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"Y" is for XY

There were no restaurants beginning with X on the List, and we only went to two beginning with Y. So for this and the previous "reflection" entry, we decided to give each of us our own post. Here's JM's.

Thanks to Redamte for the latte foam art!

YFirst off, I need to thank my wife. Without her, this is all nothing. There'd be no function to this website. None of these words. None of this forum. None of this anything. Indeed, I'd be very much less if it were not for her.

Secondly, I'd like to thank those who've had to deal with this project in its manifold scheduling requirements and deferred and delayed gratification. For this too, I thank you.

My relationship with food was very bad 10 years ago. I treated my palate like a piñata. Occasionally something wonderful could emerge, but mostly I just exposed it to repeated beatings over and over again by fast food cudgels wielded randomly and without purpose.

It was finally the love of a good woman that put it all right and in ways I hadn't expected. The narrative of the blog for many folks is that JM is the one who doesn't like food and Nichole is the one who does. But that narrative has changed and shifted. Nichole nowadays spends less time having to focus on recreating meals after the fact, drafting, drawing conclusions and writing. This is not because she is less capable now, but rather that I am far more.

I understand the difference between the well-prepared and ill-prepared. I know what was made fresh and what comes from a plastic bag (not a judgment, per se). I know when a restaurant menu designer is taking time to make decisions vs. having an automatic chicken bacon ranch wrap that is the same as everywhere else's.

SPAM croissanwichThis is not to say that I am now a foodie. My taste buds are still egalitarian, but maybe now they recognize what went in beforehand. I respect preparation and quality ingredients as much as raw tastiness. I'm not saying I forego BK a couple of times a month... but I have other ideas too.

This may be a roundabout way of saying that A to Z was like a long food ordination process. I emerge from my eight years of schooling to evangelize, educate, and fellowship. Because of this, I now take a stronger hand in the blog. I hope that the combined writing of Nichole and I will shine through instead, as I feel, that this is Nichole's blog where I get to be funny occasionally. Indeed, I wish it to be my blog as much as I can so that we can truly be partners moving forward as we see fit. "Z" is not the end as much as it is the end of an era. Another era is forthcoming, and I want it to be more awesome than this one.

The day before we started the Bs, we had 1 pageview. On August 30, 2004, we first crossed 100 pageviews in a day. 1000 views were first crossed on Feb. 7, 2006. Our average these days is a little more than that, having peaked at nearly 8,500 on May 28, 2010 (the day after Lindsay's story dropped). And sure, we've made Isthmus' Favorites list multiple times. But all of that adds up to not really so many people. Which is to say both Thank You and You Can Do It Too.

Now allow me to address any haters. Angry? Please understand we haven't the money or experience to provide every restaurant with a full "review." Better than us? Pay us no mind, then. Jealous? Please understand that for every L'Etoile there are fifteen 'enh' bars, not to mention that all this fun eating out has been tempered by other personal struggles (which would be off topic and distracting).

Meanwhile, the blog landscape is littered with false start food blogs given up too soon. We didn't give up - even after it was really hard to continue and we wanted to stop. Whatever follows "Z" will have a way for us to stop when we need to, someday forever. But seriously, part of our success, such as it was, was just showing up. Do what you love, you'll build a readership. But please don't hate. Say what you want in your own way in your own space. The dialog across fora is much more interesting than the monologue from within.

If we've managed to touch your life, I'd like to hear about that, too. E-mail is fine. I only wanna know because my dreams for this blog have always been about connecting people to people and food, not because I want some victory lap back patting. Your stories are part of our story and, in the last analysis, they may be the best thing to result from this 8-year experiment.

Thanks also to our nation, which grants us these rights to speak. Thanks to our families who provided us these backgrounds to draw from. Thanks to our teachers, our friends, our spiritual guides. There is much to be thankful for. Peace and God bless.

Our grades thus far:

A 331
B 313
C 115
D 16
F 2

GPA by first letter:

1st PassCumulative
A 3.11 3.32
B 3.15 3.20
C 3.25 3.22
D 3.20 3.23
E 3.03 3.05
F 3.24 3.26
G 3.21 3.27
H 3.16 3.20
I 3.40 3.38
J 3.13 3.09
K 3.08 3.17
L 3.23 3.24
M 3.32 3.19
N 3.15 3.15
O 3.23 3.20
P 3.09 3.12
Q 3.39 3.39
R 3.19 3.23
S 3.14 3.19
T 3.19 3.19
U 3.03 3.08
V 3.48 3.52
W 3.21 3.21
X n/a n/a
Y 3.00 n/a


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JM & Nichole,

Thank you. Really. I can't claim to have followed from the beginning. But I plan to follow till the end. Even though I left Wisconsin years ago and now live 800 miles away. You give me a taste of home, even if I don't recognize as many places these days. I look forward to seeing what comes after "Z".

Fantastic post. Thank YOU GUYS for inspiring me to write! I TOTALLY relate to how your food experience has changed since you started this blog and I hope blogging will do the same thing for me - because it already has started to change. Again, thank you. you guys rock.

Great post! I love this blog - I check it almost every day!!

I'm confindent there's something beyond Z...at least I hope there is.
Thanks, JM and Nichole!

Does this mean we can look forward to the Eating in Madison A to Z board game?

JM and Nichole, it's been a pleasure to follow this blog! Looking forward to what the future has in store.

P.S. The her's and his "XX" and "XY" posts--totally clever!

You guys have done an awesome job. I love the writing and I use the blog as a guide for ideas about eating out. Whatever you do or don't do from now on...enjoy. And be proud of sticking this thing out.

I have truly enjoyed your blog. You have been an inspiration and I wish you all the best in the future!

I can only echo the sentiments that have already been expressed. This was an amazing project and you two pulled it off with style and humor. Well done, and thanks for all the insights into places that I might never have visited, or even heard of, if not for the blog.

Nice blog, but a bit overdramatic.

Best blog in Madison! Except when y'all give low grades without having eaten any food.

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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