Though it may have seemed quiet on the blog these past few weeks, always remember this: I'm a duck. Even though all may appear smooth on the surface, underneath, I'm always paddling like mad. It's a gift and a curse. I'm certainly not short of ideas and inspiration to bring them into fruition. It's part of what makes this life so fun for me – I'm forever its student and the ideas are limitless.
But over the last year, one idea has continued to stick with me while others have come and gone. The idea of community. I enjoy knowing peoples names and learning about them. I enjoy welcoming them intimately into our lives and into our home. I enjoy learning from them and teaching them what I know. I love when you leave comments here in this virtual world and share your heart and dreams with me. Humans do best when we're there to sharpen and learn from one another and even though this is “life on the internet”, I believe the truth still stands. We need one another.
(Heck, I've needed you since Georgia was born. Hence the reason I started this blog almost a decade ago.)
But how can you create community in a digital world? When there are thousands and thousands of people coming to and from on the blog each month, how can we know and be known?
I took this struggle to a few friends in hopes they could shed light on the situation for me. How could I create a tangible community from a digital platform? Physically. How could I be present with people physically?
Show up at your houses randomly? Hardly.
Fly around the country for meetups where I could hug you and tell you how much I value you as a reader? Getting closer.
Send you things that were created and designed for you so that you could know I'm a real person, and I could know that you're a real person? Bingo, baby.
And thus was planted the seed of The Elliott Homestead: Cooking Community.
Because I love you. And I love cooking. And recipes seem to be what brings so many of you back to our little space here.
This community is not like most in that it's two-sided. On one side, we will still engage with one another digitally. After all, that's how we met. But in addition to our online engagement, as part of our Cooking Community, you will also be sent a package of recipes each month in the mail. Yes, the physical snail-mail. Signed, sealed, and delivered by yours truly.
As part of our Cooking Community, you will be physically sent:
– A custom Elliott Homestead Cooking Community notebook
– 5 brand new, whole-foods based recipes cards (with photographs) each month
The idea, of course, is that as the months go on your notebook will continue to fill with rich, satisfying, inspiring recipes for you to learn.
As part of our Cooking Community, you will also have access to:
– Monthly videos where I guide you through the recipes and teach techniques
– Monthly Q&A calls with yours truly where I can answer your questions and get to know you better
– A community of homecooks (that are just like you!) via our VIP EXCLUSIVE Facebook Group
– All past recipes and videos via a password protected part of the blog
But why is this necessary? Why even bother? Well, do you remember the pilot we shot for Food Network last year? Even though I went to bat for heirloom grains, natural sweeteners, grass-fed meats, sourdough, ferments, and whole foods, it wasn't realized. Turns out, the world wasn't quite ready for eliminating convenience foods and the white sugar and flour we cling to in desperation.
But you are. Because you're here (you're here, right?). And because you know that a life full of these goodies is a sweet life indeed.
Preparing whole foods doesn't have to be complicated. GUESS WHAT? It doesn't have to be expensive either. These recipes will be full of ingredients that you can get at your local grocery store – yes, even WalMart.
The recipes will be whole-foods based and brand new. Each month you will be sent five new recipes that will be a mix of main dishes, side dishes, soups, salads, condiments, desserts, beverages, and breads. The recipes will include meat, whole grains, and dairy, along with loads of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
More than anything, I'm excited to get to know you all more intimately. I'm excited that a physical piece of me will be with you in your kitchen and that as we all cook through the recipes for the month, we will be able to engage with one another in a more meaningful way.
I want my Cooking Community members to be like family members and have a little piece of me that I'm not able to offer to the entire online world. I can't be there intimately for everyone on the internet, but I can be there intimately for our community. It is my great pleasure to do that.
See you there.