Last week the New Yorker featured a snarky piece on food bloggers, called So You want to Write a Food Blog. Yes, it’s cute and clever, but wrong.
My main gripe is that the writer — Julia Edelman, a comedy writer and filmmaker, according to LinkedIn –has reduced all food bloggers to goofy incompetents. That’s not right, or fair.
The piece made me want to defend food bloggers, so here are my points:
1. Most food bloggers are hobbyists. Edelman doesn’t seem to know this. She addressed food bloggers directly, saying:
“First off, you should give yourself a pat on the back for quitting that boring paralegal job, forgetting about your student debt, and focussing on yourself.”
Wrong. Most aren’t quitting their jobs to try to make a living from their blogs. They write in their spare time. Isn’t the New Yorker supposed to fact-check stuff like this?
2. Most food bloggers are not professional writers. Yet, Edelman takes them to task:
“..figure out a way to begin your first blog post with a bang. I suggest something ponderous, such as “Why does the sun seem so bright today?” or “What is the real purpose of the little toe—is it just there to be cute?” “Swiss chard: a leafy green for people who can’t find the kale?”
Droll, but wrong-headed. Hobby writers don’t always know what constitutes a good lead. Professional writers, on the other hand, are supposed to know. And when they don’t, editors are there to fix their stories. Most bloggers, however, don’t have the benefit of someone who makes their writing better (like Edelman did). They just press “publish.”
3. Professional food bloggers are business people. At the end of her essay, Edelman writes:
“Congratulations! You made it through your first day as a ‘professional’ food blogger.”
Way off. Professional food bloggers think of themselves as entrepreneurs, and they make great incomes too.
Edelman isn’t alone in bashing food bloggers. Around the same time that the New Yorker essay debuted, a radio host interviewed me about how food bloggers are threatening paid journalists by writing for free. Please! Two more points:
4. Food bloggers do not threaten the jobs of journalists. Today, most food bloggers who desire income start with sponsored posts on their own blogs. This strategy does not affect freelance writers who get paid to write.
5. Newspapers and magazines are unlikely to publish food bloggers. Any writer who thinks bloggers can overtake them in writing for publication is high. Most stories are very formulaic and mostly uninterested in personal stories.
Finally, yes, food bloggers write for free, but many professional writers have written for free as well when they were starting out.
So, now you tell me, should food bloggers be the object of ridicule or fear? Let’s discuss.
(Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Ronald Michael Holden says
The problem, Diane, is twofold. First, many food bloggers aren’t good writers because they aren’t even good thinkers. Stream-of-consciousness gossip doesn’t qualify. Second, many would-be food writers know next-to-nothing about food. Eating three (or more) meals a day doesn’t make you a food expert.
Oh Ronald. You are going in the opposite direction from me, piling on with the bashing.
Dear Mr. Ronald,
With all due respect… and that is subjective mind you, contrary to your opinion food bloggers’ tickers work just fine and MOST do know how to express. Has it ever occurred to you that writers have a certain style? Or, that maybe their post is to up-sale; or to put a certain spin? Or maybe they’re new and should be congratulated for putting themselves out there? You must not be a writer. No writer would be so self absorbed they’d forget what it’s like getting your feet wet. You know… what it was like needing support and positive feedback. Or, how bad a big mouthed ass’ words can hurt.
I’ve been a professional writer since 1997 and a food blogger since 2011. I strongly take offense to your thoughtless comments for all food bloggers and yes, even me. You clearly are narrow minded and judgmental. (Yes, I have stooped to your level. The difference? I put thought into mine.) Those two characteristics you own and wear so well are compelling me to say, “bless your little heart.”
I’m not sure what blogger circles you run in, but you sir are incorrect.
A Canadian Foodie says
Ask yourself, why does a successful food blogger have such a massive following? Surely, not because they are lousy writers and cannot think.
Interesting question. Because people have low standards? Perhaps that is what Edelman thinks.
