Have you ever had a day when everything was just normal and then, out of the blue, you had such a heart warming experience that you had to tell someone about it? Well, it happened to me today. Good Food Revolution printed an interview of me and four other food bloggers, who are still standing in the Project Food Blog competition. While it was so great to have someone want to actually write about you and be standing in the good company of accomplished bloggers like Eat Live Travel Write, Good Food, Good Wine and a Bad Girl, Hot Polka Dot and Oh She Glows, my joy and sense of achievement had a shadow of discomfort. Why, you ask? Well, the article was titled ‘Canadians in the Project Food Blog Competition’ and while I have fallen in love with this country, I am actually from Bombay, India and living here on account of a work project.
Project Food Blog is a competition, a very serious competition, where talented and creative people are going above and beyond to produce some of their best work. And like any competition, it has attracted its share of critics and naysayers. So even though I’ve been living in Canada on and off for two years and had explained my situation to the writer/editor, I didn’t want anyone to think I was deliberately misrepresenting myself to gain an advantage. I shouldn’t have worried because even though I have seen firsthand how amazingly warm and generous the people here can be, they still manage to take me by surprise.
As the congratulations poured in on Twitter, I explained my position to people. I even wrote to the writer and editor of the article requesting that maybe, they needed to add a clarification. For all those people who think all competitions consist of backstabbing, foul-mouthed, hyper-competitive, will-do-anything-to-win egomaniacs, I ask you to please go and check the #pfb2010 Twitter stream. Here, you’ll find many of my new Project Food Blog friends, who are supportive and appreciative of each others’ work. We debate, bicker, and argue but also praise and sometimes even send declarations of undying love to each other (WinnieAb, I’m talking about you).
Sure, there are controversies and a few call outs; it’s not all roses and champagne, but for the most part, I have seen genuine people, who are here for the same reason – we love food, we love writing, we love creating and we love sharing all of this with you, our dear readers. And all of us have worked our butts off, with sleepless nights, minor and major meltdowns and loss of more than a little sanity. So, critics, let me first see your entries for lavish 3-course dinners, exotic food, made-from-scratch pizzas, step-by-step photo-recipes and videos, let me see your empty cups of coffee, scratched notepads, 430 clicked but unused pictures, 94 clips of film, and then, we can talk.
What came of my explanations and requests for clarification in the article? @HotPolkaDot_Mom, who is the mother of Hot Polka Dot (a contestant) and one of the biggest cheerleaders of Project Food Blog, sent me a breezy reply “@TiffinTales Well I guess we’ll just have to adopt you!”. Her daughter cheered Eat Live Travel Write, who is also British and the last Australian standing. Beverley, the writer of the article, has always been supportive but it was Malcolm, her editor, who had the last word. Below is his email reply to me:
I/we are happy to call you whatever you like. But, there is a long standing tradition in this country of claiming anyone on the soil as our own, so you can be “Canadian” for the purposes of the contest if you like, and no one will mind. It’s a bit like you’ve joined a sports team while your here, if that’s helpful….”
How can you not love a country, and a contest, that introduces you to people like these?
P.S. There are many other outstanding bloggers out there. Since I couldn’t link them all, you can check them out at Project Food Blog.
P.P.S. Since this is a competition after all, you can check and vote for my latest ‘Classic, Contemporary and Crazy’ video entry here if you like it. Thank you everyone for all your overwhelming support. It is more than I could have ever expected.