Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why I hate 90% of food bloggers

Angry post #1

Sorry in advance. There will not be all that much food content in this post, in fact... there won't be any, just a lot of bitching. If you're not a fan of the latter, then it's best you just move on, because today I'm going to tell you why food blogging has gotten out of hand as of late i.e. why I hate 90% of food bloggers. Let's begin. People start food blogs for a buttload of reasons - because they want to share recipes, because they want to hone their skills in writing, because they want to wax nostalgic about kick ass meals, because photographs of their food are straight up pornographic, or possibly because they used to be fat and want to celebrate that *ding ding ding*, but there's a commonality between all those things. It's because at some level or another, there exists a certain amount of love for food. Or at least that's how it used to be. That is before food writing became the cool thing to do.

Now that everyone's getting into the food writing game, the whole thing feels cheap. Throw in the sudden boom of social media, and whoring out your cheapened product is even easier! I have a few things I'm curious about...

note: I direct these questions to no one in particular (no... I'm lying, I know exactly who I hate)

Angry post #2

Do you write because you still love food? Did you ever really love food? Or are you doing it because getting more followers on Twitter feeds your ego? Is there really a purpose for all these #ff tweets aside from acting as a glorified circle jerk of food writers?

Angry post #3

Why the fuck do you take yourself so seriously? Most of us aren't trained professionally in the culinary arts. Most of us have never had truly meaningful experiences in half the foods that we write about. So why do you write as if you have a giant stick in your butt? Writing with an excess of random adjectives doesn't make you sound sophisticated, it just makes you sound like a douchebag.

On a similar note... I think it'd be awesome to eat at Per Se. Mostly because the price tag makes it all but an impossibility for me at the current moment. It's fine if you write that it's the greatest thing to happen since Kevin Durant's inception into the world, but if you hate on restaurants because they don't cost an arm and a leg to dine at, that just makes you an idiot. You don't have to love McD's like I do (in fact, no one should... it's not healthy), but if your writing is simply a reflection of menu pricing, then I hate you.

Angry post #4

When you retweet or link other peoples' tweets/posts, is it because you genuinely think it's because it's worth propagating on the internets, or are you just trying to brown nose your way into gaining attention? It sucks extra hard when you follow both parties... then it's like a Dutch rudder of circular/shameless promotion.

Angry post #5

Do you follow me with the expectation that I reciprocate? Listen, if you actually like reading my posts, or even if you just like looking at my pictures... thanks, I appreciate it. I really do. If you're just following me because you expect me to do the same... I really couldn't give two shits.

Angry post #6

If I seem bitter lately, it's because I am. There's more shit that I find annoying, but ultimately it's pointless for me to list them. Nothing's going to change. It just really peeves me that something that I legitimately enjoy is being turned into something so ridiculous. Food blogging is no longer about sharing a genuine interest in things you eat, it's just a bunch of people giving each other metaphorical reach arounds and high fives on the internet. Success is no longer measured by how insightful your writing might be, it's defined by the number of followers you have on Twitter. Fuck me.


Shirley said...

:o0 whoa, what happened nicholas? Thank god I don't have a food blog...
But your honesty still makes you my hero! Continue on the slander!!! >:} I LOVE IT...

Linda said...

hear hear.

(also, i actually like reading your posts.)

Kim @ Coffee Pot Chronicles said...

No, my blog isn't a food blog. Let me just get that out of the way. Oh, and this is my first comment on your site. Go me.


So I tried food blogging. I like food and well, after hanging out with my husband I found a new appreciation for food and what I eat. I thought it would be cool to write about awesome recipes, great places to eat, occasional food porn, farmer's markets, yada, yada, yada.

What I found was a big ass popularity contest like we were still in high school. You know: The cool kids vs. the loser outcasts. Don't get me wrong. I've met some seriously bad ass folks all over the internets but I've also encountered a few strange beasts who are pretentious douchebags. I've since learned to ignore those asshats.

