Of course I live a life outside the Internet and I could certainly tell you how grateful I am for all of that, but you-all who are reading this are part of my wider online world, mostly beyond my range of hugs and smacks-upside-the-head.
So let's talk about what I'm grateful for in this cyber world we all inhabit together.
First, I'm grateful that I started this blog nearly two years ago and I'm grateful for the technology that made it possible for me to connect with people worldwide for virtually no cost. All this text, all those photos - and the software that allows me to format and arrange and spell-check. Mostly free.
Second, I'm grateful to Serious Eats under the helm of Adam Kuban. Shortly after I started this blog, late one night and completely on a whim, I asked Adam if he would like a bread-baking column for Serious Eats. Adam answered within five minutes, and I nearly had to pick myself off the floor, because he said "'yes. Giddy with joy, I was. You see, I'd been a writer for YEARS, but food writing was new. I created this blog as a resume, of sorts. Put it out there and see if anyone liked it.
I'm grateful for my first few followers on this blog who probably clicked the follow button because I cajoled them to do so. I'm also grateful to every follower after, many of whom are strangers, although I'd love to meet you all some day.
I'm grateful to Tastespotting, who rejected my photos month after month after month. Once I discovered Tastespotting, I submitted a photo every day. And got rejected. And tried again. And finally, I managed to get the color and composition and everything else just right, and I got a photo published. If it had been easy from the beginning, I wouldn't have appreciated it as much. And if it they had been less particular, I wouldn't have tried so hard to see what they were looking for, and my photos wouldn't have improved as much as they did.
I'm grateful to the other photo sites - Photograzing, Tasteologie, FoodGawker and Dessert Spotting. Because now I know that some photos are obviously good or bad, while some rejections and acceptances are very subjective.
I'm grateful to Kitchen Play for hosting monthly contests that have been fun to enter. And when I've won, they set the prizes promptly. Having a contest to enter sometimes inspires me to create interesting new recipes.
Speaking of contests, Marx Foods has had some challenging ones, and they send some really fun ingredients to use in the contests. Last year, I won a contest for an ice cream recipe that I was particularly proud of.
And while we're talking about food samples, thanks to Fooducopia for letting me create recipes for the products they sell. I've found a whole lot of interesting products through that relationship.
Ah, recipe creation. Thanks to Whole Foods in Boulder for finding me and bringing me onto their blog. It's been fun working with them and it makes grocery shopping much more fun.
Thanks also to all the book publishers and food companies who have sent me products to review. I have a voracious cookbook habit, and I love trying new products and gadgets. It's great to be able to do that as part of my "job." There are too many to mention individually, but I appreciate each and every one.
Morrow Books deserves a little extra credit for bringing together a special group of bloggers to promote a new book by Emeril. Twelve of us have formed our own little blogger group called Virtual Potluck, and I'm very thankful that I met all those wonderful enthusiastic, and hard-working bloggers.