I started thinking about what would be my last recipe in January when Grace told the team that Design * Sponge is closing this summer. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted it to be representative of the work we do on the site, my most used recipe from the archives (Lena Corwin’s Pumpkin Bread, btw), or something personal…
Twelve years ago, Grace entrusted me with the In the Kitchen With column that I pitched to her. She gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted.
The blogging landscape was very different back then.
There were behemoths and there was a Design * Sponge, operated by one person.
With each State of the Union Blog and significant external “shock,” I asked Grace about her business decisions.
Her answers always began with her integrity and with her readers. She would compromise neither in order to cover expenses. Her vision and ironclad character, her ability to apologize when wrong, to learn and grow in the face of adversity, to take care of her team and to be Outside the dams (every day) are most of the reasons I knew I would stay until the end. The rest was about the friendships. Not just my friendship with Grace which predated the column, but with our team and the people featured in the column over the years who made it also a joy to edit.
We transformed In the Kitchen With from being a column focused on very personal, mostly carb-focused, recipes from our favorite indie designers to diverse recipes from everyone who pitched good food. I’ve eaten our featured recipes at home and served them at parties. Some of the people we’ve featured have moved from e-life to real life and have become my family. It’s always hard to name names because you don’t want to leave anyone out, but I can say that I’ve had turning points in my life thanks to Matt Armendariz, Nicole Taylor, Bryant Terry, Matt Lewis. My life is much richer for the time I’ve spent with Klancy Miller, Katie Quinn, Leela Cyd, Yossy Arefi, Anissa Helou, Y. Lee, Kerrin Rousset, Felicity Cloake, Gaby Dalkin, Shannon Mustipher, Prairie Rose, Emily Arden Wells. I can feel the smiles even over the long distances when I exchange messages with Vallery Lomas, Jocelyn Delk Adams, Cheryl Day, Yvette van Boven, Aran Goyoaga, and Julia Turshen, whose first idea for a column recipe I didn’t accept !! (But things turned out for the best in the end and hopefully she doesn’t even remember!) Actually, the list is 12 years long of special, indelible memories. I cherish and am grateful daily for what being a part of the Design*Sponge team has brought me, and when all of us editors showed up one by one for our farewell retreat, made the road trip from Brooklyn to Terrain in Philadelphia and back, and spent the weekend together, I felt like I was with family. And though it was sad for me to realize it was ending, I’ve learned over the years to be happy I had the good times and great memories rather than pining for them to conti