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

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Posted on 19 June 2015, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Betsy – first and foremost, thank you! Thank you for stepping in to take on an organizational role in this group. As a professional project manager I know that it’s often far more work that it appears on the surface to keep everything running smoothly and you and Mary have done an amazing job.

    I have so enjoyed getting to know you through your blog over the past 4 years and I hope one day to do it in person. Your kindness and down to earth style shines through every post. It has truly been a joy cooking along with you and I hope to do it again in the future.

    And I’m going to show the picture of your cookbook collection (only 75%!) to my husband the next time he questions my need for another cookbook;-)

  2. I also echo Rose’s Thank you! You and Mary have done an amazing job keeping our little group on track!!
    I loved your post, Betsy! And I must say your cookbook collection definitely mirrors mine…I am sure you will find a recipe, or two to blog about in the future! I will be following you!
    It has been an amazing ride! So grateful that I got to meet you in Seattle and again in NY. You are a delightful, warm and lovely women!! And anytime you are driving through NJ, you have a place to stop!
    Hugs and Happy Friday…but not good-bye!

  3. I love what Dorie wrote in your cookbook—I think all of ours look loved! And they were. I hope we will meet again in person one day. And a huge thank you to you and Mary for guiding us through this adventure!!! xoxo

  4. Helyn Benjamin

    Beautifully written. Will miss reading about your adventures with dorie.xxxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. trevorsisboom

    I remember being so frustrated way back when, after committing to this project, that things looked like they were going to run aground before we really had a chance to take off. I am forever grateful to you for stepping up to keep our wheels on track. Its funny, but in all this time I never stopped to think that your banner picture was your real cookbook shelf! Duh. I love that! A fitting day to realize this I suppose as we all must now cast about after wondering what are we going to make for dinner now? I understand you are now done? A diploma is in order!

  6. peggygilbey814628432

    Betsy, it has been such a delight to follow your journey, and these final four weeks. So touching. What a wonderful way to make friends. Thanks for providing those of us on the observation deck a really fun insight! Love your 75% cookbook collection.

  7. Betsy, well said! A big thankyou to you for keeping us going when Laurie had to step away. It has been a pleasure cooking along with you, and it was wonderful to meet you – a perfect experience for the end of this journey. I look forward to seeing where you take it from here!

  8. I second all the comments of appreciation for what you and Mary have done to keep this group together. It is a tremendous amount of non stop commitment, not even for a paying job or formal volunteer activity – LOL. While focusing on the positive I would be remiss to say if you two had not kept us organized I am quite sure my Mother and I would not have lasted on this journey. Thank you so very much. And aside from the “admin” side of life – how FUN to get to know you (and Howard !) personally. You captured it with your comment about learning that leaving remarks on other’s posts turned out to not be “creepy”. LOL. So true and I recall my Mom and I trying to figure out the protocols of this blogging dynamic. She would tell me someone left a note and then we would figure out what to do – oh my, we have learned much more than French cooking, no ? Looking forward keeping in touch. In Philly, in Boston and who knows where else !! All the best ~ (PS- adore that cookbook collection. Go get !)

  9. Oh, Betsy, what a wonderfully written last post. It has been my good fortune to have teamed up with you to carry on the FFWD administrative responsibilities. I will always be grateful to Laurie for letting the two of us team up. And, I am also want to thank you again for your “cookbook” you sent me as well as the Rocky Mountain trees and animal booklets. Your “Main Dishes” are my favorite – all new to me and I’ve tried two already. Those nature books are gems and I carry them in my pack. And, yes, they do belong back here with me. I look forward to our taking on a few presidents and our October adventure together. Friends forever, no doubt about that.

  10. Betsy, thank YOU for taking on the admin with Mary. We couldn’t have done this without you. So lucky to have met you in real life and I hope our paths cross again soon.

    “From a blogging perspective, it’s now time to step back and figure out what to focus on next.”

    THIS. So much this. Off to put on my thinking cap. A bientôt! XO

  11. Betsy, words escape me. This really has been an excellent adventure! I started my blog for the express purpose of taking on this project,and as you say, ffwd became so much more than just a cooking challenge! Your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed! As others have mentioned, we would have fizzled out long ago if your collaboration with Mary, and Laurie’s assistance, hadn’t come to our rescue. Your gentle and constant shepherding has kept us going. Thank you my friend.

