I’m back, baby! Because in case you missed it, I announced last month that I was taking a short break from developing new recipes in August. I’m sad to say that my break lasted a grand total of two weeks, lol. My mom made a last minute decision to come visit this month, and I locked in several brand partnerships that will keep me busy throughout most of September. As a result, I decided to get a head start on developing recipes like M&M Cookies, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, and more.
And in any case, I’m not complaining. I haven’t seen my mom in more than a year and a half, and I’m very excited to finally do so! We are planning on several outdoor day trips throughout both Oregon and Washington state. I’ve made several (outdoor patio) reservations for my favorite restaurants around Portland.
I’m also not complaining about the brand partnerships. It’s been a slow summer, and, as a result, I’ve been spending far too much time worrying about the future of blogging, social media, and Hummingbird High in general. It’s no secret that I’m frequently fretting about Hummingbird High‘s longevity and future, especially over the last year or so. I’ve been running this blog since 2011—almost 10 years!—and things have changed a LOT. I’ve been feeling increasing pressure to constantly change and adapt to “grow the business” and “stay relevant.”
But between you and me, something feels broken and toxic about this mindset. Maybe this makes me a terrible capitalist, but it doesn’t seem like assuming that I’ll be growing and running Hummingbird High forever is realistic. I’ve already given up a lot of the things I really like about blogging—like telling stories with my recipes, or taking the pretty, styled photos I like best instead of the more realistic photos and videos that are more in vogue now—to please anonymous algorithms and even fickler audiences. Maybe it’s better to just pump the brakes, and embrace the existing community I have.
So the TL/DR—two weeks off wasn’t enough to come to any meaningful conclusions on how to proceed next. But it was enough to give me room to breathe, and reprioritize things. I’m giving myself until the end of the year to keep trying new things and experimenting with things like Patreon, video recipes, and more. But after that? Don’t be surprised if you see another shift. To what? We’ll see, we’ll see.
In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts on Hummingbird High
And in case you missed it, I published the following new recipes and posts on Hummingbird High. Because of my break, I didn’t post as many recipes as I usually do (BUT I did do some fun little videos of old favorite recipes of mine—check them out below!). However, I did experiment and try some more “storytelling” type of posts where I share some behind-the-scenes of how I find inspiration for recipes, what I like to buy at Trader Joe’s, etc. Tell me what you think of these posts—should I do more of them?!
- S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies (This is a video of this classic recipe of mine—I love making it in the summer! To me, nothing is more festive than a s’more on a warm summer’s evening.)
- Behind-The-Scenes: Finding Inspiration For Recipes (This was a fun, recipe-adjacent post about how I find inspiration for my recipes and come up with menu and meal planning ideas—the photo of my cookbook collection in this post is taken from there!)
- Small Batch Biscuit Peach Cobbler (This was the one original recipe I published this month—it’s exclusive to my Patreon supporters. Learn more about my Patreon program below!)
- Liège Waffles (This is another video of a favorite old recipe of mine—I made these for National Waffle Day, which, yes, is a real holiday, ha.)
- What A Food Blogger (me, obviously) Buys At Trader Joe’s (This was another fun, recipe-adjacent video I published a few days ago. In it, I show off some of my favorite baking ingredients that I buy at Trader Joe’s!)
Support Me On Patreon
Developing and updating these recipes requires financial resources from ads on my website and paid partnerships with brands. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, many brands have limited their advertising budgets and cancelled sponsorship opportunities. So if you are able to financially support my work, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You can learn more about why I decided to start a Patreon in this far too emotional and confessional essay (lol).
However, the TL/DR is this: in addition to enabling me to keep developing more customized recipes suited to your needs, Patreon supporters help shape future recipes on Hummingbird High. Patreon supporters get access to exclusive recipes and Instagram Story tutorials like Small Batch Blueberry Scones, Very Small Batch Yellow Sheet Cake, Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls, and more.
Below is a picture of last month’s Patreon recipe—Small Batch Biscuit Peach Cobbler—to inspire you:
Food For Thought
This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:
- “Can We Fix America’s Food-Appropriation Problem? If You’re Only Focused On The Outrage, You’re Missing The Point.” in Grub Street. I loved this article because it explains how no-nuance takes, which have always been favored by the internet, flatten complicated stories and issues. In this case, the writer describes the media coverage surrounding a white woman’s woefully misinformed congee business, focusing on how food media quickly reduced the narrative to a more familiar “offended woke BIPOCs versus oblivious white people” story. Doing so drowned out some very valid and thoughtful discussions about food appropriation.
- “Why Do American Grocery Stores Still Have an Ethnic Aisle?” in The New York Times. This is a really great, interesting discussion about whether or not grocery stores still require “ethnic” aisle for Asian, Middle Eastern, and other “non Western” staples. I’m frankly torn on this one—if I have a specific need and I’m not at a specialized store, I can beeline straight to this aisle. But I also understand that having it doesn’t really promote inclusivity. What do you guys think?
- “When White Sugar Won’t Do.” in Taste Most of my baking recipes rely on very basic sugars, but the truth is, sugar has about as much variety as the flour and salt aisles! I loved learning about all the different types of sugar available and how to use them in different types of cuisine.
- “In the Kitchens of the Rich, Things Are Not as They Seem.” in The New York Times. Okay, this is mostly a puff piece about how rich people like to opt for multiple “hidden” fridges in their gymnasium-sized kitchens. They spend thousands and thousands of dollars to purchase fridges that allow you to customize its paneling to match the kitchen cabinetry. And I know this is going to make me sound like a brat, but real talk—my new house came with a hidden fridge and I low-key hate it! The builder didn’t have the budget of the celebrities mentioned in the article, so they opted for literally the smallest hidden fridge they could find. It doesn’t even have an ice machine! I’m planning on replacing it with a more practical, entirely visible version soon (lol).
Recipes and Resources To Save
And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:
- Okay, wow—I gasped out loud when I saw Sally’s ice cream loaf cake. Look at those layers!
- Sometimes I get complaints that the Bake Time for my recipes is way off. One of the first questions I ask when I help folks troubleshoot: what kind of pan did you use? Because different pan materials—like aluminum versus ceramic versus glass versus whatever else—all conduct heat differently! I loved this Wirecutter guide on helping you choose the most appropriate pan for different recipes.
- I am SO CURIOUS about this self-crusting blueberry pie recipe. Has anybody tried it?
- Alright, this one’s a bit of a shameless plug (but it’s relevant to y’all’s interests, I promise!): Food52 wrote an article about how to bake muffins with sky-high, domed muffin tops and interviewed yours truly (along with some other, much more talented famed pastry chefs). Check it out!
Finally, On A Lighthearted Note
- Did anybody else watch Paris Hilton’s new cooking show on Netflix this past month? I’m not gonna lie—I turned it on expecting to hate it, but I was pleasantly charmed by it (and apparently I’m not alone)! It’s just hot people having a good time, making what looks like stoner food. Who doesn’t like that?
Okay, whew! That’s all for now, folks. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.