I've come to find I will do one of two things: Stalk your blog religiously and comment on a fairly regular basis -- OR -- discover you write the same shit so darn often that my short attention span...SQUIRREL!!...leaves me bored and I move on.

From what I've read so far you are thankfully the former and not the latter. And you're funny. And you swear on your blog. That is totally bad ass. Okay, enough ass kissing and essay writing. Hope you got some amusement from my long winded bullshit.

Kevin said...

Thanks for keeping it real. Your combination of high-quality food porn and humorous writing style are what I love about your blog.

Oh, and another thing that you can put down under "things that irritate you": other sites using your picture without their permission. Check out #9 on the Burger Master Quiz at Eater:

Looks eerily similar to a picture you took at Veselka a couple of months ago...

patrick said...

haha couldnt have said it any better!

to make this post even better with brutal honesty would be if you called out every single person hahahhaha i kid but o man that would be fucking epic!

Nicholas said...

Shirley - weirdly enough... nothing. These are just thoughts that I've had for a while and I think the whole finals thing pushed me over the edge. There's so many people I feel shouldn't be blogging, but I can't just go up to them and go "yo... you really suck, you need to stop. Like forreals." So this is my method of venting.

Linda - hopefully the ones about food and not ones that sound so acerbic. I'm not a hateful person normally, I swear.

Kim - nah I took a peek at your blog. You write because you want to write. That's legit in my book. I have heaps of problems with people who write for all the wrong reasons, but if it's just an outlet for expression... nothing wrong with that.

HS comment is spot on. Basically food blogging is one giant clique and it is dumb as hell. You have people held in such high esteem that no matter what they write, it's sopped up like literary gold. It's sickening.

I try not to swear too much actually... it's just habit. At first I tried keeping this whole thing kosher and family friendly, but I realized kids probably don't care about what I have to say.

Kevin - those THIEVES. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. It's annoying as fuck when people do that. It's not like I'm even asking for money, I just want credit. Funny thing is #7 is actually taken by a friend of mine haha.

patrick - see I'm down with your site because you guys are fighting the good fight and doing good. Plus you just eat a buttload of food, that's cool.

I would name names, but it's like I said... food blogging is cliquey. If we're talking about people who blog seriously, that group is pretty small. If I mentioned the names of people who legitimately irritate me, I'd be stepping on a lot of toes. Including some that might directly influence whether or not I can continue writing for SE ;)

Rodzilla said...

I leave an assload of comments because I like interaction and discussion. If you aren't willing to talk back, you obviously aren't really all that enthusiastic about the food in the first place.

I've also noticed it depends on the type of reviewing. Retweets and mentioning reviews among product reviewers is pretty common - some sort of product review camaraderie.

I haven't seen too much over the top ass kissing from the restaurant/destination reviewers..but I generally only follow the ones I like.

By far the worst of the bunch are the baking blog chicks. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. They will scratch and claw their way to the top anyway they can. It's a Jr. High popularity contest for grown women and those with the more popular blogs seem to think they're celebrities or the second coming of Christ.

Now if I don't pick up like 9 more twitter followers from posting that, I'm done with your site.

Johnny said...

lol @ yao

Nicholas said...

Rodzilla - oh come on, you know that there's a line between interaction/discussion and straight being annoying about it. You don't cross that, but you KNOW what I'm talking about. Everyone pretty much reads the same exact sites, so is there really a need for everyone to add needless commentary just to do it? Not really. You say you haven't seen much of it, but you read SE don't you? ;) and you follow some of the people who read it too right?

I think you might actually lose followers from commenting here... so, it was good talkin' to ya Rod!

Stephanie said...

this is going on reddit. yep.

Rodzilla said...

Agreed, and hadn't thought too much about some of the clawing on the larger sites. A particularly good review, or interesting article - retweet, otherwise - reacharound.

pssh lost followers. I do product reviews too remember? Nothing a "follow me on tweeter contest" can't make up for.

by the way, my original comments word verification was "perse"

Yvo said...

