Food and cooking, mostly.

Just right off the top, thanks for checking this out. Since the time I had the idea to start a newsletter (which was 18 months ago), there’s been the nagging question, “What if I do it and nobody cares?” That’s kept me from even coming near my laptop more times than I want to think about. But you’re here! You’re interested in this!

So what is this exactly? Your guess is almost as good as mine. It’s partly an extension of the Instagram cooking stories I’ve been posting for a while @the_mkt. When, I involuntarily went freelance at the start of last year, I started posting more and more stories and people reacted very positively to them. I got a bunch of comments saying, “You should find a way to monetize this.” The Plate Cleaner probably isn’t that. 

It’s an attempt to figure out a creative intersection between my interest in cooking and food and my profession of writing. And I’m sure it will be a bit of an awkward journey, as I figure out how to go from being exclusively “a writer of short sentences,” as Julian Koenig described being a copywriter, to writing what is, for lack of a better term, “content.” (Ugh.) I also want to learn more about food and cooking, so I’m glad to have a reason to educate myself more actively.

What kind of content does that translate into? I’ll be trying out a bunch of different angles. There will be recipes when I have them, although I don’t have many of my own. There will also be some run-throughs of other published recipes, which is what many of my Insta stories were, seeing what tweaks I would make or what pitfalls can be avoided. I’ll probably write about some places I eat. Maybe some interesting product I’ve just learned about. (I’ve got a jar of terrific spicy giardinera-like condiment I brought back from Costa Rica last year.) It’s a pretty safe bet hot dogs and fermentation would make appearances. You may remember the blog I started reviewing soft drinks; some version of that may come back, though I will not be sneaking into my old office for samples. Maybe I’ll even work up the nerve to talk to other people about how they see food. (Don’t bank on it any time soon.) And, like many other newsletters, probably some shout-outs to things I’ve been reading, etc. 

Originally I thought about naming it “Food and Stuff, to honor Ron Swanson’s favourite supermarket, where he bought all of his food and most of his stuff. But then Beth suggested “The Plate Cleaner.” For almost as long as I can remember, we have never said, “Would you like seconds?” In our house, if you liked what you had and you want a little more, you announce, “I’m going to have a little plate cleaner.” A Plate Cleaner is high praise for what you’ve been eating, but, as my belt can attest, it’s also who I am. 

I’m so glad you’re coming along for the ride. Please sign up and stay tuned for our first installment very soon.