Who am I and why do I blog? Reflections on 100+ posts!

Not too long ago, I celebrated my 100th post on this very personal blog… And you know what I just realized? 16 months ago, when setting up this site, I wrote a very brief, somewhat silly and entirely rushed “about me” page, thinking I could always come back and elaborate on it.

Uh, well, then… Now, here we are, 16 months down the road and I still haven’t quite gotten around to doing just that. Making the situation worse, as it turns out, almost 20% of an increasingly growing number of visitors are now what Google Analytics classify as “returning visitors” and since I’m reasonably certain I don’t count my friends by the thousands, there’s a pretty big chance a lot of you loyal readers out there are reading along every week all while wondering “who the hell is this remarkably geeky yet oddly likeable Johan person?”

The Johan in all his glory!It is I! LeClerc, err, Johan!

With this post, I intend to set things straight. I’ll try to briefly explain who this enigma known as Johan is, what makes him tick, why he’s doing this and what we’ve all learned in the process. I’ll touch upon the greatest hits and misses of the past 16 months of blogging and I’ll even offer some peculiar facts about you, the visitor, as well as a few plans for the future of this site.

 

So, Johan, who the hell are you?

Well, I’m obviously not Batman! I’m a perfectly normal 30-something male with a perfectly abnormal fascination with food, drink, cooking and flavor. I’m an IT professional by day and I usually spent my nights either cooking something, eating something or reading, writing or learning about food or drink in one way or another, quite often with a glass of wine, beer or fine spirits in my hand.

I’m a simple guy with a larger than average passion for cooking and good food. I don’t recall exactly where or when I got this passion, but as with many things in life, including my dashing good looks (cough!), I blame my father. My father, as my mother would say, “enjoys cooking expensive food” – he enjoys new tastes and combinations and spending time in the kitchen. I used to watch him with great fascination in the kitchen growing up, and I’m sure I somehow along the way applied my own geeky mindset and obsessive personality to his inspiration and teaching, and somewhere along the way, it just spiralled out of control.

I am a man of expensive taste. I dig quality ingredients, fine foods, rare and exquisite tastes and, if I’m honest, I have a wine budget that baffle, impress or even scare many of my friends and colleagues. Until, of course, I offer them a taste (the first fix is always free, eh?) and they too start to slowly but surely realize that life is too short for cheap wine and lazy meals.

WhiskyIt’s a hard blog life!

I am what most people would call a geek, and I’d be honored if you called me that. I’m the sort of person to obsess over technique and detail, origin and freshness of ingredients, cooking methods, culinary history, influences and regional variations. All the little things that make food and drink such wonderfully diverse subjects.

I am also the sort of person who is opinionated about the stuff he puts in his mouth. I believe that my cooking is ultimately only as good as the quality of the ingredients and the amount of attention and love I put into it. I have a strong dislike for processed foods, goods with long ingredient lists, cheap substitutes and additives. On the other hand, I’m extremely fond of organic goods, artisan pastas, exotic spices, quality condiments and canned goods, fresh, local produce and happy animals. I made a choice some time ago to only buy organic free-range meat as well as organic dairy and eggs. Whenever possible, I reach for local and/or organic vegetables, too. I am by no means fanatical, though. If local, conventional produce looks better than it’s organic counterpart, I’ll swing that way and I’ll take import goods over local an day if the quality is superior. Oh, and by the way, I won’t yell at you for serving me non-organic meat or supermarket pasta. Rather, I’d probably give you a hug for making me a home-cooked meal and be humbled by the effort! I know that not all people have as much time, energy and money to put into their cooking as I do and I’m perfectly OK with that. I hope, however, that I can inspire them to go all in every now and then and appreciate the difference it makes.

Oh and then I am, of course, a blogger. A food blogger, none the less, which leads us to your next question:

 

Why do you blog?

Or, putting it a little more bluntly, the question I asked myself when I started this little adventure: Does the world really need another food blog?

Truthfully? No, probably not. The world has its fair share of food blogs, many of them featuring beautifully short and concise writing and perfectly styled, lit and framed food photography. The people running such blogs are doing a damn fine job and I admire and applaud them for it. However, I for one couldn’t be that kind of blogger and I won’t try to be that kind of blogger. So why even bother writing a food blog, and what is it really I’m trying to achieve here?

Johan - the happy viking!Johan, in the field, doing restaurant reviews in London. This is my happy face!

