Sunday, October 18, 2009

My 1,000th Post — But, really, who’s counting?

If Blogger is correct, this is officially my 1,000th post. (I guess I could click on my archives and count, but I’ll take their word for it.)

Yes, I can’t believe it myself. One thousand posts made up of more than 220 restaurant reviews, about 170 recipes, more than 132 trips to stores that I shared, nearly 80 recaps of “Top Chef” and “The Next Food Network Star,” and countless other interviews, video demos, cupcake love notes, and peeks into my frig. No wonder I’m always so tired.

This 1,000th post comes just a few weeks after I marked my blog’s three-year birthday. When I started, I thought I’d post maybe two or three times a week, so I didn’t expect to reach the 1,000 milestone so soon. But you’ve turned me into this obsessive posting machine, always wanting to put up something new to keep you guys happy and returning for more. So I hold you partly to blame for my prolific nature. ;-)

I tried to think of something significant to do for this 1,000th post. But I couldn’t come up with anything that grand to match the occasion. (You know, if I were a TV show I’d be in syndication.) So I decided, like usual, to just go with what’s on top of my head. Instead of just free-styling it, I decided to do it in one of my interview formats. So basically, I’m interviewing myself, which as a Single Guy isn’t that unusual since I’m constantly talking to myself. I just hope I can open up.

The following are edited excerpts of my conversation.

Single Guy: So can you believe it? 1,000 posts?

No, I can’t. I guess it just means I really love writing for this blog. Or maybe I just don’t know how to self-edit.

SG: Do you plan to keep up this pace? 1,000 posts in three years is kind of a lot.

Awhile back, I thought maybe I should slow down. Because, really, coming up with posts, then processing the photos to go with them, do take up a lot of time. I’m practically working on my laptop every night as I’m watching TV. I post about three to four times a week, and I thought I should drop back to maybe two to three times a week. But then I always find something I really want to talk about, and then I start getting a backlog of post ideas, so then I just end up throwing them up on the blog.

SG: People forget that you have a day job. And it’s not related to cooking.

Yes, this is just a side thing for me. I work full time in corporate communications, but this blog has been my way to creatively express myself in ways I can’t really do at work.

SG: What’s the best thing about having this blog?

Oh, so much. For one, it’s really given me a purpose. Before I never knew what to do with my weekends, but now I think, “oh, I should go out and find something to blog about.” And it’s given me a reason to go out and try a new restaurant. I used to hate dining alone, but now I have a reason to because I’m going to blog about it.

Second, it’s connected me to a community. Through my blog I’ve met people who also love food, and I’ve heard from readers or people who post comments, and that interaction is something that makes me feel like I’m part of something.

SG: What’s the worst thing about having the blog?

It would have to be the haters. I give people credit for being passionate about their beliefs and their opinions, but I’m a sensitive guy [awww] so I really do take the comments I read personally. So on the few occasions, and luckily it’s only been just a few times, when some anonymous person dumps on me or gives me some snarky, back-handed insult, it’s depressing. It makes me kind of sad knowing a stranger feels comfortable putting down someone they totally don't know.

There were a few times when I felt like I wanted to stop blogging because a comment made me so upset. I’m all for free speech, which is why I don’t require approval before a comment gets posted, but I think there’s a difference between expressing an opinion and just attacking someone. Readers don’t always see the full onslaught because I delete the really hateful comments. But since I have to read it first in order to decide to delete it or not, then it sticks with me, you know?

SG: So comments get to you?

B: Actually, I love comments. And I wish there were more comments on my posts because it makes me realize people are interested in what I posts. It’s my way to gauge what kind of posts you like reading. It’s just the hateful anonymous posts that I don’t like. In reality, a lot of the really hateful comments are to my cooking demos that I post on YouTube. I spend so much time blocking users on that site.

I do want to take this time, though, to give a shout out to my readers who consistently post comments, people like Foodhoe, Food Gal, Hungry Dog, Mrs. L, and Cookie. It really means a lot to me that you take the time to share your thoughts, even if it’s just a thumbs up because it lets me know that you like what you read. When I first started, I had no comments, and then this guy Seth started posting (and my friend, David, too but I told him to post). I realize readers come and go, and I haven’t seen a post from Seth for a long time. But if he’s still out there, I want to give him a hug for being one of my first commenters!

