Ah, the lonely life of the solitary blogger. Poor, pathetic us.
As columnist Pete Wells opines in the upcoming March issue of Food & Wine, "The term 'cheese-sandwich blog' quickly became Webspeak for all the dear-diary scribblings that don't acknowledge, let alone describe, life outside the author's dorm room."
Well, not to get too deeply into Mr. Wells' disdain for most of us casual, yet fervent eaters (and scribblers), I'd love to point out that food blogging has become, for me and I assume for many of you, a social networking device. And as food writers, we certainly don't just plunk ourselves down in front of the keyboard and talk about lousy eating. We go to restaurants, markets, conferences. We join up with fellow food bloggers. We talk, we learn.
Just the day before yesterday, I enjoyed the most wacky, rollicking gathering of food lovers (and bloggers) at the home of Jack and Joanne (the visionary pair behind the truly, madly, deeply wonderful Fork & Bottle), for a tasting of — oh, holy jeepers — about 30 hot chocolates. I had not met Jack and Joanne in person before, though we had communicated by e-mail and had forged a tentative friendship. It is now fully forged.
The party was attended by — well, I'm gonna keep some names secret just on behalf of my new friends. No need to spill all the beans. There were ten of us.
No, Jack and Joanne are not cheese-sandwich bloggers. Hardly. However, their Web site is complex and wide-ranging. There is, in fact, a huge emphasis on cheese. But not sandwiches. Though Joanne makes some killer sandwiches.
Mr. Wells prefers that food bloggers focus narrowly on a niche. Hm. Tell that to J & J. They'd hate to sit down at the computer every day and talk about the elusive qualities of the ephemeral (just to invent an absurd example) Miners' Lettuce inasmuch as it impacts the world shortbread market. Every day. No thanks.
So. We're an eclectic bunch. We're new; we're developing.
And we don't want to be told what we ought to be blogging about. Simply for the pleasure of Mr. Wells. Who rudely said, "First, a good blog needs to communicate passion, and a really good blog will make the reader feel passionate as well. This should be easy when the subject is food, but it does rule out cheese sandwiches. Listen up, bloggers: Nobody cares what you had for lunch today!"
I think he's wrong.
But I'll bet he likes a cheese sandwich now and then.