumble Upon, Cook Eat Share, BloggerAid, Facebook, and many others.
However, the CCR blog is so much more than just the collection of posts and comments; it is a location and tool for preserving my culinary and cultural heritage. It is a place to share my world of cuisine. It is a setting for learning more about myself and continuing to grow in my writing and photography abilities. It is a community where I have met many new like-minded folk from around the world, who also enjoy the finer pleasures of gastronomy. I blog for many motivations, one of which is to find and meet new friends who share experiences with food, family, and friends, another is to share my twenty one plus years of experience and knowledge base accumulated from my restaurant era.
I actually started cooking at home at age thirteen, and my passion for food and edible ingredients is still unbounded. For example, figs are one of those ingredients that just does it for me, I melt when I find them fresh and ripe for the eating. We had two fig trees in our back yard, one would produce four times as much as the other, guess it was the age, or orientation to the planets. Walking out the back door and picking a dozen or more figs at a time and just throwing them in, savoring the sun kissed warmth of summer succulence, nature appreciated. The sweet natural sugars and fig juices squeezed with every pinch off the tree, creating a mouthful of earthly delight, divine rich flavors from Gods creation, fruits of the earth, nourishment for the body, pleasures for the mind, and spirits for the soul.
I am lucky to tolerate just about any foods and ingredients, knock on wood! However, I have a vast appreciation for those who are not so fortunate. In fact, I spent over seven years of my restaurant career in the health care field in the capacity of chef, then director of food and nutrition, and I can tell you that there are plenty of dietary guidelines that require specific challenges with each plan. Food is so much about experiences, good or bad, and sharing them with those you love.
Celiac disease is just one of those intolerant food illnesses, which I came to know well in the late 1970′s when my father was diagnosed with the illness. At the time my mother and I were on a baking binge and producing loaves of whole wheat, double cracked wheat berry, and rye breads in huge amounts. My dad would eat a loaf of bread a night, we did not know it then, but our bread baking was making him sick. After ten days in the hospital and in great pain, the doctors discovered that the cilia in the lining of his intestines were swollen up so much; he could not absorb any nutrients. A biopsy of the intestinal lining confirmed the illness. My dad to this day maintains a gluten free diet, and it is personal stories like this that I continue to share through the CCR blog.
You would think that with a blog entitled Cajun Chef Ryan, that all you would find is Cajun inspired recipes. Not so, in fact, while the name contains “Cajun”, and I am a Cajun, I enjoy a world of cuisine, and this is why my blog description “Feeling and sharing a world of cooking, more than your average Cajun” stands at the masthead of the CCR blog. Is Cajun Chef Ryan all about Cajun Cooking? The CCR blog is Cajun, but whole lot more! In the 300 plus blog postings, only 39 are listed in the Cajun category.
In all considerations, it is humbling how much CCR has accomplished looking at where we have been, and now making a difference for tomorrow.
As the motivational speaker Krish Dhanam says, “You are not responsible for your heritage, but you are accountable for your future.” You may not get to choose your parents, but what you make of your life is entirely up to you.
Continuing to enjoy a world of cuisine, one fork full at a time!