Monday, July 9, 2007

What's in a Name?

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, you didn't ask, but I'll tell you anyway. With my lame ankle resting high, I'm feeling a bit frustrated and cheeky today. A name means a lot. It either grabs your attention, or it doesn’t. Before I started this blog, I considered about 30 different names. With an advertising background, I’m very tuned into words. How they lead you in different directions. How they can mislead just as easily. How they can "hook" you into reading more. That’s one of the secrets of writers but particularly with literature writers - getting you to read more than the first page. Or the first paragraph. That’s one of the things I admire about the novelist Jodi Picoult. She grabs me in the first few sentences. She did with My Sister's Keeper, and she did again with Plain Truth. My daughter, Dana, is hooked on her books at the moment, and she has purchased and read most every one she's written, so I have a stack waiting for me as soon as I can get to them.

But, I digress. We're talking about blog names, aren't we? I wrote down all these names. Considered them. Scratched some out. Edited some more. Added additional ones because I wasn’t pleased with my short list. Then I Google searched on those names. As I worked my way down my list I had to scratch off the first one. The second one. And that one. Darn, that one too. My list shortened up in a hurry! It wasn’t that they were all food blogs, but they were product names or tags, or somebody’s personal website or book. I was a tad discouraged. Since there are hundreds of food blogs out there in the blogosphere, I had to find something that was me. But not like everybody else. One of the things I’ve learned is that if I want to keep this site going, the name has to be something that people remember. So it couldn’t be all that complicated. I’ve considered creating my very own website, not connected with Blogger ( and I may still do that. I can’t call it Tasting Spoons though. Why? Because Tasting Spoons is already a catering company in Southern California and they have a website by that name, but I’ve hoped that people reading my blog wouldn’t confuse us. Funny thing. Carolyn Cooks is the name of a book already. Gosh darn it. Can’t use that, either. That’s been one of my stumbling blocks. I really like Tasting Spoons now. Guess I could call it CarolynsTastingSpoons. That might work. What do you think?

So you can have a little laugh, here are some of the other names I considered: The Recipe File (too blah sounding); The Adventurous Fork (I really liked that one, but it's already used); The Imperfect Recipe (think anybody would really want to read that?); Feed the Soul with Wine & Food (too long and I’m not much into Zen either); Food Sketches (oops, she’s a food artist); The Recipe Stack (BORing); Knife & Fork (sorry, that's a store); Reading, Writing Cook (blah); Recipe Redux (I like it, but do you think people would remember how to spell it?); So Many Recipes, So Little Time (catchy, but don’t know if people would remember such a long name); Have Fork, Will Travel (I like that one still, but it implies that I travel all the time and that it’s more about restaurant eating than cooking, don’t you think?); and It’s All About Taste (well, that might work, but not very exciting). So, I chose Tasting Spoons. So, tell me, did I make the right choice?

But, for now, I’ll just stay with Blogger and keep it easy. So anyway, once I decided on the name I went onto Blogger and inquired whether the name was in use. Lucky me - it wasn’t. It’s so incredibly easy to start a blog. I had no idea! I chose a template amongst their options and started writing. I have tweaked the template(the look of my blog) a lot. I added my watercolor at the top, and I put the title embedded into the watercolor myself using PageMaker (a very complex and not user friendly graphics program), and I changed the colors. Blogger has a simple interface that makes it quite easy to select type faces, font sizes, and you can move things around fairly easily, etc. My hitch with it is that you don't have enough choices. They have 6 type fonts. That's it. And only 5 type sizes. Phooey. Since my background included a lot of that kind of stuff, I know what I’m doing there and I'd sure like to have more options. (A couple of my friends have suggested I increase the font size - if any of you would like to voice your opinion, please make a comment about it below.)

Not that Blogspot doesn’t have its problems - it does. It frustrates me no end when I can’t get a line of white space between paragraphs. One day it works fine. The next not at all. Earlier this morning when I composed Sunday’s story, no matter what I did I could NOT get a line of space between paragraphs. Nothing I did worked. I gave up in frustration. Likely most of you have never noticed, but since I spent years and years proofreading my own and others' writing, I’m very tuned into typo’s (although I'm not perfect - I miss some reading my own copy), paragraph spacing and sentence structure. Today I am composing this story offline with WordPerfect and saving it in html rather than composing it online through the Blogger interface. We’ll see how that works.

I came up with the name Tasting Spoons before I considered, really, any further meaning other than it related to food. But as I contemplated it, I remembered that in a drawer inches away from my Dacor gas range I have a nest of these beautiful, small, silver-plated spoons. And a couple of forks. They don’t all match, but they all belonged to my dear hubby’s mother Helen. Some of them have a beautiful scrolled T on the shank. The others have some lovely viney leaf whirls with no initial. They’re probably the old fashioned kind of tea spoons. I polish them up now and then, but they get a lot of use. As I cook, I taste. Often. Does it need more salt? Pepper? A dash of thyme? A little sprinkle of my fancy salts perhaps? Rather than keeping these spoons closed up in the felt-lined case with all the other miscellaneous table silver pieces we own and almost never use, I decided to be more practical. I use them, and have done so for about 10 years. I love these spoons, and I often think about Dave’s mother as I dip and sip. Helen was a gracious lady, and I think she’d be very happy that a blog was named after her spoons, mismatched as they are. She wouldn't have a clue what a blog is, but as she watches us from her perch in heaven, I think she likes it. If you have some odd spoons in your closet, dig them out and use them as your Tasting Spoons, won’t you?


Kalyn said...

I'm sorry to hear about the ankle. I like the name you chose better than any of the others, for whatever my opinion is worth.

Totally stumped on why you can't get a space between your paragraphs. That's one blogger problem I've never had. Did you try going into html to see if there was something weird going on there? (Or maybe you haven't started messing with html yet and you wouldn't be able to tell, but you can learn a lot just by looking at it.)

There is a site called Food Blog School where you can submit questions and get answers here:

Carolyn T said...

Hi Kalyn - I've been on the blogger help several times. Have read about many MANY other people who have the same problem. Some have suggested I edit the html with codes for p and /p at the beginning and end of every paragraph, but those have to be typed in from the html window. I did it in today's post, but what a huge nuisance. I've also looked at the foodblogschool too. Through Blogger I read that this is a glitch at Blogger and nobody on the Blogger team seems to be able to tell anyone why it happens or what to do about it. The Blogger helpers don't even answer the requests anymore when someone posts the problem. What is so bizarre is that it doesn't happen every post. Very frustrating.

I remember you mentioning that your nephew (was it?) created a new webpage for you. I'm so envious. Because of these kinds of problems I still think longingly about creating my own web page. Maybe one day.

BC said...

I had the same problem and it was driving me crazy. I went into the HTML to look. It was more a touristy thing since I've never worked with any code.

I discovered that the blog posts with spacing issues have code inserted compared to the blog posts without spacing problems. So I took a deep breath and deleted all the "extras". It worked. If you try this, first save the post under a different name and correct only on one post first.

I don't know how those codes were inserted. Once I figure that out, I will post something on the help section. Hmmm, but now I have to recreate the problem.

I tried to include the code on this comment but it won't let me because it is an HTML tag. It looks like the word "div" enclosed in sharp angle brackets.

This is frustrating. Let me know if this helps - if not, email me at