what i have learned about food blogging

this adventure in food blogging will be four months old tomorrow. today wordpress informed me i have published my fiftieth post, i.e. recipe, so i say i’m not doing too bad sharing my kitchen with you. that works out to about a post every two and a half days (though we know in reality i post like mad on the weekends and am eerily silent during the weekdays).

initially i thought starting a food blog would be primarily about sharing my recipes with you. i recently was updating some html codes in earlier posts to make them all coherent (something i have learned much about since june) and i realized i wasn’t much of a sharer—a couple paragraphs about the recipe and onto the directions! now share my day, my stolen bike, my awesome farmer’s market buys, and now the fruit fly problem at our house that has persisted into october! (what?!)

there are a few other things i’ve learned about food blogging as i’ve skimmed the surface of this world (in no particular order). hopefully in time i’ll get into the thick of it.

1. no more throwing ingredients into a pile haphazardly.
if you want a nice picture those spices (or sugars or whatever) need to be in pretty little piles showing off their different colors.

2. you need a clean kitchen to take pretty pictures.
you’d be amazed how those crumbs on the table or that basket in the background full of tape and old postcards and other things you can’t be bothered to organize manages to get into the background of all those photos.

3. you need to make a giant mess to take pretty pictures.
seems contrary right? a picture of a blueberry muffin is boring. but throw a bunch of blueberries around your table and it looks artistic. and then you get to clean up. (at least i’m not one of the people who spills flour onto the table to get a good background!)

4. you need to have loads of produce to take pretty pictures.
(lots of focus on the pictures, right?) an apple pie looks great with a basket of apples in the background showing off the raw ingredients in the same shot as the finished piece. unfortunately, when you’re shopping on a budget and trying not to waste the food in the cupboards, display produce is hard to come by. still trying to figure this one out.

5. the pictures are as important as the recipe.
ahh, that’s why there was all the focus on how to take a pretty picture… you don’t want to make a chocolate cake if the picture is blurry and dark and there’s a set of keys hiding in the background. ok, so it’s not as simple as this but a good picture that sells the dish means people will actually read through to the recipe and make themselves some delicious chocolate cake. somehow colored napkins, silverware, and lovely outdoor settings and lighting help this out.

6. why you’re sharing a recipe is as important as it’s description.
the best food bloggers out there have me reading posts about meat filled dishes just to see how their day went. why you made potato soup (maybe you got drenched in the rain biking home or maybe you only had five dollars to spend on dinner) is just as important as the story of how the potato soup got to be in your repertoire of recipes.

7. it’s hard to post regularly when you have a life!
i’m now convinced that all my regularly-posting food blog loves in life have stay-at-home jobs or just cookbook and blog for a living. working an eight hour day, coming home to make dinner (or making lunch ahead of time!), and then posting about it is beyond my capacity. how you get to do this as a job i do not know, but i would appreciate entrance into that club.

8. indexes are ridiculously hard to organize.
do you categorize recipes by ethnic cuisine, which time of day they are eaten at, or what course of the meal you eat the dish? do you list a blueberry muffin as “muffin, blueberry” or “blueberry muffin”? do you just have a million different indexes using all of these categorizations. who knows? still working on this one.

9. to take beautiful pictures of your food, you have to be willing to eat it cold.
and i’m not talking about eating some cold salads. it takes awhile to get the angle, the food positioning, the napkins, and light perfect, blah, blah, blah… and by the time it’s looking good it’s cold. this is something i am not willing to sacrifice. i don’t own a microwave, ok! you get to see my dinner for the first minute after it’s done and after that it goes in my belly. i guess i’ll just have to learn to be speedy.

i’m sure there are bunches of other things i’ve learned since beginning this blog. hopefully you’ll keep reading and notice as i learn how to take better pictures of pickles and how to use the horrible lighting inside my kitchen to my advantage.

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