At first read, I thought Edelman’s article was funny, in a ha-ha-yes-we-do-have-quirks kind of way. Is it possible that the fact that the author isn’t “one of us” makes her point of view more difficult to swallow? Yes indeed, she clearly doesn’t know what makes a food blogger, or where most of us come from. To me though, these mainstream comedic takes on food blogging (which includes Tina Fey’s rendition of a Southern food blogger, a video that was released two days after The New Yorker article) are sure signs that food blogging is becoming “legit”—not just an online pastime to be brushed off as the work of amateurs. We can’t be ignored anymore! Perhaps it’s overly optimistic or naive to see things that way? That said, I’m happy this discussion provides us with another opportunity to set things straight–thanks Dianne for being our relentless advocate!
OMG even more bashing! I didn’t know about this video, which calls someone who reviews B&Bs a “Midwestern food blogger.” Righhht. http://www.eater.com/2015/8/13/9148789/tina-fey-food-blogger
Well, I guess you’re correct, Marie. Food bloggers have stepped into the national consciousness, albeit with crazy ideas.
I cringed when I saw the Tina Fey video. Prior to viewing, I wondered if I was going to see any crumb of truth in it, and I was completely unimpressed and wondered WHO are these food bloggers on which they’re basing this parody!?!?? It couldn’t be further from the truth… and, I like Tina Fey and her sketches!
Different variations and levels of involvement and professionalism exist everywhere, food blogging included. Not everyone is a master recipe writer or a superior photographer, just like not all comedians are actually that funny or even good writers for that matter. Most food bloggers I know, myself included, work hard to do research, have a passion for all things food, and some of us even work hard to market our blogs to make some money while having fun.
I’m in agreement with Marie regarding the exposure food blogging is getting nowadays. Want to make fun of us? Fine. It just means we’re now front and center.
Sorry, gotta get back to reading “Eat, Pray, Love” while working on my Perfectly Organized New Zen-like Undercounter Shelf Abundantly Using Cage-free Eggs.
Aunt Clara says
I thought she was making fun of Angie’s List. Notice her name is very close to Angie, and they look very similar.
Weird skit though, and not remotely funny.
Paula Jacobson says
Dianne, I agree with much of what you say. My concern about food bloggers is that many of them publish recipes. Some of those recipes are original to them; many of those have not been properly edited or tested, so aren’t understandable or just don’t work. Some of the recipes belong to other people; many of those are published without permission or proper crediting. I applaud food bloggers for their creativity and dedication. I implore them to be responsible writers.
Long before there were food bloggers, recipe writers for cookbooks and print publications also co-opted recipes. It just didn’t come to our attention because editors didn’t make these things public, just as journalists didn’t write about JFK’s affairs. Now there are a lot more people doing the same thing food writers did before, so it gets more attention.
Kristel Poole says
Thank you for reminding everyone of this, Dianne. I often bring out the example of my darling boyfriend who, despite his best intentions, thought allrecipes.com was a true, tested recipe collection a la Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. When I walked in on him adding 3 cups of our expensive olive oil to a mere pound of chicken breast as marinade, he thought I had gone mad. It took this for my poor novice to figure out Betty from Burlington could be anyone at all, and he ought to think through the recipes before trying them out, as he would a blog recipe or any other.
I have come across recipes in printed cookbooks that don’t work, too. And isn’t it our choice to read or not read a blog? I published a food blog for a short time and found that it took a great amount of time and effort, so much that I had to stop. I believe that food bloggers–amateurs and professionals–all share the same passion, and we shouldn’t criticize any of them.
That’s a lovely sentiment, that we shouldn’t criticize, but food bloggers are an easy target. Yes, they didn’t invent bad recipes or stealing recipes. It’s just that this kind of writing and behavior is public now and there are lots of food bloggers, so it’s easy to see what’s going on.
Kristel Poole says
And, to that end, most food bloggers don’t have the time or financial resources test kitchens have to test recipes thrice over to catch minor glitches, etc…
A Canadian Foodie says
There are credible and non credible people as well as successful and non successful people in every profession and hobby, no? I suggest this topic has come to the forefront due to the successful community that food bloggers have united throughout the globe with uncanny speed via powerful and authentic personal stories through shared recipes that readers relate to and are edified by. How do you measure success? I see the prolific number of blogs about food – still on the rise – unexpected and surprising, but clearly reveal a community or even a revolution that is gratifying and meaningful to most.
