A Virtual Bake Sale to Benefit the Japan Earthquake Victims (and my one year blog anniversary)

by Irvin on March 14, 2011 · 29 comments

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You wouldn’t know it, but I turn one today. Well actually that’s not technically true. My BLOG turns one today. It’s my blog-aversary and I should be celebrating! The great big internet is littered with defunct food blogs that were abandoned by the information superhighway roadside in under a year, so to me, it’s an accomplishment getting this far. Here I am, one year later, still blogging strong. Stronger still than I was when I started, as I have learned so much in the last year, not only from blogging, but from the people I have met and interacted with because of Eat the Love. And for my one year anniversary post, I will not be blogging about food so much as talking about a virtual bake sale that I am participating in, to benefit the Japanese Earthquake Victims.

My brother and my niece

Gratuitous shot of my brother and my niece celebrating a birthday.

I originally had thought I should bake a birthday cake to celebration this momentous occasion, or a quickie birthday strawberry shortcake (like the picture above) or perhaps bake a pie, as today is Pie Day (March 14 or 3.14). But, like last year, I did not bake a pie for today, because I didn’t feel like celebrating.


Gratuitous shot of pies that I did not bake today.

It’s hard to celebrate and give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing something that seems insignificant like blogging for a year. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m actually proud of what I have accomplished in the past year, and what this blog has done for me. I never would have quit my job, never would have met some amazing people and never would have imagined all wonderful things that I would end up doing, all because of this blog.

But with everything that is going on in the world – specifically the tragic earthquake in Japan, it’s hard to want to celebrate anything.

Aerial of Sendai, Japan, following earthquake.Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

I love food blogging. I really do. But it feels wrong to write about how “Deliciously yummy this cake I made is!” when the death toll in Japan continues to rise and a potential nuclear crisis is imminent. And yes, I know these aren’t things that most food bloggers talk about (and in truth, I would never use the words “deliciously yummy” anyway, I learned that in the past year!). But I feel like I can’t ignore it.

That’s why this post isn’t the “Yay! I’ve been around for a year!” post. Instead I’m going to ask something of you, my readers and friends (I consider anyone that takes the time out of their lives to read this blog a friend). My friend Sabrina over at The Tomato Tart is organizing a virtual bake sale to help the victims over in Japan. All proceeds will go to The American Red Cross and/or Doctors Without Borders. There will be an auction for items over at her website on March 30, 2011, and the winner will have their baked goods shipped directly to them from the producer. Won’t you help her out by participating in the bake sale?

You don’t have to be food blogger to participate. You can either bid on an item or you can donate a baked good. Just contact Sabrina over at The Tomato Tart and tell her you want to help out. She’ll send you the details.

Bakesale Address

Contact Sabrina at the address above!

I’m working on some Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels to donate for the auction. I haven’t perfected it yet, but if you must know, the ingredients just might include cinnamon, black peppercorn, homemade candied lemon and blood orange peels, crème fraiche, lots of blood orange juice and a generous sprinkling of Himalayan Pink Salt. You can see a picture of it below. That’s the test batch and AJ already declared it “Whoa. That’s tasty” worthy. Once it’s perfected and the batch is auctioned off, I’ll be sure to share the recipe with you all.

Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels

A work in progress: Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels

The food blogging community is a pretty amazing community. Having met a number of food bloggers in the past year (both in the real world, and virtually through this blog, through Facebook and through Twitter) I have come to realize that they are generous people with huge hearts, and it’s what makes me proud to be a part of that community. From rallying around a fellow food blogger who’s house burnt down, to organizing a national bake sale to raise fund to combat childhood hunger, the food blogging community is there for people when they need it most. And from all the heartbreaking news I keep on reading, Japan needs it right now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for stopping by this little virtual corner of mine for the past year. My thoughts and prayers go out to Japan.

[UPDATE: Please vist The Tomato Tart’s post for more information about participating in the virtual bake sale. In addition, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, there will be a number of real life bake sales where you can donate or volunteer with baked good organized by Samin over at Ciao Samin. The bake sales are currently scheduled in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland on April 2nd, 2011. Please contact her if you would like to volunteer or donate your time. I will be at the San Francisco one, with some sort of baked good to sell.]

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Connect with Irvin via Social Media

You can connect with Irvin on a more direct level via his twitter page, his facebook fan page or his page. Just be forewarned that he tweets a heck of a lot.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

brhau March 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

I know you don’t want to pat yourself on the back, so I’ll do it for you. I’m so pleased to know you through your blog, and also to see all the great recognition you’re getting. You’ve got a lot to be proud of: your baking, your ability to connect, and your generosity of spirit. Happy 1-year birthday, Eat the Love. Can’t wait to see the terrible twos.


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Oh thank you! I didn’t mean for my post to be a downer like it might have come across. I AM proud of my accomplishments and being around for a year. It just didn’t seem right to be all “Yay me!” especially with the Japan earthquake.

That said, the best thing that has come out of my blogging (so far) is meeting awesome people like you, and the food blogging community in general. And I am also looking forward to the terrible twos, where my blog starts to walk on it’s own, babble nonsensically and throwing tantrums. I’m sure it will be loads of fun.


Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

When does the bidding start? — those salted blood orange candied lemon caramels are so going to be mine!!! Given my fledgling but improving baking abilities, probably best for me to plan on bidding for an item, rather than donating one 🙂

And despite the horrors in Japan, it is ok to give yourself a pat on the back. Our lives still go on and in fact, the more we succeed, the more we have to give to others so desperately in need. So happy and impressed by your success this past year. Keep it going!

