Dear Food Bloggers:
I like you. I really do, but alas, there are some ongoing issues in our relationship I feel need to be addressed before things can go any further. It’s nothing I wasn’t warned about – all your other readers all over the internet have some similar complaints – but I thought that you and I had a special relationship. I’m beginning to realize just how wrong I was. So please, bear with me as I bring up some of the things that are bugging me. I hope you won’t take this as an attack. I only have our future in mind.
1. White and off-white drizzly stuff never looks good in a photograph
I know it’s all artsy to drizzle condiments all over a dish when you’re plating it but white or off-white drizzles make me think of two things: pus and semen. Not pleasant when reading about food. If it’s chunky, I don’t think of food, I think of chunky pus or semen.* Even worse. And don’t be all clever and start mixing herbs into things. It just makes me wonder why someone has mixed otherwise good greenery into one of the aforementioned bodily fluids.
This is really the food porn equivalent of asking your boyfriend how his mom is mid-sex. Why don’t we just agree that all white condiments should be in a bowl off to the side?
1-a. As a corollary to the above, please be aware that nut butters look like baby poop
I think this is self-explanatory.
2. You don’t need 27 different photos of your plated food
One, maybe two, photos are all I need of a finished dish. Any more and I’m just banging my head against my desk wailing about how you let that delicious sounding meal get cold so you could take photos for your blog. Real life before internet.
2-a. If you’re not a photographer, your photographs are passable at best. It’s okay.
You’re probably not aware of how your fancy camera works. It’s okay, I’m really there for the recipes. Hell, I’m a shitty photographer too – that’s why I don’t have a bunch of photos on my blog. It’s fine. So please stop attempting artsy angles on your photos of Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes Dauphine; you’re not even fooling me, a self-professed bad photographer. Also, when your pictures suck please don’t blame it on the lighting or the camera. Poor workman, blaming tools, blah blah blah.
3. Bacon does not belong in everything
Bacon is delicious, but it’s getting old. I can’t believe I have to say this, because bacon is to omnivores who love cooking as Monty Python and the Holy Grail is to people who were nerds in high school – it’s funny, but for fuck’s sake you’re almost thirty, you should be beyond quoting it once an hour, and everyone who knows you has informed you of this fact, yet you persist. Like all good things prone to abuse, you need to use bacon sparingly. Bacon macaroni and cheese? We can talk. But things like bacon smoothies, bacon-flavored beer, bacon-topped doughnuts, and chocolate covered bacon are really pushing it. Hell, just deep fry some bacon covered bacon and eat it so we can all just shut the hell up about bacon for a while.
4. Not every food is improved by being made into pizza form
Maybe I’m a minority but I do not think that many of things I love to eat are better when put on dough and baked at a high temperature, possibly with cheese. Everything that would be good as a pizza has been tried. And throwing the major components of another non-bread-based dish on a pizza is over the line. The rule of thumb is this: is this something that I would eat hot on top of a bread product? If the answer is yes, pizza your little heart out. If the answer is no, either make the dish you’re thinking of as it is usually made or try again. Besides, there are so many variations and so many different traditional toppings-on-flatbread dishes that you’re not going to lack for great flavors and unique tastes even if you avoid the typical American-style pizza toppings. I love me some pizza. I just don’t love crap like spicy tuna roll pizza with wasabi-soy-tomato sauce. That sounds nasty.
5. Anything you can think of that would make any of the above points untrue has some other flaw, so you’re still wrong about it
An example: yogurt is a drizzly off-white substance frequently used to top cereals or berries or things like that. In large quantities when it’s left in its usual thicker state, as in parfaits, photographs of it do not immediately make people retch. The problem is, if your food blog contains photos of large quantities of thick yogurt on things, you’re either: 1) obscuring the cereal or other dish you’ve made and posted with a big ol’ blob of yogurt, negating the point of the picture** or 2) you’re photographing yogurt alone and your blog is officially a waste of everyone’s time. Yogurt thinned out and drizzled? See point 1 again, and read it slowly this time.
6. Oh yeah, about your healthy dessert that tastes just like the real thing…
Quit lying to me, we both know it doesn’t. I don’t even need to make it, I can see that your chocolate chip cookie dough contains neither chocolate nor dough. Do you think I’m five and can be tricked into eating broccoli if it’s mashed up with maple syrup, cherry pie filling and flour? When I want something healthy I’ll eat a salad or a nice veggie filled stir-fry. When I want a piece of cake I want a fucking piece of cake, not some terrible mix of reduced-fat non-chocolate, applesauce and regret. Honestly, it’s enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven.
There. That wasn’t so bad, was it? I mean, I think we can really work on this relationship and…
Wait, what was that? You’ve heard this all before and no one understands you? Your readers are “mean” and don’t let you explore your art? What fucking art, half the time you use a god-damned box mix for your cakes! Oh, that was below the belt? Well, how about this: I’d rather take cooking lessons from that vodka-soaked cheerleader Sandra Lee and that shrill harpy Rachel Ray for the rest of my life than continue this relationship. Now I know why half the internet bitches about you behind your back. You’re off my Google Reader.
And no, we can’t just be friends.
* My apologies to anyone eating while reading that last little bit.
** But I’ve taken a few photos of the food without the topping and people need to see it with the yogurt topping! You’re in direct violation of point 2. Shut up and eat your meal. See? This is what I mean when I say you’re still wrong.