The King is Dead, Long Live the KIng

I was just learning to trust again after the whole pho incident, but I’m beginning to feel like we’re never going to have a truly honest relationship. YOU SIT UPON A THRONE OF LIES.

If food blogging were “over,” I’d like to believe you would’ve told me. Because I spend a lot of time here doing my little monkey dance, and I could be using those hours to do something trendier, like knitting cozies for trees or converting my small household appliances to steampunk. Screw fun! Screw passion! I AM BEHIND THE CURVE. UNACCEPTABLE.

But no, I am left to my own devices. Outside, the neighborhood trees shiver in the cold as inside, I slave away over this lentil and farro soup from Super Natural Every Day (I wanted to redeem Heidi after the black bean tragedy).

Next you’re going to tell me that no one listens to Kenny Loggins anymore. Or, more likely, you WON’T tell me, and I’ll get pity scorns on the subway as I absentmindedly hum along to my iPod. The Danger Zone indeed.

sweet potato

So either food blogging is over and no one sent me the memo, or food blogging is NOT over and I should keep chugging along.*

I think the question is flawed – it’s obviously not over, in the sense that anyone can still go out and start one if they like – and the actual question is probably one of the following:

  1. Are fewer people reading food blogs?
  2. Is it harder to use food blogging as a springboard for being famous?
  3. Are a lot of food blogs kinda dull?
  4. Have people taken the act of photographing every bite of food they eat too far, such that there’s no point in opening Instagram if you don’t feel like seeing someone’s sunnyside-up eggs as though there are vast swathes of America that have never encountered that method of egg cookery?
  5. Am I tired of all the egg photos and confused by what makes the egg such a compelling subject?
  6. Have I also been known to over-photograph, making me somewhat ambivalent re: my position on this point?
  7. Also, who am I to criticize other people for being dull?
  8. Who made me master of the universe?
  9. What are the perqs like for “master of the universe” anyway? I’d like full medical and generous vacation, but I don’t want to decide who lives and who dies or anything.
  10. If I did have to decide who dies, would anyone object if I picked the cast of Jersey Shore?
  11. Probably not. I’d still be uncomfortable, though. After all, they’ve got families who haven’t yet disowned them. I assume. Although possibly they are the offspring of an inflatable doll and a tanning bed.

*Another option: you sent me the memo, but since I usually just pick the bills out of my mail and trash the rest, I threw it away. My bad.

dry

I think a lot of people are still reading food blogs, so #2 is the most likely culprit. No, it’s not as easy to use a food blog to become a food personality as it was six or seven years ago. Certainly, just being a blogger probably isn’t going to do it any more; you’ve gotta hustle, partner with brands, work the conference circuit. It probably helps if you sleep with Jeffrey Steingarten.

(Personally, I choose to approach things the lazy woman’s way: eventually, the other bloggers will die off, making it easier for someone to discover me without my having to compromise my voice. All I have to do is outlive everyone. Hopefully, the person who makes the discovery is not the food writing equivalent of an America’s Next Top Model casting scout. Or an actual America’s Next Top Model casting scout, for that matter. That Tyra is a despot.)

If I may be momentarily judgmental, as is my way, there’s a little bit of #3 in there too: there are a lot of dull blogs, period. I assume they’re either written by AOL-owned robots trying to re-colonize the internet or by people attempting to be blandly palatable to the greatest number of readers. A lot of blogs taste like chicken.

zest

Which all makes me wonder, why do people start food blogs in the first place? Are we to assume that the goal is always to become a household name? I mean, I know this is America and we’re all trying to realize the American Dream of being rich enough to live a life of leisure, but maybe people just like to share recipes. And maybe, since we all eat multiple times per day for our entire lives, we happen to have a lot of interesting, relatable stories that intersect with food that we want to tell. Or we just love to write, and food seemed like a fun topic.*

To sum up, food blogging is:

  • likely mostly dead if your goal is to become an overnight global brand, AND
  • fun for the rest of us, THEREFORE
  • let’s stop gazing at our collective navel and get on with shit.

*I still can’t explain why we like to take and/or look at photos of eggs. Ideas?

dinner

Like this lentil and farro soup with sweet potato and salted lemon yogurt. Which, you may be thinking to yourself, does not really look like “soup,” as soup usually involves liquid.

I don’t get it at all, because I followed the directions to a tee: saute diced onion* and sweet potato. Add curry powder, followed by farro, lentils and vegetable stock. Simmer – covered – until everything is cooked through, then salt to taste. Except that when I went back to the stove to the final taste-test, all the liquid had cooked out (or been absorbed) despite the presence of a cover.

I didn’t ponder the mystery for very long because I was really fucking hungry, lunch having consisted of half a bowl of Cheerios and a slice of banana cream pie. I piled my bowl full, added a dollop of yogurt and sat down to tuck in. Then I remembered Brian was there, so I made him a bowl, too.

