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The Ides of March 4.0

Posted by CMH Gourmand on March 14, 2011

I often wince and cringe when reading blogs that cross the line into navel gazing and T(oo) M(uch) I(nfo). I have been in the TMI mode occasionally over the last several months. I apologize. This post is the last of that series and hopefully a bit cathartic. This explains the decline in content quality and the donut obsession. So you may want to skip this entry and just read tommorrow’s post after I clean out my closet for the last 365 days.

For the Ides for March I have traditionally taken a moment to look back at my 15 best food related things of the last year. When I wrote last year’s edition, I can say I was truly happy (I don’t throw that word around too liberally). I had just come back from a great trip to Berkeley and was excited about what the spring had on my plate and some incredible possibilities for the year. Everything changed at the end of that week. I never defined myself by my day job but I came to find my department essentially no longer existed. My response was to travel around the country for two weeks with my dog to sort out what to do…..I did not figure that out.

At the beginning it was a struggle to think through this edition of the ides. I was not sure I would find fifteen things that were worthy of being happy about. My work (day job), family (the Honduran connection) and personal life each gave me a major sucker punch in the past year. If the stool that is me has four legs, three were knocked off.

I have done the math countless times in the last year and it never adds up. The equation seems to be: Nice Guy + X = screwed. My dog days are not over but my nice guy days did dissapear. I did not deserve any of the three hands that I was dealt but each one did mean that I had to change and it took a while to listen to that. The words intended for the next three paragraphs have been written and rewritten and finally removed after two months of reflection. Among the descriptors I deleted was the phrase “felt like being pissed on while being drowned”. In the spirit of ending TMI and also not wanting anything so negative to be part of my permanent record to the world we will move on. Ultimately, what happened was more dependent on how I respond to them and that was a lesson that came slow but surely as the 365 days came to a close.

There was still a lot of good. This list affirms that.

1. In May, with little planning or even a well thought out trip plan, CMH Tobias and I set out on a journey of discovery. It is all on twitter:

2. Malcom Gladwell is one of my favorite writers. He has concept of connectors. I have been called one on a few occasions. In the fall, an aquintanace approached me at an event I was working. She said “I never told you thank you”. I looked at her puzzled. “You introduced me to Slow Food Columbus, some great restaurants and wonderful people and helped me enjoy my new life in Columbus”. To that I say, you are welcome. As a kid that grew up very introverted and remained socially awkward well past college I never thought I would grow up to hear someone complimenting me for anything social. Now, I find myself surrounded by social media and showing others how to use it.

3. As I was starting to rebound from the first disappointment of the year, I was invited to go to Cleveland to eat and drink….for free. That was a wonderful trip of CLEGourmanding.

4. I had a great time working the Ohio Sweet Hearts event at the Hills Market. I was able to chat with Chef Norman all night and I was given a Jeni’s Ice Cream hoodie for my trouble. I also had a good post party with friends. It was a night to remember.

5. The Columbus Food and Wine Affair is a great event for our city. I have been able to assist as a wine judge for the past two years. Last year, I helped create and execute their social media strategy.

6. I made a lifelong commitment to DK Diner Donuts. I had them the first time in January 2010 but I was hooked by the ides. I think they may be the best donuts in town and maybe the state.

7. I had planned on staying at Rockmill Brewery for 30 minutes. I stayed for several hours. It was one of the best afternoons I have had in a very long time.

8. Mobile food does matter in Columbus. In 2009 it was Taco Trucks. In 2010, the interest expanded.

While most of my start up cash was unexpectedly reallocated to Honduras, I still have an interest in a mobile food operation. I have ¾ of a business plan and some resources but my concept is not going to happen in 2011. Maybe 2012.

9. I enjoyed grilling hot dogs for the masses at The Goodale Park Music Series.

10. I did not know my life bucket list included organizing and leading a parade. If you want to do one, it will cost at least $1000.

11. George Motz came back to town for Hamburger America II, so I took him to Johnnie’s. We did not have enough time to go to O’Reilly’s, maybe for the third book.

12. Hanging out with GA Benton and the crew for the Alive to explore the world of Taco Trucks.

13. Nelsonville, The Spikedrivers and Rhapsody

14. Making really good soup. Really. I made three great soups this year and the key was BluesCreek Farm bacon.

15. Hello iPhone – my new friend. My cell phone died in Mexico so I finally got an iPhone. It does make my day to day life easier.

I still hear “You never answer your phone” – true – I still turn it off for long bursts of time to disconnect since I spend much of the time overconnected. Technology connects us but disconnects us at the same time. I have been in too many social situations where I see people eyes and attention on their phone screens instead of being in the moment with the company they are with. There is a reason there are so many lonely people surrounded by people in the process of becoming connected to everything but each other. We have allowed ourselves to be disconnected from everyone. Stop it. Although I find the need to disconnect more frequently. Do as I write, not as I roll.

So what will the next 365 days bring? I have always had multiple projects going on at any given time, a job to chase, a country or cuisine to explore or multiple missions of great import. I don’t have that. There is no target in my sights. What am I hoping for? I don’t know anymore. That is a scary thing for me to consider. Et Tu Columbus?

(This post is dedicated to Cee Lo Green (musical genius) as well as Fitz and The Tantrums and every angry Metallica song I could find).

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