Q&A: David Leite and The One, on Writing about the People You Love

Jan 082013
 

Writer and blogger David Leite (right) with his partner, The One.

It’s never just about the food. Soon enough, your partner or your kids start creeping into your food blog, because you’re writing about your life and they’re inseparable from you.

Suddenly a post about baking a red velvet cake includes how you made it for your husband, how your mother used to send you a whole cake on your birthday every year, and how your toddler smeared it on her new dress. It might be food writing, but as we know, it’s the storytelling around food that draws people in.

At some point, you decide how much to make the people in your life part of the story. And then, there are more questions. Do you give their real names? Do you link to his or her public persona elsewhere on the web? Do you make people in your life characters who appear regularly, like the Marlboro Man? (He even writes his own posts on his famous wife’s blog.) And finally, does your spouse comment on your blog posts, and is that okay with you?

There is no right answer, other than what makes you comfortable. You also have to decide how much information is just the right amount, and how much is TMI. Some food bloggers give family members starring roles, like Shauna James Ahern, who changed the name of her blog after she married, from Gluten-Free Girl to add “and The Chef,” and who now writes about her daughter. Lori Lange involves her son, even including him in a promotion. He finally started his own blog.

David Leite of Leite’sculinaria.com had been writing about his partner, The One, on his David Blahg. Recently he had The One write his own post, I thought it was time to discuss this issue, and talk with The One about it too. After all, for David, it wasn’t just about involving his partner in the blog, but getting more specific about life as a gay man:

Q. When did you first start mentioning The One on your blog?

A. In 2009. I started referring to him as the The One Who Brings Me Love, Joy and Happiness but I always kept the pronouns gender free.

I wasn’t sure how my readers would take it. Plus my mom and dad are deeply religious and I didn’t know if their friends would read it, and I did’t know if my readers were religious.

Q. Tell me more about this struggle.

A. As a writer, I write about my life, and he’s part of my life. I can’t not write about our life and our arguments and what we ate and where we went.

One person unsubscribed from my newsletter in an early post about us, but a lot of the food blogging gay and straight community jumped on and left some nice comments. Then I realized The One started getting a personality through me. One time I got a Christmas card addressed to David Leite and The One, which I liked very much.

I was really tortured about it, though. I wondered, “Who cares about two old fat homos? ” But what I realized is that our sexual identity has nothing to do with the formula. People see themselves in our relationship and the activities we do, how I present us.

Q. Why not say his name?

A. He said early on, “I don’t want my name out there because I don’t want a potential client looking me up my history and what we ate for dinner last night.” So that gave me some freedom.

Q. What was the first piece you wrote about The One?

A. It was in 2006 in an published article. I wouldn’t dare write about him on my site, but I felt comfortable writing about our life someplace else. There was the post about his trip to Kripala last year. I wrote about him on Valentines Day this year. I thought it wasn’t going to fly for people, but people are identifying with love, not sexual identity.

Q. Then he wrote his own piece, a memory about cooking with his grandmother.

A. Yes. One of the things that moved me was to see how affected he was by what people wrote. When you’re on social media all the time, you forget what an emotional impact your writing has on people.

With The One’s piece, he was so vulnerable in it, and it made people vulnerable with him in the comments. What I find fascinating is that people need to see real people. They need to know that we have problems, that I almost burned the damned house down last year. I screw up on a regular basis and almost everyone in the food business does. Blogging unmasks the writer and helps the writer stand outside those guarded gates of publications. I would feel straightjacketed by what a print publication would require me to do now.

Q. I’d like to speak with The One, hereafter called TO. TO, Why did you write your own blog post on David’s blog, about your grandmother’s spoon?

TO: David had seen me use this spoon for years and years, so he asked me to write it.

Q. How did you feel when the post came out?

TO. It was a soul-searching thing. I’ve never talked about my family so bluntly as I did in this piece. It helped me solidify it, in a way that helped me face the past.

Q. Did you feel funny writing on David’s blog?

TO. No. I found it fascinating that people would be interested, and for some of them, it really hit home. They were thinking of their own grandparents. It was touching and rewarding to see what they had to say.

A cookie from David’s dinner party for The One.

Q. By then you had already been a commenter, right? And you wrote a comment on one of David’s blog posts, a special one about a dinner party David gave for you.

