Last week I was tagged—not once, but twice—for the 23rd-post-5th-sentence meme, a nifty little game that would have me dig into my archives, find my 23rd post, pull out its fifth sentence, and analyze its meaning. Now, clearly, the universe wants to see me complete this task, and so, we’re off.

A bit of perusal reveals that my 23rd post is a report on the 2004 Knight family lamb roast, opening with a heated battle against a recalcitrant Parisian flan. Case in point, the fifth sentence:

“I swore like a sailor, slapped the dough shards into a pile and bullied them into a ball, and then I rolled them flat before they had a second to protest.”

On the surface, we can suss out a few things here: namely that I have quite a mouth, and that I like alliteration, am good with a rolling pin, and approach my desserts with determination.

But on another level, I’m also aware of the degree to which Orangette has been a work-in-progress. Looking back at old posts is always a daunting proposition. Orangette came into this world with a somewhat murky focus: all I knew was that I wanted to write, and to write about food. For the past fourteen or so months, I’ve written, read, reread, and thereby learned a tremendous amount about what matters to me—in food, in writing, and in the everyday stuff of life—and Orangette has, in turn, gradually taken on a clearer shape.

Most importantly, I discovered that the posts I loved most were the ones that told stories. Isaac Bashevis Singer once said, “I don’t care how eloquent your phrasing. Unless you’re a storyteller, you’re not a writer.” I keep this quote taped to my desk, scribbled on a scrap of yellow paper, right underneath another snippet that reads, “Let the glory out,” from an old Al Gore, Sr. speech. This is what I want to do, and what I want Orangette to be.

And on the days when I think about going back to the archives and erasing the old, rambly, journal-y posts—the proverbial ghosts of yore—I always manage to stop myself, because I suppose I was trying to tell a story then too, and maybe even wringing out some sort of little glory, just in a rambly, journal-y way. And anyway, if I’m to take a lesson from myself, blogging should be approached like baking: with lot of cussing and determination.