Blog Notes / Links / Misc

Misc. thoughts, notes, and links from around the web…


Links

I recently read several excellent articles online about food writing. So much has changed in the last few years, and like most mediums, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites continue to evolve.

How to Blog
The editor of Boing Boing discusses the current state of blogging and offers a fresh perspective and tips.

Advice from Every Angle
Seasoned food writer Amanda Hesser assesses the current state of food writing.

How to Blog About Food
A good compendium of tips for new, emerging, and aspiring food bloggers.

Food Blogging
An article I wrote last year with some of my own ideas and advice on the topic.

Are Food Blogs Over?
Adam Roberts talks about the saturation of food blogs and offers insights.

Paris’s Best Croissants
On another note, I took a little ‘croissant quest’ for Travel and Leisure magazine, sleuthing out places in Paris for the best croissant. I veered off the usual path and hit the Right Bank, mentioning a few lesser-known addresses.


Paris & Switzerland Chocolate and Gastronomy Tour in June

We have two spaces left on my upcoming Paris and Switzerland Chocolate and Gastronomy Tour in June (due to a last-minute cancellation.) Requirements are that you must be able to consume large quantities of chocolate and caramel, reasonable amounts of butter and cheese, wine (as necessary), and plenty of charcuterie. If you fit this description and are interested in coming – or want more information – there’s a link on my Tours page for getting in touch with the contact person.


Comments

There’s a trend to use external commenting systems on blogs but I’m not sure I like the idea of folks having to log-in elsewhere to participate in the discussion. Discussions, tips, advice, and commentary of various sorts are welcome but you must leave a verifiable e-mail address (which isn’t made public, or shared), as noted in my comment policy. I may be revisiting using another system in the future that can be integrated into the site. But for now, I prefer to keep it as is.


Links to Services I’m Using

Dropbox
I was trying to figure out an easy way to move documents and pictures from my computer to mobile devices, and friends recommended Dropbox. It’s very easy to use and the basic version is free. You can also share documents and stuff with others on it as well.

Flipboard
If you have an iPad or iPhone, this application turns your device into a virtual magazine, allowing you to choose from sites (including mine), social networks, newspapers, and magazines, which Flipboard organizes into a magazine-like format.

Rue La La
One of my tour guests turned me on to Rue La La when I was eying her Tumi suitcase, so I joined and in addition to suitcases, I keep seeing amazing deals on everything from Le Creuset and Staub cookware, to KitchenAid mixers and Cuisinart food processors. The prices are great, but you have to act fast.

(Note: Membership in Rue La La is by invitation only. You can use that link as an invitation and Rue La La provides me with credit toward my own future luggage. But membership is free.)

23 comments

  • Food Blogs cannot be over. We all love to eat and read about it. And Blogs offer that variety at your finger tips as no other medium can.

  • Rue La La is not available unless you have a US zip code.

    • Yes, although if I find something I like, I have it sent to a friend who is en route to Paris for me : )

  • I’d be interested to hear your take on Amanda’s article, David. It was fairly pessimistic, but you have pretty much pioneered a whole new model, haven’t you?

    • I found her article & advice pretty spot-on. (And thought it generous of her to take the time to write that article up.) Professional writing has always been a tough gig and with so many people writing blogs, lots of folks are interested in pursuing writing as a career. Unfortunately as time passes, traditional media has changed and there are less opportunities for people to earn a living writing. So it was good that she pointed that out and gave a blunt ‘reality check’ with facts and figures to support it. On the other hand, with digital media, anyone can do whatever they want if they put the time and energy into it – blogs, eBooks, videos, etc. .. which is exciting.

  • As long as the world economy is pretty crap I think people will continue to use food as entertainment, both creating meals and eating them. Until that happens, I think food blogs will be a great source of inspiration. Not sure what will happen when we’re all prosperous again.

    I’m off to read all the advice, lord knows I can use all the help I can get. :)

  • Hey David, have you read Trish’s rebuttal? Fascinating.

  • I wondered about the concept of the outsourced comment section too when I read Rob B’s article, but some of us do so like to be a part of the conversation even if we are mostly only listening; it would be a shame, I think, if we had to be ushered into a back room first. I hadn’t thought much about the idea of freedom of other people’s speech on a personal blog before, but with civilised rules of engagement, I certainly prefer the idea of everything being in the one place and hope that you keep it that way.

  • Blogs cannot be over because there’s not much in the regular news to lift our spirits, soothe our souls, satisfy our hunger.

    Thanks for those links!

    PS Not food-related, but worthwhile is a map app CityMaps2Go. We used the one for Paris and it was so powerful, even with data roaming turned off on my iPhone 4s, the GPS locator worked as did the POI (points of interest). I used my Sprint SIM enabled for France for voice, so I was only charged for calls and texts. Don’t use it with cellular data turned on, or your bill will be more than a trip. Our total voice cost for 2 weeks was under $20 USD.

