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Overrated Food Blogs?

Have to admit that I'm kind of new to the food blog scene since I just started reading them regularly in 2008. Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my observations:

*Some of the famous food blogs seem to attract attention with their big, blown-up photographs. Upon closer examination, the bloggers don't know that much about food or how to cook well. They're just good at photography and maybe blog design.

*Some famous bloggers copy recipes word for word from other sites then say the recipes have been "adapted" from other sources. No. Lifting texts verbatim is not adaptation.

*Some really good cooks suck at writing and/or photography which is a shame. Their talents would have gotten more attention had they cared to take better pictures or invest in sprucing up their sites.

*Some famous, award-winning cookbooks authors are hopelessly bad at blogging. Makes you wonder how much work other people put into their award-winning books now that you see how bad they are when writing unaided.

*Some of the famous food blogs don't really have much to offer in terms of substance and the only reason for their fame which I can think of is that they started early when the competition for attention wasn't so fierce. These early bloggers seem kind of cliquish, too. It's almost like they've banded together to secure their positions at the top.

*Some food bloggers write very well, but don't seem to want to promote themselves. Sadly, they remain in obscurity and will perhaps remain there until food blogging dies off (will it?).

*Some travel/journalistic/documentary food blogs are devoid of substance and evidence of any real knowledge about different cultures and their cuisines; they just know how to take good pictures of Third World street kids in dirty clothes eating something exotic looking.

Not trying to be negative here. Just making some observations. Having observed these things, I'm glad I didn't take my girlfriend's suggestion that I start a food blog! You can find great food blogs that are underrated in other Chow threads where people recommend blogs you've never heard of. But so far I have yet to hear anyone talk about overrated blogs. In my opinion, without naming names, there are quite a few.

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  1. I stopped reading TAG years ago -- what a self-involved jerk. And you're right: He couldn't cook his way out of a paper bag.

    1. At least Amateur Gourmet is smart enough to know he can't produce a book with any culinary value on his own. If I'm not mistaken, his new book will be about him learning how to cook with famous chefs around the country. It sucks that after all this time, the Amateur Gourmet hasn't moved beyond the amateur stage, but I'm glad he's smart enough to recognize that and is now using other people's talents to promote himself. In terms of marketing, this is waaaaaaay smarter than some bloggers whose popularity might have caused them to overestimate their ability to create good contents and sell them in book form. Here's one very, very tragic example: http://amzn.to/9lJ0zs

      Amateur Gourmet is an example of how you can market yourself as a culinary (sort of) celebrity in the absence of real culinary talents or know-how. At this point, why waste time honing any real cooking skills? His blog sells. His next book may very well sell, too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Jay2512

        Haha, Jay2512. Thanks for the laugh. "The Foodie Handbook" is a perfect example of unadulterated hubris. I laughed my way through the book. I also cried, because I am closely related to a bunch of people who are just as bad. Note to self: do not procreate.

        Strangely, I like a lot of the female bloggers from Singapore, because many of them apparently have nothing better to do than use daddy's credit card to buy expensive camera equipment and travel to Europe for all the latest in muffin papers, chocolate tablets, or whatnot. As repelled as I am when dealing with them in person, I love checking out all the junk they buy with someone else's money.

        1. re: choctastic

          "Do not procreate." LOL I have a hard time thinking someone who can see through such vanity and haughtiness belongs in the same group as those people. Go, therefore, and procreate.

          I don't hate that blog, but I don't see anything special about it either. I don't read it mostly because the writing tone can be a little condescending and because I don't learn anything of substance from that blog. I don't get why chezpim is so popular. People have different tastes, I guess.

          1. re: Jay2512

            The blog isn't bad, but there are many better ones. This was one of the earlier popular blogs in the SF Bay Area, and, as mentioned, she is good at self-promotion, which is why I think it became so popular for a while. Also the recipes work for the most part, but that's because they're mostly well-worn classics that have been very slightly reworded or slightly tweaked (matcha madeleines, for example). Makes me appreciate people like Kenji Lopez-Alt all the more.

            But that book is so laughably bad and so revealing of the author's personal faults that I actually felt bad for her. The only other food book in recent memory that is so self-aggrandizing is the "The Chocolate Connoisseur" by Chloe Doutre-Roussel. Don't buy it, just find it at the library.

            1. re: choctastic

              One of the Amazon reviews on "The Chocolate Connoisseur" by Chloe Doutre-Roussel says, "I believe the author is probably a high functioning autistic."

              WTF? Also, ouch.

      2. Hundreds of food bloggers have book deals, radio and tv spots, have become conference speakers, etc. I don't blame anyone for taking a deal to make a living. No one is forced to buy it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          From the way things look, I'm interested in buying the Amateur Gourmet's new book. But that's based on the contributions from his quest chefs, not anything he has to offer.

        2. It really annoys me when bloggers judge other peoples food yet they can't even boil water... How can you be so into food and not want to or know how to cook!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: SDGourmand

            Could you cite a food blogger guilty of this SDG. I can't imagine why anyone would run a food blog and not like to cook....unless you're citing the onslaught of anti-food bloggers who enjoy mocking and highlighting the less than edible or the over the top food products out there....

            1. re: HillJ

              I notice a bloggers inexperience with actual cooking when it comes to negative reviews about a dish or restaurant. They don't give examples or opinions on how the dish could be improved, they just state what they didn't like about it. Which is probably why most of the blogs come across as more of PR for the restaurant than an actual restaurant review.

              My previous comment comes from bloggers who I have met, that said they never cook at home. I found this shocking and it made me question there knowledge of food.

          2. I'm looking forward to see how folks weigh in on this. I'm VERY new to reading food blogs (just started less than a month ago). The thing that I've found really surprising is, as you say, how folks just copy a recipe verbatim from another source. I've seen a lot that haven't even bothered to make modifications.

            My understanding of copyright law as it pertains to recipes is very limited but I did think that the recipe method could be copyright protected and should not be duplicated without the express permission of the author/intellectual property owner.

            I've looked on the sites to see if there is a notation such as "copied with permission of..." but so far, haven't seen anything. These are well known blogs that I found by folks recommending them here on Chowhound.

            If there's someone out there that knows more about copyright, I'd love to hear about it.

            The thing that's impressed me most at this point is the photography on some sites. As you point out, some sites have exceptional photographs that are so enticing. It's a shame to hear that in some cases, the food writing/content doesn't do the photography justice.

            Great thread!

            44 Replies
            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Breadcrumbs, I've noticed that more and more bloggers have taken to reprinting recipes verbatim or almost verbatim from other sources. Some link to the original sources; some don't. However, as far as I know, you can't even reprint something without the author's or the publisher's permission with or without attribution.

              It could be because they see how famous food bloggers have done it before and nobody seems to care.

              Now, tell me if these examples represent "adaptation"? Given the popularity of the blog, I'm sure the original sources see it more as a favor than a transgression. Also, there might be some kind of undisclosed agreement between the blogger and the sources. ??? I don't know. All I know is that if I had a blog and someone else reprinted my recipe word for word in this manner saying it was an adaptation, I would be pissed, not flattered.

              http://tinyurl.com/5tn3cr vs. http://tinyurl.com/2epbgh9
              http://tinyurl.com/6kpq6n vs. http://tinyurl.com/24yovu2
              http://tinyurl.com/d2jfah vs. http://tinyurl.com/2azrzd6
              http://tinyurl.com/2ckcyb4 vs. http://tinyurl.com/24u5adu

              I don't know much about copyright laws, but I don't think these qualify as adaptations. I am not saying that the blogger has committed plagiarism as she may have deals with all of these publications and companies to reprint their recipes in entirety which we may not know about. However, in such cases, I would think something like "reprinted with permission by such and such" would have been appropriate. Am I wrong?

