Monday, February 13, 2006

The Loneliness of the... Oh, Cripes!

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.


Anonymous said...

We will look behind someday forward and say that this blogging community was "pioneering."

Your feet are grounded in tradition, your eyes are on the stars.

Blog on!

cookiecrumb said...

Dear Jen's Mom: We're pioneers? Cool! I agree.
And yes, lovely Jen is one of my newly discovered food-blog friends.
You are such a poet and a (ooh --) potential friend.
Now: Get a blog!! xx

Ilva said...

So who is he to judge what makes me and you feel passionate, both as reader and as food bloggers? I found the article quite boring actually...

Kalyn Denny said...

I do LOVE the blog header. You're so clever with this (I am clueless about how to do it).

I would love to meet Jen's mom. She seems just awesome.

Guy said...

Jeez, I wonder why I wasn't in 'the' article. I haven't made it off my block yet and am about as self-centered as you will find.
Maybe next time, eh?

Guy said...

Uh, that 'yet' shouldn't have been in there. Feh.

Dagny said...

Pooh on him. I like knowing what folks had for lunch because sometimes it helps me make decisions.

Today I am making madeleines because a blog I read mentioned them the other day.

MizD said...

Y'know, I really need to get off this island. (I sometimes think we're the only bloggers here, never mind food bloggers!)

Anyway, niche, smiche. I'm anti-niche. In fact, I'm so anti-niche, I'm getting urges to do crazy things like, I dunno, spend an entire week blogging about something other than food!! Oh, the horror of it all!

cookiecrumb said...

dagny: I know what you mean about the contagiousness of foods you see on blogs. I've seen a whole spate of scones lately.

mrs d: Yeah, for some reason this whole Great Cheese Sandwich Controversy of 2006 has actually liberated me. I was all set to talk about red, romantic food today, but... nah.

Pyewacket said...

I really love cheese sandwiches. So much so that my family gave me the book "Great Grilled Cheese" for Christmas. I thought, what the hell? Who needs a book on grilled cheese? You just make it out of whatever you've got? But, you know, there are some pretty good ideas in Great Grilled Cheese, and any blogger who can add to them is fine by me. I think maybe someone just has to think a little more about the possibilities of cheese sandwiches.

Anonymous said...

cc - Another time we shall have to do cheese sandwiches. And as for Miner's Lettuce, we do actually get a huge crop of it down behind our gardens - it's not up yet this year. (It's damn tedious to pick.)

Catherine said...

Nicely written. Why can't one be passionate about a cheese sandwich?

I'm new here and have very much enjoyed all the food blogs I've found so far. It's a great community of friendly people and great cooking ideas. Onward!

cookiecrumb said...

Pyewacket: (meow!) I laughed at first upon reading about your cookbook, until I realized it's full of good ideas. yeah!

Jack: Actually, your crop is already coming in. Look over the fence, to the right a little. Ask Joanne. Where Cranky and I pick it, we just grab whole handfuls! Yow! Damn, I love that stuff.
OK, yes, definitely cheese sandwiches. Maybe chez mois next time. Eh?

Catherine: Hello! Howdy! Lovely. Come back often.

Barbara Fisher said...

You got to go to J&J's? Wow.

Oh, to live on the coast....


Hey, Jen's Mom--if you wrote a blog, I would read it.

Just letting you know, just in case.

As for Wells--he really is a good writer, usually. Not so much in this article--I still think it wasn't very well written. But, hey--who cares--as Eddie Lin said on Deep End Dining--keep on truckin'!

Keep writing what you write and write it well, and people will read.

Melissa CookingDiva said...
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