In three months, this site will be eleven years old. Three nights ago, I got to stand on a stage in New York in front of hundreds of people I admire – including Martha, THE Martha, who looked foxier, and younger, than anyone – and accept a James Beard Award for this blog.

I was so nervous, so totally electrified with terror, that my right eyelid twitched for six days leading up to the ceremony. I hope I never forget what it felt like, after so much hoping, to hear my name called. I hadn’t planned a thank-you speech – if you take your umbrella, yadda yadda, it won’t rain – but once I was up there, everything felt oddly clear and slow, and I managed to thank my friend Chris Oakes, the person who suggested that I start a blog; and Dorie Greenspan, author of the first cookbook I ever owned, who was sitting right there, at stage left, smiling; and then Brandon, of course; and my dad – of course, my dad. I want to think he heard. Then somebody whisked me away to take a picture, and there was a party with a lot of good hair, and a late slice at Joe’s Pizza, and I finally limped to my friend Brian’s apartment in Brooklyn, where the world’s most comfortable air mattress was waiting in the living room. But when I woke up the next morning, I realized that I had forgotten to thank my mother(!!), and also you. I wouldn’t have the heart or the guts to write anything if I didn’t think a real live person, somewhere, somehow, might read it. I’m here because you’re here. Thank you for that.

(Photo by Sarah Lawer, excellent company at table 28.)