Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Curt Nod In The Direction Of 2014, The Hardest Year Of My Life (But Hopefully The Most Productive!)



Having just finished doing the craziest thing that I have ever done, and having lived off of perhaps one of the most extreme diets that someone in the modern day US would ever voluntarily choose to subsist on, I obviously need to comment on the matter now that I'm finely done.

So, yep, that was a thing that happened.

Honestly, I really have no idea what to write for this entry. I debated various posts I could make; a lot of them in the vein of the typical "Top 10 Something of 2014" or formatted Year In Review posts that every blog is basically required to do. But I think I'm going to wait to chronicle my top 10 favorite fermented concoctions or top 7.5 weirdest things I ever put in my mouth until the end of 2015, maybe. Now just doesn't feel like the time.

But anyway, I did it. I'm done! Yes, it was exhausting. For a variety of reasons only 36.2% related to this diet and this book project, 2014 was probably the most anxiety-inducing and sanity-challenging and overall difficult year of my life. The downside of that is that my mind has been and remains a smoldering crater of stress fires for a number of months now, but the upside of that is that the book is going to be very interesting! Only 36.1% due to my resulting insanity, but in large part due to the sheer interestingness of fermented foods, the weird quirks of committing to a pseudo-fad diet, and also sharks.

Mostly, in writing some kind of entry reflecting back on the year, I wonder how much I should really try to encapsulate or summarize my experiences right now, online, before the book is actually done. As I sit here writing, still digesting my first tacos (so many tacos) of the New Year, I realize I need some perspective before I try to boil anything down to a blog post. And anyway, I don't want to spoil my own book, right? So I guess I'll just ask everyone to be kind and give me a little time on that front; finishing the damn manuscript is an increasingly daunting task that's going to require most of my energy for the next couple months.

A few things you may be curious about that I can talk about now:

-Yes, I will be writing about my experience trying rotten shark meat (hakarl) in Iceland. I'm finishing up that post now and will have it posted either later this week or early next week. You will enjoy that tale, I think; it ended up being an absolutely perfect experience and thank you again very much to everyone who contributed to my little pre-order thing to get me there. Stay tuned!

-The book itself is coming along very well. By my rough calculations, I estimate that I have somewhere around 75% of the rough draft written now. Of course, (unfortunately for my sanity) that's far different from the book being 75% done. I'll have a lot of sawing and polishing and trimming and cleanup to do before I even pass the book along to my editor, and then we'll see how much he wants to hack and slash at it for subsequent editing runs. Here's a secret: editing is at least half of good writing... probably more!

-The first thing I ate at 12:00:01 on January 1, 2015 was half a tub of guacamole. Obviously. It was delicious.

-I spent most of the rest of January 1 eating tacos and burgers in NYC. I had hoped for a little more diversity, but even there, most restaurants were closed. Oh well; can't go wrong with tacos. In fact, I just ate some more. (Disclaimer: I have since eaten almost nothing but tacos I can't remember what other food there is).

-No, I am not going to keep doing the diet. There is no sane reason to avoid eating guacamole.

-No, I am not sick of fermented food, and will continue to eat most of the same things I have been eating this last year, just with the addition of guacamole.

-Cheese.

-If you're in the Hudson Valley or nearby, check out a club I'm starting up: the Hudson Valley Fermentation Society. I have very poor organizational skills but will hopefully be getting that running more smoothly and regularly in the future.

-Also, butter. I am now obsessed with butter.

-Lots of beer stuff coming up, but I'll hold off on that.

Keep your eyes peeled for #sharkstuff, coming soon!


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