Today I am happy to welcome another guest blogger to these pages – Tom Jacobson: Frequent Flyer, Frequent Facebook writer and Frequent Foodie. After 25 years, Tom and I reconnected via Facebook (he is the scholar of a past post), and we have enjoyed a lively correspondence in the last few months. I enjoy his writing so much, I asked him to share some thoughts on his days. After many posts chronicling just one Jane’s look at life, here is one Tom’s look at how social media has made life more interesting, with the limits still to be determined…
To Infinity and Beyond
By Tom Jacobson
The Internet changes things. It warps the space-time continuum. It changes people and our perception of people. It gives each of us a new chance to explore things we have always wanted to, and allows others to see us through a different lens. The New Yorker sure got it right back in 1993 when they first published the now famous Peter Steiner cartoon, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog!” And while we aren’t dogs – except of course for Jane’s dog, but gosh that sure seems to work for her! – do our real-world lives match our cyber existences?
In life, I am a gadget-guy. I love my toys. I thrill at the fact that I can use my Palm, connected via Bluetooth to my cell, to go onto the Web, to program my DVR, all while standing in line at the airport. It just doesn’t get any better than that! (If you don’t believe me, ask the guy in your life. He’ll confirm it.)
I am a salesman. Yes, I took my masters degree in library science straight into the “vendor world” and ultimately fell to “the dark side” selling software to libraries. Trust me I have heard all about it, and there are still nights I lay awake thinking about it. But honestly, the goal is to connect with the library, explain the product, understand their issues, and solve their problems. And when you do it right, you are a rock star! Honest to God! The whole room is on its feet, and at the end of the day you float out the door… There is nothing to be gained from cutting corners and doing it any other way, so for the non-believers, you are just wrong.
I am a husband and a father. Well at least on paper I am. I say that because most days I have this nagging feeling that I am doing it wrong, though others assure me that feeling actually indicates I am doing it right…
I am all these things and more every day. And yet when I log on to the Web, I am none of these things! They are left behind when I beam myself up, and I come out the other side someone else. Transformed. And as you watch on your monitors, those bits of me that still remain are further diffused.
Yes, I can still be counted on for the one-liner wisecracks. That’s me snarking on Jane’s Facebook wall in and between everyone else’s kind, encouraging words. But with the ability to turn it off and on, looking in only when one wants to, the zings come across as they are meant, and the barbs are stripped away.
And if you look over at my Facebook wall, who am I? A master chef! Yes, a culinary prodigy planning, anticipating, cooking, plating, chronicling and devouring meal after succulent meal! Don’t know what to have for dinner? Just check it out and see if anything sounds good. Wondering if a 7 and 8 year old will like Brussels Sprouts and Sea Scallops? The answer is there. Need a recipe for the best blueberry pancakes, down to which blueberries to use? Just ping me, I have it on hand. Advice on the magic of turning a chicken carcass into soup? I’ll give it to you straight. (By the way, if your kids don’t like the celery floating in soup, a hand blender takes care of that little problem, and they don’t even know it!)
Lamb and Pasta w/ Greek Cinnamon-Tomato Sauce
with a Spinach, Leek & Feta Triangle
I’ve even developed a following among my FB friends. The other weekend when I posted that I was “looking forward to the organic, grass-fed beef tenderloin filets”, an old college friend commented that I made “beef sound like a hot date!” I was later accused of food-porn when I confirmed they were great, having rubbed them with a garlic and salt paste and drizzled olive on top, broiling them nicely and finishing mine with blue cheese, add to that golden pan-roasted potatoes and asparagus with balsamic and parmesan…
My brother-in-law is a follower too, though more of the type who tries, but can’t quite look away and is ashamed of himself later.
Brussels Sprouts with Sea Scallops
My Dad did the cooking while I grew up. Not all of it, but the day-to-day while my Mom went to school and later worked. I’ve always enjoyed cooking. When the kids were born, it was the one thing I could really do effectively to keep the household on track. In fact despite traveling very regularly in my job, I’ve come to do all the menu planning, shopping, and cooking, including those meals when I am not at home. If I am out for three days in a week, that is three meals cooked and in the refrigerator before I leave.
My favorite was when my daughter asked a friend, upon learning that she did not have a Dad, “But who cooks your food?!” The single mom looked wistfully my direction, and totally made my day!
Spanish Paprika-Potato Omlette, Chipolte Sausage with Carmelized Red
Onions, Lightly Dressed Salad and Cheese Bread
That is my thing. And while I enjoy it and discuss it regularly, there was something about Facebook that just launched it in a whole new way. Gadget-guy? Salesman? Husband and father? No! Top Chef! Iron Chef! Little Suzy Homemaker!! You name it, there I am. Micro-blogging the daily menu, and writing food-porn. And loving every minute of it.
Have I discovered a new career? Or simply a new outlet? Am I a dog? Or a master chef? Is anybody even reading? I have no idea. But I know if this is possible after only a few short months, then who knows what strange corner of the galaxy this trip is going to take us to, but I can’t wait to get there.
Tonight’s menu you ask? Fried chicken and my mother-in-law’s hoe cake.
I am pretty sure I served waffles for dinner to my resident-picky-eaters on the day I first read Tom’s Facebook family dinner updates. Looking at the pictures he posted, I figured he must take his young family out to restaurants often. Then I found out it really was “what’s for dinner” at someone’s house… Huh? Whoa. (Yum.)
Thank you Tom, for sharing your story and Facebook foodie experiences. Keep us posted! (And when can we all come over for dinner?)