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Third Anniversary – Why I Write and a Short History of the Blog

Posted by CMH Gourmand on September 2, 2009

Several people bugged me to start a blog for years. I deferred because I thought it was just some passing fad. I am a late adopter of all technology (no Facebook account, no I phone, a TV from 1993, no DVD player and I bought my Macbook in July 2008. I had dabbled a little by doing some content for Columbus Underground in the early days of CU 2.0 or 2.5 (circa 2004) but that was as close as I was getting to the new Social Media.

When I started this blog my goal was to keep up my HTML skills and keep down my frustration from two book deals gone belly up. The week before I had jumped out of an airplane, the first chute didn’t open but as you can read, the second one did. It had been a long August after a very long year. I had no mission or focus for the blog other than to write on occasion to reuse, recycle and rework some of my content that did or did not get published elsewhere. The name for the blog came from the name I had used for online dating – most of my dates did not get the name either.

Three years later, I do have mission – promoting and growing the food culture in Columbus. I profess that Columbus is the Ice Cream Capital of the World. Columbus, per capita, has a great selection of superior restaurants and can hold its own against most other cities. Another thing the capital city delivers is fun and often free food functions. We have great galas on the grand scale (and sometimes the high end) such as Dine Originals Restaurant Week, Taste of The Future, The Food and Wine Affair, Taste of the Independents and a lot of North Market events.

On the smaller scale – there are a plethora of wine tastings to choose from every week. My favorites are at Hills Market and House Wine. As for events – in the 90’s when I went to cooking classes, food workshops, etc., I was typically the only guy in a pack of cougars and felt a bit out of place. Now – Columbus has Cupcake Camp, Bacon Camp, Pizza Grand Prix, “Meat Up’s”, Beer and cheese tastings and more. If you want to do something fun with food, there are choices every week. I was speaking with a lawyer visiting from New Orleans this week at a presentation for my day job. She was impressed by what we have to offer as a culinary city.

For your to do list:
When you are sitting next to someone from out of town, mention what we have. When they ask where you are from – just say Columbus, drop the Ohio….they should know

So what else? Promoting eating local and knowing where out food comes from is important and will happen more often. Slow Food Columbus does this through education and great events. I am a proud member of this group and had the honor of putting together my first food tour this year as one of our events. I plan to write more about where our food comes from before it gets plated in the restaurant kitchen.

So what next? Continuing to look for places just off the radar, growing the appreciation for Taco Trucks as well as the new immigrant kitchens in Columbus. And while doing all of the above – getting myself back into balance and working through my own omnivore’s dilemma soon to become a disaster.

Here are some of the major milestones of CMH Gourmand.

August 2006 – It begins.

January 2007 – 100 people view the blog in one day – I am excited.

March 2007 – Writer and Filmmaker George Motz joins me at the Thurman Cafe and Gahanna Grill for two of the 100 hamburgers he will feature in his book. A new seed for Thurman Burger fame is planted.

Fall 2007 – Walker Evans helps me get invited to a Central Ohio Restaurant Association meeting. I met Liz Lessner and we become friends. (And I get to go to her wedding in August of 2009 – FUN!)

October 2007 – I am invited for my first gig as a judge for a food event at North Market. Best job ever!

December 2007 – Food bloggers are profiled in the Columbus Dispatch. My bit involves the Ohio Deli. A seed is planted for Ohio Deli Dagwood fame. On a downside, for the photoshoot I have the sandwich in my mouth for almost 30 minutes. I get 1300 hits in one day – and I thought 100 was good.

January 2008 – First Columbus Foodcast goes live.

March 2008 – Columbus Underground does a Dagwood eating contest at the Ohio Deli. Walker Evans does a great video of the event. The Dagwood gets more fame on the internet via You-Tube. I make several new friends via Columbus Underground.

March 2008 – Slow Food starts a convivium in Columbus. I meet Bear and Colleen.

Spring and Summer 2008 – My posts on the Thurman Burger and the Ohio Deli Dagwood sandwich are linked on the website – This is Why You’re Fat. More seeds planted.

September 2008 – I met a Hungry Woolf via a North Market cooking class. Thanks for the tickets Mary Martineau! This is the first of many culinary adventures.