You know what I like most about this post? I read your site intermittently, and you took this topic more seriously than you have certain other posts... but you still stuck in all these effing awesome graphics that illustrated your point. Awesome.

Also, you included Jiggly Puff. Or is that Kirby? I can't really tell them apart. But a big pink blog in an angry post is amazing.

PS You briefly touched on it, and I want to emphasize my agreement with the notion that food writing has become cool to the point it devalues those who actually genuinely enjoy doing it and want to do it for a living. It really turns the whole business cheap and tawdry and... I'll just go on and on...

Patrick said...

I almost spit a mouthful of iced tea all over my laptop after seeing the pic of Yao Ming. OMG!

Your blog is one I ALWAYS read because of your honesty and ability to convey what I am thinking when I see the pictures. You are right...there are so many blogs out there, I have to find things that will capture my attention versus another similar outfit. Your humor and consistency are why I keep reading. Stay the course and keep the good stuff coming.

Nicholas said...

Stephanie - good thing Reddit probably doesn't care that much about food blogs in general, or this would be embarrassing.

Rodzilla - yeah man, those bigger sites are especially troubling. You have people posting straight up stupid shit and getting praised for it. Makes no sense.

As for giveaways... you should put up that broken addict you have. I think I know someone who rides the same size frame *whistles*

Yvo - I think that's the pitfall of me joking around all the time, it's hard to take anything I say seriously haha. It's not so much that I don't care about food, it's more so that I enjoy it enough to joke about it (just clarifying to anyone potentially reading the comments). And I like memes. A lot.

The problem goes so much deeper than just genuine interest at this point, but like you said... this'll just end up going on and on if we're actually airing out all our complaints.

PS - that's totes kirby ;) SO SERIAL.

Patrick - Yao is boss. Not one fuck was given today.

As I said, to those who actually read my blog because they find it interesting, mad thanks. I don't care so much about pageviews anymore (at one point I really did), I just write because I hate school, I'm bored a lot, and I really like eating. If that's cool to someone else, then great! If I'm shamelessly ass kissing to gain more followers... then I'm doing something wrong.

Patrick said...

haha that reminds me we still need to do some crazy eating contest. i just want to find an excuse to gorge excessively. kind of been eating like a little girl lately. :(

Yvo said...

I wrote 'pink blog' and I meant pink blob... really...

Patrick - can I judge the eating contest? I like watching people eat excessively... it makes me feel thin (who am I kidding, I never don't participate, yes I used a double negative...).

Also, Nick, what's that saying? You can't joke about something unless you love it THAT much... though I was actually trying to say that you did a good job of taking this post seriously and making it stand apart from your other posts, while not coming off like those dbags who take themselves toooooo seriously... it's food! We all eat it! Let's have fun! :)

JO said...

Don't measure yourself by their point system. If they are wasting their time trying to gain followers on twitter, that's their own waste of time. Just be completely selfish with your blog, write for yourself and you can't fail.

Hungry said...

Okay, I wrote a really long comment but it disappeared. Anyway, short version:

Hi Nick.
I'm a blogger too. Sorry!
Getting to your website through Feisty Foodie and Food in Mouth.
I hate the world too.

Nicholas said...

Patrick - bro it is on. So I've been making too many plans with too many people about when I actually move back to NYC, but sometime in July we'll do something. Eating like a girl is nothing to be embarrassed about, some of the most champion eaters I know are girls.

Yvo - *points to her* totally an awesome eating friend.

JO - I've never had anyone tell me to be selfish about blogging before, but that's exactly what people should do. Write for themselves and no one else.

Hungry - ugh, that's happened multiple times to me across multiple platforms. I have a habit of ctrl-c before submitting and holding my breath. I know they always taught in school that hate was bad and all that jazz, but fuck it. It feels so good.

Anonymous said...

