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The Dozen That Didn’t

December 27, 2011

Tuesday is still too early to talk about Champagne or cocktails for New Year’s Eve. Tonight is the last night of Chanukah, but I’m pretty much over eating fried foods, and really don’t want to talk about my weeklong binge fest. Let’s just say I went out today and bought two new pairs of jeans after consuming some ceremonial deep-fried chicken wings and French fries.

Instead I’m going to jump head first into the first of the Fussy Little Round-ups of 2011.

I write a lot of original posts. What’s interesting is that I never know which ones are going to capture people’s imaginations and which ones are going to fall flat. There are lots of reasons why some posts can underperform, and this is the last chance the laggards will get to see the light of day. Because after this, they’ll be sealed away in the catacombs with dear old Fortunato.

Although sometimes there are common themes and conclusions that can be drawn by looking at a year’s worth of posts. This year, there is one unavoidable conclusion.

Wine is a real non-starter.

That’s not entirely true. There were some wine posts that did reasonably well. The ones that outperformed the rest were the ones where I was holding local businesses feet to the fire. Also wine posts were better read when I compared juice to suds.

I understand why more people aren’t reading my wine posts. But I just thought Bacon Flambé and Gold Lamé was inspired. Maybe there aren’t enough fans of They Might Be Giants who are also fans of bacon being set on fire with booze and brown sugar. Anything is possible.

Still a full third of the 12 least read posts from the past year are about wine.

One was a Father’s Day note to my dad, which involved the remembrance of a delicious wine we shared at a very special dinner in San Francisco. Now whenever I see this bottle, I cannot help but to think of my father, and that great time we shared at a quiet table many years ago.

A second was a bit about wine preservation and what happens to wine as it is left open, or when a partial bottle is stored for another day. Perhaps there was just too much going on in the post. Perhaps nobody really cares about how bad most wine by the glass can be. As I mention in the post, the safest bet is always a glass of sparkling wine.

The third from back in February was when I wrote about finishing the case of wine we put down for ten years, and the desire to get another one. Now it’s almost February again. The very fact that I haven’t moved on this project myself, should be a clear indication that it’s not something that would be of interest to most people. Don’t let my lack of forward progress stop you. It’s still a good idea.

The fourth is about how wine festivals can be overwhelming. It’s fun to have the opportunity to taste lots of different wines in one place. But how can you make it a useful learning experience instead of just a frenzied bacchanal? Well, I had some ideas. Not that I didn’t require a driver to take me home from the festival, because I did. I’m nothing if not safe and responsible. It’s times like these that I wish I could drink wine without any of its intoxicating effects.

Nobody is looking at blogs on Thanksgiving. I hesitate to even include this post in the dirty dozen because it’s not entirely original content. But it is a Thanksgiving tradition on the FLB which will not stop just because it doesn’t get a lot of eyeballs. But could you imagine if the OWS folks could use the charm and wit of this amazing protest singer from the 1960s?

Two posts were about my thoughts on specific pieces of produce.

One was peaches. Specifically local peaches that aren’t grown using organic protocols. Did you know that conventionally grown peaches carry one of the heaviest pesticide loads of any crop in the grocery store. It’s a scary list of chemicals. But all the same, for the first time in a long time, I found myself buying and enjoying non-organic peaches last summer. Here’s the full story.

The other was tomatoes. Just last night I avoided a BLT because there is no way I’m going to eat a tomato in December. Blech. But there are some good ways to make the tomatoes of fall enjoyable. And back in late September I did just that. It’s a long time until July rolls around. But the new crop of fresh, ripe tomatoes will hopefully be glorious. Until then, there should be no caprese salads unless you happen to find yourself somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

It wasn’t surprising that you all weren’t more enthusiastic to learn about the free tickets I got to attend a local food and wine festival. I’m sure that would have been different if I had bonus tickets to give away. But I try not to look my gift horses in their proverbial mouths. I hope you understand.

I also wasn’t too surprised that more people weren’t interested in watching live streaming video of baristas making espresso. Admittedly I’m a bit of a geek about these things, and I find this to be highly compelling viewing. Much more so than golf. Maybe one day the world’s best barista will get Tiger Woods sized sponsorship deals. Dare to dream.

But I am perplexed as to why these final two spirits posts didn’t do better.

One was about the benefits of shopping in a liquor store that doesn’t sell crap. No seriously, even their bottom shelf stuff was solid and completely unimpeachable. The upside is that if there is a mid-priced bottle on the shelf that you are unsure about, you can trust that it will be good.

The other was all about muddling. Maybe the post itself was a bit muddled. Perhaps it was too wide ranging a topic to try and squeeze into one post. I’m not really sure. But a lot of popular cocktails these days call for muddling, and everyone should know how to do it. Although in truth, I find it’s too much hassle and generally go for cocktails with less labor.

So, lesson learned. I’ll go into 2012 appropriately humbled, and will try to do better next year. I’ll try to have less of the bad and more of the good. What was good? Well, we’ll get to that shortly.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug permalink
    December 27, 2011 1:14 pm

    I’m a firm believer in “the life unexamined” philosophy, and also the need to be humble. But it’s also important to look at the other end of the Likert, and the distribution in between — how did your most popular dozen fare relative to the least, and to the mean? You have presented us a great body of work, and I am in awe of your productivity and the consistently high bar you set for yourself and the food community. Thank you for all of that.

  2. December 27, 2011 2:37 pm

    Maybe more of your readers don’t drink than you thought. Not that you shouldn’t post about such things, ’cause it’s your blog, but I know I start skimming instead of reading when you start talking about wine/beer/cocktails, ’cause I don’t drink. *shrugs*

  3. enough already! permalink
    December 28, 2011 2:42 am

    Just went back and read about your case of wedding wine-great idea. You now have me wanting to try a bottle of Domaine du gros bandol!
    Thanks.

  4. December 29, 2011 11:12 am

    The question now burning inside us all is whether The Post About The Posts That People Didn’t Read has gotten more hits than the Dirty Dozen themselves.

    • December 29, 2011 11:55 am

      Two things.
      1) If you want to make sure your question gets answered, please remember to use a question mark.
      2) Most definitely. In a few days, it’s already done 25% better than the best of the worst (and about 90% better than the bottom of the barrel).

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