              Also, in terms of etiquette, since the contents are already out there, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to provide links to the recipes instead of copying texts from one site and slapping them on another? If I'm missing something, please do educate me.

              1. re: Jay2512

                By way of this example,
                Onion Tart with Mustard is an adapted Gourmet recipe, cited by SK and shared w/readers
                Gourmet mag printed the recipe for their readers in 2008. Did Gourmet adapt the recipe from an original source? Did they cite their source in the mag?
                Onion Tart with Mustard is a reprinted recipe on the Epi site. Did they cite their source?

                Then several questions come to mind. Who actually owns the recipe? The important information is how recipes acquire original status, what part of a recipe is copywritten or if ownership based on a list of ingredients and a prep method are in fact copywritable. Did Gourmet write the recipe and/or test out the recipe in the kitchens prior to publication? Same for Epi? What is the origin of a recipe called onion tart with mustard and how far back does it go? Does adding say, two add'l ingredients create a new onion tart w/mustard recipe or one that has been adapted and shared with others?

                All valid considerations.

                1. re: HillJ

                  Great point and I agree with the notion that at the end of the day nobody can claim ownership of any recipes. What I think is a head scratcher in this case is why SK didn't simply link to the literature that had already existed. Citing is not the same as reprinting. I don't see this as citing; I see this as reprinting. As for whether or not it was done with permission, I don't know. If permission has indeed been sought and granted, then, as I said in my last comment, the logical thing to do would have been to say "reprinted with permission by XXX" as done in academic works and professional media. Calling it "adaptation" implies something else that, to my untrained eye, isn't done here.

                  Also, from what I understand, even though a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, the instructions are copyrightable. They constitute literature. So even if Gourmet, Bon Appetit, or William Sonoma may have gotten these recipes from other sources, once they have adapted and rewritten them using their own words, these pieces of literature become theirs. And the pertinent question in this case, in my opinion, would be whether it is right to lift texts word for word not who ultimately owns the ur-recipes as that is irrelevant.

                  If I write recipes and put them online, I would want people to link to my site instead of putting my words verbatim on their own site and say they have "adapted" from my recipes. I'm trying to think of one good and ethical reason why people would reprint verbatim something that's available online instead of directing their audience to the source? Nothing comes to mind. Am I wrong in thinking this?

                  1. re: Jay2512

                    Wrong, no. It's interesting. Reprinting original work can imply the simple act of copy & paste; adapting is used to imply actually changing up the recipe and presenting it (as SK does page after page for her readers). I'd welcome the actual law and standards regarding these questions you raise but I will say this...a blogger does not have to state what their relationship to the original work is directly on their blog. As long as they have permission in writing from an author or origin source who requires it, filed in a drawer somewhere they are covering the necessary permissions. Only the blogger knows what occurs behind the scenes of their food blog.

                    I do not think who owns the recipe is irrelevant, I think it's very relevant; especially as it applies to reprinting, copyright and commerce.

                    If anyone following along knows the law or can cite a link on this issue, I'd love to learn more.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Three points really quick.
                      1. I don't see evidence of recipes being changed up in the examples cited here (there are many more, I just didn't have time). The source recipes and SK's versions are exactly the same, word for word. No evidence of rewriting as far as I can see. (A short blurb introducing a recipe does not count as rewriting.)

                      2. It is perhaps true that a blogger is not obligated to disclose the relationship with the sources. In fact, I'm giving SK the benefit of a doubt. But then without the clarity that would have come with something so simple and straightforward as "reprinted with permission," I wouldn't be surprised if there are bloggers out there who think it's okay to copy contents from another source, any source, and paste them on their own site then call that an adaptation.

                      3. The question of why a duplicate and not a link has not been answered.

                      Look forward too to hearing from those who know the laws. I have to state that my intention is not to call people out but to get some clarification on what's legal and what's not. Also, something completely legal can be totally uncool. A site with such high visibility and accolade definitely has influence on other bloggers.

                      1. re: Jay2512

                        Another approach Jay2512 is to email the blog owner privately and ask the question. Bloggers take all sorts of questions from their readers and you can reach SK directly via her email posted.

                        You might find this link informative: http://foodblogalliance.com/2009/04/r...

                        Thank you for bringing the discussion forward. I share your interest.

                        1. re: Jay2512

                          Just to piggyback, is it actually illegal to reprint a recipe without citation? It may be sort of rude, (which I agree with), but I think you're clearly within your rights. Some things simply can't be copyrighted, and I believe that recipes are one of those things.
                          Now, the text accompanying the recipe can definitely be copyrighted. That's intellectual property. But I'm not so certain that a recipe falls under that purview.

                          1. re: gilintx

                            A list of ingredients alone is not subject to copyright protection. Substantial literary expression (the instructions) is.

                            http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

                            To get around this, some people have taken to copying the ingredient list word for word and rewrite part of the instructions. Legally, they may be able to get away with this. But there's no denying that there's a douche factor in this kind of practice.

                            In the case of SK, I really don't know what the deal is. Word for word. No rewriting. No evidence of deceit either as the sources are cited.

                            {shrug}

                            1. re: Jay2512

                              Given that SK has a cookbook deal in the works the publisher and their legal team should be quite familiar with her particular blog practice and will guide her as required by law. Until SK actually answers this question, I'm siding on not having enough information to draw conclusions.

                              1. re: Jay2512

                                Thanks for posting this link Jay. Its easy to imagine how complex this issue becomes when materials are posted on-line, crossing multiple global jurisdictions all with varying degrees of, and in some cases, no legal protection for intellectual property.

                                You would hope folks would proceed on the side of caution but, clearly that's not the case.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  The Food Blog Alliance seems to be addressing many of these issues under a new frontier...but it still comes down to food bloggers putting these guidelines into practice. If any legal battles ever make the light of day, I would imagine more people running food blogs would pay attention.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    You're likely right HillJ, look what happened in the music industry.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      Sadly, B, in just about every industry. And the music industry has deep pockets to protect its clients and still ran into major headaches...the average bloke starting out or in biz for himself has a big hurdle.

                                      The entire intellectual property genre is up against a huge global space thanks in part to the ease of the Net....only way to buck against it is to safeguard your work with security software and legal notices....and even then you could find your original work placed in another space....or you don't post your work at all.

                                      Ah the modern age.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Agreed HillJ, between the internet and globalization, we're living in a completely different world. I wonder what's yet to come....

                              2. re: gilintx

                                How many recipes are truly original? If you Google one it will come up on many web sites. If you're worried about it all you have to do is change one thing...example.. 3/4t of salt instead of 1t.....sure won't make a difference in the recipe, but it's all yours!!

                          2. re: Jay2512

                            If I write recipes and put them online, I would want people to link to my site instead of putting my words verbatim on their own site and say they have "adapted" from my recipes.
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            I can respect that and you can take measures to make that clear in plain language but you can also expect to spend every waking hour locating your original recipe on other sites who believe "if it's on the FREE internet, it must be free information to use as I please." I've had two work experiences like this (non-food related). Today, I use setup measures that make my work online impossible to lift without inkmarks and fragments.

                            1. re: Jay2512

                              As someone who writes my own recipes, it would be most annoying for another food blogger (even with atribution and a link) to copy my creation in full on their own page. While food culture is great in that want to share good ideas, the originators should at least be able to count on others to respect the work and creativity put into it enough to refer to the source rather than take from it. Copy and pasters and lazy pseudo-adapters should be called out for inconsiderate behavior when they use other people's work to fill their own pages. Maybe that's just me getting my dander up at the notion of my work being lifted but, whatever the letter of the law, stealing is stealing.

