On writing. Part 2

…read part 1 here


Most days, I hope the food will write itself. That it will carry the blog. Because I share so much here. And I’m always able to share it through and by and with and for the purpose of, Food.

I tell stories about my nana, my papa, my failed sports career, the years I worked in film. The way Daniel loves me, and I him. All the while, food threads through. I feed you just in case the story wasn’t enough.

And I love food.

I do.

My relationship with it is interesting and tangled and beautiful and sad and for these reasons, it’s writeable. It’s an endless thesis. A graduate degree in itself.

Interesting: I was very overweight my whole life.

Interesting: I lost 135lbs.

Interesting: I write about food for a living. I eat and try and sample new food for a living. I plan blog conferences for a living. I edit and test and write recipes, for a living.

They’re things I’d like to hear about, if someone else were doing the talking.


But my mother told me something the other day that made me think deep and hard about sharing and writing and the niche I’ve fallen into. The notion of me as a weight loss wonder.

She wrote in an email:

Andrea, you know, yesterday I was reading your blog at work and someone looked over my shoulder and saw a beautiful photo of a meal you made and she asked me what site I was on. I told her it was yours, and then I told her about your recipes and love of cooking and how you lost so much weight. And how maybe you help people by sharing your journey.

And I looked at the woman, and immediately, it was about how you lost the weight. It was that same interest that leads every single magazine to boast at least one dieting feature per issue. It felt as if the woman had a moment of, “Oh, well of course that’s interesting, she lost 135lbs! Anyone would want to read that!”

And I couldn’t help but be a little sad. Because, yes, you lost a lot of weight. Yes, you can share what you’ve learned and that will mean something to other people who are struggling.

But, I guess, you’re just so much more than that. 

Andrea, I’d read even if you were talking about the button on your pajamas.

I’d read even if you never wrote another word about food. Your writing is what keeps me. I love you and I’m proud of you, but it’s not all of you–the weight loss, the maintenance; it’s just a fraction. And it’s great, but I always hope people know that you’re not just successful because you did one thing that was difficult. You’re not a spectacle. What’s different is that you write about your life and your feelings and your thoughts in the most honest way you know how. It’s the sharing that means most. It’s that you’d tell people about Dad, about grief, about sadness, and pain, and that you’re okay with that.

I found myself staring at the woman who’d just discovered your blog and I wanted to say, ‘she’s not a cook, she’s not a weight loss coach, she isn’t a diet guru, she isn’t even interested in complete and total health…She does…she is…so much more.’



And I breathed.

And I thought for 8 Mississippi.

And I sighed.

And I loved her.

And she asked me softly, “Luv-luvs? You there?”

And I felt

for the first time

like a writer.



Click here for Part 3



43 thoughts on “On writing. Part 2

  1. Leah @ Why BecDeprive?

    I agree with everything your mother said. So much.

    I read your blog not because of your weight loss, although thats inspiring.
    Not because of your recipes, even though theyre amazing.
    But because of you. Because everytime I read, I feel like I leave knowing a little bit more about you. And you, Andrea, are the kind of person I would want to know.

  2. Nikki

    It’s true. The wow factor of the weight loss hooked me. The recipes and beautiful food are exciting. But the writing. Oh the writing.

    Knowing people’s stories is so important. I come back because I want to share a little bit of my story with you in the comments and read more of your story every day.

  3. aleka

    So true. You have a way with words and every single blog post of yours is fun to read. Sure, your blog posts about your weight loss are extremely interesting, just because that in itself is a very tricky topic… but the fact that I actually read every.single.word. of a post that may even just be a recipe shows that your writing is so much more. Everyone keeps on telling you to write a weight loss book or a book on maintaining weight… but I would love to read a novel of yours on any topic… thriller, comedy, doesn’t matter you will write it perfectly. I would ready every page, twice and more. You really, really are a talented write. And I think YOU are finally really understanding that :) Now that you’ve accepted it, I can only expect more great things.

    I hope to find my passion like you have found yours. Until then you will be my inspiration to everyday strive to do the things you love, listen to your body and treat it and your soul with true love.

