Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking at Food Blogging

We're going to take a little detour today from our normal itinerary of eating and cooking and reviewing.  Instead I've decided to pull out my soap box again and stand on it.   Over the past couple of months there have been a few articles written in well known publications (IE The Boston Globe and The Amateur Gourmet) discussing the very idea of food blogging-and, for the most part these authors have pointed at fame (and free meals) being the biggest motivator for this little craft.


A few months ago I was catching up with one of my oldest and most favorite friends and we got on the topic of food blogging.  His reaction was one I've received a thousand times, an eye roll and a mention that "everyone has food blog now".  He isn't wrong-the food blog "market" is saturated.  Despite knowing this, I immediately took umbrage at the remark, made some hoity-toity retort about him "crapping on my dreams" and moved on.  I'm so lady like sometimes.  However as I reviewed the conversation later, and then read and re-read the aforementioned articles, I reconsidered my response.

The articles blatantly portrayed food bloggers as Julie Powell wanna be's. The hobby was portrayed as being filled with 20 something's and recent grads who have nothing better to do with their time and hope that by writing a little blog they will reach the type of stardom that Julie Powell achieved in 2004.  It is viewed as a fad, a new craze like slap bracelets in the '80's or grunge induced flannel ensembles in the '90's.  I won't try to hide it-I indulged in both of those fads (thankfully not together and even more thankfully both were short lived).   Fad though it might be, I can, with certainty, say that most food bloggers are not dedicating the hours that go into each and every post to hopefully find some sort of fringe fame.

Food blogging is a labor of love.  A Boston Food Diary is the product of having too many thoughts about food in my head and needing some way to get them out.  It is the product of passion.  Five years ago I spent my time playing in my kitchen, reading cookbooks, learning everything I could about food and dreaming of one day turning my hobby into something that I could commit to fully.  I started writing to organize myself-to have a place dedicated to my food meanderings, to keep track of recipes, to inspire myself to push harder, and to hopefully lead me to a path of certainty.

I can't hide that I've been unbelievably fortunate in this journey, I have received multiple press passes (something that still sends shivers down my spine to think of myself as "press"), I've been selected to review products, I have been fortunate to receive perks.  However, even so, I have to refute the articles that claim that it is for these perks that I have dedicated so much of my time to this craft.  Food blogging, though it has struck gold for some, is my creative outlet, it is something I can put my whole heart and soul into, but rarely the return, purely monetarily speaking, is worthy of the effort. 



So to those who believe that the entire population of food bloggers (and there are MANY of us) are out there just searching for the next Julie Powell breakthrough, I ask you to look into our blogs a bit further.  Look past the dozens of carefully created, tested and documented recipes, look past the reviews of restaurants (often written after multiple visits), and find the true back bone of the writer-I would put money (or a 7 course tasting menu) on it being love, and passion.  


**To my friend who I called upon here as my example-thanks for making me think-sorry for the 'tude**

9 comments:

Megan said...

I'm with you. It's about the passion! The networking and the friendships are also huge rewards.

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I've been secretly annoyed at those articles I've read lately. I certainly don't think blogging will make me famous...not even close! It just allows me to do what I'm passionate about without quitting my day job :)

Jen said...

I agree - most of us do it for the passion. I HATE it when people say "I should start a blog so I can get free stuff" Ok maybe people don't say that, but I have a certain relative by marriage who has said that more than once. I don't think anyone who starts a blog for the free stuff is going to last that long because they'd get bored...

For me personally, my blog is such a creative outlet for me because it's so different than what I do for a living. And like Megan said, meeting other bloggers has proven to be such a great unexpected perk of blogging in a city like Boston!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Amen! I don't blog for any fame -- and these days I'm rarely able to go to free dinners and events. I just love cooking and photography and writing!

Chris said...

Don't ever feel the need to apologize for or defending yourself for doing something you love to do. All the same, well written. Looking forward to the next entry.

Daisy said...

AGREED! I get so disheartened when professional food writers or other writers feel the need to knock us or think we are doing this for the glory of free food or we're looking to make it big with a book or TV show. for most of us, that is certainly not nor was ever the case. what's so wrong with having a hobby or a creative outlet?!

Meesh said...

amen!! love this post. you are so right. i think we're all fully aware that the chances of hitting it big are slim to none, yet we invest all this time in it anyway.

Tracey said...

LOVE THIS POST. I am not a recent grad or 20-something looking for fame and perks! I work very hard at a consulting firm and my 40-something blog is a labor of love for me - the title itself says I am nowhere near 20 :). I do it because I love it and if people enjoy reading it then that makes me happy to. No fame, no glory just something I do to relieve the stress of my "day job". Thank you for writing this!

Kate said...

I was totally unaware that food bloggers receive free stuff. I blog on old family recipes and New England restaurants that no longer exist. Basically, I'm learning local, food, and family histories by cooking and writing. That's it. People seem to like some of my posts, and I'm happy to share.

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