                              1. re: mangetoutoc

                                I don't mean to be confrontational, but could you please post one of your "own" recipes? I rarely come upon a recipe that is not derivative in some way, which is not always a bad thing. Sometimes the addition of an ingredient or the tweaking of a technique can make a huge difference. I'm not sure that such changes equal an original recipe, however.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  Excellent point pikaw.; this debate works both ways. Origin of recipe, true ownership is not as easy as one might think. Plus, blogging by its nature is an individual or individuals journaling about items that interest them, hobbies, collective wisdom, AND original work. Sharing a recipe on a personal blog isn't stealing unless the blogger is outright attributing every aspect of the recipe, procedure, copyright and design to themselves. If one reads a blog you will often see the back story of discovering a recipe elsewhere, buying the ingredients, making the dish with some personal preference tweaks and writing about the experience for their readers. As for the law, hard & fast rules apply to certain aspects of recipe copywrite but not all...and as for sharing information over the Internet...the law is still being written.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I guess stealing is a bit of a strong word, HillJ, but it does (at least karmically) apply in terms of reaping benefit from using someone else's content to entertain one's own readers. I suppose, to me, even if one includes attribution and a link, their readers are not as likely to go to the source if the thing is already posted in full. Certainly, it is not an according-to-Hoyle legal thing, at least yet, but since website owners can benefit from their traffic (via advertising, sponsors, etc) it is a rather shifty thing IMO to lift the reason for the traffic (the content). *heh* Guess that's the webmistress and content producer in me showing. Once I've put time, energy, and budget into creating something to share, I get a bit protective of it.

                                    1. re: mangetoutoc

                                      But is the benefit shared joy with fellow food lovers or for financial gain? I'm not condoning the practice, I'm simply of the belief that recipes of origin are not easy to identify, that readers do not always know what is happening behind the blog-scene as to whether or not permissions have in fact been granted and without proof positive on the "motive" of any given blogger I'm going to side on the positive and believe that food bloggers (or bloggers in general) do not wish harm, do not have bad intent and that the legalees on blogging will continue to form and be shared with layman and pros using blogging as a communication tool. Last I checked, blogging was a phenom in the thousands and I anticipate alot of new frontiers and lessons to come from the popularity. As for bad apples...well then yes, karma of one sort or another, is for those elk to deal w/. I agree, protecting your original work is always a good practice. Keeping original work 100% out of the hands of viral communications entails avoiding the Net altogether and sharing your work in another way..but then that doesn't always stop someone else from sharing their enjoyment of your work with family & friends online. In this day and age, most people can't help but share information they like with others online....so where one draws the line has many answers.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    No worries, pikawicca, no confrontation taken. I utterly agree with your point about most recipes being derivative. There is very little brand new under the food sun earlier cooks haven't though of already. Even the recipes I write are often based on something, usually dishes I've tasted and enjoyed. I think, in the end, the difference is in how I handle it vs some others who use someone else's recipe as a jumping off point. Rather than working off existing recipes (outside of tweaked family recipes, which I sometimes post as well), I simply gather the ingredients I'd like to taste in my version and write down what I throw in the mix as I do it, adding to it if I tinker during the process. In some cases, it's really just another version of the dish, while other times it becomes a virtually completely different thing by time I'm done with it.

                                    I write most of the food portion of the blog at Sex, Food, and Comic Books. My posts are here: http://sexfoodandcomicbooks.com/food/...

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      I have made up my own recipes. I like different things from different cultures and sometimes I mix things and get a good result. I guess that is a quasi derivation. I make a lamb and rice casserole with spinach, onion and cinnamon layered and then topped with a layer of yogurt and baked. I have had lamb and rice baked together and spinach with lamb or rice, but I have never had anything baked with yogurt on it, but I figured I love yogurt made into cheese so I thought - why not! On went the yogurt and 20 years later I am still making it to the clappy excitement of my loved ones.

                                      Now, if I were writing recipes for a living - derivation or fusion or whatever - but my own from my own head and trying to make a living from it and some wiseguy claimed it as his own or as an adaptation when it was actually just stealing... I would be pretty darn pissed. It is someone's livelihood! Food for their own children.

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  Gourmet spent more than a million dollars a year on its test kitchen, flying its many cooks around the world; perfecting and testing recipes to within an inch of their lives. Sometimes the recipes were original, sometimes they were inspired by things the cooks or editors had tasted, but it was never - never! - as simple as copying and pasting. And while, say, a dish like cassoulet may have existed for hundreds of years, Gourmet's cassoulet (even if it isn't the version you like the best) was re-engineered.

                                  There may be few new recipes, but there are new approaches, and the few people who actually write the recipes know.

                                  1. re: condiment

                                    hi condiment. What's happening at Gourmet dot com? Big changes. I don't disagree with the magazine we came to count on...but this is not the current Gourmet now avail. online.

                                  2. re: HillJ

                                    Just one small point. Epicurious is owned by the same company as Gourmet (was) and Bon Appetit is Conde Naste Digital. The have the right to reproduce exactly all the recipes from those magazines because it is a sister organization meant to give their recipes a functional web presence.

                                    1. re: smkit

                                      I understand the connections. I was referring to anyone else who "stops by" the Gourmet site and its many links. Cut & pasting is way to easy at Gourmet dot com. If protecting intellectual property means anything anymore (& it sure does!) why do co's. as smart as Gourmet make their own website so easy to hack?

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Roger that. Sorry for misreading the post.

                                  3. re: Jay2512

                                    I totally agree w you Jay. I would expect folks to post links to the original recipe if it's online vs cutting and pasting it. I note in some cases bloggers don't even bother to fix typos etc. . . . a sure sign of "cut and paste". If folks wanted to use one of my recipes, I would expect them to credit me as the source and, obtain my permission before re-printing it. That clearly seems to be the exception rather than the norm though.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      What do you think of this: http://bit.ly/9IBsEF
                                      Adapted from Gourmet. The only change is the first line of the instructions. If I ever submitted a thesis consisting of another person's idea and writing with only one "differently worded" paragraph or sentence, they'd flunk me for plagiarism.

                                      I blame famous bloggers for setting a bad example for lesser known bloggers. Next thing you know, this will become acceptable. Wait, it already has.

                                      1. re: Jay2512

                                        I'd like to hear what Gourmet publishing thinks of bloggers. A great many are adapting from various Gourmet publications. While this appears like plagiarism, Gourmet.com is also blogging and linking bloggers from various food backgrounds and culinary skills. This is really a bigger question for Gourmet. I would find it difficult to believe that Gourmet is not aware of the blogshere and use of their recipes; original, adapted or hacked.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I'm beginning to feel this way, too. Having incoming links placed on various blogs is definitely an advantage for Gourmet (and other Condé Nast publications) from an SEO stand point.

                                        2. re: Jay2512

                                          I don't disagree with you really, but I don't think there's a generally accepted meaning for "adapted". In fact, if your thesis consisted of *attributed* quotes strung together, I don't believe that would be plagiarism. Of course, it would be very lame and hopefully not earn you a degree.

                                          In this case, I think it's the second sentence that has been changed, and the blogger's version has an interesting use of the word "machine", subbed for "mash":

                                          "Let stand, stirring, and machine occasionally for about 10 minutes."

                                          Ironically, this change would actually cause me to look up and work from the original, because it makes me wonder if I am supposed to put the mixture in the ice cream machine at this point!
                                          It's also ironic that the blogger has protected their images with watermarks (or whatever the online version is called).
                                          Yes, this is a good example of a lame post/blog that I wouldn't be back to read again.

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            LOL

                                            Hey, I guess you could swipe one of her pictures, crop out the watermark, and repost it somewhere else with attribution (photograph "adapted" from ....).

                                            1. re: Jay2512

                                              That's great Jay...love that idea!!!

