Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Keeping it real . . .
I had another negative comment on my Spam post over at the food blog during the night. One positive one and one negative one. This one kind of reminded me of my ex boss in that it was cloaked in a smile. She used to smile while she was slagging you off and knocking you down too.
I too have noticed the increase of product(s) endorsements on your blog. You kindly buffer it with lovely recipes and pictures so thank you for that. However, in a world riddled with ads, I wanted the comfort of a friendly blog with lovely doable recipes which you have long provided. I will accept your invitation to stop reading your blog, with regret.
And so I thought . . . is my blog riddled with ads??? I went back over these first eighteen days of June and this is what I discovered.
In eighteen days I have posted thirty five different recipes. There has been one post which has been a give-away post offering people the opportunity for people to win their own Tefal Opti-grill. The Tefal people, as you know, sent me a grill to try out and when they asked me if I would post about their give-away, I kindly said that I would. This is a fabulous grill and I love mine and I thought it would be nice if my readers could have an opportunity to win one. It's an expensive piece of kit! Seven of my recipe posts have been product reviews, only three of which did not have a recipe included. I did not count the Farmer's Choice ones as product reviews. I am a guest author on their site and I provide them with three recipes a month for people to make, recipes which I think my readers will also enjoy and so I post the photos of the recipes and links so that they can go and get the recipes for themselves. So, bottom line, out of 35 posts, only three were product reviews only . . . without recipes, one of which was for a coffee coconut water drinks, which I honestly told people that I had been unable to taste because we don't drink tea or coffee. The second one was about these delightful little tea wands I had been sent that I thought were fabulous and wanted to share. The third was for some really delicious juice drinks which I had been sent that I wanted to tell you about.
Truthfully I like to try out new things and I like to share with my readers my findings. There are a lot of bloggers who take the free stuff and then just post what is written on the box, or on the back of the book, etc. I actually try everything I am sent and then talk about my experience in using it, and I endeavour to be honest with what I share with my readers.
Most of you will remember when I lost my job four years ago now. I began my food blog when I was working at the Manor. I wanted a place to write about cooking that was completely separate from my every day thoughts. It was easy to do because I cooked in two locations every day, and both meals were completely different. Dinner parties gave me the opportunity to share a LOT of new recipes and classy out of the ordinary ones as well. Then I lost my job, which in retrospect wasn't altogether a really bad thing. But it did leave me unemployed and with the present economy I have never been able to replace it.
In all truth, without those Farmer's Choice posts I do each month, and the few cook-booklets I manage to sell, I would not be able to pay off my credit card. Yes, we were foolishly in debt when I got made redundant. We live now on my husband's basic state pension. We had a brand new car, which I had worked really hard for, but which had to go. We now drive an old banger which we hope and pray will last us until we have our debts paid off and some money in the bank to buy another old banger. Without the Farmer's Choice posts . . . I would quite honestly have to go bankrupt and I don't want to do that, and so I try to pay off my debt as best as I can and I work hard to do it.
In all truth, those food products which I get sent help us out a lot. Without them our food storage would end up disappearing at a much faster rate and I wouldn't be able to share the many recipes which I do share. The cost of groceries has sky rocketed over these past few years and there are some weeks where all we can afford to buy is bread and milk, and maybe eggs. That's the truth.
Every eight weeks we make the choice to buy food or have the dog groomed. We have the dog groomed because she has to be groomed, and we make do by eating what we have stored. Oh sure, the church would help us if we asked. But we don't ask because it is our own fault we are in debt. We didn't heed the advice our leaders had been giving us to stay out of debt. We foolishly thought I would be in work for at least another ten years which would enable us to pay off our debts. It's not the church's responsibility to help us now. It's ours and we bear the burden of that on our own shoulders.
At first we were very optimistic and thought I would get a new job right away, no problem. I could have gotten a job doing the same thing, but having been burnt I didn't want to risk everything again like that. My husband is in his mid seventies and I didn't want him to have to go through the lose your job/lose your home scenario again. At his stage in life that is far too stressful. But I am 58 years old now and nobody wants a 58 year old cook whose body is riddled with arthritis and whose wrists cannot bear the weight of a large pan full of food, and who can no longer stand for 8 or 9 hours at a time. In reality there are thousands and thousands of young people pounding the pavements looking for work. What hope do I have? Slim to nil. Reality bites.
And so I do what I can to supplement Todd's pension and that means that sometimes I have to post something that isn't entirely off my own back. That sometimes I have to write about things that aren't necessarily totally food based, and I am sorry about that, but life is what it is. I'm dancing as fast as I can. It makes me really sad when people feel they need to denigrate what I do . . . when people think they have the right to tell me I shouldn't be doing this or I shouldn't be doing that. When people overlook all the good things that I do and dwell on one post about Spam, and use that to judge me and then discard me as worthless. And the truth is . . . I didn't get paid or sent any spam for that post. I simply did it out of the goodness of my heart because the Spam people had been good to me in the past.
Reality means that, yes . . . we do have to eat spam sometimes and hot-dogs and tinned corned beef. We eat more pasta than Todd would like to eat. We don't get to go on days out much these days because of the cost of petrol. I don't go into town because I don't have a bus pass and I don't have the £2 to take a bus. I don't have the money to buy more cardboard mailers to mail out my artwork, or to buy more business cards, or more paints, or to do a lot of things. But I live in hope.
Know what . . . sometimes life sucks . . . but most of the time it's really really good.
Life will go on. Thanks for letting me vent.
Now back to my regular programming.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Cheesy Smoked Sausage and Corn Skillet Supper. A delicious store-cupboard meal. Quick and easy. Simple ingredients, wow flavours.
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Have a fabulous Saturday! Stay happy and stay safe!