Wednesday, August 18, 2010

F&C Rewind: It's a Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog World!

This is a re-post.  It was originally made on October 15, 2009
I was checking out the FoodBuzz Food Blog nominees for the 1st Annual Food Blog Awards (talk about a mouthful), and I never had any idea how many people are blogging their meals.  There are people following the Julia and Me route; for example, Alinea at Home is a blog devoted to cooking all the recipes in Molecular Cheftist Grant Achatz’ recent book, Alinea.  Brave soul.  And Bouchon for Two is a blog from a budding chef who is learning how to cook from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook.  Seems like a more practical project to me.

But, looking at these nominated blogs, it seems these people are as much into the production of the blog as the food and cooking.  And that can be fun, too.  No doubt, cooking is a full time activity in itself.  But, keeping your recipe straight, getting the right amount of light for photos (something I am still working on), making sure steps aren’t left out, editing the shots and then, there's writing and proofing the actual copy or voice of the blog- it’s like a full-time, one-person magazine!  Then, there are you crazies out there who put video in?  My.  Ambitious, to say the least. 

And for all that work, does anyone get paid?  I mean, yeah, there’s the possibility of earning ad dollars.  More like pennies.  But, when you really get some traffic, you might get some sponsors or a bump from a big time blogger like Oprah mentioning your site.  Okay, I made that part up.  But, really- am I being naïve that this is supposed to be about expression of creativity and just good clean fun?  My friend and fellow blogger, Dave McDuff of McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail says, “Be careful!  It can be very addictive.” (Just an aside here, in case you decide to take issue with my use of "addictive" vs. "addicting", there is even a blog for that- ask Grammar Girl- if you like your grammar tips "quick and dirty".  And, who doesn't?)  So then, are "comments" the payment of the blog world?  If so, I will not be quitting my day job. 

Then there’s the stat checking.  I am amazed at what information is compiled.  I know where you are, how often you check, how you find me, how long you stay, what you look at, when you leave and when you come back.  For example, because of my use of Auguste Escoffier’s picture, I can see I've had hits from just about every country in Europe, Mexico, Bolivia, Canada, and Turkey.  And because my “peanut pumpkin” was tagged with its other names in French, it is the second most common way people find this blog, other than my name and Escoffier's.  It’s crazy, I tell ya. 

So, I guess what I’m saying is that if you want to take all of it seriously, you can.  I could put up sexy food pics as the first image to capture surfersby, or I could make sure the title of each post is catchy, trendy or even a hot topic.  I prefer not to get into gossipy stuff like, for example, what a douchebag Kanye West is.  Oooop!  Too late.  But there it is- now let’s see if it brings any traffic for people using keywords “Kanye” and “Douchebag”.
I wish I was more patient with writing recipes.  People love them.  But, by now in my cooking life, I only think in terms of ratios and order of cooking.  I write recipes for cooks to follow.  And if I buy a cookbook, I want to get the essence of the topic and, what else?  Beautiful, lovely food shots.  But even when I read a recipe, I’m only interested in seeing what’s in it by comparison to how I would cook it or how it is normally cooked.  Amounts are trivial.  It’s no wonder Jamie Oliver and Thomas Keller don’t like to use exact measurements.  They hope you are getting a broader picture of a method for cooking that dish.  Even Julia was more interested in getting the concept of the dish across to you more than an exact translation.  Folks, it took me longer to blog my chili recipe than it did to cook it.

So, by now you’ve noticed that the pictures on this post have nothing to do with what I’m talking about.  I’ve put pictures of dishes that I’ve cooked in the past which photographed well and are appealing to the eye (so much for subtlety).  But, I wanted to see if my theory was right.  If so, regular visitors will read this blog entry in about 2.3 minutes, mostly because of the fetching photos, before moving on.  My “grumpy old man” post about Gourmet closing, for example had only two pictures, and it had one of the lowest “stay times” since I started blogging.  If you’re just stopping back and noticing the new format, you will stay a little longer.  And if it’s your first time here, you’ll stay an average of 20 minutes to check it all out.  But, hey, who’s counting?

So, thanks for stopping by today!!   
And now- Gratuitous PIE!
Good Housekeeping Cranberry Pie.  Not mine.

1 comment:

Velva said...

Cheers to your wonderful blog! Yes, blogging is addicting and it's wonderful.


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