TO. I have left other comments on recipes and things like that. Not much. I’ve always been in the background. It was such a special dinner and the cookies were works of art, so I thought I had to say something.

Q. Now there’s a photo of you, so you’re getting more comfortable being part of the blog?

TO: The photo appears only when I comment. It’s always with the black thing across my face. I don’t need to have my face out there.

I’m so much a part of that blog and site anyway.

* * *
Readers, let’s discuss: How did you come to terms with writing about your loved ones, and where do you draw the line?

Please join David and me in a Google+ Hangout tonight at 9 p.m. EST, with Sara Kate Gillingham Ryan of The Kitchn and Holly Hughes of The Best Food Writing. The subject is How to Be a Better Food Blogger.

  73 Responses to “Q&A: David Leite and The One, on Writing about the People You Love”

  1. I read for the stories. (I went back and read the posts linked – oh my – the wonder!). I cook for people and from people. They are forever linked together – the people and the food. If I lived alone I would still be connecting food to people. Can’t fight upbringing. Or being Italian. But yes – I do the draw line. I take care (or ask) if I can post some happenstance. and ask myself if I would mind if someone posted something similar about me. In reading the posts, the raising pudding became a source of comfort with that silver spoon. The gougeres became a source of wonder. And the tale of the eclair-baking-month filled in some dots in a most human and endearing way.

    • That seems reasonable, Claudia, to ask someone for permission to write about them. And I’m with you. The story is the most important thing.

  2. I have worked with my husband for years …. Maybe that is why he has always been part of my blog….I think as humans we always want to know more of the story. As much as I would love to know ‘who is who’ behind the scenes, I think the writer has to first find comfort in sharing themselves before they should go introducing the rest of the gang.
    I do love David and TO though …. Those cookies and the whole story – sigh – love it.

    • That’s interesting, Mona, your point about sharing yourself before sharing the lives of others. Good advice.

  3. As the ‘illustrator’ of David’s wonderful dinner party post, I’m delighted to read your post, Dianne. It’s great to hear from The One!

    • Gail, those cookies were absolutely stunning. You should be very proud. I hope more work has come your way.

  4. Loved reading the story behind “the one.” I’m inspired.

  5. I think it’s always a balancing act to respect the privacy of loved ones yet write about what’s going on and matters in life. And though my situation and issues are totally different from David’s, I, too, am always asking myself is this appropriate and will peeps be interested anyway. Will anybody want to read about the cookies my grandkids and I made for Christmas or is this just boring? Will readers be interested in the heartbreaking details of my mother-in-law slowly forgetting how to cook as she succumbed to Alzheimer’s? More important, would she be upset if she knew I wrote about this? Each of us just has to find our own way….

    • Yes. Even I have written a few personal posts on this blog — on Father’s Day about my dad, and when two people close to me passed away. I suppose it’s inevitable, but I also wonder about the appropriateness. I don’t think your mother-in-law would be upset about it if you wrote about her in a loving way.

  6. Thanks for this post…it’s very timely for me. I have just started blogging, and found exactly what you describe – that food, family and my work are are all so inextricably intertwined that I couldn’t write about food and not include some reference to my family. Which is a big leap for me because I am very protective about my children’s privacy and their right to grow up and create their own online persona if they choose, rather than stepping into one that I have created for them.

    • It’s kind of a touchy issue about children, but there are ways to work them into posts as characters where you’re not giving everything away. Several food bloggers do this successfully.

  7. My husband is much like The One was – he asked me not to post anything about him, his name or his photo because there are always employees who scan the internet for secrets and dirt. Which is why I try write anything about him as a story rather than a “real life” happening, if that makes sense. Neither my husband nor my grown sons want me to talk about them but have accepted the fact that I do. My husband even complained to me that I make it sound too much like a fairytale! And now David Leite is actually pushing me to write more about my family life, my marriage, the men in my life, my life in general. I am lucky, so lucky to have spent a whole day with David and The One discussing our writing, where it is from and where to take it, talking about how much we should tell, how much we should reveal about ourselves, the people around us, the good, the bad and the ugly. As writers and storytellers, I find it very difficult not to bring in these most important elements of my life. I do think that because life is so full of both the good and the bad, the successes and tragedies, the happiness and sadness that those who write about it all are so much more interesting, their writing more personal and connecting to the reader much more. But it does have to make sense (where we write and why we write). And one must be careful not to make the positive too over-the-top gushing mushiness and the sadness too pity-me tragic. As writers, it is up to us to find the balance.

