There a million blogs out there in cyberspace, each with its own focus, varying level of quality and amount of work put into it. Anyone can slap one together thanks to WordPress or Blogger and a seemingly limitless supply of free templates out there. While I admire most anyone with a passion and a panache for writing, there are some of the things that drive me up a wall when it comes to general foodie blogs…
The hoity-toity food porn pics
Looks great! What the hell is it?
Too many foodie bloggers have succumb to the trend of posting up artsy-fartsy “food porn” pics. These photographs showcase dishes that looked like they took about an hour-and-a-half to put together using fragile tools one would only use when performing open-heart surgery on a honeybee. Yes, they’re impressive to gaze upon. But the problem for me is that a multitude of these decorative excesses don’t look real, and therefore don’t hit that all-important “stomach growling nerve” that makes me internally scream “WANT!”
I’d rather turn my eyes towards something I could sink my teeth into; give me something juicy, messy, luscious, saucy, hefty, and meaty… I don’t necessarily have to see a 5,000-calorie pig-out extravaganza that will require a triple-bypass once I’m done scarfing it down; but visual appeal to me equates to real, obtainable feasts, and not something that looks like half the components where bought at an arts and crafts store.
Too much breadth
I admire what general food blogs like Serious Eats or Slashfood (the later now owned by the HuffPost) are trying to do with their wide range of gastronomical coverage. There are dozens upon dozens of other multi-author online destinations, including some ones with roots squarely planted in spicy food, that try to have “something for everybody”. These websites can feature a whole wide world of culinary styles, methods and stories that can open eyes to those shuttered up with only a knowledge of McDonald’s, Busch Beer and Hunt’s BBQ Sauce.
Honestly, the majority of these types of blog posts and write-ups are flat-out snooze-fests. I couldn’t care less about how to bake Japanese wedding cakes, 100 uses for beet juice, the top 7 street food vendors in Boise, Idaho or how the inner thigh bones of the rare West African tree frogs are used to make flavorful soup stock for local residents. How about something I can relate to?
Thankfully, dozens of blogs cover the down-to-earth but still mind-expanding coverage I crave. They provide real, bedrock-solid expertise and insight. They dish out enlightening how-to’s, kitchen and outdoor cooking tips and tricks and alternate ways of blazin’ some lunch or dinner vittles up. I love sites that can provide me some valuable and missing “puzzle pieces” that allow me to put together a more expansive food mosaic without having to wade through a flood of fluff pieces that they create in hopes to be as “exotic” as possible.
When they don’t use common, everyday ingredients in recipes
The way you use freshly-caught squid, apricot extract, a cup of Frangelico, pomegranate molasses and eye of newt on your blog impresses me, but really? I don’t want to spend $75 and hunt all over the city for exotic ingredients just for an everyday weeknight meal. How about creating a unique but delicious recipe employing food that’s found in 80-90% of all U.S. households? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking for a pedestrian dish that uses only white bread, ketchup, salt and milk. However, how’s about a rundown of foods that are a little more commonplace, okay?
The endless flood of recipes
Help! I’m drowning!
Here’s where some of you may strongly disagree with me. I think foodie sites (and foodie magazines, for that matter, hint hint) contain FAR too many recipes. To me, it’s a crutch that both legitimate chefs, wanna-be cooks and general food fanatics use when they lack good, substantial, instructional material. I loathe skimming through a print publication or a blog and seeing mindless recipes filling more than half the available space.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking recipes. I think they can be great and I’ve occasionally put them on this site. Every once in a while I will need a quick recipe in a pinch and a recipe site has saved the day.
Yet if I had my druthers, I’d druther see more bite-size nuggets of raw instructional exercises on foodie blogs. Show us how to make the key components for various sauces, dips, marinades and crusts & breads. That way we can stack these building blocks together to create a meal that is truly awesome and something we can honestly call uniquely ours. A musical analogy would be as follows…instead of teaching us how to play one song on a guitar, how about laying out the specifics on how to play chords, scales and picking techniques? With that foundation of musical knowledge under our belt, we can be better equipped to become more rounded musicians overall and be able to figure out how to play more songs ourselves.
Their sites are rarely fun
Seriously, lose the snobbery, people. There’s an expected level of professional most readers would expect, but please make it interesting, fun and engaging! Most of all, make your style accessible to all. Put a smile on my face as well as keeping the brain muscles chuggin’ along.