Laura @ Family Spice says
I also didn’t find that NY article to be funny, just rude and condescending. And yes, there are many bloggers out there who write poorly and have bad recipes. But, all it takes is for the reader to have one bad experience and the blogger loses them for good. The rest of us strive and struggle for perfect photos, perfect recipes and perfect stories to boot. How many journalists can do that? Thank you for defending food bloggers. It certainly is tough to get respect from the “professional” food or journalism community.
I guess food bloggers are an easy target because yes, we all agree that there’s lots of crummy writing. But at least for the readers of this blog, we are all striving to do the best job possible.
I really appreciate that you took the time to redress the misconceptions Edelman plays with for the sake of humor (although personally I think the whole ‘food blogger bashing’ theme has grown a bit stale). It’s true that a lot of people who blog are unskilled or even poor writers, just as many people who golf are poor golfers, many who knit really suck at it, and so on. A hobby is by definition an activity carried out by amateurs, not professionals! And then, as Edelman conveniently overlooked, there are some fantastic food blogs out there today, by really talented individuals with impressive writing, photography, and cooking skills, many of whom are making a living at it as well. I also really agree with what Laura says about those of us who strive to produce something great, despite the almost constant derision on the part of the ‘professionals’.
If there is constant derision, that means food bloggers have arrived, Amy! And yes, as you say, most are amateurs, so what they do is not going to be that good, by definition.
I have a few comments. I did not read this New Yorker piece.
#1 while food bloggers are hobbyists and come in a variety of skill levels, a majority of food bloggers aspire to making money off their blog and publishing cookbooks. and do. I have also experienced food bloggers less than polite and even resort to threats and virtual gangs if they feel they are not getting the page visits for some reason. I was shocked.
#2. professional food writers do not have editors on their blogs. it is the one place a food writer gets to be one-on-one with their readership. We even write some nonsensical sentences at times…Cookbooks, newspapers, and magazine articles all have editors.
#3 food bloggers have definitely shifted the amount of paying articles for pro journalists. while most writers all mention they wrote for free in the beginning, who could predict we would end up there as well…since so many bloggers want to write for magazines, they have created this genre of not being paid. The hard core bloggers DO all want to be paid. Most pro food writers with lots of experience I know are very generous with their recipes. Look at Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
#4 & 5 bloggers DO threaten the availability of paying food articles. there are all manner of bloggers writing for magazines and periodicals. and they are very ambitious and competitive, thinking they are now food writers. they are also writing cookbooks with darn good advances, then featured in articles. where have you been dianne?
I have to agree with Ebeth’s points 4 and 5. I have been a freelance food writer for almost 20 years. I started a blog 5 years ago so I could write about food on a more personal level than I was able to in publications. I do see a lot of articles and cookbooks being published by bloggers. Do they take work away from me? Possibly, but I’d like to think they are being published because of their writing skill. However, sometimes I worry they get published because their blogs are popular thanks more to the extra promotion they receive from paid posts than the actual writing. Plus, some of the most popular blogs, which also capture publishers’ attentions, feature recipes that make me cringe. I follow a number of blogs where wonderful writing takes place. Hopefully this is the type of work being rewarded through traditional publication channels.
Hi Beth, to address your points:
1. Most food bloggers are amateurs. We tend to hear from the ones who are striving to become professionals.
2. Yes, not having an editor was a point I made.
3. New writers always shift the amount that writers are paid for articles. They did so before the internet began too. While bloggers submit recipes, very few know how to write in a journalistic style magazines want.
4. I have found that few food bloggers write for magazines. They submit recipes and sometimes they are profiled, but it’s news to me.
Re cookbooks, some bloggers get huge advances, but they are the minority. I’ve spoken to lots of others who are happy to take $2000-$5000.