    That said, David is one of my absolute favorite writers – his stories make me laugh and cry, make me recall stories long forgotten of my own and inspire me to better my own writing and go further with my own stories. David’s stories are just sensational in so many ways. And when The One began adding his own, beautiful and touching, well, visiting The David Blahg is a joy and an immense pleasure. Thank you, Dianne, for this wonderful interview.

    • Hi Jamie– I see you have been on the same wavelength. I found your husband’s and sons’ objections fascinating. My husband, on the other hand, loves it when I mention him. He is flattered. But then, it’s only in passing. It’s rare that I am writing personal blog posts about my life. Perhaps I chose this kind of blog on purpose! Oh no. Now I will have to think about that.

      Re those who write about life, there are those who do it well (like David, who takes self deprecation to a fine art and is sometimes over the top, but in a good way), and those who bore me, either because they can’t write effectively, they go on too long, or they include way too much detail. It’s all about the finesse of the storyteller, in the end. Funny how it always comes down to that, eh?

      And I certainly don’t think anyone should write about issues that embarrass or upset other people in their lives, even if you can’t see why it would. It’s just not worth it.

      Lucky you to have spent a whole day with David and The One discussing this issue.

      • I thought a bit more about it and I realize that the slow mentioning of my husband allowed him the time to “enter” into the blog little by little, making the decision when and how – much like David and The One. My husband now loves having me post his recipes on the blog, invites me in the kitchen to take photos and notes and I have even discovered him taking the photos without even asking me. I have asked him to write guest posts but that he won’t. And, like The One, still will not allow his photo on the blog nor does he want me to use his last name attached to mine. I agree, we must allow the people in our lives to decide how and when they will be talked about or involved in our blogs or our writing.

        And I agree with you – some people are not storytellers and haven’t the finesse to effectively tell those stories. But then we each have our talents. And personally, you have told me bits and pieces of your own story and your family; it is fascinating and I would love to read it – but you have chosen a platform on which it just wouldn’t make sense…. for now.

  8. Ditto on the thanks – to Diane and David AND TO – for this entertaining and inspiring start of day read. Would end my comment there had we not been specifically invited to discuss.

    As we have:
    Can’t say I have much in common with Mrs. Marlboro man – or, truth to tell with David, being as I’m far less talented, straight as a string and blogging about a whole constellation of country matters of which food and cooking are just two. But in my case the family stuff is sharply divided.

    My husband, Bill, is an expert mycologist and outdoorsman (and good writer) who has a starring role on the blog, both in my stories and as a contributor with his own bio. Both of us have mentioned our much-loved (and my step) daughter from time to time, but neither of us would tell stories about her without her permission and we protect her 5 year old daughter even more stringently. There are no pictures of the child on the blog and there are none on FB, where most of my friends are endlessly pasting the images of their own near and dear.

    • Hey Leslie, your husband seems like a natural character for your blog, being an expert mycologist (you are so lucky!). What you have in common with David is your willingness to involve your partner in your storytelling.

      Some people put cropped photos of their kids on Facebook, where you can only see a hand, or the child from the back, or the top of a head. But if you choose to put none, that is certainly fine.

  9. I always refer to my “TO” as “the eater of the house.” I don’t want to get too personal in my writing, even though I am writing about cooking and eating at home. While I’m a private person, I’m not cooking for just myself, so I mention “the eater of the house” on occasion.

    And thank you for introducing me to David’s blog, it’s great!

  10. Excellent writing always comes from the heart and yours is filled with the love of food and TO.

  11. Thanks for another poignant Post Diane. My favorite food bloggers share stories of the people in their lives and this is a big part of what endears me to them. Members of my family play roles within my blog, my 6 year old Grandson- the J-Dude who has cooked with me since six months of age, and his mother Sooky, the Stylist. A unique aspect to my Blog in not using names surrounds my youngest, Alex the Athlete who plays Division 1 college sports. During the sports seasons I Post about our Team Family Tailgates, the foods, the travel, roles played by the parents, even team players. I never name the University, avoiding appearance of capitalizing. However, next year when honored on Senior Day celebrating Players and Parents I may do so beginning at that time and in the future sport Team Family Tailgates of which I will be involved.

