One of the reasons that I enjoy reading food blogs is that I like food. Not in just a casual sort of way, either. I am genuinely interested in it. I enjoy reading about and seeing other people’s creations and insights. I keep my blog for the same, simple reason, because I like to share with others. On my best days, I hope that I can provide interesting and useful information and on the worst… well, clearly no one aspires to the worst, but those days are testaments to the fact that recipes, technique and cooks, not to mention spell check, are not infallible. Things don’t taste great all the time, nor do they look pretty, but food is good, no matter whether it is a sliced up piece of fruit or a loaf of bread that you hand-ground the wheat to make.
One of the downsides to any community is that sometimes people feel excluded or pressured to conform or compete. I am not necessarily saying that this is true of food blogging, but I have little doubt that it may happen unintentionally on occasion to some. It may seem like everyone is eating sustainably grown, local, organic produce all the time, or that suddenly everyone else is cooking with ramps. And it is true that, as a whole, we cook new ingredients and explore new cuisines, but we also enjoy simple dishes and old favorites. Some people are cutting-edge chefs and some cook only for themselves. People bake, sautÃ©, fry and grill all manner of meats, vegetables and sweets, for voracious appetites, both carnivorous and vegan. There is no one gold standard that we are striving to equal. And there shouldn’t be. I don’t think any less of myself when I read a recipe for some gorgeous dish I would never imagine I could attempt to make and neither should anyone else.
In my mind, the community is a spectacular one, with new and interesting people joining all the time. Even if you don’t actively blog, but are a reader, your input – whether you comment actively or read quietly from home – is valued and appreciated. The point is that the community is great because of the diversity of its members. We are not – certainly not I – all constantly hunting down the rarest cheeses or most singularly unusually vegetables within a 200 mile radius, nor do we dine at the French Laundry or Alinea every week. We are interested in these things because we are interested in food. But we are also interested in the coffee shop down the street (yes, even if it is a Starbucks), enjoying a candy bar and a dinner of leftovers.
You don’t have to be some sort of culinary revolutionary to enjoy food and you don’t have to be one to blog. If you are one, don’t fight it and share with us. If you aren’t, then share whatever you do. Whether you bake or cook, write or simply read, thank you.
To acknowledge the work of food bloggers and the food blogging community, Kate, the Accidental Hedonist, is hosting the 2006 Food Blog Awards, with categories on everything from best individual post to best recipes to favorite overall. What Are you waiting for? Head over and nominate your favorites!