Well, I took on this project in part because I was encouraged to by friends hoping that they might learn a thing or two. I also did it in part because I feel food is as much about passion, thought and geekery as it is about aesthetic photos and explanations kept short and to the point. In essence:

  • I truly and honestly LOVE cooking for friends and family!
  • I LOVE obsessing over details and techniques!
  • I LOVE the history, the thought and the natural evolution going into dishes and their various elements!
  • I LOVE spending entirely too much money on going out to eat, then telling the world about it in a few too many words!
  • I LOVE sizing up new, exciting and/or peculiar ingredients, products or drinks and, again, telling the world about it in a few too many words!

 

And I want to share the love and enthusiasm! So I do so in the only way I know how: I provide unusually long reads hopefully overflowing with enthusiasm and I devote attention to details, ingredients, history and little tips and tricks that would be otherwise sorely missed. As far as food photography or lack thereof go, I provide pictures of the food as I’d serve it or eat it, I’m no food stylist or photographer meaning you can probably rest assured that you could make these dishes at home in an equally or much more presentable way. And I hope you will, by the way, because that really is the goal here: To share some of my passion and supposed knowledge with you and get you cooking along at home, possibly teaching you a thing or two or giving you a bit of inspiration or recommendations in the process.

So, I hope you’ll forgive me for bringing another food blog to the table. The world might not need more of them, but the world can always use a bit more enthusiasm when it comes to food and cooking.

 

But enough about me, what about you?

If I’m honest, I’m still a little humbled that so many people take interest in my lengthy, geeky rants… But you do! And for that I thank you! After the first hundred posts, I thought it would be fun to have a bit of a look at the statistics behind the site. Since you now know a little bit about me, I figured I’d see if I could figure out a little about you. So here now are a few random facts about you, the average visitor:

 

Some facts about you, the visitor

  • If you’re reading this, chances are you’re Danish, American or from the United Kingdom. These countries provided the most visitors this month with neighbouring countries like Germany not far behind.
  • You’re most likely reading this from a desktop PC, but mobile and tablet views are on the rise. Thankfully, johanjohansen.dk is mobile friendly.
  • You’re drinking the Apple juice! 48% of you are reading this from an Apple device. If you’re an Android fan or Windows zealot  and this upsets you, then I’m sorry! (No, not really!)
  • You’re a big city kid! When sorting visitors by city, Copenhagen, London, New York and Sydney are all in the top ten! Reykjavik, too, for some reason.
  • When reading a post, you spent an average of five minutes doing so. Interestingly enough, if the post is rum-related, you tend to spend considerably longer, i.e. 6-10 minutes. I don’t blame you.

 

Your absolute favorite posts

These are your absolute favorite posts as far as number of views and time spent reading is concerned. These are the posts that have by now amassed hits in the thousands and actually help drive a majority of the traffic this site sees from Google.com and other search engines. Way to sucker them in, guys! Keep those links coming! 🙂

1. Slow-cooked Chili Con Carne: The basics, the history, the recipe!

Almost every food blog out there has a quick and easy Chili Con Carne recipe. Mine has one that’s lengthy and complicated. Evidently, a lot of you like that.

2. Mojito Sorbet: The ultimate boozy dessert?

This is not only my favorite dessert of all time. It’s also a favorite of my closest friends and the internet alike. Wanna know what’s even better? It’s a dead simple recipe! As my friend Ana once put it: It’s quite mind-boggling that simple ice crystals can taste so amazing.

3. The perfect burger: Brioche, a perfect set of buns!

What’s better than homemade burger buns? Homemade burger buns with copious amounts of butter! Pretty early on, this post received some link love from a major Heston Blumenthal fan site and since then things really haven’t been the same. Neither have my burgers or my waist line.

4. Bringing the heat: Ghost Chili/mango hot sauce

From the realm of really bad ideas, here’s Johan mixing some of the world’s hottest chilies with sweet and juicy tropical fruit. This was the first of my posts to include a serious disclaimer and the first to have commenters reiterate my disclaimer, you know in case capital warning letters weren’t clear enough.

5. Sauce Bearnaise made easy: No more substitutions!

One of my main motivations for creating this blog was to inspire people to try a homemade alternative to readily available processed foods, powdered sauces and the likes. With my homemade bearnaise sauce recipe clocking in at number five on the best of list, I’d like to think I’ve made a difference.

The girlsA foodie’s life ain’t worth living if you don’t have people to cook for. These are some of the people I cook for on a regular basis. Life on earth is good, man!