    • I think I met your whole family through this comment, Peggy! Obviously it gives you a lot of pleasure to write about them and your life.

  12. I went to graduate school in the 1980s so I’m always aware of the fact that trying to separate our public lives and our private lives is a dangerous act. I am who I am, and the ones I love are the ones I love; they are always part of my writing. That said, if I post photos of children I know I don’t put their names on the internet unless their parents approve; people are understandably worried about children’s privacy these days.

    • Sure, Tinky. That makes sense. These days parents have to be careful about things like that. Anyone could put photos of them online since we all are snapping photos all the time with our phones.

  13. Thanks for this terrific Q&A, Diane. Your timing is impeccable if not a bit eerie! I was JUST speaking about this with my husband, who is named and featured all the time on my site. He isn’t always happy to be painted in such a way sometimes. But if I know it could be touchy, I always run the idea by him first and then respect his wishes. I’m never sure what to do about my children. I write about them, but I’ve refrained from showing (identifying) photos of them and I don’t use their names. Interestingly, my posts that get the most interest and attention are those that reveal the most about my personal life including my husband and children. Go figure. I never would have guessed that when I started writing it more than 2 years ago.

    • That sounds typical, Alicia, that the posts about your personal life get the most comments. Readers can relate to something going on in your life that’s probably gone on in theirs — the same as how TO’s post about his grandmother got people going. It sounds like you have figured out your strategy: husband is fare game and kids are not shown in photos.

  14. Hi Dianne,

    What a great post! I opened four browser tabs from reading this. :)

    I wrote for two years before I mentioned my husband. It came about organically, as I’d developed my craft and discovered my voice. I refer to him as Elvis, a nickname bestowed upon him from a great friend, over cocktails one evening. Elvis is okay with that, he’s a private person and didn’t want me to talk about him. I’m careful not to go to far. As Jamie mentioned, it’s important to find balance.

    My wire fox terrier, Reagan, is another story. He’s become a bigger part of my social media and blogs. In fact, the other day, a woman mentioned that she knows me because of Reagan. He’s quite the personality, so I’m not paring down or embellishing the story with him.

    When I’m writing about my sisters, brothers and their kids, I always ask permission. In fact, I never post the kids names or photos of the kids. But that’s another topic for another post.

    I think blogging has changed the nature of writing, and social media has made us so transparent, it’s hard not to write about the people in our lives.

    Again, great post. Thanks.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Maureen. Thanks.

      It’s kind of fun to have a husband with a pseudonym of Elvis. I like that. And dogs — who doesn’t love them. The photos of my cat that I put on Twitter and Facebook generated more comments than anything else I ever wrote. Go figure.

  15. I pondered this very subject when my mom passed away in December. My weekly posts publish on Tuesdays, and my mom died on a Saturday, and I was wondering during my grief if I should even post at all that week, or if I would even be able to.

    I am new to the blogging arena but have loyal followers and I didn’t want to miss a week, leaving them wondering if I was going to be reliable or not. They way I looked at it was, I’m an entertainer and the show must go on, as the saying goes, so I couldn’t disappoint my readers, I had to post. But then because I hadn’t done any research for that week, I didn’t have a subject to post on and I was struggling with whether I should do one on my mom or not. I gave it some serious thought and came to the decision that I would honor her love of eating and food with a post about her best dish, and I’m so glad I did!

    I got so much positive feedback from my readers, and many said it was their favorite post to date. I think my mom would have been very pleased with it, and not upset in the least that I wrote about her and included her photo. In fact, I think it would have been her favorite post, too.

    We are entertainers, and our audience wants the genuine parts of ourselves that they can relate to. It’s the human experience we all look for in each other.

    I’m glad I did it.

    • Lovely, Katya. It sounds like absolutely the right decision. I felt better writing posts when people close to me died. And regarding not feeling like posting, it’s great to have some posts ready to go for times like those. Hard to do, but they do come in handy.

  16. My family has actually experienced a “real life” issue where our “online life” collided (and affected our work life) in a very poor, distasteful way so we are very cautious about what we put out there.

