Once again, I will be giving another tip in my ongoing, yet to be determined what number of parts it will be series on blog writing tips. This will be the fourth part of the ongoing, yet to be determined what number of parts it will be series on blog writing tips. Today’s part will focus on a special niche in the blog world – food blogs.
There are several different types of food blogs. There is the Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am” food blog. This is an easy food blog to write. It is just a recipe with a picture or two of what the completed recipe should look like if you had the exact same kind of bowl or platter and background and lighting. You should probably stress that unless your reader has the same kind of bowl or platter and background and lighting, their attempt at approximating your recipe is a recipe for disaster. WIth that kind of disclaimer, they will know they are the only ones to blame when they cannot replicate the overly complicated recipe from Sunset magazine that you are calling your own while hoping no one else reads both your blog and Sunset magazine. Of course, some food bloggers will happily tell you that they are using a recipe from Sunset magazine but they replaced the 1/2 pound of saffron the recipe called for with a little yellow food coloring thus making it their own.
The other kind of food blog is even easier than the Joe Friday food blog, but it is not without its problems. You simply take a picture of the bowl of half eaten chili you had for lunch with the little bag of oyster crackers sitting next to it and post it with the riveting caption of “What I had for lunch.” Congratulations you are now the author of the My Food Blog Resembles My Facebook Page Because I SImply Copied My Latest Facebook Status Update On What I Had For Lunch blog. The problem with this blog is not that your reader, or viewer, because let’s be honest, there really isn’t that much to read in your blog, is wondering whether oyster crackers got their name because they taste like oysters or because their shape resembles oyster shells, but not really. No, the real problem is that people who like this sort of Facebook status update about what you had for lunch blog have the attention spans of gnats and you were hoping to attract followers that have the attention spans of fruit flies. You are going to have to try a little harder.
This brings us to the most popular type of food blog. This blog blends the blog writer’s personal life that is peppered with amusing anecdotes that are always the perfect accompaniment to their recipes of delicious, rich food that appear to be photographed by some artsy food photographer but then you find out that they are also the artsy food photographer and you begin to question if you, too, can be the food blogger of your food blogging dreams because your serving dishes are made of paper and you have a cheap camera phone. And the answer to the gut wrenching destiny question is probably, but it depends on how believable you appear to be.
If you are a rather large, jolly person, you will be believed more as a food blogger than a super skinny food blogger so if you are a large, jolly person, be sure to post a picture of you being large and jolly so we know you know what you are talking about. If you are a super skinny food blogger and you post a picture of your super skinny self, no one will believe you ever sample those hot crossed, honey bunned, chocolate fudge covered bacon coffee cakes you are always coming up with recipes for. In much the same way that there are no atheists at a church covered dish dinner, there are no believable super skinny food bloggers.
Now that you have decided what kind of food blogger you want to be, it is time to squeeze your first food post into the incredibly crowded food blogging niche. But you know you will be able to squeeze in because you don’t take up that much space due to the fact that you are small. Not super skinny small because that would make you unbelievable, but not the largest and jolliest, either. No, you are somewhere in between. And because you are on the in-between side, you know you will be able to squeeze in because there is always room for the in-between in the in-between area.
Now we are at the point in the tip, but not the point on the tip, or even the point of the tip, where I give an example of this folksy-let-me-share-intimate-details-of-my-life then cap it off with a recipe for cooking nirvana blog post. This may be based on true-ish events if you believe that alternate universes exist, or completely made up if you do not believe the alternate universal theory, but as for me and much as Mickey Dolenz sang way back when, “I’m a believer!”
In the alternate universal theory that is, not in your chances of having a successful food blog that ends up being awarded a cookbook contract. At first you are happy with this turn of events, and then you realize that the cookbook you will be writing needs to be 150 pages long and you only know how to make three things and only one of them ever gets compliments. Then your joy turns to despair because you realize you aren’t cut out to be a food blogger, and you already spent the large advance. But then you remember reading a blog writing tip about stealing ideas from other people so you start to relax and you realize you are the next food blog star and you laugh on the inside but keep a straight face on the outside because cocky doesn’t always play well with others. (This paragraph isn’t part of the example, but the next sentence is.)
