The Unexpected: The 7 Links Challenge

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve had great fun reading my favorite bloggers as they accepted and answered the 7 Links Challenge. It’s an interesting exercise in self-examination, offering us, the readers, a glimpse into how each blogger views her/his own work. Not only that but for a relatively newbie like myself, it gives me a shortcut into the “best of” each blog. All around, I found the Challenge to be fascinating — until I was nominated.

Before going any further, I want to thank Mandy from The Complete Cookbook for inviting me to take part. I truly didn’t expect this now and thought that I’d probably take part in a later round. I don’t know why but I envision this type of thing being circulated every now and again. If you’re “missed” this time, you’ll be “found” next time around. Well, Mandy “found” me this time around and, not being one to back away from a challenge that doesn’t involve leaving my desk chair, I’ll accept the challenge. So, let’s get started, shall we?

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Most Popular Post

Surprisingly, at least to me, the Refrigerated Bread & Butter Pickles post has received the most “hits” day after day and week after week, since it was first posted back in June. It’s not a family recipe and it’s definitely not Italian but it certainly has been sought out, shared, and even posted elsewhere.

Most Controversial Post

I just don’t feel there’s anything controversial about any of my posts. Well, some commenters insist upon labeling me a canner because I filled a few jars with fruit. Preposterous! I do not can and you can see for yourself here and here.

Most Helpful Post

Looking back, I think I’d say the Mom’s Pasta Dough entry was probably the most helpful. I’ve subsequently referenced that recipe already several times and will again, repeatedly, in the future. If you’re going to make pasta at home, you’re going to need a good recipe to follow. Mom’s is one such recipe and, best of all, it was adapted to be made in a food processor by a friend of the family from the “Old Country.”

Most Beautiful Post

Having no training in photography whatsoever, the stills that accompany most of my posts are usually what I consider “the best of the lot.” I take a bunch of pics, choose the best one(s), and move on — and I’ve got literally hundreds of rejected photos to prove it. (Note to self: clean up Aperture, Photoshop, and iPhoto files.) . Every now and then I get it right. I happen to think that I “got it right” with the Pasta with Shrimp post.

Most Surprisingly Successful Post

I’d have to say that I’m most surprised by the success of the Steak Pizzaiola recipe. It’s a good dish, easy to prepare, and I thought it would do OK. I just didn’t expect it to do as well as it has, almost as popular as my other surprise, the refrigerator pickles recipe.

Most Under-Rated Post

Perhaps because it was posted so early in my blog’s life, I expected the Home-Made Ricotta recipe to do better than it has. I make a few cheeses here at home and not only is this the easiest to prepare, it is probably the best ricotta I’ve ever had. I’ve not bought nor used any other ricotta since I made my first batch following this recipe. More significantly, neither has Zia.

Most Proud of Post

The post I am most proud of would be My Cherry Amour, Reprise (Bigger, better, badder!) and for a number of reason. Like this whole process, it was fun to write. If I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, why bother? Next, It involved cherries so it had to be good, right? Really, though, it was that cherry pie. I still do not believe that I baked it! Most of my efforts in baking aren’t worthy of being shown to close friends and family, let alone being posted in a blog, unless it’s entitled I knew I had hit it out of the park when a couple of friends, and even Zia, asked if I had baked it. That’s a real compliment when people think that what you’ve just baked doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever baked. Emboldened, I may go back to that well and try an apple pie this Fall. Warn the villagers!

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And now to nominate 5 other blogs. This would be easy if most of the blogs I’ve followed for some time hadn’t already accepted and met this challenge. There are a couple of blogs, however, that I’ve only recently started following but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read and already consider myself a fan. So, I’ll nominate them as well. It’s a bit of an eclectic group but I’m an insomniac and heaven only knows where my mouse will lead me at 3:00 AM.

And again, thank you, Mandy.

