The Urban Legend

A Gal Full of Confidence and Peanut Butter

Katherine Weltzein

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My family likes to sing German drinking songs after dinner. When my grandparents come to visit, we eat lots of schnitzel then we sing, discuss history, and share family gossip. Growing up, food was nourishing and delicious, but more than anything, it was a tool to bring my family together.

However, it wasn’t until I started high school that I began to think about my own relationship with food. I’m a rather shy, introverted person and making close friends takes me a while, so during freshman year, I was pretty lonely.

In the midst of this loneliness, I discovered food blogs. One evening, as I searched the internet for a cinnamon roll recipe, I came across a charming, meandering blog post that read like a casual conversation with a friend. I loved the writing so much I explored the blog for the rest of the evening and never even made the cinnamon rolls. Over the next few months, I fell in love with a few more food blogs, and eventually had about eight that I read on a regular basis.

I read these blogs because I was interested in the recipes, but as time went on, I became more interested in the stories the bloggers shared and the positive, supportive communities they had created. Reading the same blogs week after week helped provide the community and companionship I was craving. However, I also began to correlate the positive, happy lifestyles these women portrayed with the healthy, beautiful recipes they were posting. I became convinced that if I ate the “perfect” healthy diet, I would automatically be happier.

Unsurprisingly, holding myself to an impossible standard of health never actually made me happy. Focusing so much time and energy on what I considered “healthy” eating just left me drained, frustrated, and lonely. So I gave up my quest for perfection.

By the winter of my sophomore year, I made friends that truly made me feel loved and comfortable. I began to learn to love and value myself unconditionally. I still loved reading food blogs and cooking, but food became joyful and creative again.

Eventually, I found myself wishing for a place to share my own recipes, discuss my relationship to food, and create my own community that shared my interest in wellness. For months, I dreamed of being a successful blogger like the women I admired, but I was convinced it wasn’t an attainable goal. Finally, I realized if I did start my own blog, it wouldn’t be perfect or successful overnight, but if I just sat around being jealous of other people’s work, that definitely wouldn’t get me anywhere.

A few weeks before the start of my junior year, I gathered the courage to write my first blog post. I think it was a smoothie recipe, and after I published it I danced around my kitchen with joy. A week later, I started my “primarily plants” Instagram account and posted a picture of oat-chocolate bars I made from a blog I really liked. The blogger commented on my picture and I was completely in awe. I just thought “This feels amazing. I love this. This is something I want to keep doing.”

Overtime, my Instagram grew, and I began developing friendships and mentorships with other food bloggers. About six months after I started blogging, I went out for brunch with some women I’d met through Instagram. On my way to the restaurant, I was terrified. I actually got there about 15 minutes early because I was worried about being late, and I had to walk around the block a couple times reminding myself to breathe and calm down before I went into the restaurant.

As soon as we were all sitting down, however, I felt completely comfortable. The conversation began to flow immediately; we discussed how we started blogging, our relationships to food, and our favorite yoga studios. I felt wonderfully seen and understood. As I walked home, I had to restrain myself from telling random strangers how proud and happy I was. The experience showed me that I wasn’t alone in my “dorky” interest, and it gave me the courage to start telling more people about my blog.

To my surprise, I found a lot of people thought the blog was really cool. I imagined I would just tell my close friends, and they’d think “yeah, Katherine’s nerdy and weird and really likes food, but we love her anyways.” As I began to discuss my blog more publicly, however, classmates who I didn’t have much of a relationship with before began supporting it.

And that was really a turning point for me, because I realized it didn’t actually matter what I was passionate about. People just thought it was cool I was unashamedly pursuing my interests, and that was a revelation for me.

Eventually, the support I received from my school community gave me the courage to expand the scope of topics I discussed on my blog and social media. Through my blog, I’ve formed a community by telling people what kind of nut butter I’m putting on my cereal, or sharing the soup I’m packing for lunch, and that’s been a lot of fun. Recently, however, I’ve used the platform to talk about things that are really important to me, like self care and body positivity.

Most recently, cooking and sharing food has evolved again into a tool for connecting with family and friends, as it was in my childhood. During this busier season of life, as I prepare for college, I’m making sure to set aside time each Sunday to cook a meal for my family or friends and sit down to eat with people I love. Taking time on Sunday evenings to cook with my mom while singing along to Amy Winehouse allows me to rest and connect with my family, giving me energy to take on the week.

Like most, I find the idea of leaving home and going to college exciting and incredibly scary, so having this ability to cook and take care of this very basic survival need is comforting and gives me a lot of confidence.  

I think the person I was when I was fourteen would be really proud that my relationship with food came back to connection and community. She didn’t quite know how to get there at first, but it worked out, and I am so grateful for the friendships, creativity, and delicious food I’ve gained through the experience.

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The School Newspaper of The Urban School of San Francisco
A Gal Full of Confidence and Peanut Butter