The New Wave of Food Blogs
Writers find participation,
community and fun online, while the outside world watches
Food bloggers get awfully testy when
they hear the term “cheese sandwich blog.” It
emerged a few years ago, when a writer in a national food
magazine described food blogs as about as thrilling as “today
I ate a cheese sandwich.” He has a point. Many bloggers
still write mind-numbingly dull entries about their lives
But many others write fascinating, award-winning material.
Most of the bloggers don’t appear to be chefs. Some
have readerships that magazines and newspapers could only
dream about. Some have crossed into print, writing books
and articles for magazines. One even has a movie contract.
Some are especially good at having fun. At least two communities,
in San Francisco and Paris, actually meet in person on
As the medium grows, new food blogs arrive constantly.
Today, some 1.2 million food blogs appear on the web, according
to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. According
to its survey, about 9 percent of today’s Internet
users, mostly women, have created about 12 million blogs
read by about 57 million people. The study estimates that
10 percent of all blogs focus on food.
That comes to 1.2 million food blogs, which sounds high.
No on-line directory lists that many. Food Porn Watch, http://foodpornwatch.arrr.net/
lists a long record of clickable food blog addresses. Chef’s Blog
Directory, http://www.chefsblogs.com/directory/index.php, also lists blogs
No matter what the amount is, people take food blogs seriously.
Agents and editors scan food blogs for the next book deal,
freelance writer, or story
idea. Public relations firms ask bloggers to write cookbook
reviews and test recipes. Food & Wine’s
website lists favorite posts of food bloggers on a weekly
basis. Even established cookbook authors and print journalists
have jumped in, looking for new audiences.
Food bloggers aren’t necessarily interested in the
kind of writing that appears in newspapers, magazines, and
cookbooks anyway. Most blogs break down into 3 main categories:
• Blogs on whatever passions
come to mind, particularly cooking and kitchen experiments
at home, eating at restaurants and reviewing dishes, travel
adventures, shopping at markets, and sharing recipes.
Sherman’s blog, is a good example.
• Hyper-focused blogs such as Airline
Lunch Box, and Slice,
dedicated to the best New York pizza.
• Blogs meant to gather friends and create community,
with no hidden agenda.
Bloggers just want to have fun
Writers in this last category use the Internet to communicate
with each other, express their passions and have a good time.
They quote each other, write on each other’s sites,
hold cooking events and contests and give advice. Some focus
on interactive writing and cooking, a form that would be impossible
in traditional print media.
My Blog Burning?, for example, holds several themed cooking
contests per month, hosted by a different blogger each time.
In these challenges, food bloggers from around the world send
in recipes. In the jelly event, bloggers from 12 countries
made entries from agar-agar, pectin, and konnyaku.
The most creative entry according to host Elise of Simply
Recipes was Belly