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Kitchen Treaty 2024: An Update

You may have noticed I went quiet around here for a couple of years, posting recipes every month or two (or four), but not much else. And, maybe you’ve also noticed that I’ve started posting more new recipes lately.

But I was doing a lot of vegan and dairy-free recipes for a few years … and, now I’m sharing recipes with dairy again, and sometimes I post a lot and sometimes I don’t … what gives?

Well … there’s not really a short answer to that question. I guess it’s safe to say that a lot gives, or maybe it’s just that, for me, food blogging has been this massive rollercoaster and sometimes, in the 12 years since I launched Kitchen Treaty and nearly 15 years of blogging in total, life has gotten in the way of me riding that roller coaster …

Back at the beginning of 2020, I made the intentional switch to posting fewer new recipes and instead focusing on “housecleaning” for the year – revisiting, re-photographing, and rewriting the recipes in my archive. Of course, oh-so-naive me had no idea about what was about to come in 2020. Trigger warning: COVID, death, and general despair.

By the end of 2020, I was reeling from everything that had gone down that year, and especially from my Mom’s death. She lived to a ripe old age, and I’m so grateful for that, but her health declined (unrelated to COVID) at the worst possible time. She was in the hospital for much of April 2020 and in bad shape, but with a hospital full of COVID patients and extremely strict visitor protocols, we weren’t allowed to be with her.

It was a very helpless feeling for my extended family and me, but especially my Dad. She was at a place health-wise where she needed advocates in there with her, and with the added burden of a large influx of COVID patients, the hospital was struggling to keep up in every way. There are many details I won’t get into here, but after a lot of fighting, we were able to be with her only at the very end. It’s not lost on me how fortunate we were compared to so many other families who did not get to be with their dying loved ones during that time.

For months after my Mom’s death, I would sit down at the computer to work on updating posts on Kitchen Treaty, and I just couldn’t. My brain literally would not, could not focus.

My Dad died a couple of years after my Mom. Things had gotten very complicated by then … my Dad was one of those larger-than-life types that had been with my Mom for nearly 65 years, and losing her, and especially the way it all went down, was hard for all of us, but especially him.

Ultimately, it’s been just a really weird, unmoored feeling; adjusting to a world without my parents in it.

Meanwhile, ever since schools closed for COVID, it became clear that homeschooling is the best fit for my kiddo. She attends an incredible homeschooling hybrid program with a neighboring school district and is thriving! Anyone who has homeschooled their kids knows that it can basically be an all-consuming, full-time job. A rewarding one with many magical moments! But it’s still a lot.

I won’t even get into my health, which has been a journey of its own. I’m still a vegetarian, but these days I am able to eat some dairy again, just not a lot – and I have to watch/balance the carbs and get as much protein as possible due to blood sugar issues.

Suffice it to say, when heavy life stuff gets in the way, I’ve had a really hard time pulling myself up by the bootstraps and continuing to work on Kitchen Treaty. I know it’s a luxury to work only when I choose to. Food blogging is amazing because it just keeps generating passive income (thanks to those annoying ads, sorry, but that’s how I’m able to make this my job!) So I know what a privilege and huge luxury it has been to be able to take long breaks.

Ultimately, I’ve paid the price for those breaks, though. Because when you don’t post and update your blog consistently, the page views start to die down, for a number of reasons. Page views = ad income, so more is better, obviously!

So, financially, Kitchen Treaty has struggled the past couple of years after I neglected it.

There was also a huge shift toward social media a few years ago, too, and I missed the boat there. I just didn’t have time to try to play the algorithm game while also producing content, and, to be totally honest, I really don’t like being in front of the camera. I’m awkward, anxious, private, and being on camera makes me extremely self-conscious.

The idea of me being an “influencer” makes me chuckle, to be honest, no shade to the hard-working food blog influencers out there! They are amazing! But it’s just not me, a total introvert. Put me in the kitchen fiddling with new recipes, behind the camera photographing them, and in front of the computer writing. That’s my happy place, not in front of the camera! 😬 Which is complicated in a blogging world where video rules. But I think (and hope!) there is still a place for food bloggers like me, too.

And now, here’s a gratuitous photo of our newest dog (we have three now!) This is Petunia, who came to our family from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in 2022. She is tiny, fierce, and a force. We love her.

Okay, so here’s where I am now (and I thank you so much if you are still with me). I’ve made it out of the other side of grief and the general pandemic nightmare, and our family has found our groove with homeschooling. My kid is older and more independent than ever, and I’m really enjoying creating new recipes again! I started up a second blog that I’ve been slowly growing, and I’ve also started a freelance writing leg of my business so that I’m not solely dependent on ad income, and it feels good to diversify.

In a world of AI and when food blogs/recipe websites are a dime a dozen, I know that human-generated, ironclad recipes are more important than ever. If one of my recipes fails in your kitchen, I know that you might not return to Kitchen Treaty, and I don’t want that to happen!

So my goal is to create and share dependable, tried-and-true vegetarian recipes with options, whenever possible, for adapting them to various diets – vegan, dairy-free, carnivore, gluten-free. Life is complicated (oh boy, can it be complicated). And dietary needs can be complicated. But dinner doesn’t have to be.

Thanks for sticking with me! I’m excited about the future here at Kitchen Treaty and I am looking forward to growing, recovering, and thriving over here in my little space on the web!

– Kare

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