brown butter tart

(Hello! Yes, I’m still in D.C., and yes, I still don’t have Internet. This is a little something I worked up for you in my absence, because I knew I’d miss you. Enjoy!)

When you decide to start a blog, there are a lot of things no one tells you. Like how you’ll learn to be simultaneously embarrassed and proud of this thing that bears your name and can be read by anyone. When talking to new people, and the subject of blogging comes up—you won’t know whether to admit you have one or to clear your throat and change the subject. At its worst, blogging is open diary or bland narrative. But at its best, writing your thoughts down will start to feel like talking to an old friend. You’ll actually look forward to sitting down at the computer screen, organizing your memories, and by extension your life, into a few paragraphs of type. When things are gray —as they are often for me—putting them into black and white can be a great kind of therapy.

Of course, therapy was never meant to be read by the world. And therein lies the problem.

When I started this blog, I think 14 or so people read it. Total. Even that was a little strange, as they were all my friends, and I’d see them sometimes and not know if I should ask them about it or wait for them to bring it up. Now, hundreds of you read it every day, and I have no idea who you are, but for those of you who leave comments from time to time or send me e-mails.

It seems a little one-sided, you know? You read about my family and my weekends and my botched artichokes, and I don’t know very much about you but that you’re nice enough to stop by.

Let’s do something about that, OK?

I have a few ideas.

(1) You could leave a comment on this post, complete with a link to your own blog if you’d like, and tell me a little bit about you. I’d love it.

(2) If you’re not ready to comment, you could shoot me an e-mail: I read every one.

(3) For everyone who’s interested, I’ve created a little online survey and you’d make me so happy if you’d take it. Click Here to take survey.

When I get back from my trip, I look forward to knowing you better while I tell you all about the cherry blossoms and statue of Abe Lincoln and, well, whatever else ends up being wonderful. Thanks for reading. You’re great.

P.S. – That photo? It’s of a brown butter tart, which, unfortunately, looked a lot better than it tasted. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. DrDomestic

    Hi There! I thought I’d leave a comment since you asked so nicely for one! I too have a food/gardening blog and I’m probably in the beginning stages you were a while back where I have less than 20 readers. I’d like to hope that people that stop by will come back but I never know! One thing I always wonder about is whether to blog my failures or not. Do people find this helpful or just tedious?

    Anyway, great blog, I’m a new reader and found you via Twitter this morning. Isn’t technology mind-blowing sometimes?

  2. Jacqui

    i took the survey. fun idea! hope you’re having a good time in d.c.; can’t wait to see your photos. :)

    Happy Jack Eats

  3. Su-Lin

    Taking the survey now. And my name above should link to my blog!

    Is a brown butter tart like a Canadian butter tart?

  4. The Duo Dishes

    Just stumbled upon your blog one day and kept coming back. You’ve got great writing, and your photos are nice to look at. We’ve been cooking forever but just started blogging last Nov. Put simply, it’s fun to do. We’re just two kids who love to cook, and that’s it. And it’s great to support others who are doing the same. Check us out if you’re so inclined…!

  5. pete

    hey, hope you’re enjoying DC! where are you planning on eating while you’re here?

  6. Kasey

    Hi Shannalee, I’ve been reading your blog since I started following you on Twitter. Love your writing and your photos. If you’re interested in learning more about me and what I love (and do on the weekends), check out my blog and food + music:

  7. Chessa!

    what a perfect post for me to leave my first comment in a loooong while to you on:) I’ve been silently enjoying your posts for a weeks now and trying some of your recipes. I felt the same way about blogging when I first started but it’s so great for the feelings to evolve and for the place to change as you find your “voice” no?

  8. Molly

    I’ve been reading since we started following each other on Twitter, actually. I occasionally nipped by when my roommate pointed out recipes you’d posted, but seeing you on Twitter regularly was what brought me in as a regular reader.

    I have a blog that I don’t update frequently, and it’s mostly become a food and photography blog recently.

  9. Caitlin

    What a neat idea – I agree though, people don’t really tell you what to expect with a food blog. For the longest time, no one I knew outside of the internet knew about mine. Now that they do, it feels a little odd, but I guess I’m getting used to it :)

  10. maris

    So true!

    And that’s a great picture, whatever it is I want the recipe. Feel free to visit my blog and let me know what you think :) My about me page pretty much sums up my life in a nutshell!

  11. Hannah

    Hey Shanna! I understand the one-sided thing. I LOVE when people comment and tell me what they think, etc. I’m going to do your survey.

    By the way, I’m holding a giveaway over on my blog, it’s up till wednesday. I thought you might like to enter.

  12. Emily

    Hi there,
    I am one of your lurkers who originally found you when searching for recipes which included pumpkin!
    I have completed your survey & now found you on twitter!
    Have a great time in DC,
    ~ Emily.

  13. Zo

    Heya, Zo here, I fell in love with your blog when I caught the cupcake post and it finally dawned on me that there are others out there who fall prey to high expectations! If it cheers you up at all, then the last like ten picture-laden posts I’ve planned have all turned out really average meals which I just couldn’t bring myself to post!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. carolyn

    hey, i’m carolyn and i found your blog after some other blogger recommended it as one to really sit down with and enjoy. and it definitely is! so thanks!

  15. Jessica

    That tart looks amazing! My name is Jessica, I live in Chicago and blog at

    I found your blog after you commented on mine and I love your photography!

  16. raych

    Hey! I came across your blog because I’ve only just recently discovered food blogs. I love baking, but I don’t do it consistently enough to start my own. Besides, I have a book review blog (which is how I got into the idea of blogging communities in the first place) at AND a personal blog, which really just serves to let my mom know that I’m still not dead, and that’s enough bloggering for me.

    A quick response to Dr Domestic: TOTALLY blog your failures. It lets the rest of us know that you’re human, and also that corn oil does not equal corn syrup and will result in burnt and granully caramel corn.

  17. DrDomestic

    Raych- Duly noted. Guess I should have blogged the one where I burned the crap out of some turkey hash b/c I thought it’d be clever to add a bit of water to help “steam” the potatoes (to make them cook faster) and ended up pulling out a lot of starch, which proceeded to turn to solid carbon on the bottom of my dutch oven. Had to use 3 DIFFERENT pots that night b/c I burned it multiple times! How embarrassing.

  18. Gemma

    Glad to know it isn’t just me who suffers from blog embarassment. My family only know about it because I accidentally sent my sister a link. My boyfriend makes up for it by telling all his friends but I haven’t told anyone I work with – quite strange really. Anyway life has gotten in the way on blog writing and reading recently (sorry) but going to post properly this evening.

  19. ingrid

    Hello, I’m ingrid from 3B’s…baseballbakingandbooks. I’ve commented before but now its official! :)

  20. Shannalee

    Your responses, here and at the survey, were so much fun to read. Thanks for participating and letting me get to know you!

    Su-Lin – I have never made a Canadian butter tart, so I’m not sure. Also, my version of this brown butter tart wasn’t exactly, well, right… so I’m not sure about that either!

    Pete – Oh, we ate well. Very well. I am jealous of you and your D.C. location.

  21. postcollegecook

    “When things are gray —as they are often for me—putting them into black and white can be a great kind of therapy.”

    I completely relate to that, Shannalee, and you said it so well!

    For me the most embarrassing part about blogging is that it’s sort of part of my job… so potentially all of my coworkers read it.

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