I agree that some bloggers take themselves too seriously. There's one certain blogger, and I won't mention his name, who won't write up his "reviews" until he visited a restaurant at least three times. And his reviews consists of moldy cliches like "sublime", "an explosion of flavors", etc. But here's my biggest pet peeve, bloggers who don't know how to spell "voila". Viola anyone?

Anonymous said...

Just remembered another one. Asians jumping:

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with you after reading all this, I see too many food blogs become more like restaurant publicity mouthpieces. They write glowing reviews that usually sounds all too fake just so as to get invited to food tasting events so that they can write another ass-kissing review, and the cycle repeats. It's a pretty sad state of food blogging and most of the time now I don't even bother to read these food blogs.

munchimonster said...

Although I haven't stumbled upon many of these "snobbish" blogs, I can understand why you feel so strongly about this. It sucks that a lot of ppl are just going into fewd for an ego boost... But I don't agree that nothing will change. I'm pretty sure people who don't sincerely love fewd will eventually leave the blogosphere as quickly as they came (you know how evanescent trends can be =P)

But once again, I appreciate the forthrightness of your post. And in a way, your post really inspires me to be more honest and have less of a filter in my own proclamation of fewd love/blogging. Hehehe, so thanks =] (I hope you feel better soon though)

Ben said...

I'd have a fishing blog if I could, just because I like fishing.

Blogging is more of a journal for yourself, as long as you accept that other people get to read your journal as they please. It should be treated like a journal, writing whatever you please in it as blatantly as you want. No need to jazz up words or make fancy remarks in a journal - just like the words flow like diarhea into a toilet (probably not the best analogy but I DONT CARE! :D).

James said...

Dude, whenever I read a post or comment like this, I stop and wonder, who might I know at the business end of the shotgun? THE MYSTERY!

Anyway, I've always felt like my personal divide is coming up against blogs that cover the "food scene" rather than a person's love of food. You can say whatever shit you gotta say however you like, but if the whole point is to say "I was there," then, well, there's not a lot I can learn from your experience. I don't like gawking at random food nearly as much as I like reading about people's personal experiences with it and being exposed to some new tastes here and there.

I realized over the past 6 months that I almost vanished off the face of Twitter because after meeting and eating with Danny, you, Robyn, Yvo, Kwan, and all of the other New York bloggers I've been lucky enough to makes friends with through the internet, I have no fucking cause to be mouthing off on Twitter. Better to work on keeping up with the people I've met than to troll around to expand my network -- it turns out that was never the point, though there are always more cool people out there to share a meal and a conversation with on any given day. What's the point of "sharing" experiences 100 characters at a time if we don't get to actually sit down and actually do what we're always talking about doing to each other?

That said, it's the internet, which means nothing 90% of food blogs do is going to affect what I write and and how I read. And especially how I eat. I trust that you operate the same way, and that's what makes you a good blogger - fuck being anything else as long as you own your voice and have your own appetite.

P.S. I could die fucking happy if no publication ever published another food story titled "best ______ in _________" or "10 best _________ in ____________." Arbitrary lists and "bests" have to be my biggest rage motivator when it comes to food.

James said...

Hahaha... massive preposition fail in my comment, or Freudian slip? or BOTH? YOU DECIDE!

Melissa Zhang said...

I see it more as you really loving that 10% of food bloggers who are keeping it real. Embrace the love, not the hate!

Now hippie talk aside, I hear your points loud and clear. But I'd personally rather see people become overzealous about food than non-discriminating. The first step is getting people to care about the food they consume - we never said how or how much.

Now to go back to my original statement: Embrace the love! Those of us who genuinely are in it for the love of food will keep blogging, and those in it for the short run will lose focus or tire themselves out eventually.

My $0.02

Danny said...

I used to want to get invited to those food events. It's cool you know, get a press pass, take better pictures... but then I realized, shit... it makes no sense to promote an event AFTER it happened cuz ppl can't go. Also those events seem like they're annoying.

