Blogger Spotlight - Food for the Thoughtless
January 26th, 2011
02:30 PM ET
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We're highlighting local and regional bloggers we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.

Meet today's featured bloggers and blog:
Who: Michael Procopio, of Food for the Thoughtless
Where: San Francisco, California
Twitter: @procopster

I fell into food blogging by accident. When my best friend from UCLA heard KQED’s online food editor mention that she was looking for another food blogger, he blurted out my name. Since I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no, I told him I’d give it the old college try.

That was four years ago.

I didn’t understand what blogging was at the time. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t want help. It was something I wanted to learn on my own. People offered me advice like “keep your posts short” and “write about what’s popular—you’ll get more hits that way.”

Really?

I have faith in the human attention span and writing about what’s popular bores me. And the thought of all those hits coming my way made it sound as if I’d be punished for doing so. I ignored all the advice and tried to figure things out for myself, for better or for worse.

I’m very glad I did.

When I decided to start my own blog, I named it "Food for The Thoughtless" because I couldn’t think of anything better to call it at the time. With the possible exception of coming up with drag queen handles, I’m really bad at naming things. But the name has stuck and I couldn’t be happier because, before I started writing about it, food was something I took for granted. I never gave a thought to what I was cooking and eating beyond whether or not the food would taste good and/or look attractive. I never dug any deeper into the subject. Or my life, for that matter.

I don’t think food writing should ever be just about food. I’m much more interested in why someone is, for example, afraid of herring than I am in knowing fifty quick and easy ways to prepare it. Why is my friend letting that cantaloupe rot in his crisper? Is it because it was the last thing his wife bought before she told him she was running off with another woman? Why is it that I have such an aversion to cupcakes? These are the sorts of things I want to know and understand.

So I started to explore a little.

I take everything that I encounter in my life - film, music, friendships, family, odd bits of trivia, death, strange encounters, good conversation - and channel it all into food. It’s my way of processing information. Only through writing and getting my thoughts out in front of me in black and white can I get in touch what whatever it is I’m really thinking and feeling. If I can take all of that information and funnel it into a recipe, I can then eat it and digest all of that information in the most literal sense possible.

Food writing is incredible therapy.

No, really.

When I write, I don’t censor myself. I just let go and see where the process takes me, which can lead to all sorts of trouble. Or self-discovery. It depends entirely upon the subject matter:

A friend’s thoughtful statement about how she loved beer because “it’s like there’s a sandwich in every glass” combined with a desire to help alcoholics derive more nutritional value from their drinking binges resulted in the creation of a very special cocktail.

A red-headed five year-old’s refusal to wear an avocado face mask and non sequitur desire to be a beautiful Chinese woman lead me to a very special guacamole.

Lack of time over the holidays, the avoidance of cookie exchanges, and the need to bake something special lead to the creation of a gingerbread drag queen.

The ordering of a croque monsieur by a friend over brunch caused me to remember my brother’s obsession with the death of Princess Grace.

A reluctance to cut up a head of cauliflower recalled the last encounter with a childhood friend before he was murdered.

I put it all out there. It entertains me, comforts me, and keeps me sane.

It’s like everything in life is some kind of Proustian madeleine and that fascinates me. Everything serves to remind us of something else. Life is about associations - sometimes that means free-association, other times not. So much in the world is relative and relatable. Like food, for instance. We all eat it. We all need it to survive. We all have a story to tell about it. So that’s what I try to do - tell my story in terms that everyone can understand.

I tell my stories through the medium of food.

Do you read a local blog that you'd like to see featured? Send 'em our way for a chance in the spotlight.

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Filed under: Blog Spotlight • Blogs • Think


soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. amelia from z tasty life

    I think Michael bring a really new, fresh, witty twist to food blogging. I like his "food as therapy" approach...it makes me think and re-think my approach to food, and sometimes life too!

    August 18, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  2. Bobbi

    Drag queen handle or not, this is one of the best blog names I've seen in a while.

    I appreciate Michael's approach to blogging as I've taken the same one myself. By day, I'm an advertising writer that's forced to follow the rules (well, most of the time) and blogging is my own little way of rebelling against the man. Or something.

    Love the blog, MIchael. Looking forward to following along.

    Bobbi from freshandfoodie.com

    March 31, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  3. Deborah

    He's my favorite...blogger, waiter, old-co-worker! A great guy, with a great sense of food, humor, and taste!

    February 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  4. ellen

    One of my favorite food blogs (and reliable source for where to eat in NYC) is The Girl Who Ate Everything (http://www.roboppy.net/food/).

    February 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  5. Susan

    Michael is an intelligent and interesting writer who manages to get just the right video or picture to add a very rewarding and utterly amusing dimension to his posts. He has a wealth of knowledge in his brain.

    February 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  6. www.travelbyfork.com

    this has to be the best food blog I have ever read. Insightful and humorous. Just like food should be. Never taken too seriously.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  7. freddie

    Michael Procopio is a damn funny genius!! He gets "it" - he's our generation's Freud! Instead of a "Freudian" we need to coin "Procopion"! Keep it coming, Michael!

    January 27, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  8. Judy in Montana

    Saw Ron Eyester's Notable quote in February 2011 Reader's Digest saying "who invented the rule that you get a free dessert in a restuarant on your birthday?" How about, "who invented the rule that I must tip servers and staff every day (even on my birthday), because restaurant management evidently doesn't pay them enough. I've never had to tip at Old Navy when I've purchased an outfit. Is a dessert really that expensive?

    January 27, 2011 at 1:25 am | Reply
  9. lifetasteslikefood

    This is exactly what I'm trying to do with my new blog!! The fusion between food and life, life and food. It's so wonderful to explore the two together. I am very interested to read his blog further and maybe my newbie self can learn a bit more about this whole process! Thanks!

    January 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  10. Lucy Lean

    I love Michael for being unique and quick witted – which is surprisingly rare in the wonderful world of food blogging these days. Thanks for the profile and keep it coming Mr. Procopster.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  11. Sasha @ Global Table Adventure

    I am totally fascinated by Michael's storytelling approach. He's right on – it's the personal stories that connect us, not facts and figures. And, while I'm thinking about it, that makes me wonder about the stories behind the people who collect facts and figures... why? why put together a dictionary, a thesaurus, an encylopedia. What drives us?

    January 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply

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