Dec 012009

kitty-tiaraAre you as confused as I am about these often-lengthy lists of blog titles that appear on blogs?

When I first started reading food blogs, blogrolls were a great resource. I clicked around dozens of sites with dizzying speed, jumping from one list to another, making delightful discoveries. Now I see these lists as more of a Who’s Who and wonder, like all of you (don’t tell me you haven’t!) why MY blog is not listed. (For those of you who are not bloggers, narcissism is an occupational hazard.)

But I also wonder why we list other blogs at all. Is it to acknowledge friendships, mutual admiration, favors, collegial comeraderie? Guilty. My “Resources” section is more straightforward, as it doesn’t list the blogs of individuals as much as places to get useful information. No Continue reading »

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Aug 192009

I finally saw Julie & Julia on Sunday with two friends,  Suzan Bateson, Executive Director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank; and Faith Kramer of Blog Appetit.  Faith suggested in her blog that the movie theater collect food for the food bank, and the theater obliged by giving free movie posters to anyone who donated.

The movie was was fast-paced, funny, sexy, and the food shots were gorgeous. Merryl Streep was totally believable as Child, and Faith said it was much more fun than reading Julie Powell’s blog. (I didn’t read it, and I don’t think it’s available online now.) I had such a good time that I found myself thinking, “What was all that about, where traditional food writers were jealous of Julie Powell? Can’t we all just get along?”

Connections to a few of the people involved increased my enjoyment. I met the movie’s food stylist Susan Spungen at an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference years ago, when she was the food editor of Martha Stewart Living. We had a hilarious conversation about people who had informational meetings with her to ask how to get her job.  I enjoyed Amanda Hesser’s cameo, particularly because I interviewed her while writing Will Write for Food, and met her for breakfast at Balthazar in New York, where we inhaled a specialty,  chocolate bread. I also interviewed Child’s book editor, Judith Jones.

images-1My agent  suggested in an email that EVERYONE (her caps) will want to be a food blogger now. Wow, I thought. Do they not understand how much work it is, that Powell was already a writer of sorts, and that they’re not going to get the same kind of attention and six-figure advance? Julie Powell started her blog six years ago, had a great hook, and the tie-in to Julia Child was essential to her success. Plus, a food blog was a rare thing then. I read somewhere there are some 45,000 food blogs now.

Will Julie & Julia send foodies dashing to WordPress? Can  a newbie food blog garner the same success as Powell’s, or  Clotilde Dusoulier (Chocolate and Zucchini) or Molly Wizenberg (Orangette)? Is the public still hungry for new blogs on cooking and food? Has fatigue set in for the blog-fueled memoir?

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Jul 262009

Whenever I speak with clients who want to start a food blog, I email them a list to poke through for inspiration. My current favorite is “50 of the World’s Best Food Blogs” from the Times UK online. It’s a terrific jumping off place for  researcTimesh on which food blogs succeed and why. I’ve been over it five or six times, not to mention clicking on other blog links listed on the bloggers’ home pages. Lists like this save me a lot of research time, trying to figure out which blogs work and why, but then I get lost in the blogs for hours. It’s a nice problem to have.

Here are a few more lists to review, all based on awards:

2. imagesAt the Weblog (Bloggies) awards, winner of Best Food Blog for 2009 is Cake Wrecks. It’s not the usual food blog, but photos of cakes that have gone “horribly, hilariously wrong.” I laughed so hard my husband rushed into my office to see what was so funny. It’s not just the photos. Her captions are wicked. Runners up for the 2009 Bloggie award are:

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Last year’s winner, about an LA woman who married a cattle rancher.
  • Bakerella. A cake decorator and baker who loves her baking accessories.
  • Chocolate & Zucchini. If you haven’t read it by now, you’re living in a cave. Great content since 2003.
  • Smitten Kitchen. A regular of the Bloggie awards, who also won runner up for Best Design and Best Photos.

3. The website Apartment Therapy gives awards for food blogs. The site lists the 2008 award winner only: Vegan Explosion, written by a 22-year old from Austin. Runner up: Smitten Kitchen again.

4. I’d love to mention the Well-Fed Network’s 2009 Food Blog award winners, but the website is down. Here’s the list of nominees, courtesy of Serious Eats.

5. Finally, here’s a list from the Blogger’s Choice (09) Awards. Cast your vote for your favorite  finalist, and check out even more food blogs readers adore.

Update 8/14/09: Saveur magazine just launched the world’s longest list of “Sites We Love” based on how many times links to them appear on the site. 11/13/09 Foodbuzz Food Blog awards.

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Jul 122009

imagesI might be in trouble. A friend warned me not to rant on this blog, and I agreed. Now I feel a rant coming on and I can’t stop myself. But just humor me. Wouldn’t this irritate you, if you were a food blogger?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the people who post restaurant reviews on Yelp and Chowhound are food bloggers. So they say in today’s story, about a nasty, unfounded, anonymous tip that appeared on the blog Eater LA, and how “food bloggers” must be held accountable.

The blog on which the offensive item appeared, LA Eater, covers the city’s restaurant, bar, and nightlife scene and relies on tips. There’s even a button on the right that says “Submit a tip.” So back on June 30, some tipster talked smack about the quality of food in a particular restaurant. The editor who reviewed the email should have pressed the Delete key. At the very least, she could have contacted the restaurant for a rebuttal. Instead, she just posted the tip. That’s not blogging, and it’s certainly not journalism. It’s just crap. An apology to the restaurant and readers now appears below the post.

Now, according to the Times, food bloggers need to smarten up. “…As the truism goes,” says the story, ” with great power comes great responsibility. If the Internet has helped democratize discussion and critique, requiring traditional print publications to be more transparent and responsive, then bloggers who comment on or work in opposition to the mainstream media have become its de facto watchmen. What, if any, standards should food bloggers be held to?”

Um, hello? Who are they talking about? First, most food bloggers don’t “work in opposition to the mainstream media.” They provide an alternative. Second, most food bloggers couldn’t care less about commenting on the mainstream media. And third, since when is an anonymous tipster a food blogger?

So food bloggers, I want to hear from you. Are you in the same category as citizen reviewers on websites like Yelp and Chowhound? If not, what is the difference?

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Jun 192009

Hello food writers,

I’m hoping to create a useful place to read and comment on the world of food writing, whether a blog, feature article, review or tweet (In case you didn’t know, people are writing 140 character recipes now,  and the New York Times calls it the “first great recipe innovation in 200 years”).

Soon you’ll find links to lots of articles and sites on food writing. One of my favorites is the UK Guardian’s Top 50 food blogs list. They’ve also profiled some of the bloggers in  accompanying stories.

In the Blogroll you’ll find blogs and websites of some of the best food writers, including friends, students, and  clients.

Maybe you have a favorite topic you’d like to discuss. If so, please leave a comment below and let’s get’er done, as Larry the Cable Guy would say.

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