WARNING: I’m a big fan of foul language. The following post includes a pinch of spicy and green leafy cuss words. Please avoid this article if you have delicate sensibilities.
Dear Foodie Blogger,
For the love of God, please choose – preferably in the advanced planning stages before launching your wonderful new blog, whether you are a storyteller, photographer, or, and this is a big one…a fucking cook. Because here’s the thing: YOUR BLOG CAN’T BE ALL THREE. At least not very well. And definitely not if you want me to subscribe and tell all my friends about it.
I get it. I know what you are trying to do. I’ve seen it done well but not often, and not unless you can legitimately add graphic artist to your resume and know how to skillfully design a page with photos of sumptuous food logically arranged around the ACTUAL RECIPE IN A READABLE FORMAT. That’s a lot of work for the average Foodie blogger. Try not to get too fancy about it. If you don’t pay a large staff to do everything except the cooking, just post the recipe with a few photos of the finished product. Really. That’s all you need. If you absolutely must write a 17-paragraph narrative about the recipe, maybe do it after you’ve posted the ingredients and cooking directions. A couple of people will be interested. Not me but maybe some others.
I love and enjoy each of these specific blog genres – storytelling, photography and cooking – but when combing them, if they each carry equal weight, what you end up with is a blog that is, at first glance, big and beautiful and envy-inducing, “Oh my God I wish my hot dogs looked this pretty!” On further inspection, however, when I’m trying to find the actual recipe, if the blog becomes complicated and confusing because I’m spending way too many of my expensive minutes searching and scrolling and clicking and pressing arrows to find the F&(*ing ingredients or oven temp, you’ve lost me in a mad fury.
The photos may be stunning, the narrative captivating and the actual recipe may be to die for – but I’ll never know. And just so you know, right before I slam my cursor on the X at the top right side of your page, I’ve uttered several violent missives directly at you. Personally. Likely something uncouth about your waste management apparatus. I’m hateful like that.
If your blog is a slice-of-life narrative about how you’ve gotten healthy and trim following a certain eating plan, I’ll follow along because I love stories of success and personal victory. I love seeing the before and after photos and I’m inspired to try your plan with you and encourage you along the way. But that’s different. I only read those blogs when I’m already too full and disgusted with my piggish self. When I’m hungry I don’t care how fat I am. That’s the point.
If I’m looking for a recipe, bets are, I’m hungry, I’m in a hurry, I have a slab of thawed meat I don’t know what to do with, and likely several people standing around asking me what we (translate: me) are doing about dinner. If all of these elements happen to be in place at the same time, which they so often are, I may also be approaching homicidal. Now is not the time for me to read about your personal relationship with lean, non-GMO, organic, grass-feed, free-range pork steak. Your farm-to-table adventures hold no sway with me. I especially don’t give any effs about how you filched the recipe from your husband’s mother after she accidentally ate a magic brownie in the backseat of a yellow Volkswagen in 1973. I swear I don’t. That story is only interesting to you and your siblings. And maybe your children if they’re old enough to be told about the ‘70s.
If I have to click more than once to get to the actual directions on how to make the recipe—I’m gone. Tempted to do a slideshow style recipe? Lose my number. I’ll never be back.
Generally speaking, and I’m guessing I’m in the majority here, when I’m looking for a specific kind of food or recipe, I Google it. I need directions for an interesting way to make something to eat. Something different for a change. I’m looking for an easy-to-read list of ingredients and directly below/beside that list- the actual directions to mix it all up and cook it. I don’t want editorial comments after each ingredient. I know cumin is spicy. I’ll cut it back if I’m feeding kids or sissies. I know cilantro is pungent. You don’t need to warn me that if I don’t like it I should use less. Let’s assume here that I have at least an iota of cooking experience. I know where the kitchen is. I know how to turn on the stove. Trust me. Also, if you must tell me in the list of supplies needed section that I should use a clean cutting board (as opposed to…. what? A dirty one?), you’ve misunderestimated me. I can’t like you at all and maybe forever if you say something like that. If I’m smart enough to find your blog, you must trust me as a reader. I know about Hepatitis. I was in the army.
I love a good story. I’m a huge fan of photography blogs. I’m always searching for good recipes. I never combine these activities. I don’t have time. Here’s a news flash: NOBODY HAS TIME.
I block out daily reading times and (too) often, I allow myself some (precious) online minutes to admire the interesting collections of art and photos on various blogs, including food blogs. But not when I’m hungry. When it’s dinner time, I’m looking for food ideas. I want the deets, the 411, the goddamned ingredients. I don’t want the history of Turmeric and beet juice in America. I also don’t’ want to do an additional search to find out how many shrimps make up eight ounces or what size package of meat makes up “28 ounces of pork roast” (1.75#s, FYI). For God’s sake. That’s just cruel. Please. Be merciful. One more thing here while we’re discussing mercy: any recipe that calls for “X amount of cups plus 1/2 teaspoon” is just showing off. Just trying to make the author look like some kind of fancy chef. I mean really. That extra 1/2 teaspoon is more or less a few pinches. Everybody knows that. Don’t be fancy. You lose credibility.
The big payoff in being a considerate Foodie Blogger is that if I like the recipes I’ll be back for more. I’ll subscribe. I’ll re-blog. I’ll spread the word like a cupful of softened butter. I’ll tolerate the annoying ads because I get how that works and I appreciate what you are doing. I’ll even click the ads if they interest me because again, I get it. I do draw the line though with auto-play video ads. I’ll only stick around long enough to damn you to hell before I click the X and be gone from your site. Forever. Have some respect. Or, lose me. Either way. Plenty of Sushi in the sea. I don’t need a science lesson or a fun story on how you learned to properly boil water. I need dinner.
My one and only Foodie Post:
Best Black Bean Soup
I’ve never done a foodie post and I may not do another one. This one, half-assed at best, I only thought of while I was making my favorite black bean soup. So, bear with me while I try something completely new. The post, that is. The soup I make fairly often. Read Article