Post 23, Line 5

I’ve been tagged twice for this meme now, so I figure I’d better just do it already. Have you heard about it? The rules are: Dig into your blog’s archives and find the 23rd entry, the fifth line. Contemplate it; see what, if any, significance it holds, and write about it. Tag five more people to play.

The first person to hit me was Luisa, over at the ingenious and fun-to-read Wednesday Chef. I successfully procrastinated until I got hit again this week, by William at Never Trust a Skinny Chef, a blog I enjoy since, like my own, it’s divided between nifty food stories and thoughts about weight loss. So. It’s time. Monday will be Words to Eat By’s first anniversary (my, how time flies…), which made this sort of a fun exercise for me—I don’t often look back into the archives these days, since there’s just no time for such things.

My 23rd entry was intended to be the first in a series called “Adventures in Recipe Testing,” since I had just begun to participate in Leite’s Culinaria’s fun-sounding recipe testing program. Each month I’d get to choose from a list of recipes, prepare at least one following the instructions exactly, and fill out a report about the experience. I envisioned myself astounding Leite’s with my pristine prose, and being asked to write longer pieces for the site. Things didn’t exactly work out that way.

For my first effort, I prepared a time-consuming and fairly disastrous spanakopita. The fifth line of the entry: “You might ask how I came to need four and a half pounds of spinach.” While I can’t say that particular sentence is especially meaningful, it was ultimately indicative of my experience as a recipe tester—I was cooking things I’d never normally cook, which is good, but following a rigid, unfulfilling protocol, which is definitely bad. My second effort, a chocolate-swirl shortbread, didn’t turn out any better than the spinach pie, and after that life just got too busy to test recipes that sucked. Only a few weeks ago, in fact, I received a kindly worded, almost apologetic email from the woman who runs the recipe testing program, telling me that I’d been officially removed from their ranks. The reason: lack of participation. Let’s just say I didn’t cry myself to sleep that night.

As far as this meme goes, that post and the chosen line were pretty apt. They do encapsulate a little bit of what I want to get out of Words to Eat By: An excuse to try new things. An opportunity to write about food. And most of all, the chance to have fun doing it.

I’m not going to follow the rules of this meme exactly, because I have very mixed feelings about memes in general—and more specifically, about the “tag five people” part. Having watched a bunch of these blog-driven chain letters circulate in the last year, I’ve often felt left out as my favorite bloggers post their response to being tagged, and then tag five others (lovely, all of them, I’m sure) but not me. Frankly, I’d feel like I was in high school again, hearing the cool kids’ plans for the weekend, without ever being invited. So I’m not going to perpetuate it. If you haven’t been tagged yet, or if you have and haven’t yet written up your post, then go ahead and consider yourself tagged by me.

Yeah, I’m a bit of a spoilsport.