Hello! I’m Connie Veneracion — lawyer by education, writer by passion and photographer by obsession.
“About me” in a nutshell
I was a lawyer who traded my career for motherhood. When my girls went to school, I found a creative outlet through blogging which led to op-ed and food columns in a broadsheet, and a regular column in a parenting magazine.
I have left print media but I am still a blogger.
The backstory of Devour Asia
In November 17, 2018, less than a month after my 55th birthday, I created a food and travel blog that I thought would be the successor to CASA Veneracion. It was going to be my retirement project.
The idea for a food and travel blog took roots a year before the blog was born when I saw Samurai Gourmet on Netflix. Takeshi Kasumi is a 60-year-old dealing with his empty days as a new retiree. Unaccustomed to the lack of regular daily activity, he goes out in search of new adventures which are almost always related to food.
I understood. Takeshi Kasumi is searching for a “high” after retirement — a combination of meaning and purpose that excites him enough to get out of bed and gives him ample sense of achievement by the time he goes to sleep at night.
Without that “high”, a retiree’s days would be empty and happiness would be elusive. There is a feeling of uselessness that eats into the heart and soul. I’ve seen it happen with people who were close to me. It starts with desolation then develops into desperation. It kills the mind and then it kills the body. It need not happen if, after retirement, one can find one or more meaningful activities that adds purpose to each day.
Finding a “high” after retirement
We all have different ideas about how we want to spend the years after the home mortgage and college tuition fees have been paid, and our children have spread their wings. I have a friend who took up Zumba after retirement. Another is into ornamental gardening. There are quite a few who have long lunches with other moms back-to-back with their gym schedules several times a week. Habitual shopping makes many of my friends happy. My mother read novels and collected jewelry before she retired as a trial judge, and she read novels and collected jewelry full time after she retired.
I just didn’t see myself doing any of that. I especially couldn’t see myself crocheting or knitting in a rocking chair day in and day out. I still wanted to cook and eat good food, take photos and write. But, this time, I wanted to do all that based on experiences not just from my own kitchen but from different parts of the world too. Focused heavily on Asia and Asian cuisines, I envisioned it to be a two-year project.
It’s an obsession that goes back to my childhood. Chinese food, Samurai and Voltes V. Then, I went to college, took required courses in Asian Civilizations and World History, and my fate was sealed. I was never able to shake off this consuming passion to explore Asian cuisines to understand Asian cultures and history.
A blog about Asia has been my dream project for over a decade. I have discussed it with friends, entertained the possibility of collaborative work, but nothing materialized. So, I decided to make a go of it by myself. I went on several trips to Asian cities for a year and a few months, and the documentation of those trips, along with older sporadic travel posts, became Tasty Safari.
From Tasty Safari to Devour Asia
Travel is out for the next few years but I didn’t want my Asian project to go on hiatus. I merged Tasty Safari with My Pan-Asian Kitchen (formerly, The Kitchen) and the few Asian movies and TV shows in my Cinephile blog, and Devour Asia was born.
For you serious foodies and lovers of Asian cooking: In line with my belief that the backbone of the ability to cook lies in getting acquainted with ingredients and being adept at basic cooking methods, Devour Asia has sections on pantry staples and cooking techniques. And those, of course, are in addition to the stories about food adventures while traveling around Asia.
But why devour dot asia?
Because I’ve wanted a dot Asia domain for so long. All the good keywords were taken but, for some reason, devour was available and I thought it was just perfect. Devour Asia doesn’t only mean consuming Asian food; it also means gobbling up Asian culture, history and pop entertainment.
So, welcome to Devour Asia, my present and my future.
May 8, 2020 @ 7.22 a.m.