Daily Archives: 19 June 2015

French Fridays With Dorie, Le Fin {ffwd}

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Back in October 2010, I joined an on-line cooking group, French Fridays with Dorie, whose goal was to cook its way through a single cookbook, Around My French Table, one recipe each week. The group worked off of the same schedule with everyone cooking the same recipe, posting about that week’s selected recipe each Friday.

This marks my final post about this project. The group cooked the final recipe four weeks ago. I finished making up the handful that I’d missing, completing the final four earlier this week. For the past three weeks, we’ve been sharing our favorite recipes, techniques, and reflections about the cooking confidence we’ve gained along the way, courtesy of Around My French Table and its author Dorie Greenspan. For the final post, rather than more about the book, I want to share my reflections about the French Fridays group instead.

I started blogging in October of 2009, a year before French Fridays started. Like so many others, I used my blog as a place to share what I was cooking with my family and friends. I’m addicted to cookbooks but I’ve barely made a dent in trying more than a few recipes for any one of them.

About 75% of m;y cookbook collection...

About 75% of m;y cookbook collection…

When I heard about French Fridays with Dorie gearing up to start, I was intrigued by the idea of cooking every single recipe in one book. The selected recipe cut down on a few decisions I’d have to make each week: one thing to cook and one thing to write about. So I joined and started when the group cooked the inaugural recipe: Gougeres.

Each week, I enjoyed reading the other group members'(Doristas’) posts and comparing their process and outcome with mine. Some were novice cooks, some were advanced, some managed food allergies in their family, or eating preferences, or dietary restrictions. The variety of experiences and the creativity to make each recipe work in their own kitchen inspired me.

It took me a while to catch on that commenting on these strangers’ blogs was a welcome, not creepy, exchange. And so, slowly, conversations started. Through typed conversations each week, many friendships developed. I called the Doristas my “imaginary friends”. Each week I got a glimpse into their lives, and they into mine, and we started to know each other.

French Fridays has been filled with a diverse group of home cooks, mostly from North America, but sprinkled with others from all over the world. The Doristas shared my passion for food. They were all enthusiastic cooks, just like me.

As the weeks and months went by, Friday posts went beyond the recipe of the week. We shared more of our lives: travel adventures, books read, new cookbooks discovered, family joys and sadnesses. It was more like sharing stories around the water cooler in the office, getting to know your co-workers. Being a Dorista became less of a solitary pursuit and more of a group activity.

September 2013 sealed the deal. The International Food Blogger Conference was scheduled in Seattle. Dorie Greenspan, our unofficial leader, as author of this book we were cooking through, was the keynote speaker. Many of the Doristas planned to attend. I was one of them. At the conference, a magical bonding took place, transforming the group dynamics, turning imaginary friends into real ones. In fact, since the conference broke the ice, if an opportunity to meet up with another Dorista arises, it has become de rigeur.

And now the project we set out to do has been completed. I’m proud that I stuck with this and did the whole book. I’m equally proud of the community we’ve built together. More than the cooking, what I marvel at are the friends I made along the way. The project might be over, but I’ll be keeping in touch with my new friends.

From a blogging perspective, it’s now time to step back and figure out what to focus on next. I have no idea what it will be, but do know that my blogging has been enriched and will continue to be inspired by the bloggers I met and follow through the French Fridays community.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a huge thank you to Dorie herself for writing this book that was the catalyst for the creation of French Fridays. Dorie, it was delightful to find that you are as gracious, elegant, and kind in person as you seem from your voice encouraging from the page every week. It’s been a treat to meet you, and I hope to see you again in the future.

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And so, my Dorista friends, as I wrap up this last look at what we’ve done together, thank you for being my companions along this incredible and unexpected journey. I will miss our weekly catch ups, but I look forward to keeping up with whatever your future adventures turn out to be, continuing the conversations, the recipe exchanges, and the book recommendations. Who knows, maybe we’ll even take on another project together. More than anything, I’m so happy that our paths have crossed and I have gotten to know you.

To read the grand finales of the other Doristas, check out their links here.

A bientôt! Xox