  4. Frieda

    I guess what I most love about your blog is that I feel you are not making stuff up. You are writing about your life as it is and not try to make it more glamorous or exciting. You just share your life with us and I love every post of it. It doesnt matter if it is about your history of weight loss, your daily life or what you cooked (and I have to agree with your mother that you have soooo much more to offer than a spectacular weight loss story), your writing is great. If you would write about dog poop I would probably still have the best time reading it :D
    You are inspiring but not only because of your history but because you are so passionate about what you do. That is just great! Really great :)

  5. Johnny

    All the comments on this blog are nailing you. Your Mother’s comments hit it right between the eyes. You are sooooo much more than being pigeonholed as a weight loss guru or a recipe guide. You write with the same energy and emotion as I’m sure you put into wieght loss. NO ONE LOOSES 135 LBS without A LOT OF ENERGY AND EMOTION! Sad, Happy, Giddy, Loving and all with as much energy as you can possibly put into it. I can’t put into words, although I try, why I and all the rest want you every single day! That’s right we want YOU! We can’t wait to turn on the computer and see you on the screen. I’m not just refering to the self pics, it’s your words! I’m not saying we couldn’t go on without your stories, it would just not be the same. You make us laugh and sometimes cry. You make us FEEL!
    Thank you, and yes it’s fun being able to comment, we like to hear ourselves too! :)

  6. Katie Photiadis

    Andrea–what a beautiful post. And so, so true! I think what you’ve done–lose 135 pounds–is amazing but it doesn’t define you or this blog and it’s not the reason I’m hooked to your writing. There are many other blogs out there about people who have lost a bunch of weight but I’m obsessed with yours. Why? Because you are an amazing writer. Your voice comes through in each sentence. I feel like I know you (or a little bit of you) after reading this blog. I love that your mood flows from humor to sadness. I like that I never know what to expect when I click on your blog.

    Please keep doing what you’re doing!

  7. Melissa

    We are all so much more than just one thing, but what an incredible message from your mother. It’s so easy to pigeonhole yourself or even to let other people do that to you. You lose track of your identity–the one that makes you truly you–and become what others expect you to be. Congratulations on identifying and owning this new part of yourself. You really are a writer–and a damn good one at that!

  8. [email protected]

    I must admit, the first time I came to your website I came…because of a cupcake recipe you had posted. It looked divine. Then, I found out about your story and was stunned. I was fighting to get out of an eating disorder at the time and wanted to know what kind of fitness things you did to stay fit, and also what kind of foods you ate. When I found the rest of your story, I was again stunned…and inspired. I am one of those people who really does like to work out for an hour a day. Sweating is really fun for me. However, your blog taught me that sweat, while fun, is not everything in life. Life is about love, celebration, and happiness. And while I have maintained the 70 pound weight loss from a lifetime of binge eating, your blog is one of the factors that helped me find peace within myself. THank you for all that you do, Andrea. Your blog is about so much more than just weight, or food, or recipes.

  9. Kelly Jo

    I recently found your blog and I am so thankful that I did. I love every post and you even took the time to respond, which totally amazed me because I can only imagine your readership. And I wish you lived closer so we could paper craft too :)

    First, you’ve totally inspired me with your weight-loss. For that I have an instant attraction to your blog because of the timing, you see I’m on a journey of weight loss and your blog is proof that YOU DID IT and you DIDN’T Quit-I need to surround myself with inspiration and you’re blog is it, girl!

    If you hadn’t talked about your journey I would have thought that I’d stumbled on a really great food blog that is written beautifully. You really have a way with words and I find myself wanting to keep reading (so you better keep writing- LOL)But when I found out about how you got here, I was instantly hooked.

    The recipes, and the stories leading up to the ingredients, are so well written and they just generally make my time reading your blog delightful. I have already printed off the ones I want to try.

    Second, your mom could not have said it more beautifully- you are so much more.

    Keep it up- your mom’s co-worker who made the comment seems like the kind of person that would complain about winning a million dollars because it wasn’t two million dollars. Those kind of people suck the energy right out of the sun. Bleh.

    Thanks for continuing to write.

  10. Caitlin

    I have never come here to hear about weight loss. I have never searched for tips and tricks to stay thin or great workouts. If you want me to be honest, I don’t come here for recipes (and that is because I don’t cook, not because what you make isn’t AMAZING because it is.) I come here to gain another little piece of the puzzle that is you. I come here to laugh at your wit and read about your life and feel inspired and happy by your photographs.

