It started out as an elaborate joke.
In 2010, my friend Christy and I, both editors in different cities for the same nationwide parenting website, had been on the phone discussing search engine optimization and the search queries people use to find information on the Internet. We were fascinated by websites that captured readers through common search term misspellings, like “lisence plates” instead of “license plates.”
“You know what would be really funny?” Christy giggled, sending yet another work-related conversation off the rails. “If you had a blog called Kate Just Ate. You’d get all kinds of traffic from people trying to Google Kate Plus 8!”
The idea of building blog readership from careless typists searching for a reality TV show about Kate Gosselin and her brood of eight kids was ridiculous, but because Christy and I shared the same weird sense of humor, I felt compelled to take it a step further. As soon as we got off the phone, I sat down at my computer, opened up BlogSpot, and created KateJustAte: A log of things I’ve eaten, created solely to entertain my friend, Christy.
My first—and what I assumed would be my only—post was a humorous confessional about eating odd European cookies and a stash of chocolate bars I had hidden in the basement, complete with a well-styled photo of the confections. I sent Christy a link to the blog and waited. Within minutes, she upped the ante, responding to my absurd blog with an equally absurd list of topics for future posts.
A week later, Christy was on a quest to find food—the more bizarre, the better—for me to eat and write about on KateJustAte. She recommended restaurants, forwarded recipes, and even sent me a 20-pound box packed with all kinds of unusual items she’d found at an Asian food market: crispy wafer rolls, mixed bean crackers with dried anchovies, cashew nut crisp, rice candy, duck-flavored noodles, aloe vera dessert, seasoned cockles, and more.
Care packages with goodies from Christy were nothing new. She had been sending trinkets and a wide array of foods from her home in Orlando to my family outside Philadelphia for years. We received Key limes from a tree in her backyard to make a pie, candy for Halloween, homemade treats at Christmas and Hanukkah, alligator jerky because…I actually have no idea why she sent the alligator jerky. Christy loved surprising my family with food and silly gifts almost as much as we loved receiving them.
For months, I diligently wrote amusing stories about things I ingested for KateJustAte, everything from the contents of Christy’s package to meals my husband cooked with my daughter to cuisine our family enjoyed on vacation. Many friends seemed to like the blog, but none more than Christy. It was a fun project—our project, a bridge over the miles that separated our respective cities.
KateJustAte never developed much of a following (the search term-challenged Kate Plus 8 fans Christy had anticipated never materialized) and as life moved forward, I eventually ran out of time to write posts. Our jokes about the blog, as well as Christy’s threats to send me more strange food, continued right up until her sudden, devastating death in the summer of 2013.
Though KateJustAte has been dormant for years, I still occasionally type the URL into my browser and read through it. Sometimes, I consider resurrecting the lighthearted log of things I’ve eaten or firing off one last, goofy post in honor of Christy, but KateJustAte just doesn’t feel worth writing if she’s not around to read it. My friend would understand my reluctance to revive the old blog, and as I consider ideas at the launch of this new blog, an informal place to park my writing, I can hear her giggling, “You know what would be really funny?”