Cooking and content - a comparison

March 30, 2020

I grew up on a farm. I spent a lot of school holiday time cooking, complaining that there was no feed, and subsequently being denied a trip to town. Limit groceries to once a week? No problem.

I'll go you two, and bring everyone along for the cooking show.

Whether cooking or content, there are some common themes.

First in, first out

Do you still have food in your pantry from the day you moved in?

I'm not talking about the little used spices - they can stay. I'm talking about those tins of tomatoes (not the ones you panic bought), the bags of lentils you grabbed when you thought you'd be healthy, the three packs of jelly you got on sale (what, just me?).

Ideally, you should cook from the things that have been around the longest, first.

Tins, bags, veggies, meat. This rule suits all scenarios. And the same goes for content.

On a website, we all tend to focus on one or two key pages and update them more regularly. But what about the pages hiding at the back of the pantry?

The ones that do exist, but you forgot about?

Create a rolling audit spreadsheet, listing every page (you can do the same for internet docs or client comms content). Prioritise reviewing the older pages, then set a date to revisit them. Roll through the audit every month. Simple.

Don't overcomplicate it

How good is warm, fresh bread with butter? Or a fairy cake (you know, a plain butter patty cake* with little butterfly wings, jam and cream). Or a roast chook with crispy potatoes.

Great food doesn't have to be complicated, and neither does content.

Of course, the words should be clear. But there are other things we tend to complicate. Like putting algorithms (that we don't even understand) ahead of people. Like thinking we have to do all the things all the time. Like following someone else's plan, template or writing style, instead of our own.

Ease doesn't mean easy

I've stolen this one from Yotam Ottolenghi. He meant that sometimes, easy is a mood or style of cooking, whether the recipe is simple or complex.

What I mean, is that it isn't always easy to create something that is easy to read.
In fact, it can be harder than creating something that is confusing to read (see: my last two sentences).

Don't beat yourself up because your words need editing. So do everyone else's. Don't see what others do, and assume it comes easily to them. It likely does not.

And don't feel bad if you're having a little trouble sharing right now. This morning I dunked my biscuit into cold water instead of hot tea. I then dumped all the seed out of my pumpkin into my soup pot, instead of the compost bucket. Our brains are full. We need to be kind to ourselves, and to each other.

*I am very sad that the cupcake tend of the 00s meant that 'cupcake' replaced 'patty cake' in day-to-day conversation.

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