    I come here for inspiration – not the kind that comes from the changing numbers on a scale, but the kind that comes from the changing force that is you. You’ve taken off on a new road, began paving it and are kind enough to let us walk on it, too.

    It’s never about the food or the weight loss for me. It’s about the words, the stories and the writing and that is why I come back.

    Andie, you ARE a writer, and a fantastic one at that.


  11. Riss

    The first picture of this post is ADORABLE.

    Having said that, I just can’t get enough of your blog! There are a lot of “weight loss” and success blogs out there… *Can you Stay for Dinner* is NOTHING like them. Your weight loss journey is a PART of who you are, but it doesn’t define you OR your blog. Just like your love for flat bread or the fact that you have brown hair and harbor a bit of an obsession (yes, obsession lol) for Leo… These are all things that ADD to your character and personality–they don’t MAKE it.

    I’d keep coming back for more even if you HADN’T lost the 135 pounds. You’re funny and you’re real. Sitting down and reading your blog is like jumping into a conversation with a good friend!

  12. Shanna, Like Banana

    What a beautiful message your Mom has for you. I got chills just reading it. And her viewpoint is spot on, not just as a Mom, but as an advocate for not defining people as just one thing. We are all “so much more.”

  13. [email protected]eatwellwithmichelle

    I only recently found your blog and have not gone back and read all our posts. I came for your Petite Lasagna recipe and that made we want to come back for more! I did not even know you lost 135 pounds until I read it today. So that is not what makes me keep coming back. I come back because I love to read what you write! You are a fantastic writer and you come up with some creative recipes that I want to try. And there is one more reason I will keep coming back now – I love your mother!

  14. Clarissa @ Sober and the City

    Your mother is a beautiful writer too! And she is so right. I don’t stay for the weight loss or even the recipes, although I will one day move into your kitchen. I stay for you. For your words. For your honesty. For your peace. Thank YOU for being you.

  15. Kelly

    I just wanted to say, your mother is amazing. Also, I really enjoy your dishes. A couple of them are now favorites. However, I kept reading because I really enjoy your writing and the way your personality comes through it.

  16. Ellen @ Black and White and Loved All Over

    You are SUCH a dear.

    I don’t think that either you or your mother have to worry about you being a spectacle for your weight loss. That’s definitely what first captured my interest, but then I kept coming back to marvel about how yummy the food looked, and then I decided that I liked you very much as a person and wanted to read every word of your blogs and then I decided to try a recipe. I think your weight loss is just a handy tool to get people paying attention. Your writing and your recipes will keep that attention.

  17. Lizzy

    I’m in tears. Again. Andrea, if you can bring a girl to tears while reading your words, you are absolutely a writer. But not just any writer. A writer who can move people with the power what you type and the way in which you say it. You are an inspiration. I love your recipes. I love your story. I love that you are from the metro west (yay boston!). You are so much more and your mom is absolutely right : )

  18. Megan @ On the Road Again

    Found your blog via Twitter this evening, and I’m glad I stopped by when I did. Two posts in, and I can already tell what a gifted and talented writer you are. I love the nature of these posts about blogging and fitness.

    And your mom sounds absolutely amazing.

  19. MelissaNibbles

    I agree with your mom. I love when you show us little glimpses of your life and personality. Your weight loss is part of you and is a big part of your life though so I understand why you’d write about it.

  20. Helena

    I don’t need the food, please just keep on writing! Your stories are so interesting and well written and, most of all, honest; and that’s not something you find too often ;)

  21. Anneliesz

    In the name of your blog, you ask us to stay for dinner. And that dinner or dessert always looks sumptuous and inviting. But truth be told, I stay for the writing. So keep on, keeping on!

  22. Lisa

    I truly believe you could write about the button on your pajamas and I would LOVE to read about it. Your writing makes me think and feel. The pictures are beautiful too.

  23. Katy Q.

    I’ve been reading your bests posts of 2011 for about 4 hours now. This is the first one I’ve commented on…

    Because it made me cry.


  24. Pingback: On writing. Part 3 | Can You Stay For Dinner?

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