It even goes further Dianne, yesterday #bloggerblackmail was trending on twitter. The story of a food blogger who contacted a bakery to come in to review the place on her blog, she concluded she didn’t get her ‘money’ worth of stuff for the blog post so decided to trash the place on instagram. The bakery then responded to trash the blogger. Guess what, they were both in the wrong, the bakery asked initially for a blog post with ‘follow links’ to boost their SEO – a big no-no for google. And the blogger didn’t stipulate exactly what she wanted in exchange.
That said I am also tired of the food blogger bashing, I’ve come to the point when I often don’t even mention I write a food blog because these days too many people assume you just write a blog to get free stuff, or get invited to events with more free stuff. Sometimes people will tell me, so you actually write real stories, I thought you just wrote about things you get sent. It isn’t all about the working for free anymore, or taking work from journalists. It is mostly about the getting things for free.
I don’t do reviews on the blog, I don’t push food products, I am just happy I have a place on the web where I can write what I want. For me that’s about food history, farming, etc. Sometimes I’m invited to farms to see they operate, I write about that. Not about restaurant reviews or the new yoghurt in town. But many blogs these days are there because they saw an opportunity to get free stuff, they write about how great and how different products are and more do the blog posts don’t have. These are entirely different food blogs. Not like yours, or mine, or many of my blogger friends out there who put a lot of time, love and effort into creating unique valuable content. But we are all categorised under the same title: food bloggers. And I think that one name is causing the problem. There are just different kind of food blogs out there.
Wow Regula, I did not hear about this story about the blogger and the bakery. If you want to write it up for me, I would love to publish it.
I think in the beginning it was all about getting stuff for free, and that still excites many food bloggers. Do you remember how people put photos of their swag bag contents from conferences on their blogs? But also many, like you, were not motivated by that and have moved way past it.
Greg Patent says
So forget about Julia Edelman’s rant and scroll down past it to a brief video of Tartine Bakery’s Chad Robertson chatting about varieties of wheat he uses in bread baking and the importance of fermentation. Notice how wet his doughs are!
Well you’re a baker, so that is what fascinates you. I think his recipe for bread is what — 24 pages long? Too intimidating for a home baker like me.
Bravo, Dianne. In order for something to be funny, there has to be some truth to it, but I just don’t think this NYer writer knows enough for this to resonate. What damage it does, or doesn’t do, is another story I suppose. Food bloggers are a truly diverse lot; that being said, even though I am a food writer with a blog, I even hesitate to call myself a blogger, because of the misconceptions out there. But mostly, I think it’s because my primary orientation is toward earning money as a freelance writer, not as a blogger.
It just adds to the stereotype. At least she didn’t write about demanding free stuff! That would have been even worse.
Yes, I understand that it’s safer to refer to yourself as a freelancer than a food blogger. I would do the same in your position.
I think a core issue, which has been mentioned in different ways by prior commenters, is that there is an extensive breadth of ‘food bloggers’. Some are hobbyists, some are professional, some do restaurant reviews, some only do recipes; of those who do recipes some are sharing long time family favorites, some develop their own, some test the recipes, some do not. It’s a relatively new industry and one that is hard to nail down precisely in one sentence since all food bloggers both don’t do the same thing and are not held to a professional standard as are some other related fields which would lend itself to a broader public comprehension of what a food blogger is/does. Throw in one or two ‘bad bloggers’ as we’ve seen in the news recently, without scruples, and broad stroke generalizations about the hobby/occupation begin to flow. Though I did think some of the snark in the original article was funny, I found most of it off-putting and it felt like a slow news day at the NYT.
In Edelman’s defense, I have read enough bad food blogs to know exactly what she’s talking about — and that is mostly because many amateurs write badly, by default. But even then, I have asked amateurs write and read in my classrooms, and I am often knocked out by the beauty of their words and stories. So yes, while we can generalize, people don’t like being lumped into one negative barrel.
My point was a bit different. Blogs are for the most part personal with no governance. They provide a platform of personal expression and therefore people may write however they wish. Not all bloggers are striving to be ‘good writers’. They should not be judged on that criteria as that does not define blogging. Just as with any author, if someone doesn’t prefer a blogger’s writing style they should not bother reading and find blogs that suit their preferences. It’s a field that does not have a structured set of expectations or ‘rules’ which both allows flexibility as well as inconsistency. I say move on to blogs you like and don’t waste time denigrating those you don’t.
