It’s Been A While

You know that feeling when you run into someone you haven’t seen in years? Maybe a person you were really close with in high school but then lost touch with, or that girl you met in spin class and kept saying ‘we should definitely get drinks sometime!’ but then you never did. It’s that feeling of excitement about seeing the person, mixed with the guilt of thinking you could have done more to keep the relationship going. You want to say something cool or poignant, but all you can think of is, “how have you been?”

“How have you been?” What a weird question to ask someone after years apart. She’s probably been both good and bad; whose life is perfect every day? He might be having a not-so-great Monday, but he’s definitely not going to respond with “I’m actually really down, thanks for asking.” You’re essentially strangers at this point; starting over with just a little knowledge of that person’s history.

That’s a little like how this feels. Coming back to Em the Baker after a four-year hiatus, sitting down to write a blog post and talk to the wonderful readers who made this blog a success back in 2014, I feel like I’m here asking every single one of you “how have you been?” When what I really want to ask is “in five minutes, can you fill me in on every detail of your life that I’ve missed? I really want to know.”

As for the details of my life, I stopped writing when I moved from North Carolina down to Charleston, South Carolina. I moved into an apartment in an old house with a tiny kitchen and barely functioning oven; that made recipe testing a challenge. Luckily, my time in that particular apartment was short-lived. But I was forming a new life for myself down here, diving headfirst into a new career in real estate development, making new friends, and experiencing what this incredible city has to offer – lots of food, lots of drinks, and lots of stunning views…and people. I’m in love with Charleston, my life here, and the people in it.

I kept telling myself I’d get back into the blog. I missed baking. I missed writing. I missed the connections that come from talking to all of you. Life kept getting in the way, though.

Even though I stopped blogging, I never stopped searching for, creating, and tweaking recipes. I still fill my Notes app with half-baked recipe ideas. Some of them have turned out to be new staple items in my baking arsenal. Some would have been better left unattempted. Some have even stained my kitchen ceiling (a blender accident we won’t get into…). But all of them have continued to reinforce that baking and breaking (gluten free) bread with friends fills me with joy in a way few other hobbies can.

Interestingly, in the time between my last blog post in 2014 and now, it seems that half of the recipe bloggers out there have gone gluten free. It’s helpful, but it’s also daunting. I have Celiac disease; I don’t have a pantry the size of a garage. So many recipes I see out there call for huge ingredient lists, full of expensive products you might not be able to easily source for yourself. Those ingredients have a time and place. I use some of them, too. But what I wanted Em the Baker to be, and what I still want it to be, is a place where you can come to get recipes that won’t require trips to every speciality store in the area. Where you can learn how to make a quick, gluten free treat for your child’s bake sale or your Easter brunch. Whether you also have Celiac, choose to eat gluten free, or have no dietary restrictions at all, baking should be fun. Let’s keep it that way.

I thought my first post back to the blog would be just another recipe. I thought maybe I could just trick you all into thinking I’d never left with some cheery photos of muffins. But that will have to wait until later this week. After all, it’s been four years and I can’t bring you a plate full of brownies without first asking you “how have you been?”

Can’t wait to get to know all of you all over again.