2013: Year in Review (and a look at 2014)

Before I forget, let me start off by saying thank you for your support and continued readership. In October of 2011, I made a decision to follow a strict posting schedule – one post a week at the least, two posts a week at the most – to make sure that I had enough recipes to keep this little website chugging along at a steady pace. I’m happy to say that I haven’t missed a week since, and The Domestic Man has grown to be something far beyond my expectations; to give you an idea, my average daily traffic is now far higher than the traffic for the entire month of October 2011. This is all thanks to you and your encouragement along the way.

To be honest, I had expected 2013 to be a relatively quiet year for me. I started secretly writing and shooting for my debut cookbook in late 2012, and my goal was to basically just keep the website afloat while I focused on writing the book. Turns out that everyone else had other plans! Let’s look through some of this year’s surprises.

Two moments stand out as my favorite experiences of the year. First, in April I was nominated as one of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blogs of 2013. While I didn’t win the top spot, being recognized by my favorite food magazine was just about the coolest thing ever. My second favorite experience was preparing for and winning the Baconpalooza cookoff in Staunton, VA. Our team spent several months tweaking our Bourbon and Cider Braised Bacon recipe and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

I also received a few media nods this year, including The Huffington Post, Mashable, AOL’s Kitchen Daily, and People Magazine. An invitation to visit the The Culinary Institute of America in October was also a very big moment for me, and a bit of a culinary dream come true.

This year was also exciting for me in terms of connecting with the ancestral health and real foods communities. In April I traveled to Austin and attended PaleoFX, where I met a bunch of online friends in person, and made some new friends to boot. In August I had the distinct pleasure of co-presenting with Paul Jaminet at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, GA.

2013 wasn’t all about me, either. This year saw the release of some really innovative creations, including cookbooks like Billy Staley and Hayley Mason’s Gather, Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry’s Beyond Bacon, Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2, and Michelle Tam and Henry Fong’s Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. I also think that Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code, which came out yesterday, is a game-changer and a definitive introduction to the modern Paleo movement.

(from the cookbook: Parsnip Puree, Seafood Paella, Son-in-Law Eggs, Shrimp Ceviche with Tostones and Guacamole)

And let’s not forget my cookbook! After spending so much time writing and tweaking it, it’s hard to believe that it’ll be released in a little over a month (Feb 11th). I had a lot of fun writing the book (no, really), and I think that it’ll be a great addition to any home library as both a collection of delicious recipes and a brief look at how traditional and international cuisines were formed across the pages of world history.

My close friend Giang flew out from London for two separate two-week stints, where we shot most of the cookbook photos at a breakneck pace of about six dishes per day. One of my favorite days was when we shot the photo that would become our final cover shot. There was a lot of discarded (read: eaten) pizza that day.

If you haven’t already, please consider pre-ordering the book, as pre-orders go a long way towards catching the attention of major stores and distributors. Of course, if you want to wait and buy it from your local bookstore or during one of my inevitable book signings, I’m cool with that too.

Finally, let’s talk about what 2014 has in store for us here at The Domestic Man. As you can see in the picture above, I’m already plugging away at new, tasty recipes to share with you. And as part of my tradition for the past couple years, throughout January I’ll only be posting Whole30-friendly recipes for those that want to kickstart their year with a month of especially clean eating.

I’m also going to take a new approach to my recipe posts starting this year. In previous posts, I’ve taken shots of nearly every step of the recipe. While I realize that some of these photos are helpful, they’ve simply become too difficult for me to maintain. I’ve been known to take as many as 300 photos per recipe(!), which I then whittle down to 15-20 usable photos, all of which require editing and post-processing. This translates to hours of work each week that could be spent working on new recipes. So from now on I plan to post one or two photos per recipe. This is a good thing, since overall I think it’ll allow me to focus more on a couple excellent shots instead of a dozen pretty good photos. Secondly, it’ll help me to refine my recipe writing, since I’ve found that I rely too heavily on pictures to convey my meaning instead of writing clearly and succinctly.

So be on the lookout for new stuff coming your way from my little corner of the internet. I have a few great giveaways lined up to help you cook through The Ancestral Table when it releases, and I’m working out the details on how I can get out into the wild and visit some major cities soon.

For those of you in the DC area, I’m teaming up with Matt and Stacy from Paleo Parents to provide a cooking demonstration of Paleo basics; come visit us on January 24th at the Pentagon Row Sur la Table!

So once again, thanks for your readership, and I hope I’ve provided a little inspiration for your kitchen. There’s plenty more to come.

16 thoughts on “2013: Year in Review (and a look at 2014)

  1. Can’t wait for your cookbook — I love your take on nutrition and have enjoyed meeting you twice now (once at Matt and Stacey’s and the second time at Baconpalooza, where I totally voted for your dish (I loved those great tacos in the jicama “shells” too). I’ve gotten some fantastic recipes this past year from you and others and so appreciate the efforts you and other bloggers make. I know it’s a lot of work. I’ve watched you have a great year (from my limited perspective) and I’m very happy for your success. Blessings and prosperity in the coming year to you and yours!


  2. Awesome…Outstanding Russ. I’ve enjoyed your weekly post and look forward to learning more. May 2014 be the sucess that you have had in previous years. Well done.


  3. Thanks for sharing, this was so encouraging to read! You really show how pursuing your passions and staying at it can pay off. Congratulations on the cookbook, awards, and opportunities! I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2014 has for you.

    I was wondering, do you have any formal culinary experience? You really seem to have an aptitude for the culinary arts.


  4. Congratulations on an amazing year Russ! Really looking forward to your cookbook.

    And I had always wondered about the time commitment necessary to include a (gorgeous) picture for every step of a recipe! I’ve tried to do that in the past, and it takes forever, even if the pictures are terrible (as mine always are). Plus, it totally interferes with my cooking groove; kinda hard to get into it when you have to stop every three seconds to take a picture.


    1. Alyssa, you’re right – taking photos really disrupts the cooking process, especially because I tend to move everything out of the way so that I can make the area around the subject really clean. My cookbook is also only one shot per recipe – that’s when I realized how wonderful it is to cook without a camera strapped to me the whole time. I really think that moving to a simpler approach is going to help the blog as well as my sanity :)


  5. Congratulations. I’ve been reading your blog a long time, and several of your recipes are now favorites. I can’t count how often I’ve made Chicken Marbella. And you made the perfectly right decision to cut to one photo. As a reader, I find that that multiple photos of food prep are really just obstacles that must be skipped over, unless there’s some complex cooking operation that NEEDS to be shown. Here’s to a simpler 2014!


Comments are closed.