Aunt Clara says
Not all professional writers, are good at it. There are some best-selling authors who have written really lousy books (I am sure you can think of a couple).
Do we lump E. L. James with Shakespeare then?
True. Most hobby writers can’t get published, but they can write e-books and blogs. They just can’t expect to become the next Pioneer Woman if they have no desire to increase their skill level.
thank you so much for this article. I am a food blogger, although not of late, because I felt no one was really responding to what I had to say. I felt shallow and unappreciated. I know people love my food and I have had feed back on the recipes so I know they work. I am a responsible writer and give credit where credit is due but I have seen some very irresponsible writing….recipes where the ingredients or measures are wrong, and I even had one that used my recipe as her own and tried to pass it off as though she had never seen mine. you give me courage to write again and not feeling like I am an inadequate wanna be. thank you!
The inner critic is always present and an article like this feeds feelings of inadequacy. I’m glad you can get past that and keep trying, Pam!
Conor Bofin says
One would have expected higher standards from the New Yorker. I am an Irish food blogger. I do it for fun. I get more traffic than many professional food sites here in Ireland. This is not because I am wonderful (which I am) but because the Internet is only finding its feet. It will continue to search for them while publications such as the New Yorker ponder how they can monetise their content. Sadly, many seem to be looking backwards at their print editions and wondering how to make it work online. Having a pop at the likes of me might make the writer feel good about herself but it won’t solve the huge issues facing journalists, their editors and investors in media organisations.
Still, a cheap laugh is a cheap laugh.
Hello from California, Conor, and thanks for this sensible comment. Publications have huge backlogs of stories, so they can put them all online and try to make money from ads around them, but as you say, whether they will still comes down to high traffic. I too have garnered more views than subscribers to past publications I edited, which feels a little strange.
As for professional journalists, it is a difficult way to make a living. It always has been. Bloggers are nibbling at their toes, apparently. But before bloggers, new writers were nibbling too. In my 20s, editors gave me huge responsibilities. I was an inexpensive hire awith no idea that I was any good. And that was in the 1970s! Plus ca la change…
Conor Bofin says
I should mention that I get great joy from blogging. I know people all over the world through the blog. Some have visited us in Ireland as a result and I have been to different countries to meet, cook and connive with my now friends. It’s not all about stealing the hard pressed journalists’ lunch. On a serious note, so many food journalists are just lazy regurgitators of press releases. I am on lots of PRs lists and get the releases through. So often, I then see the material published, almost verbatim, in print. If that is the standard, they need to realise that they don’t deserve the title ‘Journalist’.
I’m glad I got that off my chest!
Me too. I love that I get to meet people from all over the world. Sorry to have missed you in Ireland, Conor. Re press releases, regurgitating them can be an editorial decision too, when they don’t have a budget for writers.
Lately I’ve noticed there is a trend to bash food bloggers and it is of course easy to generalize. I’ve also read the piece on twitter #bloggerblackmail. The problem is there are too many food blogs and not everything that is put out there is worth reading. Every blogger has its own motivations and goals. Some have a commercial aim in sight and work hard towards that goal. Some don’t care about that and just enjoy writing. There are also the ones who just steal others ideas and try to pass it as their own. I can only speak for myself, I’ve been a traveller for so many years that I felt it was time to write about what I’ve lived and saw and tasted. Some of the places due to war and conflicts are no longer safe to visit and I’m grateful I got to experience them. Writing is also very therapeutical for me. I think generalizations, funny or not are just that and should not be taken seriously.
Aww, well if I didn’t take the generalizations seriously, there would have been no blog post here, Maria. But I do like your point about all the different reasons people choose to blog about food. I’m sure there are even more. Some are, as you say, not so ethical. I do address this subject of stealing recipes often and I find people are often simply clueless and not malicious.
I agree with Regula.
Not all blogs are alike and not all bloggers have the same talents. That also goes for food photographers, professional writers, and wine enthusiasts.
