About Becks & Posh
Unlike many blogs, Becks & Posh did not have a proper 'about' page until January 2007. It is something I been meaning to do for a while, but kept delaying, so I decided to start off 2007 by explaining myself a little, in the third person if I can manage it. I am pretty certain that by the time I publish this post, it will be incomplete and that I'll suddenly remember all of the things I intended to, but forgot to say. As such, it is likely that this document will be updated and added to in the the future.
Who are Sam and Fred?
Sam Breach is an English 'girl' who despite her 1966 birthdate still refuses to think of herself as a 'woman' quite yet. In 1988 Sam graduated from Bournemouth with a First Class Honours Degree in Communication and Media Production which led to her to a career mainly in computer graphics and animation for TV and film in Soho, London & beyond, but not exclusively so: Sam has been paid for doing all the following things at one point or another too: washing old ladies' bottoms, selling bread, cleaning, writing for The Daily Mail, emptying commodes, editing a quirky magazine, cooking and having a spot on National TV (ok, don't get to excited, it was only five minutes a week). At the tender age of 34 Sam left the shores of Blighty for San Francisco because she had been offered a job at the world's most famous Film Visual FX company, Industrial Light & Magic,working on films like these. Sam met Frenchman Fred at a work 'wrap-party' at The Foreign Cinema, for Ang Lee's The Hulk in 2003 and they have been inseperable ever since. In 2006 Sam left ILM to work for ??? where she is working on a top secret project. Shhhhhh!
Why "Becks & Posh"?
The Becks & Posh food blog was started in 5 minutes on a whim. Back in May 2004 then work colleague, Tim, was perhaps a little tired of hearing Sam rattle on about food all day long. "Why don't you start a blog?" he said. "A blog?", she replied, "What's that?". Tim explained to Sam that a blog was an online diary and that perhaps she could write one with restaurant reviews. He pointed her in the direction of blogger.com and thus, with what now reads like a rather naive review of Sushi Groove South, Becks & Posh was born. Sam would like to point out that she has absolutely no particular affection for, admiration of, or affinity with Victoria Posh Spice and David Beckham after whom the blog is named. She spent about 3 nanoseconds thinking of the trivial title, never dreaming that one day people would actually read her blog. 'Becks & Posh' is extremely tenuous modern cockney rhyming slang for 'nosh', which is in itself slang for food. Hence Becks & Posh was started in a void, and it was another 3 months before Sam discovered that the were actually other food blogs in the world, and that the biggest gift that blogging would bring her would be the chance to join such an amazing and supportive community of like-minded people.
Why the Subject of Food?
Brought up on a sorry 70s British diet of mushy, watery cauliflower cheese, cabbage, gravy and salty gammon steaks with pineapple, the understandably food-finicky child Sam wondered from a very early age if eating could actually ever be a pleasurable experience? Nevertheless encouraged to experiment in the kitchen by a busy mother who didn't care too much for cooking, Sam started her recipe book collection long before the age of 10, when she first handled giblets and roasted her first chicken. By the time she was a teen she had quite a reputation for creating elaborate cake decorations, experimentation (Custard Creams sandwiched with English mustard, anyone?), throwing dinner parties with her teenage friends and catering at the local tennis club. After leaving home at the age of 19 to attend college, Sam became a vegetarian/vegan for several years, revelling in the fact she could now cook and eat absolutely anything she chose [ironic, of course that she chose to limit her diet, anyway...] On her frst trip to America in 1994, in LA, Sam ate fish - raw tuna to be precise, which was the beginning of her vegetarian downfall. These days, the fussy eater is nowhere to be seen and Sam will try just about anything at least once. It's much more than simply eating a meal every day for more than 40 years. Sam has always loved cooking, collecting recipe books, throwing dinner parties and eating out. Sam regularly enrolls in cooking school, always eager to expand the breadth of her knowledge. If Sam is reading something you can be almost certain its about food. Sometimes she wishes that she herself would shut up but she just can't help talking and thinking about food either. Since she has always been a bit of a media junkie too, it made perfect sense for Sam to join her two loves in the form of a blog about food. Be warned - she is a little bit hardcore though, and will be often found trying to make common, processed foodstuffs from scratch. She's not your average cook. Well, the results might often be average, but the effort Sam affords in the kitchen could easily be called above and beyond the norm. You certainly won't find Sandra Lee, in the Becks & Posh kitchen.