SG: Back to the point about YouTube, why do you post there if you get such hateful comments?

I treat it like a hosting server for my videos. Now that Blogger allows you to upload videos, I’ve thought of just doing it here on my blog. But even with all the negative people on YouTube, there’s also been a lot of new viewers who enjoy my videos and probably wouldn’t discover my blog if it weren’t for my YouTube channel. I have about 30 videos up and so far they’ve been viewed a total 208,000 times.

SG: That’s a lot. Which video is the most popular?

At first I thought it was the one where I made the spam musubi (more than 40,000 views) but when I last checked it was the one where I killed a live crab (58,500 views).

SG: So your blog is called “Cooking With The Single Guy,” but you haven’t actually been cooking that often lately. Or at least you haven’t been posting recipes.

When I started the blog, I figured I’d post a recipe a week. And my thing was posting simple recipes that single people who are cooking for themselves could easily make, especially after coming home from work. But after the first year, I went through my repertoire of recipes that I rely on as a single guy. I still cook a lot for myself, but it’s just I’m cooking the same recipes I’ve already posted. I’m hoping in the future to get back to posting more recipes. What I’m doing is thinking of past things I ate growing up and putting my own spin on them, or being inspired by ingredients I find or dishes I eat at restaurants. But yeah, I’m definitely going to get back in the test kitchen.

SG: What are your standbys that you’re always making?

B: When I don’t know what I feel like eating, I know I can always make paella and that gets me happy. There’s something about the paella rice that’s so hearty and comforting to me, and I love the flavors. You can just create your own paella by throwing whatever you have in the frig and then adding maybe chorizo or pimenton. So I make that often.

When I come home from work, I eat salmon often and would either steam it with black bean sauce or glaze it. Other dishes I make often are mapo tofu, spaghetti and meatball, or a stir-fry. When it’s in season, I love making my peaches and pork stir fry and sometimes if I remember I’ll make my sticky chicken. I have to make a point to make that dish because you have to marinade the chicken pieces ahead of time.

SG: People think you eat pretty healthy because you’re always writing about how you don’t eat deep-fried foods or fatty dishes like foie gras. But I know you’re not perfect. So what are some of your food vices?

Well, it’s true I don’t drink sodas and I never go to fast-food places like McDonald’s. But I admit that I’ll sometimes go to KFC, mostly because I love their cole slaw. I peel the skin off the original-flavored chicken before eating them. And also when I’m out and about and can’t decide where to eat, I’ll sometimes resort to Panda Express because I do like their orange chicken even though I know they deep-fry it first before smothering it in the orange glaze. (Foodhoe, my secret’s out so now you can’t blackmail me! I did a Letterman! Ha!)

SG: What’s the question people seem to always ask you?

People always ask me about the name of my blog and what I’m going to do when I’m not single any more, whether I’ll change the title. I tell them that I don’t know because I don’t know if people will find me if I changed my URL or name, plus now I’ve built up some equity being the Single Guy.

SG: Um, I’m the Single Guy.

You know what I mean.

SG: So why are you still single?

B: That’s kind of personal, don’t you think?

I think people want to know. I mean, you’re getting older and you’re still single. What’s the deal? I would think you’d find someone, especially since you like to cook, and they say the path to someone’s heart is through the stomach.

B: Is this leading anywhere?

Yes, why aren’t you dating?

B: I don’t really like this line of questioning.

Do you have something to hide?

B: I don’t think it’s any of your business. In fact, I think we’re done. This interview is OVER.

Awwwk. Waaard.

So this is the point where I couldn’t get myself to continue the interview, and boy, was it quiet around my apartment when I wasn’t talking to myself for three days! But eventually I came around and while I never really finish the interview, I am open to answering any of your questions. So if you have any additional questions you want to ask, just post a comment. I’ll be happy to answer them, except the one about why I’m not dating! And thanks everyone for visiting my blog and coming back regularly. I hope you enjoy reading my next 1,000 posts!