    And. Of course. This is not the end, but the commencement of the next chapter. It will be fun to see where it takes everyone, and I hope that the “crew” will stick together as we figure things out with the Alumni page on FB that you generously set up, or following each other on line.

    I have great hopes of getting out to see you. Just tricky to get all of the stars aligned. Hope you and Howard have a wonderful weekend. Can’t wait to see what you “cook up” next!

    C

  12. Betsy,
    I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to follow your cooking and get to share a table with you. You were very kind to do so much for this group…we were a bunch of stranges and thanks to your efforts we are now a bunch of friends.

    So which cookbook on that shelf (I never realized it was your actual shelf of cookbooks either) are you going to cook through next… I think you have a lifetime’s worth of recipes?

    See you in the Fall.

  13. After reading all the posts this week it is amazing how this project helped so many people.
    I think it was an amazing journey and I don’t know if it could ever be repeated the same way.
    Many thanks to you for all of your hard work, and I know we will be in touch. It has been
    so much fun.

  14. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Betsy, one thing is for sure – none of us would be where we are, if it were not for you and Mary – we all owe you more than one big fat hug for having guided us all through the last couple of years – personally, I am not so sure that things would have turned out the way they did, if the two of you had not jumped in…be that as it may, you have been one of my favorite bloggers (by now I think I am aloowed to write that) all those years and I have so enjoyed getting to know you (and Howard) through this lovely cooking adventure – I am so looking forward to sharing recipes from the CCC with you and maybe there will even be some blogging adventure for all the Doristas in the future…who knows… (I kind of wish I knew a bit more about this project actually…).
    For now I am will continue to follow your blog and see where things are carrying you – I would not give this friendship up for anything!
    Thank you for everything!
    Andrea

  15. I am very grateful that you and Mary stepped in and kept things rolling along. Things were tough for a while, but you both helped “right the ship”.
    It has been a pleasure and honor to become friends with you both virtually and in real life. Clearly, I need to get to Boston more – having dinner with you the other night, it felt more like college roommates reuniting than a meeting of “blogging buddies”.
    Looking forward to what’s next – whatever that may be.
    XOXO

  16. Betsy, I echo the rest of the Doristas. Thank you for all the time and love you put into keeping FFwD afloat. I hope you don’t take that much of a step back while you figure out your next blogging projects. I can’t wait to see what that will be. I’m sure I’ll see you next time I am in Cambridge, or whenever the next Dorista meetup is planned.

  17. Thank you, Betsy, for stepping up when we needed someone to keep us going! Its been a pleasure cooking along side of you for these past years and I hope to see you in the blogosphere. I am doing the CCC, are you? If you get to Oklahoma please call me! I hope to get to Boston one of these days. Its been years since I’ve been there. Take care. I will think of you on Fridays:)

  18. Such a lovely post, Betsy! Thank you for all the work you’ve done! I loved when you mentioned realizing that commenting on people’s posts wasn’t creepy. I felt the exact same way and still have to suspend that feelings every now and then. HA! I hope to meet you someday soon!

  19. A wonderful post, Betsy. I want to add my voice in thanking you for all the work you’ve done to keep this group afloat. You and Mary really helped to solidify our community.

    I was touched by your comment on my post – I’m glad to have been your first online friend. Your posts helped me to realize, early in the group, that it was possible (and not creepy at all) to make connections and friendships with people online.

    I hope that we can meet in person some day – I still feel sad I didn’t manage to make it to Seattle. If there’s ever another Dorista reunion, I will make a greater effort!

  20. I have loved reading this week’s posts. Yours was a beautiful one. Thank you, thank you for joining with Mary to organize everything week after week. This group has been a gift to all of us. I hope to keep up with you through CCC, and your other adventures. All the best.

  21. I’ve been thinking about the direction I want to take my blog in, too. So much depends upon whether I get authorized for an early retirement because I really want to explore all of the growers & producers in this area but I need time during the week to do it.

    I know you’ll think of something good.

    John & I will make it to Boston & we will let you know! I really hope you 2 make it back to CA when Mary’s out here next Spring.

  22. It’s been so much fun cooking along with you! I look forward to seeing what direction we all take with our blogs now that we have been set loose. Lovely closing remarks!

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