So What is the Aim of this Blog?
Becks & Posh is simply a collection of Sam's thoughts, discoveries, musings, reviews, recipes and other usually food-related information sharing. She simply wants to share her passion, her discoveries, and her experiences and record them for the purposes of remembering them herself. Sam strongly supports eating seasonally and locally and she buys more than 90% of her fresh vegetable and fruit produce from the San Francisco Farmer's Market every week. She wishes more people, especially in California where there is no excuse not to eat seasonally, were aware of where their food comes from, but she doesn't plan to ram that message down peoples' throats. She simply hopes that by writing with passion about local and seasonal foods some people might read and take note. She is not a particularly hardcore little-Miss-Holier-than-thou local eater though and fully admits to an insatiable desire for drinking champagne shipped from France, an addiction to Marmite from England and lots of other non-local food needs like tea, wheat flour and porridge oats. A lot of what is written on the Becks & Posh pertains to the San Francisco Bay Area, or to being British, or being French and how that relates to food, but when travelling the blog often travels too. Contrary to the beliefs of some, Fred never writes a single word of Becks & Posh, he's just a sidekick. It's quite convenient he is French since it gives poor British-born foodlover, Sam, a modicum of foodish credibility. That's her hope anyway.
Do You Accept Advertising? The only advertising Sam does on Becks & Posh is the advertising of her own thoughts and opinions although sometimes she works to promote charities of her choice too. This blog is non-commercial and does not respond to requests for advertising, in particular those expecting Becks & Posh to promote or write about their products/tv show/magazine/website/ etc for free. Becks & Posh is non-commercial. It is simply the result of a hobby that makes no revenue whatsoever for Sam or Fred. Sam does not take money in exchange for the promotion of products. Neither does she accept advertising. This is because she does not like the way advertising looks on blogs and prefers the clean-cut designs of ad-free blogs, not to mention the pleasure she derives from not bowing down to the pressures of corporatism. She is into this blogging malarkey because she simply likes to do it and therefore she does not want it to become a money-making machine. Sam, clearly, will never be rich, but she has a slight chance of being happy.
Do You Accept Free Gifts & Products for Review? A couple of years ago, after being egged on by other bloggers, Sam caved in and agreed to accept a few things for review: Some god-awful organic cookies, a cookery book, some Hefty Serve and Store containers and two bottles of delicious wine she drank and forgot to make notes about. After accepting these gifts against her better judgement, Sam realised that saying yes to these free review gifts is not for her. Acceptance of free stuff doesn't sit easy with Sam. Sam is one of those people who hates to have an idea suggested to her. She likes to think things up all by herself. Despite the fact that everyone tells her "you don't actually have to write about the things for review that people send you", she still feels uncomfortable accepting free gifts. It makes her feel like a ligger and she doesn't like it. Sam likes to discover things herself, and finds it's much more fun than letting things that are need of promotion discover her. So no, in case you should think of asking, Sam does not accept free gifts or review copies, but thank you very much all the same, she is honoured that you feel she is worthy of such attention. (PS, Sam does sometimes accept free party invitiations, though, afterall everyone has to have some kind of weakness and hers is Champagne).
Making Money Even if Sam wanted to make money from her blog, she couldn't do so by law, because of US visa restrictions. Please do not waste Sam's time with money-making suggestions of any kind. Your solicitations will be ignored.