                                              I took a quick look through this blog and it seems to lack substance yet, there are 600+ followers. It makes me wonder what folks are looking for in a food blog. You would think that a "cut and paste" or "cut, paste and change a word or two" would undermine the credibility of the site/blogger.

                                              If I want a recipe from Gourmet, I'd go to Epi and search there, especially since I get the benefit of the feedback and ratings of others who have made a dish.

                                              Other than the pretty pictures, I'd like to know what the value proposition of a blog like this is.

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Exactly. That's why posting a "slightly adapted" recipe with attribution (just to get your butt off the hook?) is silly.

                                                The only value for the readers that I can think of is that the blogger has tested the recipe so the readers don't have to. But wouldn't it be easier for all involved for the blogger to simply post a link to the recipe which has already been written somewhere else online? Then we wouldn't have had this conversation.

                                                If the recipe comes from a book, then it's different because you can't post a link to something that's not online. But I just can't for the life of me figure out why the entire recipe needs to be reprinted on the blogger's site when a link would have sufficed. Had she done that, there would not have been any objection. She wouldn't have had to invest all that energy cutting, pasting, and changing those few words. The pretty photographs would have been enough to let the readers see what the end result looks like.

                                                Some bloggers prefer linking instead of reprinting existing recipes.
                                                http://bit.ly/aZzgdF
                                                http://bit.ly/cDcBVw
                                                http://bit.ly/b50bBx
                                                There are a few more of them who do this regularly. I say good for them! They test the recipes for me so I won't have to. They include tips on how to avoid the mistakes they've made, what to watch out for, what isn't clear in the instructions, etc. This is good information. If someone is to do someone else's recipe, this would be what I expect from them and nothing more.

                                                There's really no need to reprint something that has already been available elsewhere unless you change it so drastically that linking doesn't make sense.

                                                This leads me to conclude that those who choose to reprint, even with attribution, do so with a questionable motive.

                                                1. re: Jay2512

                                                  Saveur does a pretty good job at making sure THEIR source gets the credit. If they dig out a recipe from long ago (like the 1940's) they tell you where they got it and maybe include something from the article/book that the person reading the Saveur piece might appreciate. Fully credited. If they like a recipe from a blog, they provide the link. Now, they do not demand the links to be above board. I am not sure that is their responsibility.

                                                  1. re: Jay2512

                                                    The only problem with providing a link alone is that if that link ever breaks, deletes, or changes, your post is messed up.

                                                    I appreciate the linking along with the printed recipe on the site I'm looking at.

                                                    1. re: Azizeh

                                                      Are you saying users' convenience justifies plagiarism?

                                        3. re: Jay2512

                                          What an interesting post. I have always wonder what adaptations were being made on blogs claiming to be adapting a recipe. Godda say I am a little shocked after looking at those examples. That does not seem legal. It looks like stealing with attribution. I am not sure how I feel about them now. It seems a little cheap to be a rip off artist with pretty pictures... yet I love the pretty pictures and certain bloggers who have a knack for picking yummy things to ummm.... share?

                                          Food for thought. ~Snicker

                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                            The reason food bloggers post a recipe and provide their readers a step by step hands on experience, often with photos, videos or even illustrations is (often) because the blog form (meaning the definition of blogging) is a personal journal and journey; sharing experiences and ideas. For some food bloggers that journey is working through a recipe, for others a restaurant experience, for others a food author, and so on. I think what is forgotten when commenting on the blogsphere is how this medium began and why.

                                            Beyond that point, there are good and bad bloggers; thoughtful and thoughtless journals and it is up to your taste buds (if you will) to decide the rest.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              HillJ, yeah, like we've discussed before. If the blogger rewrites a recipe originally published on another website entirely in his or her own words with comments and remarks detailing his or her experience making the recipe, it's one thing. What some of us can't understand is when a recipe in its original composition is reprinted on the blogger's site often with nothing but attribution (or a paragraph introducing the recipe added in the beginning which does not constitute a rewrite). Why not just link then?

                                              Oh, yeah, search engine optimization. You get more traffic that way.

                                              1. re: Jay2512

                                                Hi Jay, Sure, for some it's traffic, it's providing a "guided tour" of the recipe as the blogger works thru the recipe for its readers, it's how bloggers are encouraged to post AND thru posting a full on recipe might be the criteria of the actual recipe owner that the recipe be posted and linked. Permission is given/granted (hopefully asked for) in all sorts of ways.

                                                2nd point, this answer does not have a one size fits all answer. Bloggers vary, recipe use criteria vary, results vary.

                                            2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                              Agreed. Every time someone reprints other people's contents VERBATIM instead of providing linkage, their intention (and integrity) should be questioned.

                                        4. Jay2512, you've hit on a great many keen observations regarding food blogging. Whether a hobbyist, marketing genius, web site owner with an active blog, an accidental food blogging sensation turned cookbook author or a defunct newspaper/magazine that's switched to blogging...the medium is not going away anytime soon...on any topic. Advertisers love the revenue. Let's face it, busy people love quick information.

                                          Like any interesting community, people seek out like-minded folks and bloggers and blogHERS have found each other for the same reason a site like CH attracts food lovers. At the backbone of all this interaction is the way we communicate via the Net. No comparing the global reach of today with the past. No comparing e-media we all enjoy today with the past. Blogging is already passe..vlogging, podcasting, food bootcamps, webinars, YouTube videos, recipe swaps...all old hat already.

                                          As for adaptation, recipe sharing, copyright and this sort of thing...unless the work is sold for dilberate profit...and until Internet laws are hard wired...it's a case by case basis for concern for those who do or don't want their original work cited, republished or credited. In most cases, original authors are delighted for a NEW and expanding audience. Bloggers can reach. If an author wants their work removed it's done with a few keystrokes. Many experienced bloggers do ask for permission and rec' it.

                                          As for overrated blogs, well like any new author....finding your audience...is a challenge. Blogs that have a limited audience aren't necessary underrated and the hot blogs, winning all sorts of webby's and such aren't necessarily overrated...it's still comes down to personal taste. And folks voting with their keyboard won't be ignored by ad co's. Have you noticed how many food bloggers are enjoying ad revenue? And, what they are doing with that revenue? Interesting "new" medium.

                                          The photography can be outstanding. I read recently that the digital camera biz and the software co's developing programs like Photoshop owe bloggers and their followers a great deal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Thanks for your insight, HillJ. Regarding adaptation, please see my reply to Breadcrumbs above.

                                          2. I don't follow any blogs in particular, but I generally get my recipes on the web these days and I find bloggers as reliable a source as any on the net.
                                            But last fall I made a Nigella recipe for brown butter cupcakes that I first read about here on CH. It seems there was an editing error in the first American version of the source cookbook, such that the recipe called for both self-raising flour AND baking powder (I guess the former is more commonly used in the UK, the latter in North America). There was much discussion on CH on how to adapt the recipe not to mention a general consensus that it had to be an error.
                                            Well, when I started searching for the actual recipe online, I was amazed how many bloggers simply reprinted the list of ingredients with no comment on the weirdness of it, or what they actually used to make their cupcakes, or if they actually followed that version, how they thought it affected the result. It definitely made me question the general credibility of the baking blogosphere, because it seems like Baking 102 to at least question why a recipe would use both.
                                            But then I guess that's why I love CH and pretty cupcake blogs, not so much :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: julesrules

                                              I totally agree. Yeah, I'm with you. It doesn't always apply, of course, but if a blog is all about pretty cupcakes, the blogger is usually an amateur baker with an expensive-@$$ camera. Most of them won't detect something like what you've cited here which would have stood out to veterans bakers.