    • That’s terrible that happened to you CJ. There’s always that risk, that dark side of whatever it is you do that’s in the public eye. Leaving out names, such as David does, is probably a good thing, yet there are no guarantees.

    • Wow. I bet that’s a great story, although it sounds like an awful situation. No wonder you are careful.

      • Trust me, Dianne … There’s a story and I really wanted to share it here but I believe it will just fan the flames and cause more grief for my employer so I chose to be vague. It was so significant that my employer had to threaten legal action against the perpetrator. I am very careful about what I put out there now.

  17. Great Q&A, Dianne! David’s tales of The One are captivating, and The Ones’s story of the spoon was touching. It brought me back to my grandmother, who measured liquid in a particular juice glass, and flour and sugar in a particular coffee cup. Including The One enriches the fabric of the story telling. I find it very romantic. I enjoy David’s blog so very much — not just for the recipes, but for the way his personality and personal life entwine with the food. Love, love, love them!

    • TO found out what makes writing so satisfying, Anastasia — when the story you’re telling ends up trigging memories for your readers as well. I love that it happened to you as well. Regarding David, he’s such a lively writer, and his personality is right there on the page, as you say.

  18. Because my boyfriend is a musician, he is already putting himself out there over the internet, so I have felt free to use his name and photos. With adults, I have usually used their true first names only, but I haven’t posted any photos of them. I also mentor a little girl, and since she is a big part of my life, I do write about things we do. I have never mentioned her name and only include photos of her from the back, so no one can see her face. I think that is the safest thing to do with minors. I want to respect her privacy.

    • This all sounds very reasonable, Shawn, particularly your stance on the little girl. I’m sure that if you wanted to use photos of the adults, you would ask permission.

  19. A Google+ hangout? Crap, I don’t know what that is. Easy to just hop on, or no?

  20. That’s a tough one. When I first started writing it never occurred to me to use a fake name for my man. I sort of wish that I had from the beginning. I don’t use real names for anyone else on my blog and I wouldn’t name children either.

    • Oh that’s a shame that you regret using his real name, Claire. But typical of blogging, you probably didn’t realize what you were getting into. I hope only good things have come of it.

  21. We solve this problem by writing our blog together. We started out using silly names but now we don’t bother so much as we have had some material published in magazines and reviews so our names are known. Our photo we kind of obscure, you have to work hard to find it, as we still want to maintain some anonymity when we eat out.

    When we have guests eat with us, we give them a different name and don’t take photos of them so their private and public lives don’t mix as others have feared. I do like throwing in little stories of who we are eating with or family, it adds a little reality and brings readers a little closer to us.

    • Nice, Alison! I like how your blog has brought you some print work where your real byline and names appear, so now you don’t bother obscuring your names. Obscuring your photos, since you review, is definitely worthwhile though. I appreciate that you do this even though you’re not reviewing 4-star restaurants.

  22. Good point, Dianne, with blogging you don’t necessarily know what you are getting into. What might begin as a little creative endeavor can balloon into something much bigger. In my case, I’ve referred to my husband as “Mr. Mom’s Kitchen” from the beginning and my kids by their first names. Now my oldest is a teenager and more self conscious about having her stories told. I try to be sensitive to everyone’s level of comfort for privacy, but sometimes the temptation to tell a good anecdote is hard to suppress!

    • Katie, it sounds like you’ve had your blog forever! It’s interesting that you don’t use a first name for your husband but you do for your kids. Maybe your husband feels more anonymous that way.

  23. This is something I struggle with and negotiate as a writer all the time – how much of the people you love, and your personal life, should go into your writing? I have no clear answer for this, but I usually operate on instinct and what feels right. I think most writers have this dilemma.

    • I think so too, and sometimes they get in trouble for it. I just read Keith Richard’s memoir (a doorstop) and he makes no effort at all to mask or tone down his feelings for his bandmates, friends and family. There’s even a comment about the small size of Mick’s equipment! That seems outrageous, to show such cheek towards his business partner of more than 50 years. But secretly, I loved it. I guess he just didn’t give a damn, and most of us aren’t like that.

