Two years ago today I started this blog, initially as a way to talk about cooking experiments. I had to find some kind of outlet. I also wanted to look at restaurants around Snellville, a few that my other fellow bloggers didn’t seem to have touched on. Now, over 730 days, over 320 reviews, two operations, one hospitalization later, and roughly 100 pounds lighter, I can look back over what has been written and say, “I did all this?”

Part of how this blog evolved was a product of what I could do. What I couldn’t do is out compete any professional in the depth of articles. I couldn’t go back to a restaurant multiple times, so the open source credo, “Publish early and often”, was the one thing I could do. As I obtained a better camera and started taking better photos, it became easier to get the good photo and let it carry more and more of the meaning in an article. My articles became shorter. My first sentences became more important, more crafted. I realized, finally, that consistent publication had a marked effect on my readership, about a 30% improvement when compared to publishing 1-2 times a week.

As diabetes took over, shock changed to a kind of wary attitude towards food. I lost interest in bakeries, ramen, donuts. Not that I don’t remember them fondly, but I’m not reviewing pizza any more unless I get a guest eater involved. Places that serve burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and kabobs have become a larger and larger focus of my interests. I managed to get my diabetes under control, but  the tools I used.. well, they’re on my side bar now.

I carry my camera always. It’s a discipline now, something I do. I feel naked unless I carry it. I tweet because I blog. I probably wouldn’t have tweeted otherwise.

I worry a lot more about lighting. Lighting is the difference between a mediocre and a really good  photo. I’ll sit with my eyes in the sun if that will get me the kinds of shadows that make for a good food photo.

Because my writing has become shorter, I look for ways to write effectively with few words. The people who are best at short evocative writing are poets. When I have time between all my other reading, I read this book:

I think more about the joys of life. When it snows these days, I stop and take pictures. I look at pots of water, as they slowly heat, and think of the analogies between a heating pot of water and weather, under the effects of global warming. The atmosphere is an open thermodynamic systems whose physics are modeled by the set of equations studied by Edward Lorenz. The turbulence, the chaos in the system is powered by the energy input into the system, which, when it gets warmer,  increases. This not only makes the average temperature warmer, it makes it more chaotic. The odds that the  temperature no longer follows any routine pattern increases. The odds that the once -60 degree arctic cold air mass (now a mere -58 degrees) ends up right atop Atlanta increases, because the system is more turbulent, more chaotic. It’s easy enough to model. Just heat that pot of water from below simmer to a rolling boil and watch.

You can learn a lot cooking, gardening, and watching others cook.

I read the Blissful Glutton these days looking at how she puts her opening sentences together.  She can start with some appealing leads (examples here and here). After two years of doing this, I can now appreciate the emotions that went behind this review by Cliff Bostock.

I’m proud of Gene, Jon, Jimmy and all those who have stepped out from blogs to more professional writing. I hope BuHi makes a fortune teaching people the cool places to eat in Inman Park. Foodie Buddha: don’t dare stop being the first to blog an opening. First Bite: get that degree! And the Ramen Girl: kinda cool, no?

Three up and coming blogs to watch for: The Constant Gobbler, Marie Let’s Eat and Atlanta Food Critic. Hopefully they’ll benefit as much as I have from their new found hobby.

Anyone I haven’t mentioned that I’ve spoken with, I hope you’ll understand.

In summary, I’d rather eat than fight. I’d  rather share a meal than argue politics. And whether you be Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Feudal Monarchist, or merely an anarcho-syndicalist being repressed by the system, if I’m at all lucky, perhaps I’ll share a meal with you some day.

Roughly 18 months ago I started this blog. I was wanting to talk about food, though at the time I was at least as driven by my cooking experiments as I was eating out. The cooking has waned, replaced more by a curiosity about places to eat. A good camera has helped. Pictures can carry a lot of information that written words cannot. Finding good restaurants has been a delight, and running into interesting readers and bloggers a pleasant surprise.

Clams and bitter melon from a "Great Wall" cafeteria.

Mussels from Man Chun Hong

About six months ago, I became ill and was hospitalized. I came out diagnosed with diabetes and gout. I had a choice: I could eat what I wanted and die, or eat properly and exercise a bit and live a long full life. Currently, my weight is fluctuating between 182 and 184 pounds. My size 36 pants are about two inches too big for me. My physician has said I don’t need to lose any more weight, but I’d still like to hit 180. Set a goal, meet a goal.

Alaskan sockeye salmon, a big part of my diet.

Wild blackberries.

I’m just curious how many people with two chronic eating diseases managed to keep a blog going while losing 80 or so pounds.

Ironically, though food is one of the best reasons for people to meet and engage in fellowship, there are some people who think otherwise. A certain hate mailer has a form mail that looks and goes something like this:

Dear FnS,

Why do you call your blog “Food Near Snellville” when you seem to be eating in other locations? What is wrong with you? You are a (proceed into general insults). I will never read your blog ever again.


I lied about my email address.

To answer a couple questions:

(1) I eat other places too, and like to talk about it. So does Eat Buford Highway and Eat it Atlanta. Are you saying I can’t do what every Atlantan blogger does? Why am I being held to this peculiar standard that no blogger in his right mind follows?

(2) The unique character of the two words “Food” and “Snellville” makes my articles easy to search for. Try Googling a restaurant sometime and my title. Works really well, and I don’t have to fight the 100,000 businesses that call themselves East Atlanta or Northeast Atlanta (whatever).

(3) Why is it now that I’ve received 3-4 hate mails from you, each claiming that you’re never going to read me again? Have this love-hate thing going, huh?

And to the 99% of you that do get it, that understand that food exists to bring people together, rather than be an excuse to be a jerk, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s been a pleasure engaging in this slow, leisurely conversation with you all.