    Freda

  • I promise I don’t work for them but I highly recommend you check out Evernote. It’s a pretty amazing system for capturing thoughts, photos, articles, well just about everything. I’ve been using the free version for almost three years and I’ve yet to hit the threshold for the premium version. Works on iphone, ipad, every browser, etc.

  • David, dying to know, are you in that new apartment yet and if so is it finished or are you camping? :)

  • I joined rue lala. Go get your luggage. By the way, I saw beautiful strawberry macarons with a recipe that uses freeze dried strawberries ground to a powder. I stirred and stirred, but the batter never quite got thin enough. I baked the cookies and they didn’t rise and the color got brown like an eggshell. What an expensive disappointment! When I questioned the blogger, she responded that yes, these are quite a challenge. But she never wrote that in her recipe. She also said she uses heat proof food coloring, (whatever that is). I was so mad that she posted a recipe that requires special instructions but leaves them out. What a bummer!

  • You must get a lot of email asking about how to blog about food to decide to share these links with your readership. Or, are you sharing this with other bloggers and not food-hounds? I’ll go on anyway!

    There are so many bloggers that inspire my own creativity that it sometimes makes even me want to try again with my own blog…but I’m not a writer. The minute I set out to attempt it, I realized that fact. I started a blog on a free wordpress site that showed me I how tedious it was to keep even a simple webblog going by my (non technical) self, as well as to write something interesting or inspirational about what ignited my choice of recipe.

    I guess it was really the tedious writing on so many food blogs that made me think I might be able to articulate a featured recipe better than it had been written originally. My attempt taught me that I’m not articulate enough and really just want to be inspired to attempt cooking new and different things. I can get that from professionally written blogs and sometimes I can get it from attempted food blogs, if I can wade through them to get to the recipe. Good photography helps those who can’t write, but it’s really got to be good!

    The aggregate sites help those who have some skill with photography. Foodgawker and Tastespotter have lured me to many blogs where the picture says a thousand words so that I can skip the chatter and get to the recipe if I choose. (Many times, even the captioned photo is poorly written) When the recipe sounds good, I might scroll back and hunt for the voice of the cook but too often find so much random or unrelated chatter. ( Are there people out there to help a blogger edit their commentary?) It really should be a complete package to earn a readership.

    Foodbloggers avoid writing about the comments they get. I think I know why, but I’d love to be a fly on the wall when bloggers gather and talk about them. I think it would be good for us to hear what you like and what you could “do without” from your readership. I’ve read occasional, very diplomatically put, thoughts on the subject…

  • Highly informative blog post! Thanks for the links! :)

  • wow. this is SO helpful. especially as a recent college graduate considering food writing and starting a blog on it. thanks so much David!

  • Perfect timing on this post! I’ve been pouring over these links and articles all day, especially your food blogging article. Lots of great advice in there that I’m taking to heart. Coming from an online marketing background, it’s hard not to think in terms of SEO and traffic generating, but I am trying to find a niche and just trust that if the content is worthwhile, the visitors and comments will come on their own.

    Thanks!

  • Ooo, I SO wish I wasn’t diabetic so I could take your tour. Reading your blog is some comfort, though. I can only imagine.

  • Is there a chance you will do this tour again in the fall?

  • Thanks for including my article, David.
    I also read Amanda’s article and thought it was a fair assessment of the current situation. I haven’t been actively pitching for more freelance work – I contribute to one glossy magazine on a fairly regular basis – but I do know that most magazines are trying to do more work with editorial staff and work for freelancers continues to diminish.
    Having said that, I’ve just got a new gig as the Australian & New Zealand Food Guide for About.com, part of the New York Times Company, and will be producing 8 pieces (articles, reviews and recipes) for them each month, which is great. However, I do think it will be a while before I can survive solely on the income my food writing generates! :)

  • Just spent a week in Paris and can definitely confirm your review of Au Levain de Marais! We stayed in an apartment close by and enjoyed their croissants daily. We also enjoyed several of the bistros on your list. Great choices all around!

  • Great links on food writing/blogging. The generosity of these writers is inspiring. It’s interesting to see how this world is evolving.

  • Thank you for keeping your comments section easy to access. Those of us who choose not to have a Facebook or Twitter account often find the door slammed shut in our faces.

  • Thank you for all of the links about blogging and food writing. As someone who just started a ‘foodish’ blog, I found a lot of this info super useful. My little blog is barely a month old. I had not even really shared it with friends and family when, last week, WordPress featured it on “Freshly Pressed’ (sadly, I did not even know this was a ‘thing’) and I got a jillion hits/comments/likes in 2 days. Needless to say, I went ahead and shared it with people I actually know. But it is really hard and a bit stressful to navigate all that new traffic when you are still a work in progress. Most of that is over now (it really does peak and fall in just a few days) and the aftermath of that attention is weird too. I ended up with new followers but question whether or not they are actually reading my stuff and it threw me into kind of an ‘existential blog crisis’. Prior to that I was just doing what I wanted. In any case, I really appreciate the link to your older article about food blogging. I now have it bookmarked and ready for the next ‘ebc’–I’m sure it will happen again at some point.