Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Blog About Blogging

Can we just talk about food blogs for a sec? They're EVERYWHERE. Food blogs pop up every day, and I could never even find them all, let alone read them all. I love adore them. I LOVE reading them. I have so many blogs I regularly follow that write ONLY about food. Back in 2010, I started a different {mediocre} food blog that has now been taken down {LONG BORING STORY}. I started this one, and decided to write about food, but to also write about the rest of life that happens between eating. Now don't get me wrong, food = life {in the world of Sara}. I could talk about butter for days. Nothing brings a cheshire cat grin to my face like walking around a farmer's market picking up heirloom vegetables. I bond with pretty veggies on the reg.

I mean… C'mon. Just look at 'em. They're just so dang purty! 

However, that being said…. Food blogging is absolutely draining. I look at other blogs who have perfect masterpieces captured so effortlessly--their tomato basil soup bowls are like their own personal Rembrandt. They have beautiful baskets overflowing with berries, mint leaves, and nirvana. They have vibrantly colored shredded pork in a crock pot that looks absolutely nothing like what you'll produce when you make it. The kitchens have no evidence that anyone lives there, let alone cooks there. No dirty dishes, no veggie peels, no fingerprints on the fridge, and somehow the stirring spoon that is sitting next to the pot is perfect and pristine… there's no soup on it. It's just so overwhelmingly beautiful, and it's also just. not. real. Trust me. Food ain't naturally photogenic, y'all. 

I cook for a living. As much as I Mise en Place at work and at home, and as much as I clean up as I go… When I'm cooking, I'm a sweaty-foul-mouthed-hot-mess and my kitchen looks like it was attacked by a drunken pack of dogs with a wicked case of the munchies. A talented cook ≠ a talented food blogger. A talented food blogger has to be a great recipe inventor, a great food stylist {that's a real thing--a very lucrative career if you're good at it!, a great food photographer, and a PhD in marketing probably doesn't hurt. It absolutely overwhelming if you think you're just going to be the next Pioneer Woman overnight… Because you're not. There is so much to learn! The greatest cooking tool in our modern technological world is no longer a pot, pan, or knife--it's a camera. Crazy, huh?

No one reading my blog gets to hear the bubbling hissing and popping that comes from deglazing my favorite pan, they don't get that scent of garlic that perfumes the air of my kitchen immediately after I add it in to my soup pot, they don't get to hear the grind of my pepper mill, they don't get to be there when my family's eyes swell with joy with that first bite, and I feel like I can't accurately convey the ACTUAL joy that comes with cooking. A blog post or an Instagram snapshot doesn't accurately convey the joy that comes, and the process of making those blog posts has the potential to suck any joy I did have right out of the experience.

When I first started, I saw all these people around me who were just "naturals" at this thing called 'food blogging', and it absolutely murdered my joy of cooking. Comparison really is the thief of joy. It's so very Ghandi of you to teach us that, Teddy Roosevelt. Well played, sir, well played.

I always wanted to be a food blogger… but only because I'm a shameless stalker megafan of the blogs that I read. But it's actually exhausting. It's very expensive. Just the staging materials and groceries alone cost a small fortune! After you've drained your wallet, you drain an entire afternoon with staging, photographing, editing photos, and then you have to muster the strength to make witty commentary about…. a recipe. This recipe is becomes your baby. You created it, birthed it, launched it into cyberspace, and then someone will friggin' steal it and claim it as their own. It's enough to send me to a padded room, honestly.

With all of that said, I once had a reader message me on my Facebook page and say that she made my banana yogurt pancakes with cinnamon butter, as she and her husband hit a rough patch in their marriage. She said he walked up behind her as she cleared the dishes and hugged her from behind, in a time when they had not touched in a long time. {INSERT UGLY CRY HERE}

So yes, food blogging does not {at all} come naturally to me. But when I think about families gathered around their tables laughing/talking/eating my recipes, or I think about people who just needed something delicious after a terrible day, and I'm honored when they tell me that my recipe brought them the joy that I sometimes lose in blogging. Being a blogger has made me laugh, cry, scream, love, and then love some more. I'm grateful for every little bit of it.

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