BlogHer of the Week: Vanilla Garlic

BlogHer Original Post

Our BlogHer of the Week is more commonly known in the blogosphere for how he can apply storytelling to things simple and often very sweet (see his recipe for Maple Sweet Potato Cake to see what I mean). When applied to personal tragedy his prose remains skillful and evocative, but is heartbreaking. 

In his post, "Smells Like S'mores", Garrett McCord surprises us. We think, another mouthwatering post. Instead we are left with a bitter taste:

"When a four-plex built in 1960 burns down it smells like s'mores. Sort of."

McCord orients us by backing up and starting from the beginning:


There were actually two fires that night. The first one was around 9 p.m. I was working on my thesis and BF was getting killed again playing Uncharted 2 on the new Playstation 3. Suddenly smoke poured in through the vent above the stove and the room immediately filled with a choking grey haze. People outside began yelling, pounding on doors, and screaming one word: fire.

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 The fire seemed to be relatively easily contained, and with damage limited to their kitchen, and firefighters deeming the building to be safe. McCord opted to go back into his apartment and went to sleep. But this event wasn't over; at 2am he was awakened again. This time the building was losing to the fire. In his recounting McCord is astonishingly poetic.

The entire bathroom was on fire. The flames licked around the medicine cabinet before it fell from its place on the wall, the fire now exposing the rest of its hellish body made of twisted, curling flares. The heat blasted me backwards a bit, a miniture backdraft slamming me into the wall. My head crashed into the mirror behind me cracking it and leaving a small bruise. The fire roared. My god, it's a sound you can't forget. A dark and frightful voice bellowing as it devoured, ate, and consumed. A beast fueled by wood, brick, and schadenfreude. It would have the walls, it would have the bathroom, and given the chance it would have me.

We are dropped to the ground in the aftermath, grateful that the writer has survived to tell his tale, but saddened that this isn't a recipe gone wrong but somehow saved. McCord has lost his home, and his grounding. 

"It could have been a lot worse." It could have. I actually broke down laughing when I walked in the apartment today because, holy crap, it's funny just how totally screwed you can become so quickly. However, I'm tired of hearing "It could have been worse." That's true, but the whole thing still fucking sucks. It fucking sucks a lot.

We grieve with McCord for his loss but are not worried about him losing his spirit. Being able to translate the unthinkable, the writer remains untouched by flames, even seems defiant of them.

McCord ends his post: "I never, ever want to eat, see, or smell a s'more ever again." We wish him no more upheavals, but know that, from a writing standpoint, McCord is more than capable of building from the ashes.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming! If you want to check out all the BlogHer of the Week posts, check out the BlogHer of the Week archive.


For Elisa, Lisa and Jory
BlogHer Co-founders

Jory Des Jardins writes on business and career topics at BlogHer, and on her personal blog From Here to Autonomy


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