Last month, I went on a much needed road trip vacation to Seattle and Vancouver. We didn’t plan to do much beyond go to some delicious restaurants in both cities (in fact, the above is a photo of some donuts from General Porpoise in Seattle). When we got back, we went skiing with Erlend’s parents (who were in town to take care of Biscuit and The Cat). All in all, I took about two weeks off from Hummingbird High.
I was surprised by how rejuvenating a change of scenery (even though Seattle and Vancouver are pretty similar to Portland, lol) was. My break inspired me to finally try my hand at TikTok, where I’ve been posting non-stop since. I’m pretty addicted now!
I’ve been playing around on the app in a way I never felt like I could on Instagram. I’ve tried out different trends like espresso in orange juice and saving my avocados in water (neither of which I recommend, lol), as well as sharing quick baking and cooking tips like how to store Costco croissants and what I consider to be the best mixing bowls. Some videos are bops, while others are flops. The flops invite criticism from randos who tell me I’m bad at pouring things and unhealthy for eating croissants, lol. I try not to pay too much attention to this noise, and instead just focus on the fun parts about it.
Because truthfully, before I left on my vacation, I’ve been feeling really worried and panicked about Hummingbird High. It really feels like the “glory days” of blogging for a living are behind me. Many of my peers and I are experiencing dwindling sponsorships on our social media accounts. And it’s never been harder than now to convince folks to sit down and click over to our sites for recipes.
Bloggers, recipe developers, and content creators have all been reacting to the rapidly changing landscape in different ways. Some of my peers have abandoned their blogs, taking content creation and social media jobs in other industries. Others have pivoted to TV shows and writing for traditional media outlets like newspapers and magazines. The folks who remain are pouring all their time and effort into things like intense SEO for their sites and super regimented brand strategies and content creation for their social media accounts. And while these strategies do work, they also have the effect of removing the creativity and spontaneity from our spaces. That’s why everybody’s photos and recipes look and feel the same now, and it all feels very boring.
So I know this is naive of me, but TikTok at the moment feels like one of the few places where there’s still some creativity and spontaneity left. That’s why I’m spending most of my time there these days, as well as trying not to stick to one thing on the app too much. Instead, I’m sharing whatever I feel like. I’ve already mentioned the baking tips, cooking hacks, and silly memes/questionable trends I’ve participated in. But I also am doing cookbook reviews, and videos on the kinds of quick non-dessert recipes (like this fancy ham and cheese sandwich) that I make for myself at home. So definitely give me a follow if that interests you: https://www.tiktok.com/@hummingbirdhigh/
And in case you missed it, I published the following new recipes and posts on Hummingbird High. Here’s a round-up of everything I posted:
- White Chocolate Pistachio Babka Recipe
- My Best Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe
- Chocolate Stout Cake With Irish Cream Frosting (This recipe is exclusively for Patreon supporters—learn more below!)
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake (This is actually an old-but-gold recipe I recently updated with a few tweaks, plus a mini Instagram and TikTok tutorial!)
- “Literally Everything I Ate In Seattle and Vancouver” (Watch exclusively on TikTok)
- “TikTok Teaches Me How To Save My Avocados” (Watch exclusively on TikTok)
- “How To Keep Croissants Fresh” (Watch on Instagram and TikTok)
- “The Secret To The Best Mixing Bowls” (Watch on Instagram and TikTok)
- “Why You Should Always Use An Oven Thermometer” (Watch on Instagram and TikTok)
- “New Cookbook Preview: Korean American By Eric Kim” (Watch exclusively on TikTok)
- Iced Pistachio Latte (A Fancy Starbucks Copycat)
- “How To Bring Eggs To Room Temperature Fast” (Watch on Instagram and TikTok)
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.
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:
- “Have Sad Desk Lunches Gotten Sadder?” in Taste Magazine. I related to this article SO MUCH. It talks about how, at the start of the pandemic, folks who recently started working from home were making themselves elaborate lunches… only to slowly realize that doing so was taking so much time, effort, and labor from them. Now, we all just sit at home and smear cheese on a cracker and call it lunch. LOL.
- “Why Do People On TikTok Chew Like This?” in Gawker. This article talks about the “style” of chewing that’s prevalent on TikTok. Think: super pursed lips, full cheeks, exaggerated chewing, and eyes rolling into the back of your head to show enjoyment. This is why I will never show myself chewing/eating something on social media, yikes.
- “The Case For Induction Cooking” in The New York Times. I know that induction cooktops are better for the environment, but I just can’t seem to quit my gas cooktop. This article makes a compelling case for switching over, though. What do you guys think?
- “We’ve Underestimate Sprinkles” in Taste Magazine. If you love sprinkles, this article is for you! It talks about how and why bakers have quit fancier decorating techniques in favor of sprinkles. I personally loved learning about different sprinkle varieties around the world.
Recipes and Resources To Save
And here’s a list of all the cooking resources and recipes I saved for myself this month:
- “The Best Chocolate For Chocolate Chip Cookies” in The Huffington Post. Definitely check out this article if you’re into chocolate chip cookies! The Huffington Post interviewed a ton of food bloggers (including me!), recipe developers, and pastry chefs about their favorite chocolate for CCCs.
- “Will One Moldy Berry Ruin the Rest?” in The New York Times. Does one moldy strawberry in the box make all the other strawberries unsafe and inedible? This burning question of mine is finally answered.
Finally, On A Lighthearted Note
- I’ve been loving this “Will Baking Make You Happy?” Instagram account where a grad student attempts different recipes in an effort to make herself happy. Every caption, she asks if the recipe/baked good makes her happy… and the answer is usually “no”. Relatable, truly.
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.