                                            2. There was an article in the NYT recently about how many young people just don't "get" plagiarism. They are so used to copy and paste that the very idea of intellectual property is beyond them. That might be what is going on in the many food blog transgressions cited in this thread.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Agree. But I've seen this type of ignorance among folks older than I am, too.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  A very recent example happened to a map designer I know. Her original map of Greece, which was designed and sold to the tourist board and included food, art, history designs, was hacked by a college student as part of her final exam. When she won an award (including $) for her final it was carried in enough newspapers for my designer friend to find out. When she called the school and approached the subject they didn't want to hear a thing about it. And, further outrage, cited the Internet as a free resource for all to use. Some folks, even in educators, are capable of ignorance.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    These people deserve to have their @$$es sued.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Please know that many educators are very concerned with this issue and struggle with it every day with their students.

                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                        julesrules, absolutely. good & bad apples in every profession. I was sharing a specific example and the reaction of educators when approached for retraction and appropriate execution. lesson there.

                                                  2. This is off the legal subject a bit and back onto the OP. I agree with a lot of the comments made by Jay2512, and though I love cooking food blogs often irritate me.

                                                    With that said, I do like blogs with great photography in addition to good recipes. Good recipes with bad photography is rarely inspirational for me. I think it is kind of fun to browse tastespotting.com for instance (but it has too many baked goods for my taste).

                                                    Also, with blogging these days there is a sort of 'publish or perish' element. Stale blogs don't make it, but I actually like blogs that really focus on a good recipe and do one in-depth recipe a couple of times a week as opposed to a blog that fills in the middle with a lot of fluff, photos, or reprint/adaptations just to keep the content coming. Who has time to read them anyhow. Less is sometimes more.

                                                    Also, I love traveling and the photos can be beautiful, but travel food blogs have never done it for me either.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: smkit

                                                      Lol smkit regarding your "who has time" comment. Apparently millions of people. How many hours does one spend enjoying something?! Who looks at the clock?

                                                      1. re: smkit

                                                        Regarding tastespotting, as you know, that entire site is made up of food bloggers posting their entries to one location. When tastespotting ran into some legal issues over a year ago and the site was down for a time, tastespotting-like sites opened immediately. Now there are at least a dozen sites designed to highlight food bloggers daily entries in one space. Serious Eats dot com started their own version during that black-out. It's about saving time hunting down recipes, giving exposure to food bloggers, celebrating food, ADVERTISING and fun. An alternative to Google searching...and the photography is really key.

                                                        So, my conclusion, food blogging is here to stay and those with the right combination could wind up with book deals, radio & tv opps and a career they only dreamed about. I can't imagine that being a bad thing in this day and age.

                                                        1. re: smkit

                                                          smkit, tastespotting and its ilk are sure fun to browse. The reason for too many baked goods is most likely because they get more attention. Food porn sites aren't concerned about educating people on various cuisines or presenting dishes in a balanced, well thought out manner. They're all about pageviews. Even bloggers themselves seem to know it. Those who blog about desserts get more traffic. Period.

                                                          Sometimes I feel like if I see one more dainty macaron, I'm gonna barf.

                                                        2. Don't get me wrong, there are some incredibly talented people out there who deserve the success they have achieved. But I think the Internet has skewed everything for everyone. Suddenly, Anyone who can publish themselves with a click of a button, without thought to copyright or original material, is a writer worthy of a book deal, or a professional photographer. Give me a break. You can make yourself an expert on anything online and that is a real injustice to all who have paid their dues in whatever industry is the topic at hand.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                            Or you could look at it as a new avenue for talented people to get their shot and established people to reach a new audience via technology. Old school or new, talent is subjective. The over used term expert is subjective and I hope one doesn't need to be an expert to have an opinion or an observation. None of us is forced to buy product, buy into a philosophy or perspective. That's what's so darn appealing, something for everyones tastes.

                                                            Self publishing is not new, access maybe...making it to the NYTimes best seller list still requires talent, luck and determination. I don't believe their is any injustice to those who came before. "They" had their inspirations and models to follow. Many talented illustrators opted to not learn the software that has taken over their manual skills; some florished anyway others did not.

                                                            I think we all agree blogging is a new method of communicating in this day and age. Riddled with new challenges and guilty of the same lacking of a decade (or more) ago.

                                                          2. I don't get the adoration for blogs like The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I mean, yeah, some of her stuff looks delicious, but it's not remarkable by any means. I'm definitely NOT a food snob when it comes to cooking and am just a mediocre cook, but why she has a cookbook boggles my mind when her recipes are pretty simple and sometimes just really disgusting in regards to what she uses (way too much butter, way too little flavor, way too much salt, way too much cream, etc.). But I guess her photos are nice, so everything looks delicious.

                                                            She sort of reminds me of Rachel Ray and Nigella. These are people who try to make cooking as easy and as accessible as possible for the masses, and it all sort of comes out condescending and insulting to a lot of people. In the end, they're not doing anything too special, but the fact that they cater to the average person in the average kitchen means something huge, commercially. I guess you can say they're the first step into turning people into "foodies".

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                              Why do successful food bloggers take so much heat? For the same reason FN celeb cooks do? In the end it sounds like sour grapes. No one no matter their talent appeals to everyone. Without an interested audience these newcomers wouldn't get "deals." Although I have no interest in following the PW's approach to recipes and meal planning, I can admire her unexpected, unplanned initial rise to food blog fame. For many, she represents an attainable career path. yfunk3, I think PW is popular because she has a fun sense of her own style; food being one aspect of her interest. Fun, positive people have an approachable way of attracting followers.

                                                              I'm surprised no one has mentioned the ad revenue bloggers are raising, the contests they are running and big ticket prizes they are offering to readers/followers of many of these blogs. These invitations to participate on both sides of the aisle in and of itself generates buzz.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                I love PW for many reasons. I just enjoy her point of view on things. She's funny. And I did fall victim to the hype, for sure. Her cookbook is gorgeous, but why I bought it, I have no idea. I have no desire to cook from it and find her recipes basic, and certainly not for daily eating.

                                                                1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                  Crestiegirl, back in the beginning of PW's musing, I bought her self-published calendar. I believe it had a fundraising component. Her photography of cattle, horses and ranch life couldn't be more distant from my own experience but I was charmed and when the calendar arrived I was delighted by the vibrant photography. Go figure. Fun is contagious.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    She's got charm in spades for sure. And if calories were not an issue, her book would be worn out on some pages in my house! And she takes a darn good photo, too.

                                                                    1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                      I love PW. I bought her cookbook and have actually cooked from it. I check her website pretty much daily. She's a good writer and is just appealing overall. Love Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes from her book. I make them all the time. I also like that her blog is a work in progress. I've been able to see her refine her style over the years. Calories are definitely an issue, though, when it comes to her recipes. Flavor is not an issue at all. Love her.

                                                                      1. re: diablo

                                                                        PW is a good writer and photographer, and I do love many of her recipes. I know they may seem simple and trite, but they are often quite different from the things I cook, so her blog and her cookbook have been fun for me.

                                                                        I have grown tired of her shtick though. I don't really read the blog anymore because the recipes do sometimes seem repetetive now and I really don't buy the whole down-home attitude much anymore.

                                                                      2. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                        Calories aren't an issue for people that work the way her family does....it is a different lifestyle.

                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                    Out of the big food bloggers, I like La Tartine Gourmande. Her recipes seem original enough and her photography is amazing.

                                                                    www.latartinegourmande.com

                                                                    1. re: smkit

                                                                      http://www.beatricepeltre.com/
                                                                      I am familiar with Bea's food photography & stylist work.
                                                                      And a nice example of an established food industry pro who uses blogging to share her work and interact with fellow pros.

                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                      I don't begrudge them their success, nor do I have "sour grapes" over anything since I'm not really interested in food blogging or reporting, whatever. I was just wondering out loud what their real appeal is, and my suspicions are pretty much confirmed (not in a bad way at all, BTW) that it's the LIFESTYLE that the successful food bloggers like PW and Nigella are selling, not the actual food.

