Note: there is a block of writing coming up. Prepare your eyes for the onslaught! No pictures. Just thoughts, musings, a little rant, and some big ups.
Everyone has a story about how their blog started, and mine is no different to anyone elses really. A mix of boredom, and wanting to document the recipes I was cooking, both my own and from various cookbooks. I had no idea about how to format a website, I didn't really know if I was a good writer or not, or how I would put it together. I didn't know where it was going to go, and to be honest, I still don't really know... I'm not the kind to have a 5 year plan anyway, and so I'm unlikely to plan where I want a blog to take me. I'm all about finding a balance between doing what you love, doing what you need to, and being with the people who mean the most to you. So blogging was always just going to have to find the time to slot into my life, just as everything else does. It's not a massive, blinking priority.
The blog led me to use Twitter, which then introduced me to loads of other food bloggers. Not only them as people, but how they conduct themselves, if they have a personality or if they're advertising themselves/creating a "brand". I didn't know what the food blogging community would be like, in fact, I didn't even really know if there was one. The Perth food blogger scene is pretty good, there is a mix of friendly bloggers who just like to write, cook and take photos, as well as people who share that love but take their blog more seriously. There are snarky bloggers who see themselves above the rest of us, some cliques, some people are learning as they go, and there are people with abundant knowledge to share about a variety of cultures, cooking methods and ideas in food. It's an interesting mix of people. There are people with a plan for their blog, and people seeing where it takes them.
I'm of the school where I see where it takes me. I expect it takes me nowhere. Not anywhere glittering fame is anyway. It's allowed me to meet some fantastic people, of whom I call my friends now, and not just online friends (that doesn't sound sad at all!), friends who I call up and we do things on weekends, go out for drinks and chatter. It's great because a lot of my old friends I had before the blog, I was feeling disconnected from, like I had nothing to say to them anymore. It's a process everyone goes through a couple of times, where you're between friends so to speak. So the blog/twitter exposed me to some fabulous people whom I'm so glad I met. The online comradery is great too, twitter will answer any question you have straight away. Not sure how to substitute a hard to find ingredient? Someone on twitter will know. Messed up something in a recipe and want to know if it's salvagable or not? Someone on twitter has already made the same mistake and can tell you. The instant gratification of twitter is suited to the fast paced NOW culture we live in, and it suits me, most of the time.
The part about food blogging that doesn't suit me is the shameless self promotion that goes on. There is the publishing of a link to a new post, thats alright. You need to get your blog out there, and no one knows it's there until you tell them. That I have no real problem with. It's the people who are so fake that I can't handle. I have no idea who the person behind the blog is. I just know they're sickly sweet, always saying lovely, wonderful things about everyone and everything, acting as if they never make mistakes, everything they make turns out perfectly. Who the fuck ARE YOU? There are so many food bloggers who just sound like they've read too many Nigel Slater books and are trying to romanticise everything they cook (note, Nige is great, I love his writing style, but its HIS writing style). There are so many wannabe Nigellas that it makes seek out the X and click it, she's become laughably fake enough as it is. I don't care to read about these people, I don't care about their "brand" because they aren't a person. They have created some online presence which is so forgettable. So many people out there are working on branding, working on creating a public image of themselves that they must stick to. Isn't being yourself, writing with your own voice, ideas and tone enough? It worked for Anthony Bourdain. Or is his brand the kind that goes against the grain, of a chain smoking, potty mouthed travelling chef? I don't know, but it just doesn't resonate with me at all.
But I am just one reader of millions. One blogger of millions. Who am I anyway? Have I done the same thing that I ranted about? I hope not. I do appreciate good writing. I just find so many blogs a bit samey. Same old shit, different name.
The blogs I have big respect for are ones like Eat Meets West, because she has her own voice, it's so obviously HER writing, she's not trying to be anyone, she's not creating a brand, and if she is, her brand is just who she is.
I enjoy reading Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse, because again she has her own voice, and I like the fact that she researches what she's writing about and gives you background information. I learn something when I read her blog, the origins of something, how authentic something might be (though authenticity is under fire now too), and she uses some different ingredients. I don't actually cook much from her blog, but it's a good read.
There are lots of blogs I like and I wont name every single one. There are lots I'm obligated to like, and ones I just dont read, because they're really boring. Mine isn't an example of a blog thats amazing. It's not that well formatted, it's not got some amazing style of writing that everyone needs to read. For me, my blog is about sharing recipes I've created, or recipes from other blogs/cookbooks. I like to try recipes from books before I buy them, and so I like to contribute to this by posting some of these recipes myself, for others to have a look at. Not for popularity contests, just for other peoples reference. I like photography anyway, not just food based, but all kinds, so some posts have good quality pictures on them. When I have time. I didn't say they were good... They're just there. Other times it's just a phone picture. My blog isn't really made for fame and fortune. My blog is pretty forgettable. But thats cool.
My ultimate philosophy on food is that it's a hobby for me. I don't want to be cooking all day, every day. I really enjoy cooking for the people I love, it's how I show I care. I don't cook for readership, or blog points. I cook because I want to. I cook because I like to see people I care about, sat around a table with nice food, good company and great wine, having a conversation and a laugh. Clichèd? Maybe. True though!
Thats whats important to me, over readership, branding, followers, and being little Miss Nigella, the domestic goddess.
I should add that I'm not scornful of the whole scene. I'm really happy with some parts of it, and I enjoy being involved. It's the commercialisation I don't enjoy. But I don't enjoy any aspect of commercialism really...
I just want to feed people good, interesting food. I wanna eat that food too. I'm interested in where the food comes from, and I like quality.