Um… What?

by Ben on March 7, 2011 · 51 comments

in Awards, Index

—Don Draper

My wife and I are cut from the same cloth in certain ways. We are both compelled by a desire to craft stories—through images, words, what we decide to show, emphasize, and hide. Sometimes they’re stories we have a personal need to tell, and doing so feels like opening a mental valve. Other stories need to be wrangled. At those times, it’s less clear what motivates us. What is it that we’re seeking? Amusement? Satisfaction? Praise?

Often, the primary audience for our stories consists of friends and family. People who, we assume, are predisposed to be interested in what we have to say. And yet, knowing this makes it no easier to release a story into the wild. The feeling is still one of being completely naked.

A photographer whose work I admire recently tweeted:

Yesterday, I felt like a fraud and failure. Today, people are sending inquiries and praising my work. Having a business is a roller-coaster. 

Similarly, Erin and I go through cycles of feeling good about our work, and subsequently feeling foolish for even trying. I suspect that for many people who express themselves creatively, that cycle never really ends. But once in a while, we get a bit of a nudge from someone who reassures us that maybe we’re on the right track. A comment, an email, or simply an acknowledgment from someplace we didn’t expect. For me, it might come from a reader I’ve never met, or an old friend who I had no idea was actually reading the blog. There are times when a one-line note has allowed me to exhale and breathe for the first time in weeks.

Recently, we got such a nudge. We have been notified by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) that our website has been nominated as a finalist for a Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism in the Blog category. I cannot begin to express the honor and utter surprise that I feel even to be considered among fellow nominees Hank Shaw and Barry Estabrook. I attended Hank’s writing seminar at BlogHer Food last year, and met him briefly over breakfast. He’s a wonderful writer, and down-to-earth guy. Barry Estabrook I’ve never met personally, but, you know, the guy’s also been nominated for a bazillion other things. I’m looking forward to seeing both of them in Austin in June.

I’m well aware that acknowledgment in this form doesn’t last forever. But today, it feels nice. And I feel a tremendous gratitude to all of you, without whom this blog would not have a reason to exist. So, in case I haven’t told you this enough recently, Thanks.

I can’t wait to share another year with you.



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51 comments… read them below or add one

Kath March 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Congratulations, Ben and Erin! In my opinion, it’s well-deserved! I’m really glad I discovered your blog.


Sarah (sfBirdie) March 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Congratulations, Ben & Erin! That’s an amazing accomplishment. Enjoy the moment. So glad you’re being recognized for having such a wonderful blog.


Liren March 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Ben and Erin, your stories and photographs have made an impression on so many of us, and it is clear that the IACP sees the passion and talent behind BabyChili. Congratulations on this well deserved nomination! (You can stop pinching yourself – it’s real!).


Ethan March 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

As far as nudges go, this is a pretty good one! And I think it’ll feel as nice tomorrow as it does today. Enjoy the moment and good luck!


Jean March 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Congratulations to you and Erin for being recognized by the IACP for work work we, your friends, already know you do very well. I’m very proud of Team Baby Chili–your recognition is well deserved!


Dawn (KitchenTravels) March 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Wow – congrats! Well deserved.


Lana March 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

My husband and I have been treading the same waters for a couple of years now, and damn the Heraclitus and his man and river quote all the time:)
I am so happy that you two have found your nudge! So well deserved. Cheers, for many more nudges upward!


Danielle March 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I am so so SO happy for Team BabyChili that you’re being recognized for the brilliant writing, evocative photographs and slick videos that you produce! You make creative work look too easy and fun 😉 Don’t stop!!


irvin March 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Congrats! I always look forward to your posts and I think it’s wonderful that you got the recognition of being nominated! You totally deserve it! Super excited for you!


Amy K. March 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Congrats to you and Erin! I am so excited for you!

“Don’t stop! Don’t give up!”
– Plex, Yo Gabba Gabba


Jenni March 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

What validation for you! That is awesome, and well deserved, too. I think you’re a great writer.

This whole Hinternet thing is, indeed, a bit of a roller coaster, so it’s nice to get that shot in the arm every once in awhile that keeps us going!

Again, congratulations!!


Joan Nova March 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Congratulations…although I’m a newbie follower, I think it’s a well-deserved honor.


Ben March 9, 2011 at 11:04 am

That’s OK, Joan. All the followers are newbie! So nice to connect with you.


Patricia Clough March 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

That is awe-some! Congratulations to the two of you. Rock ON!


Broderick March 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Congrats Ben!! It was a pleasure meeting you at BlogHerFood last year at the “guy’s table” during breakfast. I can definitely empathize with cycles one goes through in terms of one’s work. It’s a great honor and I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Austin.


