My blogging anniversary

It’s kind of scary to realize that it’s the 14th anniversary of my blog.

At the start – July 17, 2008 – I thought it would be so easy. I thought I’d build my posts around my collection of restaurant memorabilia such as the match books above. I imagined it would take me about half an hour to write each post, and in fact the first one didn’t take much longer than that. That is no longer true.

Since then I’ve revised that initial post — Joel’s bohemian restaurant – because I came to realize it was much too sketchy. I’m thinking of revising it a second time.

My blog posts have grown longer, though I try to keep them relatively brief, and I have extended my topics way beyond the possibilities of my ephemera collection. Now my process is reversed and I’m always on the lookout for elusive images that are relevant to subjects I want to investigate.

When I began, WordPress was a folksy kind of blog host. I always got a quick answer to queries about how to do things, and they were signed with first names. The company made relatively little effort to sell additional services or to get bloggers to add advertising to their site.

They did, however, place advertising on sites without asking. The day I discovered that WordPress had inserted a weight loss advertisement into one of my posts, I shouted NO! Then I immediately signed up for “No Advertising” even though I had to pay an annual fee – and still do.

Now, after publishing 496 posts and pages, I remain glad that I didn’t “monetize” my blog.

Another change in WordPress (for the better in this case) was the ability to link posts easily to other internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. – and for readers to click “Like.” My early posts have no Likes, not because I had no readers but because there was no Like button then.

I am thankful for my readers and followers. I’m happy that they are interested in what I write about and that they bring a lot of knowledge about restaurants with them. Along with on-site comments, I get an equal number of emails from readers, some looking for additional information and others who kindly go out of their way to send compliments.

Another nice aspect of producing my blog are the occasional invitations to give talks and interviews.

Now, when I go back and look at my old posts I always see something that could be improved – where I should add a link or illustration (see part of my image file above), reword an awkward sentence, clarify a murky point, or insert something I’ve since discovered. Usually I try not to obsess over these shortcomings and end up moving on.

Although I often profile individual restaurants, frequent readers probably realize that my greatest interests are how the custom of eating out grew, how the various types of eating places developed, the types of food and ways of cooking that are highly associated with restaurants, and how restaurants reflect American culture.

A few of my favorites posts are linked here, some of them early ones that are deserving of more attention.

Back in 2008, a friend asked if I feared that I would soon run out of topics. That still makes me smile. I haven’t even come close.

Thanks for reading!


Filed under blogging, favorite posts, writing

57 responses to “My blogging anniversary

  1. Gen

    Hi Jan, congratulations on reaching this milestone. I’ve been reading your blog since I stumbled across it several years ago. Even though I’m Australian & not really a “foodie”, I enjoy learning about restauranting history. Regards, Gen

  2. I’ve been away a while. Getting back into it. I am happy you are still here! Congratulations

  3. I just discovered your blog today, it came up in a G. search for “Schrafft’s.” I think my Mom might have worked there; not sure, as she once told me she was looking for a job with no experience, and told them at Loft’s she had worked at Schrafft’s, and told Schrafft’s she had worked at Loft’s. She got a job at one of those places. So glad I found you!

  4. You were a true blogging pioneer! I love reading your posts. I can just tell you love writing them. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you — and I do love researching and writing them.

    • Maria

      Jan, can’t wait to read your favorite restaurant blogs, especially Maxwells Plum, Club Sandwiches — and all 496 posts!
      Always evocative, often lovely and sometimes downright mind boggling the lengths to which a restauranteur will go just to command the attention of the hungry celebrant or comfort seeker. Jan Whitaker’s Restauranting Through History is a fascinating little trip to absolutely anywhere. Delicious!

  5. Sandra Hunter

    I became a reader of your Blog because someone gave it to me because my name was in it!!! I am Still Amazed and how you correctly shared the begining of my career when I was 17 years old. This September God has blessed me to see 75 and still ‘cheffing’ almost daily!! You have inspired me to write a book (almost finished) and to continue bottling Sandy’s Steak Sauce & Savory Sauce; must repackage my sold out Nana’s All Purpose Gourmet Seasoning and Willie Cial’s Gourmet Cookies & Mini Assorted Loaves of Banana & Other Breads.
    So grateful for your Passion…You are Amazing!!

