Wednesday, September 05, 2007

UtHC Turns One: A Look Back

365 days, 115 posts, thousands of hits, hundreds of comments, many new friends, and three contented bellies: that is just some of the impact this blog has had on our home in its first year. So pour yourself another glass of wine or top up your cup of coffee as we take a journey back together.

Happy 1st birthday to Under the High Chair!

At the beginning, I had many doubts that blogging would stick as I am not a ‘techie’ by any means, and any attempts in the past I have made at journaling have all been wildly sporadic. However, one thing I knew for certain, was that I would never stop creating and consuming delicious food, and with that being a firm fact, I found myself with more material that I could use for this blog. How many dishes and baked goodies went eaten before they were photographed? How many excellent recipes got put together without note-taking and thus impossible to recreate? Plenty!
Still, I am thrilled with what I have been able to share with you over the past year and have enjoyed the process of this blog’s evolution from the first post
to what it is now.

It would be impossible to sum up the past twelve months or try to identify a favorite post, but I have attempted to highlight some of the more memorable posts with a look back at UtHC’s first year. Just click on the links to read the posts in full.

In the beginning…Getting started!

Two years ago I probably didn't know what a blog was.
One year ago I was oblivious to the wide and wonderful world of food blogging.
It wasn't until my friend Zaak suggested I should start a blog that I realized I could actually enjoy this idea of an online food journal which would include three of my hobbies: cooking, photography and writing. ( Because, of course the blog would have to be centered around the all-important FOOD!)
That was the 'what' and if you've read my basic profile, you'll understand the 'why': I needed a creative outlet.

As for the 'where'? Well, introducing…Noah, the inspiration for Under the High Chair. In the post What’s in a name? I detail just how my blog title came to be and vent some frustration over how my son is my harshest critic.
Also in my header I ask the question “Does my young son care who I've cooked for?” and I expounded on that subject in So who have I cooked for? While I name some A-list celebs, I also note that it’s a pretty pitiful claim to fame but it helps to remind my self once in a while that I used to have clients that actually enjoyed my cooking, unlike my son.

And so, Under the High Chair was born.....

Most Feedback:
Easily the post that received the most attention was Montreal’s Best Cupcake. A lot of hard work (eating cupcakes!) went into this revealing review of four cupcake bakeshops in Montreal. The study, combined with a lengthy write-up and some colorful pictures, drew plenty of attention from local readers. For instance, I received personal emails asking detailed (and somewhat bizarre) questions, a few cupcake themed gifts made their way into my kitchen, and UtHC popped up as a link on a Chowhound message board. The review even caught the eye of the delightful Susan Schwartz of the Montreal Gazette: several emails and an interview later, voilà, there was a blurb about Under the High Chair’s opinion on our city's cupcake status in her article titled: Let them Eat Cupcakes. How fun to see a link for UtHC in print!

Most Personal:
I’ve always been fairly open on my blog about myself, our family and the workings of under the high chair, but when I signed on for an interview with the delightful Gilly of Humble Pie, I should have known I would be giving readers an even closer look at Aimee and UtHC .

Most Memorable Trip:
While my recent three week visit to my home province of British Columbia was extra special because of close family ties, I would have to say that our whirlwind weekend getaway sans bebé to the Big Apple in June was completely unforgettable. We ate and ate and ate, and in between eating, we walked. 15 kilometers, to be exact.
Let's do it again soon.

Most Controversial:
Perhaps the most controversial post of the year was Danny Cooks: an honest narrative of a typical Saturday morning where my husband's sincere attempt to serve me poached eggs ends with mixed results. This little glimpse into our kitchen hovered like a dark cloud over our house for two weeks before Danny finally agreed (after some editing of his own) to let me post it. While those who know him well testify to its accuracy, Danny still refuses to accept the writing as anything but pure fabrication.

Best Construction/Use of Ginger:
My kitchen was never so sugar coated that it was during the few weeks leading up to Christmas where I attempted the second gingerbread house of my life and had a much easier time than with the first. I remembered how much I love working with candy and how much fun it is to be on a perpetual sugar high for several days.

Best Cake:
I am not a big cake maker. I tend to drag my feet at the decorating stage unless I have a really good idea I can play around with, and even then, I like to keep it simple. For Noah’s first birthday I did a lemon cake with a lollipop garden-enough candy for a whole pack of kids. Or uncles.

