Yes, it really has been almost a year since we’ve posted regularly. We’ve taken almost a year to figure out where to go next with this blog. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve explained in the past year that this site has been lying fallow, resting. The bottom line is that Laura and I have needed to figure out exactly what we want to do with My Sister’s Kitchen.
Seven and a half years ago, in June, 2006, Laura and I launched this blog with a single goal in mind. We wanted to capture all the family recipes that we’d grown up on, all the wonderful homemade foods that marked the community formed by our Dutch immigrant grandparents and others of their generation. We recognized that while the older women in our lives were still here to share those recipes with us, they wouldn’t always be.
Although our most popular posts tend to be about old Dutch favorites like Banket (Butter Letters) and Ollie Bollen, our menus have expanded to include nearly all of the delicious foods that we love to fix and love to eat!
We love good food and we love feeding the people we love. (Notice how much LOVE is in that sentence there? That’s the heart and soul of My Sister’s Kitchen!)
When we started writing My Sister’s Kitchen, there weren’t very many food blogs. We got a lot of traffic. It was EASY to show up on the first page of a web search. We’d also never heard the phrase, Search Engine Optimization. We just wrote and posted and occasionally threw out a photo or two of what we were doing. My… how things have changed.
And then they changed some more. Suddenly it seemed that EVERY cook or chef or Food Network star had a website staffed with paid employees. And test kitchens! It became harder and harder to keep up. So we worked harder at posting photos and paying attention to what searchable words and phrases we used. We watched Analytics and site stats. We plunged into despair every time the search algorithms would change a little bit and our stats would go down. To be honest, it felt like the more we did, the less successful we were.
Then a few people started stealing photos and the text of recipes. I started seeing my photos on online auction sites….auctions which were selling MY recipes, as I had written them, word for word. Not everyone was very nice when I asked them to take down my copyrighted material. (And we’re going to talk about copyright more later because this is really, really important to us.) But hey, we were doing this for fun. It was a hobby. What hobbyist can hire a lawyer to protect a photo that isn’t actually making any money to begin with? So it got more and more discouraging.
But still. We love good food and we love feeding the people we love. That has never changed.
Then life got busy. I went from having 4 teenaged boys to feed… to only one kid living at home… to feeding crowds of 60+ college students. All four of my kids have turned out to be even better cooks than I am. Laura went from living in the Midwest to living in the Southwest, teaching full time instead of homeschooling her kids, putting her husband through graduate school. Life has gotten busier and busier. Eventually, we stopped posting much.
We’ve also experienced another very real dynamic. We’ve shared just about all our favorite recipes with y’all….and while I don’t want to say that we ran out of recipes, we’ve definitely worked our way through most of our old standbys and all our favorites. We both do still cook creatively; occasionally we happen upon a GREAT new recipe. Occasionally we learn the hard way that not all our experiments are worth writing about. (“Mom, please do not make these little energy bites again. They look like little balls of poop in the ziplock bag when they get squished in my backpack.”) It takes a lot more work to create new content. You’ve been living in our kitchens for going on 8 years; it’s inevitable that you’re going to see some of those favorites come back around again!
But still. We love good food and we love feeding the people we love. That hasn’t changed.We also love TALKING about good food.
I’ll cut to the chase: we’ve decided to keep talking about the food that we love. I’m going to spend the next few weeks updating some of our pages. If you find a dead link somewhere, please let me know. If you EVER go to a page and get a malware warning, please email me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re basically going to keep doing what we do. This IS a hobby–a labor of love. We’re not getting rich off this site. You’ll notice that we do have some αdvertising which basically generates enough dollars to pay our webhost bill each year. It ONLY pays if some of you, at some point in time, find those αds interesting enough to look at and check out. That really does help us.
Going forward, we hope to feature a few special guest writers from Laura’s classes over the next few months. We also plan to post a recipe or two each month that will reflect the new experiments that we’re always trying. I’ll be writing about feeding a crowd (where “crowd” implies some number over 50.) We might even tackle some of those stickier discussions about food sensitivities and what’s going on in the supply chain of our ingredients.
We hope you stick with us and keep talking to us as we move ahead. To be honest, the ongoing conversations that we have with you, our readers, make this all worthwhile. We love getting comments and questions. If you’re here at this site because we turned up on a search for a manual for your Equi-flow dehydrator, I’d be happy to send you an invite to view those google documents.
Before I wrap this up, I want to return to the issue of copyright. Bottom line: everything on here is copyrighted. If you’re unclear on what, on the interwebs, is copyrighted, just do a few Google searches. There are a lot of articles and websites devoted to explaining how copyright works. The biggest thing to remember is that being on the internet does not make a thing Public Domain.
Everything on My Sister’s Kitchen is copyrighted. That includes every photo. All rights are reserved. (It is our understanding, although we are NOT copyright attorneys and have never played them on TV, that lists of ingredients in a recipe are not copyrighted. Any text about the recipe and any instructions that accompany that list of ingredients IS copyrighted.)
We love to SHARE our recipes. That means, please feel free to print them out or copy them by hand and use them. Pass them on to your friends. Please post our photos and recipes on Facebook IF IF IF IF IF IF you also post a link back to this site, preferably to the page on which the recipe is found. If you post an entire recipe and only refer to our site without a live link to us, we will report you. We’re not trying to be mean-spirited about this. Recipes and good food BOTH are meant to be shared. They are not, however, meant to be stolen. (Rumor has it that stolen recipes will result in tummy aches and double the calories.)
We love good food and we love feeding the people we love.
So….we’re back and we’re excited! We’re already brainstorming the next few posts and can’t wait to get this party (re)started!
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