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Aug 3, 2012 10:05 AM

Food Blogger Rant

Maybe it's the hot weather but I have something to say about food bloggers that I've wanted to get off my chest for a while.

It's not that there are too many of them. There ARE too many of them, but that's to be expected. Give the general population the means to communicate, and they will. Food will of course be a hot topic.

What I hate about them is that they are so verbose about the food they cook. Everything is introduced with paragraphs of verbiage about how this particular dish came about. Julia Child didn't blab so much about the sole meuniere that introduced her to French cooking! She wrote concisely and elegantly.

But these hacks think that people are actually reading the overstuffed verbiage they spill about their hazelnut cake with bacon bits, or their chocolate cake in a cup, or their salmon singed with a blowtorch....

I wish that food bloggers would just write a paragraph, and then print the recipe. And make the paragraph be essential to the recipe.

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  1. I would agree with you that bloggers can tend to be too verbose; this is something I struggle with myself, as I have a tea blog and also another blog.

    I don't have much interest in reading individual recipes though. I rarely (as in once every two years) use a recipe to cook anything and I tend to find recipes uninteresting. So, when I read food blogs, it's the other stuff that I want to read.

    I'm very interested though in the cultural heritage of individual ingredients and dishes, their evolution over time, and people's experiences with cooking them. I like reading in depth about a particular ingredient and how to use it, and I like it when people abstract a recipe to communicate a whole way of cooking or way of approaching something.

    I also like it when people relate food to other topics, like culture, philosophy, ecology, and the like. For example, I like it when someone writes about making something out of an invasive plant but then writes about the history and ecology of that plant in the same post...or when someone writes about baking a certain type of fish in a certain way, and then writes about sustainability issues pertaining to harvesting that fish. THAT's what draws me in, not recipes on their own. And that takes more than a paragraph!

    2 Replies
    1. re: cazort

      I agree that when it's relevant and teaches you something, the words can help. Most of it isn't though.

      I have to say that I'm more of a recipe type myself.

      1. re: cazort

        I'm the exact opposite. I skip over the 'everything else' completely. I'll look at the pictures to get a sense for what it looked like and then i just want to see the recipe (which I'll almost certainly modify, but ...). It really annoys me when said recipe is interwoven with their pithy tales.

      2. Hmmmm . . . seems the hot weather IS getting under your skin. :) Like cazort I too enjoy the stories that go with many of the blogs, particularly for the 3-4 blogs that I follow semi-regularly. But usually it's easy enough to just skip to the recipe if I'm in a hurry or for whatever reason don't want/can't read the whole shebang. Sometime they definitely are long winded! And I'm blown away by the quality of photography on some of these things - "food porn" is a totally appropriate moniker.

        1 Reply
        1. I think Twitter (i.e. micro-blogs) came about because of the verbosity of blogs.

          Maureen Evans is still going strong:

          1 Reply
          1. re: drongo

            Thanks for the link. I laughed out loud at this: "Like any authors, cookbook writers can be blatherers: regional rhapsodists, wheezy memoirists, vegetarian preachers. They try to stuff you with history and anecdote when all you want are ingredients and technique."

            That's what I was trying to say, but I said it with more words. Motes, beams, etc.

          2. I happen to agree with you. I can see how a blogger could get carried away though. I think Elise at Simply Recipes has just the right amount of introduction.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MrsJonesey

              I agree with you! Many blogs are self-indulgent (and that's OK with me), but Simply Recipes has just the right amount of introduction -- whether it's Elise or Hank posting (and I don't know who else posts there). It's one of my favorites.

            2. What bothers me more than the wordiness are the pictures. Now, I love a pretty picture as much as the next person, and it is nice to see what a finished dish looks like. But more and more bloggers seem to have fallen in love with their own photography and completely lost the ability to self-edit. The pictures may be beautiful, but I do NOT need to see five shots in a row of the same bowl of cherries. There are some blogs I have just stopped following because of this.

              One picture of the finished recipe, perhaps two if it is something that looks different when it is cut into, like a cake... that's all I need. I can live with some technique shots if they actually add something to the recipe. But I don't need to see the dish again and again at every conceivable angle, a picture of everyone who tasted it, and the dirty plates left afterwards.

              15 Replies
              1. re: MelMM

                Yes! I don't know which is worse. I adore Pioneer Woman, but she goes overboard with her pictures of every stage of prep. To her credit, at some point, she started adding the print recipe feature at the top, so I just click on that to see the actual recipe.

                1. re: MrsJonesey

                  PW was exactly what I thought of when I read MelMM's post. I want to see a picture of the finished product (which is often what catches my eye in google) and maybe pics of something which would be tough to grasp via words alone.

                  In short, I only go to food blogs for ideas on what to make for dinner, not to read some dope's back patting.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    " . . . some dope's back patting." Wow. Just wow.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      Pioneer Woman was not what I had in mind when I posted that, but then, that is not a blog I have ever followed. I have seen the blog, and she does post a lot of photos, but not as repetitive as what I'm talking about. The blogs I had in mind, which I used to follow but stopped due to photo excess, were Canelle et Vanille and Tartelette. The former seems to have reformed in recent years, and I'm seeing posts with one picture. The latter (Tartelette) has not. Another that has developed this problem more recently and is getting worse is Global Table Adventure. All of these blogs are interesting, and I would read them if they could just self edit a bit on the pictures.

                  2. re: MelMM

                    I'd like to see a blog about cooking without any pictures at all, just to see if it can be done.

                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                      I'd like to see one without words.

                      Picotgrams anyone?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Not perfect for ya, but close as I could find in 90 seconds:

                        Ikea recipes

                        Design school student project:

                        And of course, Cooking for Engineers (the tables):

                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                            I do something like the diagrams at Cooking For Engineers when I plan my cooking for Thanksgiving -- to make sure I have enough burners, ovens (at appropriate temperatures) and grills to do everything I want (often 20 or more dishes) with a minimum of keeping-warm or reheating.

                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                              I like Cooking for Engineers, and his diagrams, very much. He has a problem-solving, lack-of-egomania attitude towards cooking. He is an engineer, after all.

                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                I love this concept of visually illustrated recipes. I would personally start with that, then go to a Cooking for Engineers type chart, THEN to the step by step instrux. Photos help, but only to point out possible pitfalls.

                                Example: when you are creating Swiss meringue buttercream, it can be scary when you get to that curdling stage. A photo of before and after really helped me.

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                Perhaps we could invent Feynman diagrams especially for recipes.

                            2. re: MelMM

                              Blogs with lots of pictures annoy me. If I want to recreate a recipe, tell me how and don't bother me with all your beauty shots. I'll read it, print the sucker up if I need to, and bring it into the kitchen.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Indeed - all that is needed is a photo of the finished product.

                                1. re: PhilipS

                                  Obnoxious that you can't print out the recipe itself without ten pages of photos. Rather just skip it.