 

Turnabout is fair play: my absolute favorite posts

Alright, can we talk about me again for a while? Since I’ve now shared your favorite posts, I figured it only fair that I also take the time to share my own personal favorites from the past year and a half of blogging.

It’s no secret that quite a lot of time goes into writing the posts for this website. I don’t publish anything that I’m not happy with, a decision which has led to a lot of scrapped work and a fair bit of frustration over the past year. Some posts, I am happier with than others, though. Here, in no particular order, are my top five posts that didn’t make your top five for one reason or another.

1. Eating Dixie: What I’ve learned about Southern Food

Every blog needs a top ten list, and here’s mine! Inspired by some of the things I learned over the course of a mind-blowing three week road trip of the Southern United States.

2. Strange obsessions: vintage cookbooks

So, remember that time I taught you to make ice cream without the comforts of electricity? No? I don’t blame you! For reasons completely unknown to me, this post was never a big hit 😉 It does however, touch upon a few fetishes of mine: classic cookbooks and culinary obscurities.

3. Steak 101 – Steak au Poivre + ten tips for the perfect steak!

From the realm of public service announcements, here’s Johan with a primer on the wonders of steak and steak preparation. A cold beer or a glass of wine is recommended as perfect companions for this long read.

4. Review: Restaurant Lieffroy – Affordable, slightly dented luxury

Food is love and food is feelings. Years ago now, my dad was in an accident dangerously close to leaving him paralyzed for life. He has since put on one of the toughest and bravest fights I’ve ever witnessed to regain his senses and mobility. To celebrate his fight and achievements, I invited him into my world of gourmet food and great tastes. This is the account of our father/son experience.

5. TIED: Tasting Wine: Henri Boillot 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

There are wines that you enjoy far too few times in your life – not only because they’re rare, but mainly because they’re outrageously expensive. Such is the case of truly great White Burgundies which are easily the most sought after and expensive white wines on earth. Here’s my friend Tina and I trying to adequately describe the taste of a what was then a $200 bottle of white wine.

5. TIED: Tasting Wine: Riglos Gran Corte 2009, Wine Enthusiast Wine Of The Year 2012

And then there are wines you enjoy far too few of, not because they’re expensive but simply because they’re impossible to procure. I’m lucky enough to be a personal friend of one of the few Danish resellers of the largely obscure Riglos Gran Corte. Through him, I managed to obtain a few of the 2000 bottles in existence before Wine Enthusiast went on to name it their Wine of the Year 2012, making the wine effectively impossible to procure. What does a Wine of the Year taste like? This is where you find out!

“Wine”Wine? I like that shit!

 

Next step? Keep on Bloggin’ in the Free World!

When I look back, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been doing a whole lot of blogging but, man, whichever way you look at it a hundred posts are actually a fair amount of writing. Especially considering that my posts usually soar past the 3000 word mark. In essence, that’s 300.000+ words! The New Testament, by comparison, is 184,590 words. I am, however, still unsure if that means I now own a blog of biblical proportions.

With all that yapping and typing going on, you’d think that I might have run out of steam by now. I am happy to report, though, that with new ideas, opportunities and specialty ingredients constantly popping into my life, I’m currently in the lucky situation that I have more posts in pipeline than I’ve time to write. Including, but not limited to, at least one meatball recipe, more exciting and hilarious reviews, more Danish Classics and a long-awaited BBQ primer that’ll have to wait till the weather gets better. In other words, I’ve more work than I can jam into my busy schedule, and that’s probably a good thing, because that means we can keep going for a while, right? And after all, the Old Testament is a staggering 622,771 words so we’re still a good 150 posts away from having produced a larger body of work than the 40 odd writers who transcribed the bible.

Johan vs the monster burgerPlaces to go, things to try, dishes to eat! Catch you in the next post

That would be fun, would it not? Having a food blog of truly biblical proportions? In the immortal words of The Ramones: Hey, Ho, Let’s Go!

2 Comments
  • rosewithoutthorns
    Posted at 21:19h, 25 February Reply

    Hey Johan! Hello from Buenos Aires! Glad I found you via Google+! Loved reading this post – and the insights you shared not only about yourself but also about your readers!

    • Johan
      Posted at 21:28h, 25 February Reply

      Well, hello back, Buenos Aires! So glad you found the time to drop by (and comment), I’m very pleased you enjoyed the read. I’m now fairly sure I’ve plenty more to come 🙂

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