We all know that an open secret can be an excuse for much that is problematic in today’s world. Unlike the open secrets of who bibliochef is or who Shimerprez is, other kinds of open secrets damaged LGBT people for decades – the open secret of existing, even, and living happily. Some of us know the long history of “outing” and coming out – accompanied by all sorts of complex ethical quandaries and personal (and political) dilemmas. Moreover, the struggles of feminism over the past decades and more remind us that the distinguishing of public/private spheres is a historical production and that how we separate (or do not separate) public and private personas is important to us all as individuals and as a polity. Hence, the title of this blog entry is both a serious one – and, equally importantly, a somewhat silly one. Those of you who have been reading Cooking With Ideas for the past years know that when I started to blog, I was attempting to be anonymous. I failed, of course, but I was trying. Today, Shimerprez “outed” bibliochef in a pretty darn public way. (Not sure how? Check out The Boss profile in the New York Times for August 25. The "not so much" in the title to this entry is because the entire reason for writing this here was. . . the expectation that they would publish the blog link. They did not. So, bibliochef could remain as closeted as ever -- however closeted you think that is.) In any case, I thought, why not join the party?
Bibliochef was born in Geneva, New York in 2006. She came to be when my partner was trying to help me get a hobby. In my (often faulty) memory, she asked me what I wanted to do – and I said, Do a food-related magazine, largely because I had just encountered (for the first time) a magazine called Edible Cape Cod. So, she said, “Do it.” I said, “No capital”, likely in a cranky way. And, she followed up with, “Get a blog.” What did I say then? I said: I cannot do that, it is hard and I do not know how. Then, she showed me how easy it is (thank you) and helped me get going. And, she named me: bibliochef. She based this name in part upon some hilarious experiences in another context, a topic I will leave for her to tell some day. But the name stuck because it was perfect -- because she knows that I like to read about food almost as much as I like to eat (and cook); and because she knows that reading murder mysteries and certain kinds of books about food makes me happy. In fact, a lot of the books reviewed here came from her. And, of course, loads of them are murder mysteries that focus on food. Across the years, bibliochef has pretended to be anonymous (this despite the about page) though she has let friends slowly and repeatedly in on the so-called secret. Bibliochef has, though, been more successful in keeping out of the classroom– I resolutely refused to teach about food (though I occasionally include a murder mystery in my classes), for example.
How Shimerprez was named has faded somewhat in the mists of time. Created at some point in the past year, Shimerprez writes at several blogs (Evocations, Chicago Now, and on occasion on the Huffington Post) and is somewhat obsessed with higher education – indeed, as much so as bibliochef is obsessed with food. Like bibliochef, she enjoys blogging and murder mysteries. And, like bibliochef, she might proofread a bit better. Shimerprez, though named by James Bowers, came into being in large measure because of the support of bibliochef’s partner, who has also nudged and inspired and provided technical help to Shimerprez.
So: when bibliochef and shimerprez met it was kismet. As I have thought about this unlikely pair, I have learned a lot – about the virtual world and the ways it can feel as though one was writing to no one (indeed, blogging did change me as a writer in many ways), about what it means to speak beyond academia, about the ways one continues to learn about oneself and others across a life time. It has made me reflect on the notion of vocation as about both work and life, abandoning the notion of balance in favor of the notion of a whole life that is meaningful (something for which I am still striving).
The punch line, of course, is this: Despite the fact that the open secret is a very open secret, today, Shimerprez outed bibliochef as, well, Shimerprez. And both, of course, are me. (This, and my ongoing struggle with the world of technology, explains why Evocations and Cooking with Ideas, at least for now, look startlingly similar!)
Thanks for reading.
Shimerprez and bibliochef (aka s and b)