Last night, as I donned my purple rubber gloves that I needed to avoid being burned by scalding hot water to clean my expensive stainless steel pan, (I know my quality cookware), Jason walked into the kitchen.
Jason: Babe, are you part of the hazmat team? Those gloves look like something out of a sci-fi movie. Seriously, they go past your elbows.
Me: The water is very hot. Look at the steam coming off of it.
Jason: Well, just be careful. And, Babe, dinner was great. Thanks!
And since I was in an alternate universe where a very buff Jason was calling me Babe and thanking me for dinner, I thought back on the tantalizing dish I recreated based solely on my memory of a tasty little meal I had at a little Greek restaurant I dined at as a young woman all alone in the big city even though I was only visiting the city, I never moved there.
It was this delightful dish of shrimp nestled in a tomatoey sauce with basil and feta. I’m sure it had some kind of name on the menu. Maybe a Greek word because it was and I believe it still is a Greek restaurant. I will refer to it as Shrimp in a Tomatoey Sauce with Basil and Feta except I didn’t have any fresh basil so I left it out.
I’m not much for measuring ingredients and measuring involves math and while I don’t mind occasionally talking the math talk, I don’t want to dabble too deeply in the math world so I just estimate and I’m sure you can, too. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but every now and then a very buff Jason will call you Babe and thank you for a great dinner and that would never happen in any universe if you had never taken a chance.
So heat up a little coconut oil (I use this because I read somewhere I can’t remember where that it is supposed to help your memory and while I can’t remember if my memory needs help, it can’t hurt) and butter, but you can use olive oil and butter. The butter is key because as anyone who has watched a FoodTV show can attest, “Everything tastes better with butter.” Once that is hot, not too hot, but medium hot which is achieved with medium heat, add some sliced onions. How much depends on how many people you need to feed and how much you want each person to get which involves math so I’ll leave that to you.
Then after a bit, add some minced garlic. Oh and you should have added a bit of black pepper to the onions as they are sweating which is cookery talk, but if you didn’t because you didn’t see that coming, you can add it now. And a little crushed red pepper flakes. How little depends on just how spicy you like to get. The very buff Jason and I like it spicy so I add quite a bit.
Then I add a can (not the giant can but the medium sized can) of diced tomatoes with onion, garlic and basil. You don’t have to use this kind of diced tomatoes, you can use any kind you like but it may not taste like mine if you use different tomatoes. The beauty of these tomatoes is you won’t miss the fresh basil unless you’re a real foodie, but if you’re a real foodie, not much pleases you. It has always been done and been done better. I’m glad I don’t live in that alternate universe. Then I sprinkle a little chili powder in because I’m having spicy thoughts about the very buff Jason.
Now it’s time to nestle the shrimp in the tomatoey sauce. If you didn’t buy peeled, deveined shrimp on sale like I did, you may need to shell and devein those puppies, and by puppies I mean shrimp, before you do any nestling. But once they are nestled you put a lid on it. It, being the pan and not my spicy thoughts concerning the very buff Jason. Just before the shrimp are done, add the crumbled feta and the fresh basil if you have any that you have artfully chiffonaded which is a French cookery term. I was going to show you how to chiffonade but I don’t have any fresh basil so you’re on you own there, but I’m sure you can look it up. Just not here.
Once the Shrimp in Tomatoey Sauce with Basil and Feta except I didn’t have any fresh basil so I left it out is done, it is time to get naked and use your hands to feed each other spicy tomatoey saucy shrimp. At least, that’s how the very buff Jason and I eat our spicy shrimp. It keeps our relationship spicy and everyone knows a little spice is nice.
So that’s how you do a food blog. Of course, you will want to include a picture. Sadly, I have very loose rules, guidelines really, about putting naked pictures of the very buff Jason online and while happily for us we devoured each other and all of the shrimp, sadly for you there were only a few tell tale signs of a tomatoey sauce and the shrimp tails in the bowl and I didn’t think that would make a good artsy photo. So instead I’ll leave you with a picture of my kitchen sink once the hazmat team vacated the premises.