Last night, while hanging out with friends, one of them commented on how much she liked my post Alektorophobia. I was basking in her praise – “your writing has really developed . . . your posts are much funnier…” – when she did a 180. “I didn’t like your post on apricot bread.”
She said something about recipes being boring while I – never one to take constructive criticism or any other kind well – childishly thought “I don’t recall asking for your opinion.” As my mind wandered, she said “I don’t read your blog to read about food, I read your blog to read about your life.” Huh?
Naturally, her comment sent my mind wandering down one of its Romanesque winding alleyways. Why exactly do we read food blogs?
The popularity of healthy living blogs paints a picture of people looking for advice on how to eat, exercise and become or stay healthy and/or thin. Hundreds of thousands of such people apparently really enjoy looking at daily photos of oatmeal, unappealing green smoothie “Monsters” or mushy SIAMs (“Smoothies in a Bowl”). Don’t even get me started on the freaks making crackers out of pulp a.k.a. waste from their juicers or the constant comments from readers bemoaning the fact that money is always so tight while exclaiming that they just can’t live without their $20 nut butters.
I don’t know why others read these blogs, but I know why I do. Like my friend, it’s not for the recipes. While I often find great recipes, print them out and sometimes even make them, if I’m looking for something in particular, I head over to Cooking Light or Food Network; places where I can type in “chicken” and find 350 ways to disguise it. And if a blog is recipes, recipes, recipes, I don’t read it – unless there’s something more.
I don’t care how amazing the photos or recipes are, the thing that brings me back to a blog week after week is the blogger’s voice. It’s that glimpse of the blogger that shines through. Salty Seattle is the sassy girlfriend you can rely on getting into a bit of trouble with. Anecdotes and Apple Cores is the genuinely sweet, nice, caring sister or friend you wish you could be – if only your cynicism and smart-ass tendencies would go on vacation. David Lebovitz helps you dream of what your life in Paris could be like – if you could speak French, quit your job and move there.
I’ll read posts about restaurants in states I have no intention of visiting, at least not in the forseeable future. I’ll read about recipes I’ll never make. I’ll even look at your daily photos of oatmeal, if in the midst, you seem like someone I might like if we met in real life. To me, it’s not what you write about, it’s how you write it.
But that’s just me.
Why do you read food blogs? And, why in the hell are you reading mine?