                                                                      I mean, if only I could be an upper-class, glamorous British woman who whips up meals in less than an hour for these wonderful dinner parties every night of the week. If only I could live out in the country and make all these decadent meals in my gorgeous, huge kitchen and then go horseback riding. If only I could spend all day cooking, baking and hanging out with my wonderful Connecticut gay friends and then have an adorable husband to cuddle up to at night (and I actually LOVE Ina Garten, personally!). In the end, the food represents something...

                                                                      I'm not saying it's a horrible thing. I'm definitely a sucker for it. And my cooking is basic as can be, so there's no way in hell I'm getting that lifestyle no matter how rich I am. LOL

                                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                                        ROFL...that was hilarious yfunk3. Thanks for jump starting my morning.
                                                                        Now I'll move onto some chicken recipe in my own home kitchen and get on w/the day.
                                                                        Take care :)

                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                        Good point, HillJ. Now that you've compared successful food bloggers with FN celebs, it makes sense to me.

                                                                      3. re: yfunk3

                                                                        Maybe you're right, it's the first baby step! Kind of like trying to turn people on to opera by starting them off with "Carmen" or "Die Fledermaus."

                                                                      4. To add one more observation to the OP, I've noticed that you can tell a knowledgeable food blogger from a not-so-knowledgeable one by the way they explain the recipe. Informed cooks always know why they include certain ingredients in the recipe, why the instructions say to stir such and such a certain way, etc. Mediocre cooks (some of whom are famous bloggers) most of the time fill their pages with their personal stories (which get old sometimes) and some pictures that are big, beautiful but meaningless when it comes to actually helping people understand how the dish is made.

                                                                        In other words, it's me me me me me me, cutesy story of me me me me me, pictures of me me me me and my beautiful food taken with an expensive camera and a bigass lens. Then some more me me me me me. Oh, by the way, here's the recipe. No explanation because I've either taken the idea from somewhere else or don't know enough to explain the science behind it. But good luck! And come back for more of me me me me me me.

                                                                        31 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Jay2512

                                                                          That's exactly how I feel about it. It's nice if there is a cute story and all...but can we sort of get back to the FOOD? I want to sort of learn something, maybe about what two or three or four flavors go together and work well together to give me ideas for later dishes instead of, say...your "Malboro man" and his love of steak. Learning what goes with what, why, etc...can translate to times when you just want to cook something without following a specific recipe, which often turns out to be one of the simplest pleasures in life when that dish you just threw together ends up being wonderful. If all you're doing is making people jealous of your lifestyle or hungry from your perfect food shots, well...it's all sort of empty, imo.

                                                                          Something kind of like the saying, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll never go hungry". Declining fish populations notwithstanding, of course... :o)

                                                                          1. re: yfunk3

                                                                            Tiny point since I'm catching your post, PW work is no longer a blog, it's a full blown website. Her blogesqueness has moved over to the Tasty Kitchen secondary site with a member-driven blog inside that web portal. With PW's success, grander expansion of her musings have grown. If you attend a Blog Conference this year, you'll see PW has risen to blog fame in the food category; now paid to travel and speak on her experience.

                                                                            Perhaps this is her "give a man/woman a fish..." moment.

                                                                            I still don't see the issue with honing a career. I'm not glossing over the legal issues but the opportunity to build a career...well, who would turn that down?

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              I think my main beef with it is that she's making it sort of like...it's NOT her career, but purely a love of food that's driving her to spread her gospel all over. I'm not sure if that's describing it clearly enough. It's definitely not about her making a living out of it that gets to me. It's the way she goes about it that I find sort of dishonest.

                                                                              In my eyes (and this is purely my opinion), she makes it seem like all she wants to do is spread the food love, and that it's all about the food when she knows perfectly well that it's all about lifestyle and and the glamorous aspect of it all (hence all her damn stories about her life). Or even selling the dream of "See all this that I have now? Getting paid to talk to you? ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS! And you can still have this great family life and everything!" I truly do not see her love of food through it all, which sort of makes me sad since a few of her recipes do seem pretty good.

                                                                              I also kind of find her to be sort of condescending, especially since I read a recent post of hers where she acted like creme brulee was the most exotic, fanciest indulgence in the world and that she would be the one to show everyone just how simple it really all is! But I understand that not everyone knows as much about what goes into certain foods or what certain foods are made of like the average Chowhound reader.

                                                                              1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                But I understand that not everyone knows as much about what goes into certain foods or what certain foods are made of like the average Chowhound reader.
                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                yfunk3, I think you've answered your own take on this with this last statement. Whatever the attraction, PW is not a food blog alone it is as you said so well a lifestyle website. One that grew from blog beginnings for her own enjoyment to share with family & friends. Her own loves, fears, lessons and take on life..and life on her family's ranch. Not everyones cup of tea. I do not find her musings condescending in the least. Mainly I see positiveness at its well written best from an individual who hit upon something that appealed to enough readers that a publisher, movie co., tv, radio and the blogshere have noticed.

                                                                                Maybe what PW is experiencing is a joyful embarrassment of her own making. If her family supports her endeavor, I see no issue. And, her site is copywritten under her own original moniker....and her recipes and photographs are hacked all over the Net.

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  Well, I live on an old farm....I've spent the past 3 decades surrounded by real ranchers and farmers and see their lives. They're not pretty. They don't have TIME for "pretty."

                                                                                  A lot of my friends were raving about PW so I finally went to check her out...read all about the "Oh, goodness me! I've married a Cowboy and live on a ranch. Life is so rustic, so difficult, so challenging! I have kids and chores and have to make do and do without."

                                                                                  Then, I clicked on pictures of that Primitive Kitchen. Yeah, right. Hah!
                                                                                  Fraud. "Pioneer" woman my ass. Goodbye, PW. ;-)

                                                                                  1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                    By the way, if you want to experience a more authentic, "City Girls Goes to the Country" blog, one with real hardships, sheep wrangling, stump busting <g>, and all the glorious mess and joy of real farm life, try Chickens in the Road:http://chickensintheroad.com/

                                                                                    She isn't an exceptional cook but I think her recipes are just as good as PW's, and she does fascinating things with recipes she finds in old, regional cookbooks picked up at auctions and found in attics, adapting the recipes to modern techniques and ingredients. And, since she's a professional author, her writing is high quality and yet always well endowed with self-deprecating humor.

                                                                                    1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                      Well, Beckyleach, brace yourself. PW is becoming a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

                                                                                      1. re: Jay2512

                                                                                        Seriously? ::groan:: How much do you want to bet that one of the scenes is of PW/Reese Witherspoon somehow trying to "wrangle" a farm animal and she gets covered in mud, looking dejected like the "city girl" she is? I think I'm going to start a betting pool. :o)

                                                                                        I was actually starting to give PW some slack until I heard this movie crap...Not even Rachel Ray has pushed her personal story this much.

                                                                                        1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                          There'll also be the point about how one finds happiness and the true meaning of life away from the city and out on the ranch ... Eat, Pray, Love all over again.

                                                                                          1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                            Don't forget the scene where she finally gains the grudging respect of the locals too! It's obligatory!

                                                                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                              ::small town people slow-clapping, horse neighs in approval::

                                                                                              I actually think the Chowhound movie will be better than the real one... LOL

                                                                                              1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                "::small town people slow-clapping, horse neighs in approval::"

                                                                                                LMAO

                                                                                          2. re: Jay2512

                                                                                            Wow?! I was so sure that was a joke.

                                                                                              1. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                That sounds like a really dull movie. I never really got the appeal of the whole love story thing. Priviledged daughter of an orthopedic surgeon from the OK suburbs branches out into the big world. Becomes successful and sophisticated. Decides to keep pursuing her ambition. She stops in her hometown before moving to yet another big city. One night she's exhausted and goes out for drink. She meets a guy and falls in love. She trades her high-paying career for a millionaire rancher and what looks like a still-pretty-cushy life. Big deal!