September 2008 – My main Columbus Underground cronies, Hungry Woolf and I become card carrying members of the Highland Estates Social Club and start our journey to becoming loyal Slow Food board members.

October 2008 – I go to Chicago with the Dirty Franks Crew and eat hot dogs all day. I tour the Vienna Beef hot dog factory!

Fall 2008 – I start to notice a lot of searches for “Thurman Burger” and “Dagwood Sandwiches” and “Columbus Food Blogs” in my web statistics – I am puzzled by this.

December 2008 – The television show Man Vs. Food premieres their show on Columbus. The featured items – The Thurman Burger (a Thurmanator) and The Dagwood Sandwich. Web statistics go crazy.

January 2009 – Taco Truck research begins. I become slothful and stop exercising (bad idea).

March 2009 – The Third Pizza Grand Prix is held at Wild Goose Creative – another partnership is born!

March 2009 – TacoTrucksColumbus goes live!

June 2009 – The TacoTrucksColumbus website is in the Dispatch, on TV and Podcasted all in 24 hours! The site gets 8000+ hits in one day. I now have one blog, 1/3 of the Taco Trucks blog, occasional posts for Slow Food Columbus, a few food events and still work fulltime. Things are busy, busy, busy.

There are many other great moments and persons not mentioned above. Several people contribute to what I do. Anyone I eat with has to share their food and wait for me to take photos. Zach and Mary deserve the credit for doing all of the leg work for the podcast and keeping that going.

People say all the time – “It must be great to make a living by eating”. I then have to tell them that this is a non profit venture and watch their bubble burst. But this is my living of sorts, my life is about what and where I eat. Most people talk about sports or their jobs – both bore me to tears. I am what I eat – not what I do or watch. I don’t expect (or want) fame as a food writer on this blog. I never expected to make any money doing this. I get something much more rewarding. I have made incredible friendships with people I would have never met. I have had opportunities and experiences that I would never had without my connection to this blog and the people that read it. I hope that those reading enjoy doing so and will continue find it is worth their time.

Spending hours each week writing, eating everywhere, and taking photos: pricey. Making firm friendships and having a lot of fun: priceless.

Now back to our regularly scheduled content – already in progress.

7 Responses to “Third Anniversary – Why I Write and a Short History of the Blog”

  1. Jean said

    Happy 3rd anniversary! Columbus is my one and only hometown…and I appreciate what a great city it is! As I get older (ugh) and more mature (yeah, that sounds so much better) my tastes haave grown with me. So being a self-professed “foodie” I started my own blog. I simply had to make “Columbus” part of the name because that’s part of who I am, having grown up here.
    So I congratulate you and ask you to check out my blog. If you deem it worthy, I would be honored to have you post it here along with the other Columbus food blogs.
    And thanks for all your hard work! Looking forward to many more years! 🙂

  2. Dave said

    I’ve become a fan of the selfless, food-first CMHGourmand. It is the place to go for all that is food in Columbus. I say this because it is a resource for everyday food outings. Hot dogs and ice cream to food on the road and especially the foodblogger outreach efforts. In the parlance of Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you’re a connector. I look forward to continued years of flavorful writing.

  3. Amanda said

    Happy Anniversary! How exciting!

    I loved reading the timeline! Thanks for all you do for Columbus and Wild Goose!

    And thanks for always having great ideas! Keep em coming!


  4. Bear said

    Happy Anniversary, Jim! Thanks for being such a solid contributor to Slow Food, and keep the blogtastic goodness coming.

    I think Dave hit it right on the head with the whole Gladwell connector thing, too — it’s a real talent.


  5. I just read an article about the average lifespan of a blog.

    The ‘average blog’ thus has the lifespan of a fruitfly.

    Three years is a tremendous achievement and obviously the result of a lot of hard work.

    Here’s to many more food ventures and adventures

  6. Thad said

    Congratulations Doctor! I’ve enjoyed following your site and your show over the last few years; keep it up.

  7. Susan W. said

    I am intrigued by the book deals. I hope that you’ve kept your manuscripts; I’m sure that they could be adapted for 2010 or later. I read the other day that Agatha Christie started her first book to prove something to her sister and had it rejected by at least four publishers before she got a book deal!
    I’ve enjoyed many of your reports from this long distance.

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