  6. Hank Collier

    I love reading your blog! Thank you!

  7. Congratulations, Jan!! I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog years ago. Your focus on restaurant history is interesting and unique. It’s been fun to see how your blog posts have evolved with time.

  8. misenplacememoir

    As a former blogger who gave it up after a few years, thanks for perservering and keeping up the good work! Always interesting.

  9. Happy 14th, Jan! Wow, what a milestone.

    I love the ending of this post. It’s a very common misconception that we’ll run out of ideas the more we write. But, like you, I’ve learned that the more I write, the MORE I have to write. So weird. Anyway, here’s to many more years to come!

  10. Hi, Jan~

    Happy 14th anniversary!

    I’ve been reading for a number of years – funny – although I love to cook, I have no interest in the history of restaurants, but I find every one of your posts interesting! (…which also means you a great writer!)

    You mentioned your specific interests, from which your blog grew – and it reminded me of a book I read with my book group: 97 Orchard. Lifted from Amazon: “In 97 Orchard, Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York’s Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century—a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, …” (These 5 families lived at 97 Orchard; that building is currently the Tenement Museum.)

    Anyway, there are some great descriptions of public eating places and other outside food customs in the book; I thought you might be interested.

    Well, happy summer – I hope you are staying cool and comfortable!

    Lori Factor-Marcus

    P.S. Not that it’s important, but I thought I’d let you know how I came across your blog – by randomly googling Wolfies 163rd St, many years ago. (I had visited Wolfie’s many times as a kid.) Loved your post, and loved the discussion that followed – such a trip down Memory Lane! I can see that your blog touches many!


    I love you. And your fantastic writing!!! I love the research and the history. Cheers!


  12. Glenn Koch

    Your posts are always so wonderfully entertaining. Count me among your devoted fans. And congratulations on a job well done Jan!!!

  13. Congratulations on your accomplishments. Blogging is fun. Wishing you many more years of blogging adventures.

  14. Henry Voigt

    Congratulations Jan!

  15. stash0022

    Thank you for your wonderfully interesting articles! I love all of them and wish you well in your continued endeavors!

  16. Congratulations Jan and keep on blogging!

  17. Matthew

    Happy anniversary! love reading your blog!

  18. MM Pack

    Congratulations, not only do I always enjoy and learn something from your posts, but I so admire your fortitude in carrying on for 14 years. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and research and for writing so well about it!

  19. wbchristensend86829763a

    You are so welcome!

  20. Alison Pearlman

    You’ve done an extraordinary job! Congratulations.

  21. Congratulations on 14 years Jan!

    Your articles are informative, entertaining and sometimes trigger a craving for a meal!!

    All the best.


  22. Rosemary Schmidt

    Happy anniversary, Jan. I enjoy reading your pieces and appreciate your slant on the food industry.
    They are thought provoking as well as entertaining!! Thank you!

  23. elisabethhahn

    Sorry I haven’t been along for the entire ride – but do so enjoy reading what I do receive. I’m a collector of books and other ephemera on etiquette and manners, so your interests tie in closely with mine. It is rewarding and fascinating to discover history, its meanings and clues to why things may or may not be how they are today. I, for one, will continue to look forward to “hearing” from you. Thank you for all your work and for sharing it.

    Best, Elisabeth Hahn

  24. danmblog

    I Always look forward to your posts. What will I learn? The Appetizers, article was a great one and learned a lot! Also forwarded that out to a few folks. And will always be grateful about the info on Fat Ed’s in SF! My Grandfather would always say it as one word Fateds. I got to go with him once as little tyke of a grandson. I can barely remember it. But I do have those fragmented kid memories. Congrats on a great blog and anniversary!

  25. Jim

    Congrats Jan- keep ‘em coming!

  26. Anonymous

    Wow, congratulations on your publishing anniversary! Like, Like, Like! I’ll got back and click the like button on the early posts, too!

  27. wbchristensend86829763a

    So just how many food related topics have you written about in 14 years?

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