And since I became your BFF because I have a year-round meyer lemon supply – do you think you might want to try meyers for your caramels??? Just sayin…


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Um. Yes please! I’ll take on some Meyer lemons and make caramels out of them! As well as use them for a bunch of other things. Let me know when you want to do a hand off of them. Because if you got them, I’ll use them! 😉

And March 30th is the auction. The Tomato Tart’s website has some of the details about it.


merry jennifer March 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm

The virtual bake sale is such a wonderful idea. Congratulations on your one year anniversary!


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Thank you! The Tomato Tart is awesome for thinking it up and organizing it. Such a good idea!


Sasha - Global Table Adventure March 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

The caramels sound lovely and are a wonderful gesture. Congratulations on making it through the first year. Good luck in the second. 🙂


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Thank you Sasha! I look forward to seeing what happens in the second year of Eat the Love. It should prove to be rather interesting.


Shila March 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

You are one of those big hearted bloggers and that is why we love you.


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm

And you a total sweetheart. Thank you.


Emily March 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

This virtual bakesale is genius! I emailed Ms Tart right away. And I want to wish you a happy blog birthday. You deserve it, even in the midst of this sadness.


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Yay! I can’t wait to see what you auction off! Thanks for signing up.


Lil @ sweetsbysillianah March 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm

irvin, i feel the same exact way… thanks for sharing this. i’m probably going to do a week of silent posts because my heart is just too heavy to say anything.

happy 1st blog-aversary!


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm

And thank you for stopping by and understanding where I am coming from. It the blogging community that makes it all worth the effort I put into each and every post.


Dianne Jacob March 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Congratulations on your first year, Irvin. You’ve burst on the scene and made a huge impact in a short time. Not every blogger can say that! I second everything Ben said in the first comment.


Irvin March 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Coming from you Dianne, that means a lot. Thank you so much!


Amy March 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Happy B-day/anniversary to your blog! Thanks for letting me know about the bake sale to help Japan. I’ve been thinking how I can help out the victims in Japan and the bake sale is such a wonderful idea. I’m jumping right in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



Irvin March 14, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Thanks Amy! It can sometimes be really frustrating, feeling helpless when there is a tragedy halfway across the world. I think the fact that the food blogging community has people like Sabrina over at The Tomato Tart or Samin over at Ciao Samin organizing and helping out in the way that they are. It’s such an inspiration.


Mary March 15, 2011 at 7:30 am

Congrats, Irvin! Happy 1st and many more. Beautiful post – it reminds of all the reasons why I enjoy reading your blog. Looking forward to both bakesales too. Visited Japan twice – love that country so much.


Irvin March 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

Japan’s an amazing country. I spent a glorious three weeks there about ten years ago. Had the best time and ate the most amazing food. All the news I read about what’s going on there is so heartbreaking.

I look forward to seeing you at the BiRite Bake sale!


merri March 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm

congrats on one year!


Irvin March 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Thank you!


Brian @ A Thought For Food March 16, 2011 at 5:05 am

This is a beautiful idea, Irvin! Wishing you all the best with this bake sale.

And despite you not wanting to draw attention to your on year anniversary… I’m sending you a big congrats. And a pat on the back. 🙂


Irvin March 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Awww! Thanks Brian! It’s been a fun ride, the past year. Can’t wait to see what comes up next year…


Emmie March 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Irrrrrrrrvin, those caramels look and sound INCREDIBLE. HAPPY BLOG-iversary!!!!!!!!!!!! You have kicked some serious ass this year with your fantastic blog.

Just wanted to say – I was talking to my friend Carolyn a few days ago about the tsunami. She said that her friend is currently in Haiti and was telling her that the International Red Cross, unfortunately, is very ineffective (his words: “corrupt, and hasn’t done shit. The donated money is completely wasted”). Long story short, Carolyn (she’s fluent in Japanese and has been talking to her Mom and others in Japan) told me that donations are best sent to local charities and hospitals. She’s been working round-the-clock on getting up a website to help out those affected by the tsunami and quake (with a list of the best places to donate), and I’ll post her site here once she gets it up. Hope you don’t mind.


Irvin March 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Thanks Emmie!

As for Intl Red Cross. I’m not a huge fan of the Red Cross (as they won’t take my blood) but I don’t want to get into “I heard from a friend of a friend that they suck” sort of thing as they are a legitimate organization. Certainly there are a number of local NGOs (non government organizations) that would benefit way more than a large organization like Red Cross. Having worked with non profits in the past, I know that the bigger an organization, the bigger the bloat and overhead.

That said, there are WAY too may unscrupulous people out there purporting to be a part of help relief. Definitely people should do a little research and use their head as well as their heart when they donate. I would suggest anyone that is looking to donate their money should check out Guide Star’s list of non profits working in the Pacific. If your friend has specific complaints about Red Cross or any other organization, I also suggest she log a complaint on Guide Star for others to see.

And certainly, feel free to post her site once she gets it live.


Orly @yumivore March 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Those Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels are MINE! Happy Blogiversary, and beautiful way to dedicate this post- to helping others.


Irvin March 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Thank you Orly! I’m hoping to perfect them soon. Still working on the recipe…


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