My blog is a labour of love. I bake or cook the recipe, then I style and photograph it, and then I write a story with a tie to the dish. Every post is a 2-3 day journey.
I don’t write for money of fame. If I did, I would be very disappointed.
I write because I love food and travel. I write because I want to share my stories.
That does not make me a hack.
No it definitely does not make you a hack to write for the pleasure of sharing your stories, Peggy. A hack is typically a professional who takes any kind of work for pay and doesn’t do it well.
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free says
I find the whole thing quite funny. Since when is it wrong for a mom to publish her favorite recipes online to share with all – even if she doesn’t write a punchy intro? And what makes a food blogger who’s earning well into the 6 figures per year any less of an intelligent business person than an accomplished writer? “Food bloggers”, as it is all lumped together, range vastly in this spectrum, and I don’t really get the petty bashing as if all should conform to one single standard. It sounds to me as if Ms. Edelman is a little jealous of the autonomy people have on the internet!
Yeah! What she said! ha ha… loved your comment, Alisa!
Good that you have a sense of humor, Alisa. I am apparently missing mine on this one. I’m not sure if Edelman is jealous, but there are plenty of food bloggers who are doing much better than she is. I suspect it’s more that bad food blogging is everywhere, and an easy target.
Kristel Poole says
It’s like saying a basketball player who only made it through the NCAA shouldn’t be called a basketball player because he didn’t go pro. Are only NBA players basketball players or do many people enjoy playing basketball as a hobby? I bet Nike’s investors would be pretty upset if we were too snooty to allow hobbyists, amateurs and enthusiasts to play and coach basketball leagues around the country… Just like with everything else in this world, some people will be good at the thing we do, and others will not.
That said, I was an editor for a corporate food blog, and you’d be amazed at some of the things I was sent. Bloggers being paid for their work should always be sure to double-check their copy (because I shouldn’t have to add basic punctuation for you) and include everything agreed upon in the contract (like the actual recipe)…
Kristel, that’s an interesting comparison. However, people who play basketball as a hobby probably aren’t as visible as food bloggers who are also using social media to up their page views, going to conferences, photographing food in restaurants etc.
Re being an editor, yes, I have received pathetic work from supposedly professional writers too.
Thank you for posting this Dianne – you thoroughly rock.
Hah! Thanks for saying so, Alanna — although I bet many food bloggers had similar thoughts.
Susan cooper says
Hi Diane, thanks for sticking up for food bloggers everywhere. I don’t think this woman could have been more off base or down right delusional. Like you said, you would think she would do some fact checking before just putting that out there. Geez.
Or the New Yorker would do some fact checking, right? These big magazines have departments. Thanks Susan.
Nicola Miller of The Millers Tale says
The NY piece was downright spiteful. To that end, it has little merit for me.
Well, in the writer’s defense, there are lots of badly written blogs and it was her job to make fun of them. She does have a point. My point was mostly about the disinformation.
MD Smith says
It is easy to write snarky, mean-spirited jabs in the thin guise of humor. Bullying behavior is easier than being gentle, kind, and sharing. Many food bloggers are amateurs, some work very hard honing their writing, cookery, and photography skills, and still others strive to meet their personal goals by “monetizing” their blogs. Who among us is fit to judge any of us? Huh?
I challenge Julia Edelman to come to London next month, and meet real, live food bloggers. Listen to their stories, their dreams, and the efforts they put into making the world a better place, one bite, one word, one glorious photo at a time. Then take a bite of humble pie and write another column.
Hah! We’ll see if she takes you up on that, Laura (I have purposely not linked to her, so I don’t even know if she read this). I like your attitude.
June Molloy Vladička says
Hmm… I see some truths (and a bit of the humour!) in her piece, but it’s a huge over-generalisation. For every awful food blog I’ve read I’ve found at least two others that were worth visiting. Many bloggers take great care when developing and photographing their recipes. I test all my recipes thoroughly before I publish them and put a lot of time into ensuring the instructions are clear and concise. I spend hours and hours on my photos to get them as beautiful as my skills allow. I must be doing something wrong, though – I’ve never been offered any free stuff. That said, if I had a dollar for every time I was sent an infographic that “might be of interest to my readers”, allowing me publish and asking only that I link back to the author’s site, then I would be a wealthy woman. I don’t write my blog for money – I write it because I love food, I love writing, I love taking photos and I love engaging with like-minded people. I would be delighted if my blog took me further – to publish in a magazine or to write a book. But that’s a dream, and you don’t need to be a food blogger to have those.