Best Canapé:
I love eating finger food. Love to much and crunch, dip and sip. After three years of the garde manger station at Toque! I acquired a lot of patience for putting together delicate, bite-sized amuse bouches and still enjoy creating flavorful and pretty canapés for my own parties. Hmm, best of the best?? A tough decision, but I do make these Wilted Spinach and Garlic Crostini with Parmesan every chance I get.

Best Party:
I love hosting parties be it a holiday, the Oscars, a birthday or just a warm summer evening and this year we had some great ones. I think that this wine and cheese party was the most fun- and that’s not just because many bottles of wine were consumed, either! It wasn't a lot of work and it was worth it to splurge a little on fabulous cheese and fine wine.

Best Cookie:
With two (Christmas & Valentines) successful cookie exchanges on UtHC's resumé last year, picking a best cookie is highly controversial and entirely a matter of taste; however, I get asked for this gingersnap cookie recipe more than any other recipe ever. I love to add tonka bean for an extra-complex flavor.

Worst Dining Out Dish:
The year can't all be great food and wine...and this Trio of Crème Brulé from the Beaver Club brought me crashing down to earth pretty fast. A not-so-sublime combination of pistachio, praline and mocha brulés, served in egg shells.
Ugh. I hate to be reminded.

Best Dining Out Dish:
We dined at so many great places this year: Le Jolifou, Au Pied du Cochon, Gastropod, Tapeo, L's hard to pick a best dish, so Ive narrowed it down to a tie:
Warm Chanterelle Salad (pictured above) with fresh Favas, Sea Asparagus, Almond and Cider Vinegar from Vancouver’s Gastropod and Deep-Fried Calamari from Montreal’s Tapeo. Sublime.

It’s been a wonderful year!

I have learned so much and hope to keep improving in areas such as photography, formatting, writing, and content. Thank you to my readers for all their comments-they mean a lot to me!
I look eagerly ahead to the next year for UtHC as I have a few new things planned, as well as continuing old favorites.

Thanks for reading!!


Tammy said...

Congrats on one year! I love your blog, Aimee. Such an enjoyable read - you inspire me, and your writing and photography is always top-notch.

(And you dared to mention Danny Cooks again! Gasp!)

Belinda said...

Wow, Aimee, a full year of happy blogging! Congratulations, and what a lovely post to sum it all up. I love visiting and seeing your creations, so all the very best to you for many more years of sharing your kitchen adventures with your blog friends. :-)

Abby said...

Congratulations! I only recently found you, but I look forward to poking around in your archives - esp. after seeing this great rundown!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Aimee! I'm so happy to have been with you from the beginning. You are constant inspiration to me, in the kitchen, but also in life. I'm so proud of you!

Zaak said...

Hey, thanks for the nod! I don't remember suggesting a blog to you, but I'm glad I did. You're blog has been a secure place I could go to swear quietly and I look forward to swearing much more in the future!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 1 year blogging! :)

Deborah said...

Happy one year anniversary!! What a great post to remember the last year by.

David Hall said...


Great to hear from you. Amazing how this world of blogging brings up so many top people from all over the world! Love your style. With somebody who has a little girl, my view of food has changed so much, I basically base everything around her! Luckily she loves grub.

I also love your gingerbread house story. And you have inspired me to have that long awaited cheese and wine party I've been meaning to have for years!

Keep in touch, you are now in my favourites.

All the best

Anh said...

Aimee. Happy blog birthday! It's such a pleasure to read your blog... Keep in the good work, ok? :D

Nora B. said...

A wonderful year of blogging! Congratulations. I've only been reading your blog in the last few months and I enjoy the stories, photos and recipes very much. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your life with us. Here's to another terrific year ahead!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Congratulations Aimee! What a wonderful post to pay tribute to your first year. Long may it continue.

Aimée said...

Thank you all for your kind congratulations! It is wonderful to have so much support.
Keep reading!

Amber said...

Thanks for a years worth of salivating:) Here's to many more!

Helene said...

Congratulations on your first year and I raise my glass to an better second one! This a great anniversary post!

Anonymous said...

I am completely hooked. I look forward to every post. Congrats on your first year!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous slide show - photos, colors. Here's to your second year; I know it will only be better. I'm proud of you.

Mandy said...

Congrats on your one year blog anniversary! I like the way you recounted the events in the past year.:)

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