  24. I guess this depends on what your blog focus is and who your audience is. Personally, it is heartwarming for me when my own sons, now all grown come back home and cook for me – I use it as an opportunity to include them in a blog post. But since my sons are grown men, I respect their privacy by 1) asking them first if I can do the blog post of the dish they cooked 2) mention their names. One thing is unanimous though, I do not include their current photographs. Now and then, you’ll see their hands, but no full photos, out of respect for my sons’ wishes. Ultimately, I enjoy sharing with my readers the feelings I have as a mom, writer, food blogger – I raised my sons on my homecooking and now they cook for me. If some readers are not okay with that, they can always click away and move on to the next site. It’s not going to change that my sons now cook for me!

  25. This is a great topic! When I first starting sharing recipes and bits and pieces of my life on the internet some 6 or so years ago, my husband was very firm about not sharing anything personal on my site… no photos, no mentions of where we live… nothing. I even started my site with a RecipeGirl graphic and no photo of me at all. It took some time for us to warm to the idea that I needed an identity behind the graphic, and then a picture once in a while of my kiddo- but at first very limited. Now that he’s a little older and has his own blog, we decided it was okay for him to share his identity and fun photos of him cooking, etc. It’s a tough decision. We are both very careful about not sharing specifics about where we live and no mentions about school names, etc. Fortunately, all has been okay and no weirdness on our end so far. I enjoy sharing stories about my family and an occasional photo. My husband probably gets more upset by tweets than anything else (since I tweet an awful lot about anything and everything!) I’ve learned to hold back some. I really do love the blogs that share personal stories best- it’s easier and more enjoyable to connect with the writer.

    • It’s interesting how you’ve changed your views on privacy over time, Lori. It seems like the more we use the web, we more we feel like we have lots of friends out there to share our experiences. I’m glad nothing negative has come of your decisions to show photos of yourself and your son. Not sure you ever show one of your husband, though.

      Does your husband get upset about the content of your tweets or the fact that you’re tweeting when you’re with him? Not the same thing.

      • I’ve shared a few pics of the husband, but it’s a rare thing! Social networking in general is a sore subject when we’re on vacation or out to dinner or just hanging out at home in the evenings. I’ve really had to make an effort to scale back and know when my husband is at his wit’s end w/ my internet connections. He’s definitely concerned with the content of my tweets- but as I mentioned before, I try not to share too much on the personal end. It’s definitely a sore subject at times!

  26. What a great post, and a beautiful story on David and The One. They sound like a wonderful couple.

    I’ve always struggled, and still do writing about my life and loved ones because I always think my life is really quite boring compared the lives I read about on other blogs, and I wonder if my readers really care about my personal life.

    Having said that I am inspired by the bloggers who can seamlessly weave their lives into their blog posts, and yet still keep it relevant. It’s an amazing talent.

    • Yes, this is a common complaint. What gets me really mad (at myself) is when someone writes about some mundane thing that I have also experienced, and then I realize that there’s a way to write about even the most commonplace events, when you’re a good writer and you see a possibility.

  27. Dianne, what a wonderful heartwarming interview! It truly is one that only you could do and do so well with your background in writing and food as well as personally knowing David and The One. Thank you. I truly enjoyed it. David has been so kind to this “new girl on the block” and has given compliments that mean the world to me coming from him. I was one of the commenters of The One’s first blog post, Grandma’s Silver Spoon, who opened up about our similar paths in life and my deep connection to my grandparents. It is so nice to know The One found all the comments touching and rewarding.

    David and The One are indeed correct. Their reader base identifies with their life stories’85and, love. Just human love vs. sexual identity and sharing what bonds us’85food and food stories. The One was so open and his heart was so pure in sharing his story. I completely identified not only with his troubled childhood but with the deep connection to my grandmother’85specifically, baking with her and the heirloom recipes written in her hand.

    Also, I took note of the comment you shared with The One following his piece and it was spot on concerning the studies. It immediately reminded me of the late Truman Capote (as most know, his aunt raised him), his troubled childhood and how he identified, on a certain level, with the real-life characters in his most famous work, In Cold Blood. As he aptly observed, he walked out the front door and they walked out the back door’85into utter darkness and tragedy. Here’s to children finding love from at least one adult in their lives so they walk out the front door into adulthood.

    Once again, thank you again for this great interview!