Ben March 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

Pleasure was mine. Hey! See you in Atlanta in May, right?


Lawyer Loves Lunch March 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm

A big ol’ congratulations to you, Erin, and the baby behind Baby Chili!


Shyn March 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Hi Ben,

That’s awesome to hear about your nomination. Well, i’m one of those strangers who read your blog from time to time, and decides to leave you a note (or two) which will hopefully be nudges for you. Can’t say i’m half as creative as you and Erin (for one, my food pictures never turn out that great), but i get nudges from friends from time to time, and every time, it makes me believe that i should give it another shot, and that perhaps, this shot will land me somewhere unexpected. I used to do a fair amount of creative writing, now i am mostly into photography and my saxophone. 2 days ago, i chatted with 2 friends about 2 plays i wrote some time back, and then yesterday, i received an email from one of the competition organizers to encourage me to submit another entry for this year’s Short + Sweet. And you know what? I think i will! Maybe i’ll submit a few!

Shyn Yee


Ben March 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

Thank you for following our blog, Shyn. Your photos are absolutely lovely!


Brie March 8, 2011 at 7:22 am

congrats! that’s fantastic news! best of luck!


Lori Lynn March 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

YAY for you Ben – well-deserved! I discovered your blog through Project Food Blog and continue to enjoy your work. Best wishes for much success and Good Luck with your nomination!


Judith Klinger March 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Congratulations on the IACP nomination! Bravi! You’re right you are in excellent company.


Wendy March 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Congratulations to you both! Well-deserved!


Lael Hazan @educatedpalate March 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Congratulations on a well-deserved honor!


Winnie March 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

This is really quite awesome…I hope you win 😉


Duchess March 9, 2011 at 8:05 am

How extraordinary! A million congrats and good lucks!


Amelia from Z Tasty Life March 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

Ben and Erin: you stand out in a crowd, your words touch in a unique way, they strike home, in a comforting and open hearted sort of way. well deserved recognitions and words just confirm this “suspiciion” 😉


Ben March 9, 2011 at 11:17 am

Thanks for your sweet comment, Amelia! I’m happy to have discovered your blog, as well!


Christine March 9, 2011 at 11:03 am



Ben March 9, 2011 at 11:19 am

Thank you, everyone, for all of your kind comments. Grateful to have such great friends, and excited to meet new readers!


Kate @ Scarpetta Dolcetto March 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Coming out from my lurk to extend a super-hearty congratulations! So deserved, and what an exceptional honor. Wow!!


Ben March 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Thanks, Kate. I love your site! Everything you make is totally up my alley! 🙂


Chris @ The Peche March 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I was scanning the list of nominees, when I spotted your blog’s name. And then I got a giant smile on my face. Well done, sir. Very well done.


Michael Nelson March 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Ben, I just read this to Erin’s Gram Nelson. You get two thumbs up. She loves you both. And Esme also, of course.


Jennifer Doebbler March 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

Congrats and good luck.


HankShaw March 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Hey Ben,

Congrats on the nod! Keep feeding that baby chili, and I will see you in Hotlanta and then again in Austin! Tell you what: I promise to start a wave in the audience if you win, if you promise to do the same if I win. Deal? 😉



Ben March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

But what do we do if Barry wins?


Rachelino March 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I know I already said it, but congratulations! Would you consider video tips in exchange for baked goods? I know, not cupcakes….


Ben March 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Tip #1: Convince a fantastically talented artist to let you use her music in your video. (Thanks, Sally!!!)

I’ll take my payment in sourdough boule, please.


Mariko March 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Um… What?!
Pretty awesome. (I didn’t know that award existed, even though it seems to be a big deal, now that I’m checking it out.)
It was def the cupcake video that tipped the scale from good blog to great. Epic. Whoopie pie status.


Ben March 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm

This blog is “the next cupcake.”


Kristen March 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

So well deserved – congratulations!!


sippitysup March 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

It’s because you speak a brave tongue! Congrats. GREG


Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama March 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Congratulations! I am so happy for you and Erin and feel so fortunate that she shared your site with me!


Ben March 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Thank you so much for your support, Leticia!


Laura March 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Congrats! I only just discovered your blog but have been enjoying perusing it. Love the name of it and it’s origin.


Ben March 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Thanks for reading, Laura. And nice job on your new website. Looks great!


Laura March 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Thank you! It crashed right after we got it up (well the host server did) but we are running smoothly now. I hope. 🙂


jaeme March 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

yay. so proud. feels good, doesn’t it?


Tricia March 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

Congratulations! Just came across your blog today via twitter and am so glad I found you. Beautiful work, great stories, and fantastic photos. Thanks for doing all you do! Best, Tricia


Ben March 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I could say the same about you. Thank you for reading!


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