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24 thoughts on “The Unexpected: The 7 Links Challenge

    • Well, don’t be so quick with the “bottler” label. That’s all I’m at liberty to say, for the moment. 😉
      I should thank you for inviting me to take part in the challenge, Mandy. It was an enjoyable exercise. Enjoy your day and the week that lies ahead.


  1. I agree with your Proudest post. That cherry pie was delicious and the photo of the crust was amazing. I also think the pasta with shrimp was my favorite “beautiful” photo. The lighting and coloring of the food along with the plate pattern gave it simple elegance. I also agree with the pickles as the most Popular post. Whoulda thunk it! When I was a kid I was very picky. I would only eat the hamburger patty and 2 buns, nothing else. Thank goodness my tastes changed. Now I love pickles pickles pickles! and more!…Having made the steak pizzaiola myself from your recipe, I can understand why it succeeded. It was delicious. Most Helpful choice with Mom’s Pasta Dough I can understand, but not being a seasoned cook, I guess I overlooked this one. Again, not a regular cook here, so the Ricotta went over my head. Too much work (for me at least). Maybe I’ll try making it one day. And whether you want to admit it or not, you have a canner hidden somewhere inside you, so have fun with that! To quote Meryl Streep who channeled the most famous TV foodie, “Bon Appetit!” (I know you can appreciate the cinephile in me quoting an actress quoting a famous chef…lol)


  2. OK, nothing against pickles, I remember and liked the post. But pickles versus all those wonderful family dishes. That is too funny. Perhaps I am a bit biased on this front. Great roundup. I always love seeing your posts and reading your stories, even if you are a crazy canner.


    • I know! It’s just too funny. And to think, all future posts will be held to the “pickles test.” How did it perform in comparison to the Bread & Butter Pickles post? Who’d-a-thunk?

      And I thoroughly enjoy your blog, Greg. It works on so many levels and is always a good read. BTW, I’ve chosen to ignore the “crazy canner” comment for reasons that will soon become apparent.


    • Thank you for you lovely comments re: the pie but it’s not an exaggeration when I say that no one was more surprised by the outcome than I. For ease of preparation, you simply cannot beat that pickle recipe. I make them all the time but especially now with the farmers’ markets bursting with cucumbers.


  3. Ah, so glad you took part…it´s good to read the posts I missed. Most importantly Mom´s pasta dough. As soon as my chickens get off their little feathery behinds and start laying again seriously (they don´t like this heat) I´m going to use your recipe (and maybe with some giant prawns – or shrimp). Can´t wait 🙂


  4. Well My Naughty. If you are a newbie then I am the eye of a newt! But Thank you so much. I am slightly panicked but up for a challenge. Though I have to say the field has been extraordinary so far. You are not so bad with the camera you know.. for a canner!!! Many thanks again for nominating me. stand by ..c


  5. John, you did a fabulous job on this post! It’s always fun to read your posts and I believe you are very hard on yourself regarding the photos, they have all been really well done! This challenge is fun as I found some new posts (to me) that I really liked. I really need to flip thru each and every one of your posts as your family recipes are all what I like. I think your baking skills are terrific! Really, I don’t know too many men baking muffins as good as yours or the detailed
    top crust of your cherry pie!


    • Linda, you are the best! So kind and encouraging. Maybe because I know how they’ve been made but I just don’t see my photos in the same class as yours or most others on WordPress — and I’m not talking about the beautiful photography blogs, either. Your blog photos, for example, are very well shot and your food always look so appetizing. I just don’t put my pics that way. And that pie! Believe me, no one is more surprised by how that thing looked than I. We’ll see if I can repeat when apple season gets here. (Smart money is on “No way!”) Thanks again, Lynda, for your very kind words.


  6. Well ChgoJohn, thank you so very much for including me in this adventure!! I have been like you: enjoying the blogs that has been nominated as someone favorite but honestly never expected to be included in one of someone list. It’s an honnor. I’m so exited!


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