“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes…”

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!

There aren’t too many solidly true things in life- stuff you can rely on to ALWAYS be the case, in all cases and climes. One of them which I learned from my father, and has since borne out over and over again, is as follows:

“Change will not happen- in a person, in a system, in an organization, in ANYTHING- until 3 conditions are met:
1. The person must recognize that change is needed.
2. The nature of that change must be understood.
and 3. The consequences of changing must be held as preferable to the consequences of staying the same.”

It’s a sound philosophy, and makes complete sense, doesn’t it? Change is scary. It shakes you up, maybe kicks you out of your comfort zone, and casts a pall of uncertainty over everything you do. Why put yourself through that if you don’t think you need to, don’t know what you need to do, and don’t stand to gain from it?

Sometimes, though- change happens without you noticing. It creeps up on you and realize that, maybe, you don’t NEED to change- you HAVE changed, and need to accept it, or deal with it.

This blog has changed its face more than once over the years I’ve been writing it. It used to be very barebones and garish- something I thought a bakery site needed in order to keep people up to date with the latest news.

It had languished for months on end back then- I simply didn’t have anything to write about, or I didn’t know how to write about it. Then, back in 2014, I made something of a commitment to myself. I was going to post something up here- something, ANYTHING. Recipes, how-tos, babbling about restaurant life- I was going to write something worth reading, a minimum of once a week. I stopped caring if it was news about the bakery- I wanted it to be news about the food world, and about my life.
I started writing… and others started reading.

Time passed, and my sister Stephanie (recently receiving her MBA and trying to start a branding company) asked exactly what I wanted this blog to be about. I’d since put aside the baking business, so it was in no way a simple news blog anymore. It had become more a semi-inspirational , instructional blog about homecooking, baking, exercise, and trying to live your best life. After a few concepts getting flung back and forth, Stephanie said:

“So how about this: ‘On The Bench with the Black Hat Baker: Reps, Rolling Pins, and Building a Better Baker.”

Now THAT was something new! I’d been doing more writing about fitness, health, and life in the culinary industry recently, so it made sense. Without meaning to, I’d changed the nature of my blog- from news of a baking business, to how to’s for eating well, exercise, and living life. A new layout, a new feel- focusing more on the writing and the text than instructions and foodporn.
More time passed, and I decided that writing was not enough. After seeing what was getting a reaction, I started to do more of the same- less about baking, more about the life of a baker. Less about food, more about food culture. Less pictures of pies, more pictures of life in the living of it.

Sitting on the couch with Emily, I started wondering how I should go about making a Black Hat Baker YouTube show. I wondered if, maybe besides just cooking and baking, I could demonstrate exercises too! Ooh, and maybe “After Hours with the Black Hat Baker,” where I just chat into the camera over a cocktail! Oh, and maybe I could…”

“Eh, you COULD, hun… but maybe that’s not what people come to your blog for? I mean, you talk about eating right and working out a bit, sure… but most of what you write about these days- what really seems to be making people happy- is just the way you talk about life. You notice the minutia of things, and hold it up for people to see in a way they might not have the patience to.

Maybe “Reps, Rolling Pins, and Building a Better Baker” doesn’t work anymore… you’re not building a better baker. You’re trying to build a happier person.”

Change had come again- and it surprised me. I’d gone “off-brand,” I suppose- but Emily was right (as she often is.) This blog isn’t so much about just baking and keeping myself healthy anymore. It’s about being a healthy person, and moving through a life that often isn’t what we wanted- or what we expected- and trying to be happy all the same. Less about the specifics of baking- and more about trying to live life, and loving all the ways it changes and moves, with or without your permission.

Things change, often without your permission.
Sometimes the toughest thing to learn is when change has ALREADY happened, and what to do about it.

Stay Classy,

P.S.- TOTALLY still going to do a YouTube cooking show. Stay tuned for that one!