    P.S. I refer to my dear, sweet, handsome husband as The Big Lug (he’s 6’5″ tall) on my blog and will only share what we both feel comfortable with out of respect.

    • Thank you Stacy, for your comment and for bring up Truman Capote, one of my favorite writers. As you say, it’s a common theme to write about yourself as a child, looking for love. We’ve all been there and when it comes from the heart, people will connect to it.

      I love that nickname for your husband!

  28. Great post, Dianne! While my daughters were the reason I started my blog in the first place, I do try to give them some measure of privacy. If I am wanting to share something in particular that I am even the slightest bit concerned about, I do ask. The posts I get a lot of comments on, either on the blog or on my Facebook page, are the ones that feature my grandmother. She is quite a character and, as evidenced by the reactions to The One’s story of his grandparents, I think we all have a soft spot for the generation that didn’t have to be parent and, so, could love us without the need of reprimand or setting strict boundaries. I have a few handwritten recipes just like that and I cherish them more than all the cookbooks I have together.

    • Me too. I have handwritten recipes from my mother and auntie that are very precious. Those kinds of things really strike a chord in people. I never tire of reading a well-done story like that.

  29. Like many others, I started out much more vaguely and have gradually added “characters” and other people. My husband is still The Veggie-Hating Husband (a title about which he has mixed feelings, but can’t really deny), and my sister’s family loves it when I include their daughter, my Adorable Baby Niece (though she’s now 5).

    I used to be so cautious to leave people out to respect their privacy, then I noticed that they loved it when I mentioned them! I check first (whether at the time of an event, or by emailing them when writing a post) to make sure it’s OK and don’t use identifying details without permission. My family get a bit more of a David Sedaris approach, but they leave comments!

    • Funny that your family members leave comments when you mention then, Stacy. And that you’re not as polite about mentioning them as you are others, who are flattered. Probably most people like their “15 minutes of fame.”

  30. I just want to say The One and I are so touched by your kind comments and well wishes. We made a conscious decision not to comment on Dianne’s post because this is about her and an issue all bloggers face–we were merely an example. Now, that doesn’t mean y’all can’t come over to Leite’s Culinaria for a visit and a nice glass of sweet tea, hear? (Don’t ask me where in the hell that Southern thing came from!)

    But in all seriousness, we thank Dianne for accurately portraying us, our words, and meaning. That often isn’t the case.

    • Oh you are sweet — sweet as Southern tea, actually. No wonder I adore you. Not that I just wrote about you for that reason. I could smell a good story all the way from California.

  31. David, I cannot agree with you more! Dianne’s exceptional interview is a testament to her integrity as well as being a great teacher to her reader base by presenting such clear-cut examples. (Thanks again, Dianne!) You and The One provided a terrific example to others and we all truly identified concerning the sensitive issue of writing about loved ones via the blogging platform in the public arena. Never mind the fact that we all love you and The One even more following the interview! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Love the Southern accent thing, LOL! My inner Southern Belle comes out periodically, too. There’s something about extending hospitality that seems to naturally bring it out! Will definitely be visiting Leite’s Culinaria often. LC is on my blogroll! xoxo

  32. My blog wouldn’t exist without my son and his food allergies, and is even called “The Allergic Kid”, but I have never, ever put his actual name on there, since I do not want his medical history to be searchable on the internet. My son loves that the blog is about him, though. We’ll see if that changes as he gets older!

  33. Excellent! More shared wisdom and inspiration tucked away for future reference. Thanks to all three of you.

  34. Thank you so much for this story about your spouse. I know your family. I know your mom I had the oppertunity to work with her when I was a kid ( in my 20′S) on the hot line. I was so afraid for her to find out about me because I knew she was so closed to her church. also when I was a kid I was adopted by David Pereira’s sister Carol they lived on Bark street. I loved the video of your new kitchen and saw your ccok book on the counter. I found it funny because my spouse Christopher and I have your cook book standing on our kitchen counter just like you had in that video. I can pronounce anything in it but I cook out of it a lot. Love the nave beans and lamb stew the best! thanks again for your stories and your book!

    • Robert Jean,

      Thanks for writing and for your kind words. Yeah, it’s not always easy growing up, especially in a small town. But it seems as if you’ve done well for yourself! Congratulations on getting married! I wish Christopher and you many, many years of happiness.

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