*All I had in the house were red onions, which is what you see in the first picture. Yes, I know it looks like diced-up ham. I assure you it is not.

29mar12-5

Soup or not, I’m in love with these lentils. My all-time favorite lentil preparation has to be this one, but these are way faster and easier and almost as good. The lentils (earthy), farro (nutty) and sweet potato (um, sweet) were wonderfully balanced. The tang of the yogurt cut through what could otherwise seem heavy. And it felt like a meal, not a side dish. I wasn’t like, “Great, where’s the pork chop?” I’ll definitely be making this again, and if I manage to successfully produce a soup, I think stirring in some dark greens just before serving would not be remiss.

And now, the dancing monkey requests a donation.

14 thoughts on “The King is Dead, Long Live the KIng

  1. As a dull person, I can say for sure that being dull in no way rescinds one’s ability to accuse other people of dullness. Anyhow, most blogging-as-a-springboard-to-greater-things is dead unless you’re willing to shamelessly shill–which, y’know, more power to the folks as can do it. I do blogging all wrong; for the three months that I had a food blog, I did it wrong, and now I do style blogging and book blogging wrong too! Mostly I do it because I really, really like to talk about myself, which is probably why I quit food blogging and switched to style blogging.

    In more lentil-related news, this looks delicious. My family’s lamb-and-lentil recipe is in the same category of supposedly-soup-but-you-can-eat-it-off-a-plate. Also, the pork chop is on my stove, with the two other pork chops that didn’t get eaten tonight. Want to trade? (No, you don’t, you already said that. But a girl can hope.)

  2. do you have a service where, for a small fee, i can find out if my blog is “over”? i desperately need to know. after all, i’m not blogging for my own enjoyment.

  3. @mia, if you’re worried that you’re dull, you’re probably not dull. dull people think they’re interesting. also, i’m pretty sure there’s no way to do blogging “wrong.” maybe if you write a blog advocating violent hate crimes or something, but i’m pretty sure you don’t do that.

    @crystal, so i’m funny, but a crappy cook. i hear ya. (kidding!)

    @kristie, i think you’d do it if push really came to shove. that’s not a reflection on your standards. i think many people would. (although clearly, we would prefer that things never got to that point.)

    @randy, i do! it’s a new feature i have called “penny for your thoughts,” where you donate $99 to me via paypal, and i provide my completely unvarnished opinion of your website. no tiptoeing around the bush like i usually do.

  4. The whole time, I was thinking, “Where are the greens?” and then I got to the end. Good call. Sometimes lentils are /crazy/ absorbent. I’m going to make these as-is, though, cuz I like a good lentil-grain stew. I’m not above stirring in some spinach at the end, though.

  5. there’s a food blog code of ethics?! that’s the memo i missed.
    yeah, those lentils look the perfect foil for this little winter’s revenge we’re experiencing.

  6. I think my food blog was over before I even started it, which is fine with me – I’m definitely not trying to get famous or hook up some tie-ins, and blogging isn’t how I make my living. I can see being concerned about this stuff if it IS how you make your living, but for those of us that just like to cook some food and eat it, and maybe take some pictures of it, you know, who cares if food blogging is passe now?

  7. I’m just happy that you used/spelled the word ‘perqs’ correctly. I’m sure that makes me dull, but at least I’m dullard who enjoys proper grammar and language usage – and reading your hugely entertaining blog.

  8. Interesting thoughts. I was thinking to myself that lately I have completely neglected my blog because I simply have nothing new to add to it. I’ve been going back through my blog in order to decide what to make for dinner. I started my blog as a way to archive my recipes and it seems I have a cookbook’s worth of recipes now and wonder just how much more I can come with new material. I don’t want to be like a TV cook who has no real talents and then keeps trying to come up with new material for shows and countless cookbooks which all seem to be rehashes of previous recipes. (What do you mean am I talking about anyone in paticular?)

    Don’t know though. I Love the food blogging community, so I’ll do what it takes to keep reading blogs and writing them because I enjoy online foodies so much.

  9. wow, I feel odd man out! I don’t blog, I just steal time from my employer to read them. I should say “this one”, as I have weeded down my time-stealing fodder to just this, funny and still good food. I like the idea of letting someone else try out recipies, saves me the anguish. Some that I have printed, (yes, now in addition to stealing time, I also steal paper and ink,) are the ones you just throw together on your own.
    I really loved the Top Chef mockery, dead on.
    I’d buy you a drink any day!

  10. @burkie, clearly *i* don’t think there’s a code of ethics. write what you want when you want to, says i.

    @rachel, i had to convince brian not to change it to a “k.” it makes me happy that someone noticed.

    @rachel, yeah, the community is great. i’ve been pretty amazed at the awesome people i’ve met.

    @cynic1, and i would drink the hell out of that drink. (also, i have a feeling the top chef mockery will make a re-appearance next season.)

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