Do You Do Reciprocal Links?If you are a long time reader of Becks & Posh, you will know that Sam has never been shy about dishing out link love. She gives it all the time. For free! She does not, however, ever link to other blogs by request. It goes back to what she was saying earlier - she doesn't like it when people try and put ideas into her head. Sam suggests that new bloggers do not ask other bloggers for reciprocal links at all. Sam prefers to make her own content choices, as soon as someone suggests something, it usually sends her running in the opposite direction. Sam does have an RSS feed which she shares on her blog roll instead. She puts new food blogs in the feed when she has time. Again, please do not ask for inclusion since she only updates when she has inclination and time.
Posting & Comments Although in theory she would like to write one post a day, this is rarely possible. On average, a post will appear on Becks & Posh every one or two days. Sam loves to receive comments and for the first two years of her blog, prided herself on answering every one individually. Over the last six months, she has not been able to keep up with all the wonderful comments she has received and sometimes does not get around to writing a reply. This vexes Sam a great deal, but it is just not always practical for her to do so. Please be assured she does read all of the comments and totally appreciates them. She would like to apologize in advance for those times when she is unable to find the time to make individual responses. Sam does not usually respond to comments until at least 24 hours after the post is first published and sometimes it takes her a week or more. In most instances, Sam does not like to delete comments, even if the poster is rude and insulting. She likes to capture all sides of the opinion. From time to time however, slurs appear which go beyond what is reasonably acceptable. Personal attacks and racist jibes and promotional comments, for example, are swiftly deleted. Sam recommends you do not post anonymously, especially if you have a criticism of her site. It's ok, she can take it, but if you are too much of a coward to stand by your convictions and bad mouth her using your own name or identity, don't be surprised if she has little respect for what you have to say. People who try and use the comments on Becks & Posh to advertise anything, even where a handle is the name of a product, will be deleted without explanation. People who tenuously write a post-related comment in order to publicise a link to their own blog or website will also be treated with suspicion and most likely deleted. Just don't do it please, this is a friendly, non-commercial blog and it's not cool to try and hijack it for your own gain or promotion.
Restaurant Reviews Becks & Posh started as a restaurant review website but evolved to become a more general food blog and she prefers it that way. Over time, Sam's sense of responsibility towards the way she reviewed restaurants matured. The number of reviews she writes about have decreased as she increasingly tries to visit restaurants more than once before writing a full-on review of them. She might still write a quick first impression if she thinks it is fair to do so or she knows she won't easily be able to return to the restaurant for a while, if ever. She is more likely to critique places on a first visit when she is travelling too. In these instances Sam indicates clearly that her thoughts are simply a 'first impression'. Last year, Sam created a code for her restaurant reviews. These ratings are less of a subjective judgement and more an indication of number of visits with a few longtime favourites singled out with a pink heart. Conversely, experiences thought to be not worth repeating are marked with an X on black. Sam has also started adding the date of lastest visit to her restaurant index so readers can get a feel for the topicality of the symbols as presented. Please note that local restaurant visits intended for later review are anonymous (unless otherwise stated), are paid for with Sam or Fred's money, reservations are booked under a false name and no mention of food blogs are allowed at the table, especially in the presence of staff. These days, taking a camera to a restaurant to photograph food is far rarer than it once was, especially in the Bay Area, although Sam & Fred do still sometimes take snaps at more casual lunchtime places, or when they are travelling. Sam & Fred do have some friends in the local restaurant business and in the interests of transparency would declare any such friendships or other relationships if writing a review about a place where the staff is known.
Restaurant reviews can be found in the Index at near the top of the Blog Roll on your right. In San Francisco the reviews are listed alphabetically and elsewhere by region.