Lovely, June. This is where hobby bloggers aspire to be, and it’s supportive note to them all.
Sharon | Cheesy Pennies says
Great comment on a thoughtful post. I thought the New Yorker article was a cheap shot at some shallow stereotypes about food blogging, incorrect though they may be. I do feel, however, that there is a grain of truth in the idea that one can almost generalize what a new food blog will be like these days. Yes, there are many being curated by thoughtful people with interesting and creative things to say, but there seem to be a slew of others following madly down the path of gushing posts about quinoa and lushly photographed cakes without frosting on the sides. For each successful pioneer in our field, most of whom started off as hobbyists, there are imitators galore springing forth all the time with dollar signs on their brains. It all comes back to the motivation for blogging, a topic you’ve covered here wonderfully before. It would have been a far better, and more useful exercise, for the author of that piece to have considered, “So, WHY do you want to be a food blogger…”
Hi Dianne, I agree with some of what you say and I have enormous respect for your views. However, I do feel there is an over prolific group of food bloggers out there, some of whom are incredibly successful and who’s writing and recipes, are not great. I’m not talking about the Heidi Swansons and David Lebovitz’s of this world, but the ones who have had book deals based on the huge numbers of followers they have on their blogs, facebook, twitter etc. I’m talking about the ones who start ever sentence with ‘Awesome’ and who’s idea of a new recipe is putting some chickpeas in a blender and adding cumin. I’m also talking about the ones who encourage others to follow their bizarre diets and have no qualms about bigging up their health issues and telling us how they self cured on a diet of kale and almonds. I’ll admit, there are some jealousy issues here, It used to be that getting a book published was difficult but if you had talent and persevered you might eventually succeed. Now it’s a question of how many followers you’ve got. If you’ve got enough, then a publisher is keen to talk to you. If you don’t, then the probability of getting a book deal is zero. Of course sometimes it is about talent, but it seems that is less of a requirement. So, I think bringing attention to the food blogging community and having a little dig is not such a bad thing. For the talented and honest ones, they will survive this and will realise this isn’t about them. For the phonies, quacks and recipe stealers of which there are many, I think it’s good that they are being parodied and ridiculed for what they do. It’s a harsh statement, but I think it is time to burst the bubble and bring some hard truths to the forefront.
I don’t mind bringing up hard truths, but I didn’t think there were any in that article, Adriana. I found it inaccurate. You’ve brought up some good points. The bottom line is that getting known as a writer has changed, and we have to change with it. That doesn’t mean we should condone inferior food writing — Edelman certainly pointed out lots of that.
Sally - My Custard Pie says
This reminds me yet again not to believe everything I read especially if written in a satirical vein. A few years ago there was an excoriating review of a visit to Dubai by a famous writer. I had enjoyed his very witty writing in the past but when he expounded on a topic I knew a lot about I realised how shallow and badly researched it was. When people are successful it’s easy pickings to try to knock them down. Bravo Dianne and more power to the elbow of food bloggers – hobbyists or income-earners.
Hah! Thanks Sally. Obviously, this writer did not visit your blog. Food bloggers who write well, professionally and responsibly were not on her horizon.
Honestly, I didn’t take this ‘story’ seriously at all. It came across to me as clickbait – something written for the traffic, because the writer knew it was a topic that would be widely shared. And she was right!
I think the blogger was getting trashed in social media and felt the need to defend herself. I suppose it’s click bait but she did herself in by trying to explain her motivations.
The world is changing. The traditional foundations are shaking. Get on board ! We want what we want. And learn/read from sources that appeal to us. Happy to be the part of it all.
Yes indeed, and we’re all trying to keep up! That’s the hard part.