Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Greetings my friends... 

So, I have a question for you foodies... Do you have to make your own birthday cake, or do you GET to make your own cake???

This year, I got to.

Look close, it could be a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with sauce.  In reality, it's a Red Velvet Chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.

But, Gonna save that post for another day this week.  As promised, I am going to fill my regulars in on what I have been up to for the last few months and what I have planned.

As always, it is a long story.  I have been retired for the last 8 years.  I was fortunate enough to be in a position in my life where I could have stayed happily retired, played on-line poker and cooked for the rest of my life.  I have not been actively looking for another business to open (this makes my fourth run at self employment).  But, after a lifetime spent looking for opportunities, it's just habit to ponder the possibilities.

So, a funny thing happened a few months ago.  I found a nitch that is not being filled in a hobby I have grown to love.  In all of my former businesses, I have absolutely loved what I was doing.  Good times, bad times, ups and downs of owning a business, I always looked forward to the next day.

That's how I now feel about food, cooking and blogging.  Everyday is just as much fun and a challenge as the day I started.  I am never going to be the next Food Network star, never going to have a column in Food & Wine, never going to have a cook book for sale, never want to cater or open a restaurant (now that takes a fire in your belly, much harder than it sounds, much bigger risk than you can imagine).  But I know that by being a blogger, I eat better, not just taste, but health as well.  Before I started blogging, I was a mess.  Bad health numbers, but worst was my quality of life.  Asthma was robbing me of mobility.  The writing was on the wall.

But it is more than just a personal issue.

America is facing a health crisis.  Allergies in all forms are becoming more and more common.  Obesity is drastically on the rise.  Our economy is facing crisis after crisis that economists never predicted just a decade ago.  Politicians can not stop themselves from tossing money at every problem hoping that something will make us a growing nation again.  The writing is on the wall.

Any new business needs to look at trends.  Come in with a good idea when that good idea is needed by more people next year than this year will be a success.  Chasing last years' trend, no matter how good of an idea will always leave you second tier.

So, here's what I see...

In talking with many NON-cooks, I am finding that there is a desire, but little knowledge.  those of you that learned cooking at your mother's knees are being replaced by a generation that did not spend the time in the kitchen with Mom.  Some of us thought we were doing our daughters a favor.  With the growth of equal rights, pay and opportunities for women, we encouraged academic over domestic skills.  And that's a good thing.  But, balancing success outside the home with inside the home has never been more difficult.

There is a Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times".  Well, our times are getting more and more interesting every day.  Gas prices will reach $4 a gallon this year.  Maybe more.  Assuming everything stays the same, that means we are going to have less disposable income than we expected at the start of the year.  Combine that with inevitable price increases to follow on everything that is delivered, and most families in America face the very real probability that we will have less spending power for the foreseeable future. 

And finally, play a game.  Ask your non-cooking friends and neighbors how many cook books they own.  Most have an old Joy of cooking or Betty Crocker, but most stop there.  Most people do not subscribe to Food and Wine, Food Network or even Better homes and Gardens.  Books and magazine sales are dropping to nearly below break even points for publishers (remember Gourmet Magazine, it did not stop publishing because of it's success).  While we may look forward to every new cookbook, and already have a couple of shelves of cookbooks, "normal" people do not.  I hit a funny statistic a few months ago.  I now get more traffic to my site from search engines than from regular blog readers.  I have been around long enough that someone looking to cook a brisket is very likely to find my blog in a search.  As with most things, the internet has now replaced books (and Mothers) as a primary recipe source.

Having been a blogger, and a reader of over 100 different blogs each week, I know that most of us are spreading a new gospel.  Food can be affordable, healthy, a source of family unity and a source of pride.  And dare I say fun.  Food and my blog is all those things to me and more.  Read those last three paragraphs again.  Food blogs are becoming the place "normal" people are looking to for affordable, healthy, family oriented and exceptional recipes.  

We are the future.

We just have to make it easier for the searchers for the answers to find us (the bloggers of the answers).

