I will probably regret this.
I haven’t written here for almost a week because I’ve been cooking—testing and retesting recipes for a magazine project—which might seem like a contradiction for a blog that is even vaguely about food, but—and here I realize that I am probably shooting myself in the foot, or the skillet as it were—can anybody possibly be interested in what goes on in my kitchen?
My friend Sara Foster wrote me last week from the Bahamas, where she was on some sort of junket with a bunch of food bloggers. These lucky bloggers were there in the Bahamas because they are at the top of their field, which is amazing to me. First, that food blogging is a field. And second, that the people at the top of it, almost without exception, follow the same formula: Several days a week, they write and post pictures of what they have cooked and eaten.
I’m not sure what I am doing with this blog or why I’m doing it (and I have mild regret over it on an almost daily basis), but I cannot imagine I will ever make this blog about what I cooked and ate. Except for sometimes, when it is tied to something else, something relevant. (I have to admit that when I do post recipes, especially for something weird like when I pan-fried some oatmeal recently, people dig it. My friend and blogging mentor Mickey Kaus says that you know immediately: a good post: you get lots of hits. Write a dud and you know that, too.) Still, I can’t imagine why anyone would, on a daily basis, want to peek into my
bedroom– I mean kitchen window at what I’ve done—unless they were coming for dinner or getting the leftovers, and if they do want to know, I urge them to dig deeper into themselves, to ask themselves why.
When I am not hacking here in “wordpress” for free, I spend some of my time writing cookbooks, and the given, each time we go to sell one, is that there are already too many cookbooks. It is our job to build a strong, long argument for why the one we’re proposing should exist. Meanwhile, here are these blogs. Blogs and blogs and blogs—countless of them. such as Orangette, a sort of slice-of-lifey blog with food that was recently published as a memoir, and 101 Cookbooks (which I happen to like for reasons I can’t explain), ditto Smitten Kitchen; and reportedly the most successful of them all Simply Recipes, which is…. simply recipes. It’s not that I don’t like these blogs. I just don’t understand them, or their enormous appeal. I do no read blogs about what people eat and I don’t think I ever will. But I’m the exception. People eat this stuff up.
A recent Times article about the top 50 food blogs reports staggering numbers of readers. Is this all just baggage from our Calvinist roots. We have some elicit, pornographic relationship with food that is satisfied over the Internet? I mean, at the same time that we (that’s the collective American “we”, not me) ogle over pictures of thumbprint cookies and yesterday’s soup, we are shopping in grocery stores where it is impossible to find whole fat yogurt. What is up with that?