Sunday, February 21, 2010

Types of Food Blogs 2

Well, Ben said that he wouldn't be able to start any food blog until after he takes the CFA test in June. Sorry! But, if he does, then stay tuned.

I was thinking about the different food blogs there are out there and I wanted to classify some of them, because it's real daunting when you've perused the 200th version of chocolate meat sauce enhancing the umami taste. What? You mean you don't know what umami even is? Well, aren't you lucky to have stumbled here. Actually, you're not lucky, because I'm not going to digress into what the "fifth taste" sensation is, nor will I be discussing the first taste sensation. Okay, I'll tell you...briefly... a Japanese food scientist, Kikunae Ikeda described asparagus as having a taste unlike the basic four (sweet, sour, bitter, salty), but said it was 'umami,' which is best described as savory. Okay, so now onto the blogs.

Food Porn: These are those blogs where you salivate, lust after, but you know you can never really be in a true relationship with. The photographs are perfectly aligned, the food has been primped and powdered, and the lighting is ethereal. These are the unattainable foods, which makes me wonder two things. One--is the food even real? The blogger/photographer has captured us with the visual aesthetics, but lacks in the taste sensation. It's the people who review on Amazon about cookbooks to complain about how the cookbook stinks, because there weren't enough pictures. Now, I understand why we would want pictures in a cookbook; however, if the food tastes like a soiled diaper but looks wonderful--you're still spitting it out.
Two--does the blogger/photographer suffer from a bit of Type A syndrome? I know, I'm being harsh, but to think of how much these people go through to photograph their food for a blog, who don't have a book contract seems a bit asinine.

(a picture cannot capture the writing adequately)

Sitting on the steps of the Met: Okay, I'm about to share one of my more shameless moments as a person with you, in order to explain this heading. I have watched more than a couple episodes of Gossip Girl, which is a show about the upper east siders in Manhatten, all well to do's and only the top dogs sit on the steps of the Met for lunch at the private high school. This translates in food blogosphere to the pretentious, snooty food blogs. It makes me feel like I'm back in high school trying to convince the "cool kids" that they're system is irrevocably like the queen and anarchy will soon break out, while we real "cool" kids will be ruling the system and they can take their fancy schmancy tushies to the lettuce fields to see what life is really like.

These might be confused with the Food Porn blogs, but really they're not just wanting to take immaculate photographs. Instead, they're the Ivy Leaguers letting you know how you're NOT an Ivy Leaguer, so please don't try to live on the other side of the tracks. Don't get me wrong--although these blogs are snooty, they typically know what they're talking about--and that's the problem. They aren't completely talking nonsense. It's more of their tone, which ruffles my feathers. They lack approachability and I would welcome you to read their comments section. You will see a line of followers who are either like-minded or kissing up trying to sing to the choir.

Health-Nut, Raw-eatin' & drinkin', raising everything from the ground up: These blogs are fun to read, but it makes me wonder how these women (seriously, 99.9%) have any time for anything else in their lives. Okay, I'm giving them a hard time. But one things for sure. They take their nutrition seriously, research it and want to provide the most wholesome food for their family. That's not a bad thing. In fact, it makes it easy for you as the reader to skim through what works for you. My main qualm with these bloggers is it seems they only read the research which corresponds with their beliefs and backs them up. I have a hard time believing something when I only see one side of the issue.

Down-to-Earth, loves food & loves people too: Okay, so I LOVE these types of food blogs. I think the only blog I will link is In Praise of Leftovers on here. Sarah does a wonderful job of taking life, taking food, & putting it in writing & photos and creating this beautiful snapshot of hopefulness. I like these blogs, because they have taken pretentiousness out of the equation. They know a thing or two about food (or at least what they blog about), but they respect the food & community it comes from. They take the food as something to be loved, cherished, savored & enjoyed, but wrap it up with respect to the people who will be sitting around the table. You walk away feeling intact as a human. These would be those blogs where they are not just foodies, but food poets.

Rendered Pork Fat
Food Journalist & loving it: These blogs describe food so well. They make comfort food, but also tackle some uncommon flavor profiles. They play with recipes. They create recipes. They know their stuff by doing and make you fall in love with food simply by reading what they've gone through to get to the final result. Some are seasonalists, vegetarians, carnivores, farmer's market participants, caterers, professionals, or best yet---true foodies who have taught themselves what they know (self-taught pops). You keep going back to see what they've created and you want to be invited over to their house.

Going to be efficient in what I do food blog: These are the people who've decided to narrow their interest and do it well. It might be simply culinary, no pastry or vice-versa. But better is when they take a certain arena within the pastry or culinary and expand. These people are brilliant, because they are reaching a specific demographic with their marketing. These are the gluten-only people, vegan only people, french cooking, etc. Or more narrow would be, "I only make cupcakes," or "I only make breads." This might seem like the nutrition group, which in part is true. However, I think this one is tackling a specific food item. Cupcake Bakeshop is an example of this.

Want to be a food blogger, but my photos look like I took them in a dark cave: Now, as I've talked down about the food blogs with photos, which have an unattainable factor, there is an element of providing good photos. I know we cannot all afford expensive cameras plus equipment plus Alaska summer sunshine. However, there is an element of picture needed dependent upon what the food blog is trying to achieve. If the food blog is primarily essay, then photos don't need to be much. However, most are showing people why the food they are making is SO worth it. And unless you can sketch really well (Joy of Cooking inspired), you need some visual capturing tool. I know I have been guilty of this, but I wasn't trying to only make a food blog. So if you're thinking, "well thanks Kamille, I've posted pictures of food on my blog and they aren't too great." Don't fret--unless it's full on food blog--this doesn't apply to you. If you have a full on food blog, then it's okay, just stop making this mistake and start taking your pictures with natural light on them. It makes the biggest difference.

Evangitality: Well, then you have those food blogs that aren't really food blogs, but they're SO much more. They combine food, with stories, with simplistic photos, with I'm not trying to hard, with hospitality anecdotes and thoughts about mothering, wifering, and life's journey. Doesn't that sound like one heck of a food blog? You'd be right! And as far as I know--there's only one in existence that fits the bill. Hmmm...

Well, don't take my word for it. Just go look at the zillion of food blogs out there and report back here with your findings.

Just in case you don't know how to find the blogs. Go to my foodie links and click on one and then go to their links, which will take you to more links, and the list is endless from there on down the rabbit hole.

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