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obsessive information gathering

January 11, 2011

First of all, how lovely are these Mexican pastries from Pablito’s Bakery? They seriously do have some of the best-looking pastries in town.

So I realized that I really like gathering information. That sounds really nerdy, but it’s true. I like doing the research before a trip to figure out where we will stay and eat and frolic. I like reading blogs, then saving the information I find in Evernote or on Pinterest. I like reading books and highlighting parts and flagging pages. I like journaling, I like collecting my parking stubs, I like re-reading receipts to see what we bought, I like blogging, I like checking out 17 books at a time from the library, I like reading magazines and then scanning in my favorite pages to Evernote, and I like keeping old letters and cards, and filling in things on my calendar, and making lists of anything and everything.

You know, at one point in time, I wanted to be a librarian. I wanted to get my Master’s degree in Library Science, then spend my days looking up things and cataloging things and shelving things. (But then I got scared that as a librarian I would just be helping kids find their parents, or helping people find the bathroom, and plus the classes seemed kind of boring and also I was tired of school.) Maybe that’s something I should look into again.

Anyway, lately I’m having this crazy desire to catalog everything I eat. And I’m thinking of either writing it all down, or attempting to photograph everything. I’m not interested in a calorie-food diary, just a picture (in words or photos) of what my day of food and drink was like. This is not a new concept. This person did it. This guy did it for a year and made a book out of it (I totally almost bought it). There’s a flickr pool of people who started doing it. Lele keeps track of what she eats and how much she exercises. And, idol of all idols, Ai beautifully photographs every meal and snack (wonderful, fun, exotic-to-me Japanese meals and snacks, that is).

I have no idea why this appeals to me so much, but it does. I thought about writing out my day’s menu in the sidebar (see it over there?). But where do I keep a history of it? So I thought about starting a new tumblr just for my daily menus. And then I thought I’d take iPhone photos of everything. And then I thought I wanted prettier photos, which means I’d need to carry my digital SLR with me everywhere. Which I kind of do already, but sometimes I don’t. And then I thought that might get stressful, trying to remember to photograph every meal.

But the thought of being able to look back on what I ate is so intriguing. I’ve kept food diaries in journals before, and when I look back at them, it’s so fun (I drank a glass of milk?! I ate at Whataburger?! I forgot about that affogato at Asti!). It’s the perfect marriage of my love of food and my love of gathering information. So I’m thinking of doing it again. I have no idea whether that will be here on poco-cocoa, or on a separate tumblr, or in the sidebar, or on flickr, or whether it will be done in photos or just in words, or what. I just wanna do it.

If any of you have any suggestions, let me know. And yes, I am aware that I am a total geek. :)

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10 Discussion to this post
  1. anya says:

    Your second paragraph almost describes me completely.. We won’t call it being ‘obsessive’ necessarily. How about unofficial archivists?

  2. Lele says:

    Thanks for the shout out :D.
    I for one am super excited about this potential endeavor! I love your photos (might have said this already :P).
    I can definitely see how committing to a journal could be a total pain and take the fun out of the whole thing. Personally, I try to convince my somewhat perfectionist self it’s not big deal if I miss a pic or a meal once in a while. There isn’t a food journal police (at lease not that I know of)…(yikes… scary). And a mystery meal can always help us to use our imagination?

    • Crystal says:

      Oh, you’re welcome! And yes, I worry about it becoming a chore, but I’m hoping to do the same thing as you – not beat myself up for any missing photos. I’ll just describe those meals really well. :)

  3. ai says:

    I’m intrigued by Mexican pastries. Hmm.

    I’d love to see your daily meal pictures in a blog. It can be tedious at times, and it can also make you self-conscious if you let it, but if you don’t give a crap about all that, then it’s quite nice like you say in a “looking back in hindsight” sort of way.

    Thank you for mentioning me and saying nice things. You kick my lazy butt to cook and eat better!

    • Crystal says:

      If I thought they’d ship well, I’d send some to you! Actually, hmm…

      And you’re welcome – you know I love your photos and funnies. And the jellies. And the nutella.

      Also, I got a couple of cookbooks by Harumi Kurihara from the library, and I think I’m going to buy the “home cooking” one. It has versions of many of the things I see on your blog and would like to try. :)

  4. connie says:

    I admire this part of you Crystal. In concept I love these things too, but after a week I get tired of cataloging. I think its because I love to take notes, but I’m not nostalgic-prone at all. I wish you luck, but also I hope you can find balance. What I mean is, I hope this doesn’t become a chore for you. But who knows- it could be fodder for your NEXT BOOK!

    • Crystal says:

      That makes sense – I am both catalog-loving and nostalgia-loving. And you know me too well – I am also worried about being too perfectionistic about it and making it a chore. We’ll see how it goes!

  5. connie says:

    oh, and I love that picture… I pinned it!

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