                                                                                                1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                  I agree with everything you guys are saying - and none of this should be misinterpreted as jealousy. That's infantile. We are merely making observations.

                                                                                                  And so I would like to observe that it would have been far easier for PW to move to wherever she was going, and we likely would never have heard a peep from her. Instead she met a man and her life changed. Instead of sitting around while the kids are at school, she enjoys cooking, photography and writing. And she home schools her kids. And she happens to be pretty funny. And so she shares that with us and she becomes more popular than she probably imagined. And then she runs with it.

                                                                                                  As we all would.

                                                                                                  And now they're making a movie about her life. The American dream, no?

                                                                                                  1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                                                    Like I stated previously, I've got nothing against people being successful at whatever they do and making a great living out of it by taking the opportunities that come their way.

                                                                                                    But it's no longer about the food once a Hollywood movie is being made about your storybook marriage, is it? And, some like me think, that was never really the point. Just a differing (if somewhat cynical, I admit) POV, and I don't see anywhere in this thread or elsewhere on this forum where anyone mocked PW as a person.

                                                                                                    1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                      Again, I'm totally with you. This is a discussion about the business of food blogs and there's nothing here for anyone to be taking personally.

                                                                                                      PW is free to blog about whatever she chooses-and I don't think it was ever just all about the food to begin with. I totally agree hers is more of a lifestyle blog than anything else, with food playing it's supporting role. Clearly, though, she takes it very seriously, hence the cookbook and her gorgeous kitchen.

                                                                                                      I personally think it's a great feel-good story. And I'll be interested to see how far the bandwagon can go.

                                                                                                    2. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                                                      You can call it "petty" but I call it "real." The woman is no Pioneer. Her life is NOT hard. She isn't breaking any ground or triumphing over any particularly great adversity.

                                                                                                      Lots of educated, urban women end up living a rural life and homeschooling their kids, cooking, tending livestock, gardening, etc. (Moi, for instance. Once, I was a Ph.D. candidate teaching three classes a semester and not finishing my dissertation....now I live outside a farm town of 1000, homeschooled both my daughters through high school, grow my own fruits and vegetables, preserve, pickle, cut corners, make do...The 30 hens are not part of the equation any more, but we have rabbits and too many cats.;-)

                                                                                                      My point is, I don't presume to turn my rather ordinary life into a Giant Romantic Fantasy Lifestyle Blog, when there are so many others out there really, truly living a "pioneer life", working hard for little pay, under back-breaking conditions, facing the elements, crop failures, financial problems....

                                                                                                      She's become a fraud. Maybe, once, she really *was* what she pretends to be, but now she's merely the Martha Stewart of the Ranch Set.

                                                                                                      YMMV, of course

                                                                                                  2. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                    I hope Zach Galifianakis is in the movie.

                                                                                                    1. re: smkit

                                                                                                      Hahaha. I'm with you, smkit. That would be awesome.

                                                                                                2. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                  No. Freaking. WAY!

                                                                                                  What is this world coming to? I am sure Pioneer Woman is a lovely person. She seems funny and honest, but a movie? Who is this woman's publicist?

                                                                                                  I am still marveling at the rise of Rachel Ray.

                                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                    Someone on Home Cooking just linked to a Pioneer Woman recipe for Rum Cake. She claims it is her mother-in-law's recipe. But it's the same yellow cake mix-based recipe that is all over the net as "Bacardi rum cake" and other names too. I don't have a probem with PW reposting it, her tips and photos are helpful (even her imperfect results due to using a dark pan are educational!).

                                                                                                    But why not just say, "this recipe, which I first got from my mother-in-law, is all over the net"? We know she's web-savvy. We know her fans aren't going to care that it's not original.

                                                                                                    It just annoys me that this classic, which has been referenced on chowhound for years too, is now known to some as "Pioneer Woman's recipe".

                                                                                        2. re: yfunk3

                                                                                          I feel the same way, yfunky3. That's the reason I follow certain blogs for knowledge and inspirations and occasionally drop by certain blogs just to see if people still leave 287 "that looks so good!" comments.

                                                                                          Michael Ruhlman is an example of blogs that teach you how to fish. Unfortunately, I like his blog much more than his books.

                                                                                        3. re: Jay2512

                                                                                          Guilty as charged - except for the fact that I admit my photos are awful.

                                                                                          I think the 3 regular readers of my blog (if I have even that many) just like my humor and writing style far more than they like my recipes or my pictures. I fully admit my blog is self-centered and rambling and full of dull anecdotes.

                                                                                          But it's my blog, and while I wish it had more readership, I write it for me and not for anyone else. If it makes me happy at the end of the day, then I'll keep writing it.

                                                                                          1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                            Sing it, sister. That's how it should be.

                                                                                          2. re: Jay2512

                                                                                            Jay I agree w your Sept 27 post above but what I have to wonder about is why the "me me me" formula is so successful. Look at the woman who did the Julie and Julia blog. I never saw the blog, or the movie but, I did read the book. I missed the hype and expected to be reading about someone like myself with a passion for food. Instead there was a savvy marketer who very smartly found a way to capitalize on a nation's fascination and adoration for Julia Child.

                                                                                            I think a lot of folks saw this and thought, I can do that. . .and so they blogged, and blogged...

                                                                                            For whatever reason, and maybe there's a similarity to some of the "reality" tv shows, people are attracted to these "me me me" stories and they look past all the other issues that we've been talking about here.

                                                                                            For me, its the lack of authenticity and, ethics that simply turn me off.

                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              So, so true! You can sense the intention immediately! Someone's looking for a book deal. And as soon as there is some success, all the copycats come out of the woodwork. It's tiresome.

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Interesting, I never felt that way about Julie/Julia. I wasn't a huge fan but I did read some of the blog, probably right before it reached 'critical mass' - when I started hearing about it on chowhound, basically. But I think that was one of the first big blogs turned book turned movie, so I don't personally think she had that hope all along. It felt like a genuine project to me *shrug*.
                                                                                                I don't get the cult of personality around food blogs either - but, I don't get it with other types of blogs either, namely "mommy" blogs, the other main category that I've checked out. I don't even get Dooce, not the love or even really the hate, I just don't get it and don't care. But apparently there are a lot of people out there with what I would call a fan mentality that I don't really get. I would rather spend time doing my own baking, picture taking, family living, etc. And reserve my fandom for stuff I can't do myself like write great music or novels or what have you.

                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  You're right on all counts, Breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                  Remember when Survivor or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire first debuted? I don't even know, or care, if those shows are still on air. If they are, I bet there are people who still watch them and think to themselves that they can make it big by copying the success of these shows just as I think there are people out there who perhaps have heard about food blogging when Julie/Julia became a movie and think to themselves they want to start a food blog ... in 2010.

                                                                                              2. No argument from me...I find the whole "blog" fad for the most part to be a waste of time.
                                                                                                There are maybe three food/beverage blogs that I follow with some regularity (i.e., I'll check in once a week or so) that offer good info, historical perspective, and even the occasional well though out review.
                                                                                                Many blogs are fairly harmless exercises in bad amateur writing at best, or blatant plagiarism at worst ...and often, they just come off as self indulgent and self important .

                                                                                                In the end they really do no harm ... after checking a bunch out I now choose just not to bother with them. By and large, the vast majority are not worth the time it takes to read them.

                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                  The Professor, I really do think food blogs will soon die off. I really do. And those who have started blogging in the past couple of years won't be getting a book deal any time soon. Too bad for the few really good ones. But, like you, I can do without most of them.

                                                                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                      I meant this was the best comment so far!

