Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mrs Hintalla

Both of my children had "Life Skills" (it was called "Home Ec" in my day) class in Mill Creek Middle School with Mrs. Hintalla, who was one of my favorite teachers.   Right before she retired, she taught the Foods class at Dexter High School that my daughter Jane also took.  Pam was instrumental in another project that Jane and I worked in Girl Scouts: the Sullivan Memorial Garden at the school.   

Mrs. Hintalla was one of those teachers that everyone remembered.  My mother was an avid seamstress (now we would call her a"sewist") and a huge fabric hoarder.   When she died, I was lamenting all the fabric she left behind and Mrs. Hintalla said "I'll take it!"  Thrilled, I asked her how much she wanted, and she said all of it.  I am not sure she knew what she was getting into when I rolled up to the middle school with every inch of my Fusion filled with fabric.   All that was left was a place for me to sit and look out the windshield.    Her eyes grew wide when I informed her this was just the first load....I would bring more.   And I did.  Like my mother, I am also a sewist.   "Sewist" sounds so much better than "sewer".   I think sewing skill might be genetic because I can remember sewing since I was a small fry, but my sister can't do it at all.   Instead, she is a knitting pro, but she sure didn't get that from our mother.   Included in my mother's fabric stockpile, which took up a good portion of her basement,  was a yard of a pastel plaid I wanted to make into a skirt for my own first day of 7th grade.  My mother wouldn't let me use it because she was "saving it for a project".   Imagine my surprise when I found it 35 years later in her collection!  I sure hope some Dexter 7th grader got to make it into something.   Instead, I made a skirt of fabric that was printed with a denim patches pattern.   I wore a white T shirt with it, and a puka shell necklace.   It was very 1976. 

Mrs. Hintalla's class was also a big hit with my son Eddie.  He loved cooking and  he saved these 2 recipes they made in Life Skills class, and we made them at home later.  I still have no idea what the origin of "Ricketty Uncle" is.    Mrs. Hintalla always called her students by an honorific formal name, never just Eddie.   He was "Mr. Hodges"to her, which she shouted with enthusiasm down the hall with her big booming home ec teacher voice.  Eddie has grown up into a fine cook, and I like to think she was a big part of that.   I lost track of Pam after she retired, but she was one of Dexter's best!  So Eddie, I am posting these for you, Mr. Hodges!  Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Blog analytics and another popular recipe

So, it used to be how I got blog traffic was primarily through referrals.   If I wanted to get people to look at my blog, the best way I could do it would be to share links to it via email groups like Yahoo Groups, or I would ask other bloggers to list me on their "Blogs I Like" list.   Or, one of the best ways was to comment on someone else's blog post about whatever I was writing about, and link to my blog entry.

For example, let's talk pickled eggs.  Before the internet, my pickled egg recipe was written down on a piece of sorority stationery with my name on top of it.   People made copies of it and handed it around.   I met people that said "I have your pickled egg recipe" when they heard my name.   Then, when my blog started, I commented on this blogger's post about her pickled egg recipe that has pepperoncini in it (yuck).   I got a lot of referrals that way.   But now, most of my referrals are from social media....specifically fb and pinterest.  I don't really monetize my blog so I don't pay for search engine optimization, but that blogger shown above does...her blog is now a cheap looking advertising server and she fraternizes with the Pioneer Woman.   But yet, if you google "yooper pickled eggs" my recipe shows up second after hers in a post from the Milwaukee Journal.   Then, there is another lame recipe that includes dry spices (gross) then my recipe again on the alumni page.  Finally, there is mine. 

I'm not too sure many people read food blogs regularly anymore, but I still have lots of followers which is nice.  People don't comment as much as they used to on the blog, but I have started a facebook group that is fun.    So, what is my second most popular recipe on the blog? It's this one....for Olga's Kitchen Bread

Olga herself, making Olga Bread courtesy of the Olga's Kitchen website

Fun facts about my blog and pickled eggs

My blog's peak monthly readership was around 7,200 

One of the fun things about blog keeping is analytics.  My engineer brain loves to look at the data, and Google makes a great tool (Google Analytics) to do it.    Just looking at this chart makes me wonder what was going on in August, 2012 to make my blog peak in readership.  I think it is most likely that corresponds with some kind of national trend in food blogging.   I don't spend a lot of time or any money on trying to boost my reach,  like maximizing SEO (search engine optimization) or paid ads, etc.  It's just a hobby to me, but this hobby has taught me a lot about how it all works.   I'm just happy to have people read it. 

My most popular post, if you define "popular" as the page people most often land on that isn't my front door (i.e. my latest post) is this recipe for pickled eggs.   Why is this one the most popular, with over 22,000 sessions?   I'm not exactly sure.    I will have to study that one in depth later.    But do check out that recipe; it is definitely a keeper.