Nate @ House of Annie said...

Oh my gosh, this is too funny.

And congratulations on getting to 1K posts! We've been around almost 3 years but have only 400+.

But I get the line about "I should go out and find something to blog about." Because I do it every day as well.

egg to the apples said...

What an accomplishment! Congratulations on your 1,000th post. I love your blog and the dedication that you show toward a hobby that we both hold dear, food. Keep up the good work, it is always nice to have something new to read multiple times during the week. At this rate, I won't hit 1,000 posts for about 6 or 7 years...


Palidor said...

Congratulations on your 1000th post! That is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. And you're so cute, interviewing yourself! ;-)

Julie said...

Thanks for all your posts!! They're great and I always look forward to them.

Hungry Dog said...

Congratulations! That is a huge accommplishment--not just doing so many posts but doing so many GREAT posts! I really enjoy your blog. I am surprised and dismayed to hear you have had any unkind comments...what kind of a*hole would bother to post something negative? Anyway, there are clearly many more lovers than haters of your blog--keep up the good work!

Kim said...

One of your best posts ever!

foodhoe said...

Wow you certainly have been prolific - congratulations! I don't know how you do it, I can barely keep up just reading everything... but I'm glad you still have that sense of humor. Dang, the last few comments were really cracking me up, especially when you gave yourself the silent treatment. Here's to many many more!

julie k said...

1,000 posts! Yay for you, and your readers! I check every day to see if there is a new post because your writing style is so good, you make me smile. Also love the F&W recipe blogs....

suenjca said...

wow -- 1000!! And each post is so well written and beautifully photographed. Your blog is part of my daily "must-read" and so happy to have taken part in a few of your reviews. Keep up the GREAT work SGC!!

Karen said...

No haters here - only love! Great work and looking forward to (at least) 1,000 more posts! And maybe meeting you in person on of these days. Karen Tran

bethh said...

wow, welcome to the quadruple digits!

here's s non-cooking photo essay idea: do a photo shoot of your fridge! I just checked out one of your videos (the curry one) and am curious about all the magnets


Single Guy Ben said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! It makes it so worthwhile! Keep em coming! ;-)

Beth, I love that idea! I'm a big magnet person, as you noticed with your eagle eyes! I think I'll work on that post for next week!

Unknown said...

Congratulations on the 1000 posts!

Carolyn Jung said...

This is hilarious -- rather Sybil-like, too.

Congrats on a huge achievement. One thousand posts is definitely worth a bow. Hear, hear! ;)

agent713 said...

Congratulations on 1000 posts Ben! I don't blame you for not talking to The Single Guy. He seems pretty nosey LOL Actually the title was one of the first things that attracted me to your blog (being single myself).

I'm close to 1000 posts (in four years) but they're not nearly the quality of yours. Still, I love reading your posts and I aspire to be like you :)

Mrs. L said...

And I think I've read every 1000 posts! When I first started actually cooking, your blog was one of the first I made something from. I have always enjoyed reading about your travels. I've bookmarked places you've eaten so that if I'm in the area I can try them out. And after a month of not checking out food blogs, The Single Guy was one of the first blogs I came back to. I'm looking forward to another 1000 posts...which you'll post within two years this time right? Wahahahah. And I LOVE Spam Musubi!

Jenster said...

Congrats on your 1000th post! We should order you a little trophy or wall plaque, don't you think?

Boo to the haters. Plese don't let them discourage you. I think, for the haters, being them is punishment enough.

BTW, The Single Guy turned into my Chinese mother near the end of the interview. If he starts lecturing you about having kids or reminding you that a dog is not the same as a real child, let me know and I'll tell my mother to go home.

Single Guy Ben said...

Jenster! Ha! That is funny. I am like a Chinese mom sometimes! ;-)

Thanks again everyone for the good vibes!

Chris C said...

Wow, I should really get around to reading this more often.

And for the record, you are totally like a Chinese mother! I had no idea that you were that popular on youtube for that crab episode (which I very much enjoyed) and I can't believe those idiots commenting on it.... But that aside, congratulations! Here's to many more.