Like you, I’m obsessed with food. My favorite kind of day is when I meet a friend over a meal, we talk about food, visit a cool food market or street, I cook something that tastes great, and maybe later, I read about food. But most of the time, my days are not that exciting. Does a normal day around food, in and of itself, constitute a good blog?
Usually, no. The topic is too broad. It’s based on chronology, as in “here’s what I did with food today.” It does not qualify as a theme or a focus. And that is why so many food blogs fail. I just don’t care enough about where you went for lunch, or what you made for dinner.
I’ve been thinking about what makes me want to read a food blog. The first blogger I read with any regularity was Grist’s Tom Philpott, because I enjoy and appreciate his well-researched take on food politics. (In this link he skewered the notion that eating farm-raised salmon in a chain restaurant is defensible just because it tastes good.) He rarely writes about himself or his life, and I always learn something. He’s more like a traditional newspaper columnist, and maybe that’s why I started with him. I felt comfortable.
Now, to contradict myself, I love checking in with David Lebovitz, who writes about his day. Yes, in the hands of a skilled writer and photographer, the most ordinary events can become worthwhile. First, there’s the anticipation of a gorgeous photo. Today’s post about sardine pate leads with, instead of an obvious photo of pate on a slice of baguette, a more mysterious snap of a flipper sticking out of a stainless steel bowl in hues of cobalt. Next, he writes as though he’s my best friend: intimate, funny, charming and sweet. He covers food in Paris, a focus that’s more exotic than daily life in the US. Lastly, I always learn something about cooking or baking techniques. So even though it’s a guilty pleasure, I get lots out of his posts.
Tell me if I’m off base here. Maybe you’re a food blogger who thinks it’s perfectly fine to have “food” as the focus of your blog. Or if you read general food blogs, which are the most worthwhile and why?