In web terms, it's called a portal.  A place for links to be found.  It's not inventing the wheel, there are already at least 5 foodie portals out there that I participate in.  But after being a part of their community for over a year, and for looking them over closely for the last three months, I am going to take a shot at doing it better.

OK, I am getting long winded.  Tell you what, let me direct you to THE MOCK UP (actual site is being tested, and will not be live for another week).  I would appreciate any feedback you might have.  Roll around the pages, look over the submission guidelines.  Ponder a one stop "build your own" cookbook (where you can easily add recipes submitted, but also a place to add favorites that have not been submitted... one cookbook to replace all the files we keep).

So, here you go... It's called Cul de Sac Cuisine

Click the blue letters and take a look (then come back and drop me a personal email at YEARONTHEGRILL@Yahoo.com 
I would love to know what you think).


  1. Happy Birthday (belated?)... I saw that cake in the magazine and really want to make it....I have no reason to though...maybe Easter?

  2. Is it your birthday?? Happy Birthday! I am very impressed with your mock up site.

  3. Happy Birthday Dave! I too am of the variety that GET to make their own cake and yours sounds fabulous! Can't wait to hear more about it.

    I love this post that you've written. It's everything I think. And more. Cul De Sac Cuisine looks great!

  4. Happy Birthday Dave!!! The cake looks wonderful! :)
    I hope you have a great day & many happy blessings to come!
    I will hop over to Cul De Sac Cuisine and let you know what I think.
    Blessings, Catherine

  5. Dave, Happy Birthday. Smiles, if I want cake, I have to make it for myself, it's been that way since I first learned how to cook, so now, I go without cake.

    Your new site looks interesting. I'll certainly want to see how it develops.

  6. Happy birthday Dave...great looking cake!

    I agree that people just aren't being taught to cook anymore, so therefore I don't believe they can really take ecare of themselves. I wish you all the luck in your new endeavor.

    Going to check out your site now. :)

  7. Happy Birthday, cher! That cake looks divine and so original! And I just love your new site! Really wonderful and you did a great job! Cheers and best of luck!

  8. I checked in yesterday, but probably before you published this - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! No wonder I like you so much - another March birthday buddy (mine is St. Joseph's Day - March 19!)

    Off to check it out - good luck to you my friend! :D

  9. Happy Brithday! Love the cake,....
    I'll take a serious, closer look at your endeavor tomorrow.... Did you know I have a cooking website? ;-))

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVE! From me and all of the merry murderesses at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! Your Cul De Sac Cuisine looks like a wonderful place to visit! I'd love to be a part of it, and I'm sure my fellow mystery writing cooks would, too. We'll stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm raising a virtual glass of champagne to you for a very happy birthday! Wishing you and Jackie health, wealth, and most of all love...

    ~ Cleo
    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Happy birthday, Dave! I love your idea and commitment to food, health and making a difference!


  12. Happy Birthday! How did you know that I live on a cul de sac? :) Cul De Sac Cuisine sounds like a great idea...loop me in when you have a chance. elizabethspanncraig (at) gmail (dot) com.

  13. Happy birthday, Dave. What a great looking site. Very clear, very easy, great pictures. It feels organized. I like the idea of people being able to create an online cookbook. That's fun. Something they can refer to in the future. Nice.

    Enjoy the cake! Yum!


  14. Happy Birthday Dave. I will be back to take a look at Cul de sac Cuisine.

  15. Happy Birthday dude! The cake is a riot, nicely done.

    I'm glad to see your portal doesn't require the metadata that Google's newly announced recipe search does. That is going to wipe out traffic to sites like ours and only Food Network, Allrecipes, etc will get search traffic. Dammit.

  16. Late, I'm late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    And can I also say - What a fabulous new portal you have planned!! Wow, Dave. This is cool!
    I meant to drop by sooner, but I've been a little swamped -busy with one of those daughters who never learned to cook who happened to be home from college. LOL

    Wow, this is excellent news! Hope you had a wonderful celebration. Can't wait for more news of Cul de sac Cuisine!

  17. I like your blog, Dave! It is very interesting!
    I join this site like a member!
    keep up the good work!