The time has come to say farewell to A Good Eater. It makes me a little sad to do so as I have enjoyed writing for A Good Eater for 5 years. However, I am no longer doing what I set out to do when I began this blog—write about food in Maine from many different angles, from home cooking to eating in restaurants to visiting stores that feature local food to interviewing farmers. In other words, the Maine food scene.
Initially, I started out doing exactly what I had intended with A Good Eater. Clif and I traveled around the state, we ate, I cooked, I wrote. But then the Great Recession happened and with it came an increase in the cost of both food and fuel. Clif and I were affected in other ways, as many families were, and we had to adjust to living on a tighter budget. This meant staying closer to home—central Maine—and eating out only very occasionally. (I have watched with a kind of fascinated horror as the price of lunch has gone from, say, $6 to well over $10 and sometimes as much as $15. Dinner prices have become lunch prices.)
When it become clear that we could no longer travel around the state and sample food from various places—I must admit I loved doing this—I decided to focus on home cooking. After all, I cook supper nearly every single night. Supper at our house is not fancy, but it is tasty and nutritious, and it is almost always made from scratch. (Full disclosure: I do use Bertolli jarred sauce—tomato and basil.) In addition, I make bread, biscuits, muffins, and other baked goods.
For several years, I wrote about home cooking, coming up with new recipes at least once a week. However, I am more a generalist than a specialist, and as the years went by, I wanted to write about other things, too—community, people, living in place, social concerns, the environment. Slowly, almost stealthily, I began weaving these topics into A Good Eater, and I called them “digressions.”
Then one day not long ago I realized the digressions had pretty much taken over A Good Eater. Around the same time, I read a terrific book of nature essays—Field Notes from a Hidden City—by Esther Woolfson, who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her clear, lovely prose and her keen observations about animals and plants made me realize how much I wanted to write nature essays, too. I have always been interested in the natural world, and for me a happy afternoon is sitting on the patio and observing all the fluttering and buzzing around me. I love watching the seasons change and with it the coming and going of leaves and flowers. Over and over it happens, but it never grows stale or old for me. When it comes to nature, I always have a “beginner’s mind.”
Clearly, it was time to go in a different direction with blog writing, and I knew exactly what I wanted for a new name. It would be Notes from the Hinterland, the title of a column I wrote for Wolf Moon Journal, the magazine Clif and I published for 7 years. Notes from the Hinterland is a broad enough title to allow me to write about whatever I please—nature, community, people, social concerns, and, yes, even food. There is no reason why I can’t still post recipes when inspiration strikes. After all, when you live in Maine, you live in the hinterlands, and anything that happens around you is fair game.
www.agoodeater.com will continue online to provide access to existing articles. New posts will be made at www.notesfromthehinterland.com. Most of the Good Eater site will be moved to Notes From the Hinterland. I expect I will have to change things on Facebook, but I won’t be doing that for at least a week or two. Also, the blog itself might look a little different until everything is worked out.
So I bid a fond and sad farewell to A Good Eater. Not only has it been a good run, but I will always be a good eater. Now, onward to Notes from the Hinterland!