In high school I stumbled upon a collection of National Geographic magazines enclosed in a reddish leather container. My parents must have at one point collected the yellow rectangular magazines chockfull of cultural information. I fell in love.
Not the kind of love that’s as if butterflies reside in your stomach. Rather, the kind of love bordering obsession: I must read these magazines! I must finish all the pages! The kind of consuming love you endure when you find yourself wrapped up in a comfortable blanket, posted on the couch on a cold rainy day, surrounded by your favorite bowl of snacks and watching the best binge-worthy TV show. You can’t stop watching, eating, or feeling comforted – you love it.
When I moved off to college I had for the first time in my life a monthly income and my own mailing address. I immediately subscribed to what I lovingly refer to as NatGeo. Ever since I have served as a dedicated subscriber. Between numerous address changes, terms served overseas, and even now living overseas, I maintained my subscription. The pile of unread editions grew. Oh, I should be honest, my NatGeos never found themselves in piles, they had their own bookcase in my house. However the shelf with plastic-covered magazines continued to grow as time got the better of me and I lacked the ability to sit and read. See, the issue was that even if the article lacked appeal (climate change, ice caps melting – sure, call me heartless), I still felt this requirement to read the magazine front to back. This meant I’d struggle through a month’s wealth of information, disinterested in a certain topic and thus the poor magazine would sit, cover pulled back to that lackluster article.
When I began my journey to Australia I stopped over at my Dad’s for a week. They’d thoughtfully acquired a set of those reddish leather bound NatGeo sets incorporating six months of magazines: one of each of the kids so that we had the six month set including out birthday from our corresponding birth year. I couldn’t wait to open up the magazine from my month: the front cover piece was about women in Saudi Arabia. How intriguing we still find the lives of 50% of the Gulf State’s population interesting. Shrouded in black abayas, the women of the late 1980s resembled the same black abaya totting women of 2016.
A second magazine I found insatiable was Food Network’s Magazine. The appeal was akin to the NatGeo appeal: all in the photos. Documenting the world one instantaneous moment at a time. In NatGeo the world was the oyster, in Food Network the kitchen’s export was the “oyster.”
I find photography to be the first when determining whether I should attempt a recipe or not. Even when reading through a menu at a restaurant – if there are photographs I’m highly more likely to select a meal that’s photographed than one that receives a description. So when I found Food Network and their gracious offer of photos for every single recipe in their delightful, easy-to-use magazine, I was understandably hooked.
Having recently moved to Australia I am no longer at liberty to receive either of my magazine subscriptions. Instead I have my NatGeos sent to my Dad’s house, and once I found Food Network’s website works just as fantastically as their magazines, I opted to temporarily cancel my subscription. Before I departed for Australia however I made an intense effort to flip through every single page of my Food Network magazines – nearly nine years worth! – and compile in a notebook recipe names, edition data, and page numbers so that I could have reference material while abroad.
Thus it is at this point my two magazines have collided. I am traveling the world, seeing the cultures of this magnificent earth through my own eyes vice NatGeo’s compelling photographs, and in my spare time I am embarking on a goal to serve up as many recipes I can from my Food Network reference material. Its rare, if ever, that in life you have the opportunity to experience two hobbies and joys combined at the same time; I better take advantage while I can!