Monday, March 6, 2006

I Blog Therefore I Am(?)

Egged-on by my kids several years ago to write a family cookbook and after many false starts, one day while researching the Web I discovered the world of blogging, signed up for my own blog then and there and, as the saying goes, never looked back. With my blog I can put onto virtual paper what has evidently been locked inside of me for most of my life: the desire to express to others what I love best.

So when I read Pete Wells' article, In the Belly of the Blog, in the March issue of Food & Wine Magazine, I took some exception to his claims of what makes a food blog good. Among his points are: 1- "a good blog needs to communicate passion"; 2- "...there ought to be consequences... something should be at stake"; 3- "...the blog should be timely..."; and 4- "... a blog needs a sense of purpose." Wells goes on to say that a blogger "needs to make sure no one else already has it [the purpose] covered". And while Mr. Wells' article is not a negative statement per se about food bloggers, and while he certainly has some valid points about writing in general, and while his writing this article certainly has brought the world of food blogging more into the limelight, it did reap several responses from the food blog community.

Dave at The Fumbling Foodie says on his blog, "Wells scoffs at bloggers talking about 'cheese sandwiches', but the blogosphere is a microcosm of the rest of the world. If bloggers are talking about cheese sandwiches then clearly people are interested in cheese sandwiches. If Wells thinks that cheese sandwiches are not worthy of discussion in his exalted publication, then it's his loss."
Kit Pollard at
Mango & Ginger wrote, “Wells is obviously not a blogger himself… he doesn’t understand the nature of the food blogosphere. She goes on to say, " ...I feel as though I’m a part of something larger than myself. Critics might say that the food blogging world is insular and self-congratulatory. I say it’s like a big welcoming club.”

As for me, writing about what I cook and publishing it on my blog is not self-absorption; it's not self-admiration nor is it self-agrandisement. I don't think I'm such a great cook that people everywhere need to read about it. No, what I love best about writing and blogging is that I get to share my love of cooking, my recipes and, most importantly, my love of feeding people not only with my family and friends, but with an ever-growing global community of cooks and foodies who share this passion to get their words, and their love of food, out into the world. Indeed, in this world of political madness, uncertainty, curtailment of human rights, death from war, hatred, hunger, disease and catastrophic natural disasters, to be able to feed people, gather them 'round my table, both literally and however metaphorically blogging about it may be, is my way to give sustenance, comfort and love. And that feeds me.

There are now thousands of food bloggers on the Internet from almost every country on the planet, from all walks of life. Their commonality, in my view, is the desire to speak and share their passion. In doing so they have created a cross-cultural virtual community that has no peer. Sharing thoughts, social commentary, the occasional rant and, yes, food and recipes through blogging generates greater understanding and links our global community in a way that is thrilling to comtemplate. A case in point is Pim's (of
Chez Pim) Menu for Hope, inciting food bloggers all over the world to contribute to UNICEF for the Tsunami Relief Effort. Over $20,000 was raised in less than one month, all from food bloggers.

I've always loved feeding people and I love creating recipes and playing with the recipes of others. That I write about what I do is a personal choice that doesn't need to follow rules to be valid. That some folks like what I write is icing on the cake - wonderful surely, but not what floats my boat.

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