                                                                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                        How do you feel about "food blogs" that are merely for the sake of sharing with friends and family? Are those self-indulgent and self important?

                                                                                                        (or garden blogs, or daily life blogs, etc...)

                                                                                                        1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                          I completely agree.

                                                                                                          This may sound trivial, but I hate food blogs where they:

                                                                                                          A) Cram food in a pan and don't know that that doesn't sauté, but steams,
                                                                                                          B) Cook with terrible utensils, cheap pans and rusted baking sheets,
                                                                                                          C) Use poor ingredients, and
                                                                                                          C) Don't really show any technique but use big glossy pictures to make up the difference.

                                                                                                          These things irk me because all they do is scream lack of food knowledge.

                                                                                                          1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                            I'm in complete agreement with you, Foodchic, especially the last point. Every time I see lists of best 50 (100? 500?) food blogs, I see how the media has been duped by good-looking but self-indulgent and empty blogs.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                              Is it possible you know too much about food?

                                                                                                              1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                                                                I don't think so, Crestiegirl. I just started cooking in a meaningful way (as opposed to dumping odds and ends in the fridge into a pan and calling that a dish) and reading food blogs a couple of years ago. But even a noob cook like me can tell the difference between Alton Brown and Sandra Lee. Alton is not much to look at compared to Sandra and might even suck at making tablescapes, but he sure knows about food. Alas, many Sandra Lee-type bloggers are praised for their tablescapes. That's what I was getting at.

                                                                                                                1. re: Crestiegirl

                                                                                                                  Seriously? I don't think there is such a thing as too much knowledge about anything.

                                                                                                                2. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                                  Jay2512, have you been to a bookstore lately and combed through the gigantic cookbook, food novels section? I've just returned from a B&N; spent a wonderfully relaxing and irony provoking 30 mins in that section. B&N's "hot cookbooks" all lined up in a row while other well known classics are perched spine first...I think a correlation btwn the success and failure of cookbook and/or food novelists with food bloggers both popular and barely known are both experiencing a "look at me" competition in our pop culture driven world today. So whether you debate or observe the success, authenticity, copycat or that rare, original genius it's subjective and completely based upon personal choice. No one has a magic ball to know what will catch and become a "success" but in every area of our society if something becomes popular, "sequels" follow. Out of that new pool of "talent" comes good, fah, and surprisingly great. A lack of knowledge, HA! just about anyone with the GUTS to write their thoughts down gets their 15 mins...it's lasting beyond that, that requires much more (let's hope). Cookbooks like this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                                                                                  So rather than get bogged down by the ease of picking out a few food bloggers for whatever reason enjoying their 15 mins of infamy....I say time will tell. The food writing world is rife w/overrated.

                                                                                                                  About the only part of your observations I don't agree with (respectfully of course) is that blogging will die off. I think blogging has many life cycles left and the big cats out there are finally jumping in the blogsphere. And cheers to the small fries (like me) who see a greater potential from blogging both personal and professional.

                                                                                                                  Much of what we experience with our senses can be overrated...but experience it we can.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    Great insights as always, HillJ. Thanks.

                                                                                                                    Regarding blogging dying off, my thinking is that back in 2002-2003 when people started blogging seriously and becoming known for their personal blogs, a new era began. An unknown nobody could become a well-known somebody by having a visible online platform. Well, you know the story. Now even big media corporates blog (seriouseats, eatocracy, etc.) and, with their $$$, can generate and aggregate more interesting contents than a lone food blogger can ever do. I see this as a sign of personal blogging becoming less enticing to those who can assess the situation.

                                                                                                                    Sure, new food blogs still emerge daily, but they're created by those who arrive late to the scene and jump on the bandwagon, naively thinking they can replicate the success of Julie/Julia or get a cookbook deal like some of the food bloggers who have started blogging 5-6 years before they do. That's very, very unlikely. Anyone in this category who succeeds does so out of luck, and luck is not a good business model.

                                                                                                                    Food blogging, not that I've ever done it, costs money. I have a feeling food bloggers want us to think that the dishes they make are what they eat on a regular basis, but I doubt that's the case. I'm sure some thoughts go into what dishes generate the most traffic, look good on camera, etc. This requires going out of one's way to buy ingredients to create a dish to cook and write about, buying photography equipments and props, etc. Blogging costs money and that's the reason bloggers monetize their blogs. Otherwise, blogging makes no sense financially. Some might have started blogging for the love of sharing good food. Call me a cynic, but even that sort of generosity can't justify the time and expense that go into creating a good-looking, highly visible food blog.

                                                                                                                    And since monetizing a blog is possible only with high traffic and advertisers who are willing to buy ad spaces, I don't see personal food blogs thriving amidst corporate blogs. All the major food magazines like Saveur, Bon Appetit, etc., put most of their contents online these days and have been aggressively monetizing. A "what should we have for dinner?"-type blog by a single dad or a "Let's celebrate my Korean/Mexican/Peruvian heritage"-type food blog doesn't stand a chance.

                                                                                                                    With dwindling profits and waning appeal, I think personal blogs will die off. That is, unless there's a way to compete with corporate food blogs. I haven't been able to figure out how an individual with average income can do that.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay2512

                                                                                                                      Actually free blogging is where the medium began and still exists for anyone who wants to journal online; with our without an intended audience. https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAc..., a product under Google.

                                                                                                                      At the same time, other individuals, quite a few with enough communication/marketing/advertising skills had the foresight to learn that ad revenue can sustain another style of blogging. And many of the new popular bloggers investing time in writing regularly, using photographing and so forth are being paid thru various means; including ad revenue. A handful are earning a living blogging. As for corporate blogging, they are late and last to the party :) folding their paper tents no longer money makers and hitting the virtual trail...time will tell where all this writing will lead but most certainly advertisers, marketeers and industry consultants are following the tide hoping to amass their own audience. Advertisers dollars have shifted with the popularity of blogging (as only one example) and pay to be on those blogs. Video-ads even more revenue. Chowhound dot com is a great example.

                                                                                                                      So while it may appear that the bloggers has created this attention on their own, the world of publishing, advertising and marketing has been following closely and backing individuals they believe in and who they believe will make money for them.

                                                                                                                      The number of food-related book titles, novels and culinary publications that have appeared in the past three years (alone) reflects these blogging trends....among other examples.

                                                                                                                      Popular culture is multi faceted, right.

                                                                                                              2. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                You are so right. You know who I read often and do not get that self indulgent/important vibe from - and the recipes are good and often stuff her family makes... Simply Recipes. I love her site and cook a lot from her site. She gave me the courage to tackle tongue. I love her for that. Ditto for the folks at Serious Eats. There are a couple out there that have decided to preach on topics that they really need to read up on or maybe see what complete turds they look like that are on a crusade to get people to eat a certain way. For ethics. I do not cotton to those sorts in real life. They are even more annoying online. Gladly, getting rid of them is as easy as a click of the mouse. What? I have foam forming at the corners of my mouth? Well, thanks for telling me. Time out for a wine infusion. Organic, local and without nitrites. And a slab of Oscar Meyer Bacon. I am all about balance.

                                                                                                              3. Folks, we've removed a number of posts from this thread accusing other hounds of "just being jealous" and the like. Please remember that we have a policy of no personal attacks on your fellow hounds. Comment on the bloggers (keeping in mind our policy of no endless bashing of food personalities) but please keep your opinions of your fellow hounds to yourself.

                                                                                                                1. I think it would be very cool ,yet not very nice, for some computer/food genius to create a shadow blog, or a doppleganger blog of some popular sites out there letting people know where the original recipe has come from, whether the bog writer has plagiarized anything, or has used photos without permission, and what they have done wrong in the cooking process. Personally, I would find this quite entertaining.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply