When Amelia from Z Tasty Life asked me if I wanted to take part in the project called My 7 Links and nominated me as part of her handing-off-of-the-baton to the next 5 bloggers, I was not only thrilled and excited but also very flattered that she thought of me.
So naturally, I could only jump at her 7 Link invitation and say Sì, grazie with my most energetic Italian impression.
See, Amelia is the one who made my birthday cake last June. Well, she didn’t really make it – I did! – but it was like she was in my kitchen and we were baking together.
Her recipe for a Crostata di cioccolata e ciliegie (chocolate cherry tart) was posted 3 days before my birthday and it inspired me so much that I decided to make it for the birthday dinner I hosted with friends. It was excellent and looked exactly like her pictures. I couldn’t thank her enough.
What you may not know is that Frenchie and the Yankee is going to turn 1 in about 30 days.
Last September, I had no clue where this F & Y adventure would take me and here I am – almost a year after. So this 7 Link Project is the perfect opportunity to reflect, look back, observe the evolution and laugh at old posts and photos. It’s also the most opportune time to thank all of the wonderful family, friends and readers who have helped me get to where I am today.
(Note: I have decided to sprinkle this post with my most popular photos – in no particular order – according to readers’ clicks.)
So here we are now and it is my turn to work on my 7 Links.
- My most beautiful post:
For me it’s a toss between a great moment spent with friends around my dinner table for an Easter brunch and a fresh smoked salmon summer salad with berries. I received a lot of comments and compliments from readers for the photos in these two different posts.
The Easter brunch post was meant to capture 2 things: an ethereal magical moment with friends sharing food, laughs and valuing time spent together. But it was also supposed to show and explain the concept of brunch to the French.
While there are no recipes in this post, I wanted the photos to seize that moment when winter is fading away like a bad memory as spring starts to peek through the clouds and daffodils – brightening up the light and giving it a stunning white glow.
The Smoked Salmon Salad with Berries is everything I want for summer: sandals in the sand, radishes from the garden, wide-open windows, colorful flowers, fresh lake or ocean water and a citrusy cured salmon.
- My most popular post:
Without a doubt – and surprisingly – the Fig Apricot Crostata post with pictures from Italy. How ironic that it’s neither about France nor the U.S.?
The reason it was and still is popular is because WordPress selected it as a Featured Post on their Freshly Pressed pages in the Food, Photography, Recipes, Travel and Home categories.
Almost tied with the popularity of the Crostata recipe is my About page, which is good because that means readers are genuinely interested in finding out who I am. I have to thank my friend Michael for helping me with it. His creativity and wit will never cease to amaze me.
- My most controversial post:
Lots of praises for this post from readers, which happens to be my first “big” post. However, a few French readers could not identify with it – or maybe they identified too much with it!
I still really like the Primal Fear of Colored Socks post – the war between French colored socks and American white socks – and wouldn’t change anything about it.
- My most helpful post:
This one is a real surprise. I had no idea how many people actually searched for “real French croissants on the Cape” or “good bakeries Cape Cod” but not a day goes by without search engines linking to me and the Cape Cod Boulangerie post.
My first intention with this post was to include photos of the Cape and talk about my guilty pleasure of stopping at PB Boulangerie and Bistro. Forget the ferry if you want real bakery treats and bread! Drive to the Cape instead and stop at the Boulangerie on your way there… and back!
Turns out this post is also very helpful for lots of Cape Cod vacationers in search of flaky buttery croissants and real French bread. Highly recommended place.
- A post whose success surprised me:
There are several actually. Same as above, I am always amazed at how many people search for “French yogurt cake” and “Corsican fiadone”. So inevitably, they are directed to my Lemon Yogurt Cake post and Fiadone – Corsican Cheesecake post. It also helps that these posts feature pictures of Boston and Corsica, which readers seem to have enjoyed tremendously.
At one point, I almost thought my friend Michael was pranking me by searching for “French yogurt cake” several times a day and refreshing the page. If he could have me bake him one lemon yogurt cake per day, he would without a doubt request it. His answer to my question “what should I bring?” when I am invited is inevitably “lemon cake” - I should just stop asking.
“French yogurt cake” and “fiadone” are a daily occurrence for me in terms of search engine referrals as well as “how to make cake with chestnut flour” and “ice cream replacing milk with coconut milk”. This is why the Sweet Chestnut Flour Cake is also a surprise success and so is the Coconut Milk Pistachio Ice Cream.
- A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved:
While there are a lot of recipes, food and travel photos on the blog, Frenchie and the Yankee is also about funny cultural differences between both countries and cultures.
Some posts featuring solely cultural witty observations and memories aren’t as popular as the food posts yet receive many thumbs up from the readers who do read and care for them more than the recipe posts. It is true that those posts do not feature as many photos but I still feel that they are of interest to a lot of readers. I have a widely different readership.
The post about Pepé Le Pew is one of them. To this day, I still get asked if Pepé Le Pew is French in France? Well no, he isn’t. And the Italian Skunk post answers all of these questions. There are even videos of Pepé in both the French and American versions so you can continue to laugh and rejoice at old-fashioned 1950′s cartoons.
The self-deprecating post about the French facial expressions as well as its counterpart on the American faces are two other posts that weren’t as popular as I thought they would be. In retrospect, I should have probably included some pictures and ask friends to mimic the examples given in each post. That would have been funny!
- The post I am most proud of:
Without thinking about it, the post about the European Noises is one I am very happy I wrote.
I tend to focus a lot on smells and scents coming from the kitchen when I talk and write about food. But relying only on my ears and grasping the sounds that make a French café so uniquely European is something I wasn’t used to doing.
I tried to do a bit of the same with the post about French markets but decided to also use my eyes and not just my ears. It’s a difficult exercise in itself but so rewarding in the end.
I hope you’re still with me!
Have I forgotten one of your favorite post? Please comment below.
With this 7 Link exercise and as I look back at some of my first photos of food and compare them to the food photos in my last post, I cannot not laugh at the big differences. And that’s what makes it fun. It’s a continuous learning process.
No one told me not to use an aggressively bright flash and to style my photos when I first started taking food pictures. So I have to thank the many wonderful bloggers, which Amelia at Z Tasty Life is part of, in the food blogging community for posting such interesting and inspiring posts about food, recipes and food photography. It makes me learn and want to do more and better.
On top of my head, these bloggers are: Béatrice at La Tartine Gourmande, Hélène at Tartelette, Ethan at Tastes Better With Friends, Aran at Cannelle et Vanille, David Lebovitz who lives the sweet life in Paris, Deb at Smitten Kitchen, Brian at Blue Hour for the photos, Brian at A Thought For Food and Lindsey at Lost in Cheeseland. I am probably forgetting many others.
Special shout out to Debi and Gabriele at Under the Tuscan Gun for asking me to participate and contribute to their site. Thank you for allowing me to showcase the wonderful island of Corsica to your readers.
Friends and family bien sûr! Always encouraging me to continue and do better: my parents and my friends Alexis, Julie, Michael, Frank and Frédéric who don’t hesitate to share posts and tell me without a blink when they don’t like something and when I can improve.
And of course, my Yankee who never ceases to challenge me to think outside the box even after 13 years.
To the readers, your comments make me feel like this blog is alive and we can share experiences about food, travel and culture together. Your remarks are as insightful as helpful to know what you like and don’t like. Please continue to leave comments, I appreciate them so much.
Finally, here are the 5 people I nominate to carry on the 7 Link Project on their blogs. I would like to point out that they should also be part of the list of inspiring bloggers above. They are (in no particular order):
- Isabelle at Crumb
- Jenn at Jenn Cuisine
- Debi and Gabriele at Under the Tuscan Gun
- Hélène at La Cuisine d’Hélène
- Betsy at Straight Up With Olives
Looking forward to reading your posts!!