Life Updates

Hey, y’all! What’s up? I haven’t written on this blog since my New Year Goals post. 2019 has already been a whirlwind of a year, and it’s only March. I’ve written several freelance food articles this year, but I haven’t been active on this site much. Y’all responded to my Insta Poll and voted for a life update instead of a recipe for this post, so I will do my best to try to fill in the gaps from these past few months. I’m going to write this post in list form mainly because I feel like it, but also because I think it may help me organize my thoughts a bit more efficiently and thus make for a better read.

  1. I started drinking coffee again over Spring Break, and I. Am. Living. I haven’t had coffee regularly since my first year of grad school due to its negative effects on my anxiety levels and stomach issues. I started drinking this magical beverage again for several reasons, one of which involves a dramatic decline in my overall stress level. Which leads me to my next update.
  2. I got a job! I am still in shock about this, and I don’t think it will hit me until I leave my beloved Triangle region in a matter of months. I am thrilled to announce that I’ve accepted a position at Penn State University in the fall (hence the pretzel featured photo). I will be joining the faculty in the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Teaching Professor. To say this role is ideal for me is the understatement of the century. I’ve struggled for six years in graduate school trying to reconcile my passion for teaching with my extreme dislike of being alone working on research in my windowless office. This job will allow me to continue teaching at the college-level, but I do not have any of the same research requirements as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. I teach more classes in exchange for the relief of knowing I do not have to participate in the publication race. I can continue doing research if I choose to do so, but my ability to be promoted depends only on my teaching and department service.
  3. You may be thinking, well, Amy, are you ever going to do research again, or are you going to spend your days living your best extrovert life teaching and not being at home as much as possible? Well…mostly, BUT another exciting part of my job involves my development of a new course called “Food Politics.” Yes, you read it right. I am getting paid to live my dream of creating a course that combines my passion for food with my love and appreciation for political psychology. I probably won’t teach this class until the spring or following fall semester, but I already started brainstorming the syllabus. I am SO PUMPED! Planning this class will inevitably expose me to research surrounding the food industry, nutrition guidelines, food as an extension of our identities, and food as form of silent communication in our hyper-polarized political environment. I have enjoyed my tenure at INDY Week immensely, and I see myself continuing to produce food writing surrounding the intersection of food and politics. This sort of research excites me and doesn’t sound like the worst use of a day to pursue. Stay tuned for more.
  4. Y’all may remember I changed the name of my Instagram account last November. I didn’t change the name of this blog because I already paid the fee to have the domain for another year. Unfortunately, I plan to cancel my account in November when it expires. I do not plan to stop blogging, though. In an effort to streamline my interests and make this space more closely align with my career, I plan to create a personal website that combines my academic information and work with my food writing. The website name will probably be something boring like my name, but I promise the content will still be the same.
  5. To circle back to my last post on New Year Goals, I’ve successfully completed some while neglecting others. I made several types of bread from scratch (yay, gluten!); I’ve read a bit (yay, Anthony Bourdain books!); I’ve taken more non-food pictures (yay, plants!). However, I haven’t done the best job at being the most authentic version of myself on Instagram. I’ve been guilty of posting high quality photos of not-so-high quality food. I know this sounds ridiculous, but lately, I’ve had a bit of an existential crisis regarding Instagram. I study identity politics, so I’m always thinking about my identity and the image I’m conveying online. Changing my handle name provided a sense of authenticity that I appreciated. Since then, I’ve been looking for ways to be more “myself” on my account, whether that entails more overtly political posts, more sassy captions, or less awkward videos of myself. But I still feel weird when I eat a mediocre dish and feel compelled to post about it. I am now resisting the urge to do this, or if I do to be honest in the captions. I’m the quintessential passive-aggressive southerner, so I’m not going to roast a food or a place outright (DM me if you want my unfiltered take on anything), but at the same time, I’m not posting more photos of dishes I haven’t enjoyed eating. Similarly, I’m not spending excessive amounts of time styling these dishes because this activity has resulted in my consuming cold versions of classic Triangle dishes on more than one occasion. I wish I were someone who didn’t mind lukewarm food, but that’s not me, either. I like taking “glamour shots” of food, but I’ll save the long “shoots” for media events, not dinners I’m paying my slim grad school budget to enjoy.

I hope 2019 has treated y’all well so far! Thanks so much for following my food journey. Cheers!

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