Something really unexpected happened while I was in Europe for two weeks…I won an award.
Coming from someone whose greatest life achievements include winning most valuable player on her 4th grade slowpitch softball team and being voted “Most Likely to Be on A Reality TV Show” by her high school, this is kinda big. Because as much as these awards make great drunk fodder at the bar on a Friday night, they aren’t exactly the types of things I can put on a resume much less things that will get me to the Olympics or even a callback from the producers of Survivor.
And so, when I sat down for breakfast in the cold, open-air halls of London’s St. Pancras Station last Monday morning and opened my phone to find a slew of messages congratulating me on winning “Best Writing Voice” in the 2011 Foodbuzz Blog Awards, I sat dumbfounded.
“I won,” I mumbled to my parents in disbelief. “I won that blog award I was nominated for.”
Amidst the congratulatory excitement from Mama + Daddy E and immediate scurrying to catch our train to Paris, I have to admit that while I felt happy and honored and unexpectedly touched that so many of you actually voted for me, what I really felt was validated.
You see…for much of my life, my family and friends have always told me I am a good writer. I am not sure if it started with the handmade books I typed out and bound together with construction paper and ribbon in elementary school that were filled with stories about a contentious figure skating competition in which my novel’s heroine fought against seemingly impossible odds to win the gold medal with a perfect set of 6.0s or if it was my travel blog from Thailand that made people take notice of this talent that I never believed I possessed.
What I do know is that I am dumb and pig-headed, and so as soon as people started telling me I should become a writer, my don’t-tell-me-what-to-do-because-I-know-what’s-best-for-me self decided I would pursue anything in life but that.
I traveled. I contemplated grad school. I worked dead-end jobs. My idea for future career paths changed daily depending on what TV show I happened to be watching that day – on The Bachelor Mondays, I would forget about a job and marry rich; on American Idol Tuesdays, I wanted to hire a voice coach to become the next Kelly Clarkson, on Project Runway Wednesdays, I was going to be a fashion designer; on Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays, I pondered going to medical school; and on Saturday Night Live weekends, I had myself convinced I could and would be as funny as Tina Fey.
And then about 2 1/2 years ago, I started this blog.
Slowly over the proceeding weeks and months and eventually years, I rediscovered through food that it is in words and phrases and sentences and punctuation and the stringing together of sounds and syllables that I am best able to express my truest self.
While I talk (ahem, a lot), writing provides me with an outlet where I can create stories and characters and feelings and emotions that me running my big ol’ mouth will never provide.
Writing is a path I am now pursuing. I’ve sought out freelance work. I’m constantly writing things down…whether it be a few sentences, a poem or just a word I heard that captured my attention (word of the day today: loquacious). And when I received the Foodbuzz award, I finally felt like I could actually call myself a writer.
Thank YOU for giving me that.
Thank YOU for voting.
Thank YOU for reading this blog and providing me with a safe space to express myself.
I would love to give each and every one of you a hug, but I’m hoping that since Internet hugs can get totally awkward, a delicious cookie will do.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup flour*
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*I used a 50-50 whole wheat/white flour blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make brown butter, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue heating – butter will become foamy and eventually, small brown speckles will appear on the bottom of the pan. Cook until butter is a rich, light brown color. Pour into a bowl, and place back in the refrigerator to solidify.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift flour, soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together brown sugar, sugar and solidified brown butter. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla etract. Mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and fold in wet ingredients until dough comes together. Fold in chocolate chips. On a cooking sheet, scoop generous 1-inch sized rounds onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown.
Makes 2 dozen cookies