Sunday, February 2, 2014

My sister Haley and I began writing Reems Eats in 2008 in an effort to share recipes with one another. We've always loved to talk about food. I still remember teasing a teenage Haley when she returned from a holiday with a friend's family. When we asked her to fill us in on the trip, she promptly listed all the delicious items she'd eaten over the weekend. Friends, activities, sites and the other usual weekend-out humdrum faded into the background as meals scooted onto center stage. While I laughed at Haley's menu touting, I inevitably plied her for details and listened with the jealous rapture of a younger sister.

In 2007 I was newly married. While I'd like to think that I bucked the gender roles (he did and does the laundry), the more realistic version is that I was excited to tie an apron around my waist and play the little wifey. While I was enthusiastic about preparing meals I wasn't overly experienced. I could follow simple instructions for baking, and I'd eaten enough of Mom's healthy stir fries to have a general gist of the rules of concoction, but I really knew very little about the basic elements of cooking.  I wanted to learn. I started taking cookbooks out of the library and scrolling through the many foodie websites available online. Every time I tried a new recipe, I was awed when I met with success (bread will rise!) and  crushed when by knocked down by defeat (I dropped my first pie face down and hot on the kitchen linoleum). I was generally very 'into' it all.

My husband continually told our friends, often the eager recipients of my new hobby, that he never expected I'd be such a cook. I think he meant to say that he didn't demand this sort of culinary attention, and that the whole rigmarole was my own doing. Because I'd say that the warning signs of a food love affair where all there: the obsessing over a menu at a new or regularly-visited eatery; the focus on meal times--never skipped, always loved; and the willingness to try new things and follow directions. These were all central to my pre-home-cook self. I suppose the biggest tell was my relationship with my family. Our clan has always been very 'clanish,' as L.M. would say. And, as L.M. would also say, we've always had 'a liking for a tasty bite.'

Like many families, feasts have always been central to our gatherings, from stacks of Dutch pancakes with Grandma to strawberry picking in the farmer's field (one for the bucket, two for the mouth, as our littlest but tallest sister liked to say) to deluxe BBQ spreads with home-made EVERYTHING for birthdays and congratulation days. Blessed with fast metabolisms, we've always been ready for the next nibble. Actually, this Reems metabolism has been both our greatest blessing and fiercest curse, allowing us to sample the riches of the world's table but leaving us to melt into puddles of pure emotion if left to go too hungry for too long. Many of our spouses can attribute to the threat of marital discourse that lurks when a Reems is left unfed.

All this to say, that I wanted to share my cooking adventures with my family, who now seemed rather distant as the sphere of my life moved to a ramshackle apartment in an old house on Blackwood Street. A family blog seemed the perfect way to share ideas and creative inspiration. When I set up the blog, I assumed that all six of us would contribute. I figured all my siblings, and my parents, would be eager to take photos of their meals, write accompanying anecdotes, and post the lot online.

As it turns out, my family members lead busy lives. They have children and careers and dogs and Bible studies, and sports teams, and friends and hobbies. Plus they have to get dinner on the table.

Happily, Haley was on a mat leave in 2008 and as the oldest and confirmed kindest child in the family, has never been able to say no to any of us. And so Haley and  I began to exchange posts on ReemsEats.

We wrote about our small kitchens (me) our kids (her) and the random fun things we like to do with our food.

We've never had very many followers.

We've never had very good pictures.

We've never even been all that great at getting down the recipes.

But what we've always loved is the spirit of the thing.

And while we've both had busy years... Haley's due to give birth in one week and is just launching into a mat leave... when I asked Haley if she'd be willing to start blogging again (it's been quite some time since this blog saw any activity), she being a lover of all that is tasty and pretty much the best older sister any girl could have, she said yes, and sat back and waited for me to get the first post rolling as promised.

It took a few weeks.

But here I am to celebrate to a new year, a new look for the blog, and a new baby! (Coming soon...)

Check out my first post on ReemsEats in 2008.


  1. YAY! You're back!!! I can eat vicariously again :) Gotta say I'm in the foodie doldrums- so sick of cooking dinner after coming home from work. A lot of pesto pasta being served Chez Neufeld.
    Can't wait to hear what's cooking, love your writing, Rachel, and Haley, let's see a baby already!

  2. Heather! Good to hear from you. Thanks for your faithful readership... your comments have provided both humour and necessary suggestions over the years.

    Keep it coming!

  3. Love this recap of my long and gluttinous history. I wanted to point out that everyone in that photo looks a bit crazy except for you ;) But I still love it.

  4. Yup. When one does the posting one does the choosing... As for why I look normal despite my history of crazy blinking whenever a camera comes out, my hubbie took this photo and I happen to know that he loves to snap the shutter before the group has plastered on their camera-ready smiles. So I beat him to the click, while the rest of you were waiting to say cheese.

  5. Thanks for the scoop, I will have a smile plastered early for the next C photo shoot