Sam is fairly shy and does not talk about her blog in the presence of strangers much, usually only if she has to because someone else spills the beans. However, having written about certain products over and over again and through various other reasons, Sam & Fred have gotten to personally know some of their favourite local vendors: Taylor & Toponia at The Fatted Calf, Michael Rechiutti, several staff from Hangar One and St George Spirits, June Taylor, Chris at Yield and Benoit at St Benoit Yogurt. All of these people now know about Sam and her Becks & Posh blog and she might get a discount or a free sample from some (not all) of them from time to time. Since she first raved about these places at a time when she and her blog were unknown, Sam does not feel that the closer relationships have changed the way she feels about any of these places or their products, but since readers, via this post, are now aware of the friendliness that has developed, they can make up their own minds about whether they trust Sam's opinion on their products any further, or not. As a rule, if any of these vendors produced a product Sam & Fred didn't like, they generally wouldn't be mentioned at all, although if they made something rave-worthy, they would still be raved about.
Generally if you are a stranger and you email Sam and ask her a question somehow related to her blog or its subject, she would do her best to find the time to help you, even if your question is laughably stupid. All she asks in return is that you reply with a thank you at the very least. Too many people have been taking the piss recently. For example, someone who asked last week: "Do you know of any other grain/flour mills that might possibly fit the bill"
Please note that the material you find on Becks & Posh is work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License in which there are some rights reserved. You are free to Share, to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work under the following conditions:
1) Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. If you use any of the work you find on Becks & Posh you must attribute the work to Sam Breach and include a working html link to the Becks & Posh homepage, or relevant Becks & Posh post from this blog.
If you use an original photograph belonging to Sam breach from Becks & Posh blog, in addition to adhering to the rules set out in this section you must also agree not to change the name of the image if you copy it to your own server and when you publish it you must also include the exact same "alt" and "title" wording in your html that was used on this Becks & Posh website when it was originally published.
2) Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes or advertising. Please do not use any words or photographs from this blog in a circumstance where you make money from advertising or make money from it in any other way, or where you would use it to promote any other commercial entities. This means you may not lift posts from this blog and duplicate them on other websites that contain any form of advertising whatsoever.
3) No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder, Sam Breach. The full legal code can be found here.
I have split my google calendar (links can found on my blog roll) into two parts:
The first is a Food Events Calendar where I record details of any food events that catch my eye. Just because something is listed on this calendar, it doesn't necessarily mean I am going to attend the event. I rarely keep this up to date.
The second is Sam's Personal Food Diary which is probably of interest only to weirdos who like to pry into other peoples' eating habits. OK, you're not weird, it's natural curiosity. Right now I use this calendar to make quick notes about restaurants I have visited and the food I have eaten there, and to list recipes I have tried out. When I am in a good place (January) I also note my daily food intake and if I remember (today!), I keep a note of my food spends because I want to find out more about the cost of my food. This is kept up to date only when I have enough time which can be less often than I would like.
Google's Calendar defaults to 'week' mode but I recommend 'month' mode for easier viewing. You can change the default under 'settings'.
Recipes Take Sam's recipes with a pinch of salt. She is not a professional recipe creator, but she likes to write about what she cooks, often in a casual way. Sometimes she develops a recipe and makes it several times before writing about it, sometimes she makes something up on the spot. Sometimes she uses metric weights, sometimes she uses imperial or cups, it just depends on her mood or her sources. If Sam is using someone else's recipe she will never copy it on to her site verbatim. Instead she will recommend the book that it came from or link to an online source for the recipe if available. If she uses a published recipe as inspiration and then changes it enough to make her own, she will publish her version with a big happy nod toward the original version. Sam takes great care to publish her recipes accurately and hopes that she never makes a mistake. Please email her if you think something about one of her recipes is odd and she will try and sort it out. The next thing Sam hopes to do is to organise her market-fresh recipes in a seasonal collection on her blog roll, in addition to the more conventional index already available.
Please note that as this blog matures, some of the information in some of the articles might become dated. For example, where prices are mentioned, inflation may have an affect on those numbers I have given. Where restaurants have been visited, chefs might change, things might have improved or gone down hill since my previous visit. If I revisit a restaurant and write an updated review, I always try to update any earlier posts on the same subject with access to the newer information. Please check the date on any posts you come across and weigh that in as a factor of the post's topicality. Posts are accurate at the time of writing but may become less so over time.
*Please note that this document is subject to additions and changes at any time.