The truth like you said is everyone has an agenda. If it's a passing hobby, it's one thing. The ones who take it real seriously though... they want something else. I want something else. Whether it's a real writing gig or whatever, I can't really blame ppl for the hustle.

There's plenty of blogging out there that I just don't even care about though. I'll give you an example: I read only these things on SE: anything by Kenji, their wednesday reviews, anything by Robyn and Adam. The end. And it's not like I don't like SE, it's a great site. Some stuff just ain't for me, you know? I'm too old to get angry, just defeatist. haha.

Nicholas said...

Anonymous - I don't have the money to eat at places that often. I'm kind of envious. But I have to wonder why you'd say an "explosion of flavor" when "le sexy time in your mouth" is so much more descriptive.

PS - one of those Asians jumping is a very good friend of mine hahahaha, I forwarded your complaint.

dirtystall - maybe I'm bitter because I don't get invited to food blogging events, or maybe it's because the ones that I do get invited to are all in Asia/Singapore. Makes no sense.

munchimonster - I find it hard to believe that you've never read any of them. The sheer number makes it impossible to avoid. I think I was just annoyed at school and food happened to be my only outlet to bitch.

Ben - fishing is fucking fun. Alliteration like a boss. I used to love that shit as a kid, I just don't have time any more. Or a license, so it's illegal.

James - your post disappeared, but totally 110% agree. It's about doing stuff to people that makes food blogging fulfilling.

Melissa - werd. Glass is half-full kinda thing. But "why I love 10% of all food bloggers" just doesn't lend itself to interesting writing. I'm not a good writer to begin with, so that'd be too hard.

I guess I see your point too. Lesser of two evils. Better to care than to dismiss entirely, I just hate the way some people go about it. Most of this hatred actually isn't directed to people writing on a whim, but rather people who do it seriously and have (over time) cheapened everything about their love of food. The people I'm thinking of in particular are actually very well respected.

Admittedly, some of my favorite people in the world I met because of food blogging, so I'm not saying it's all bad, but there's definitely a problem.

Danny - I have an agenda for sure. I'm bored as shit and this is a great way to make money on the side and eat for free. I'm pretty sure it played a big part in getting me my job too, so maybe I'm doing it for the wrong reasons too.

Does that mean you never read my posts on AHT? That hurts man. That really hurts.

Danny said...

I will once you start writing about NEW YORK burgers, that I can ACTUALLY EAT :)

James said...

Hahaha -- dude, how did that happen? I figured I was rambling way too much and you decided to trash the comment.

Anyhow, I'm on board with the haterade for food events - particularly the ones that are nothing but PR handouts - but the most offensive thing to me is bloggers who sincerely hope to influence the success or demise of restaurants. The majority of food businesses are hard as hell to maintain, let alone make profitable, and restaurants don't need the added requirement of hiring a PR consultant and pandering to a bunch of hack grifters to make an honest buck.

We all need to take ourselves a less seriously and just enjoy a good meal once in a while.

Nicholas said...

Danny - we'll see if they want me to keep writing. I might be stepping on some toes with that move.

James - you got listed as spam haha, probably because you had ___ best of ___ in your original comments. Haha, I'm thinking of organizing a hate-based food blogger meetup once I'm back in NYC. The logistics of this fail because the people I don't invite would realize that I was indeed writing about them in this post. Dilemma.

Greedy Rosie said...

I must be really uncool and like, out of the loop man! I don't even know what SE is (true)

I genuinely don't see a lot of what you're talking about. I think maybe because the food blogger community in the UK is a bit more... charmingly amateur... to a degree but also because I have a VERY short memory for blogs I dislike. I just don't visit again and poof! they're gone from my head.

Your post did make me laugh though - are you going to think me horribly wanky if I tweet a link to it? ;)

Kevin | 604 Foodtography said...

Hi Nicholas.

I was googling up stuff for Yong Kang and came across your post..and then I found this beauty. I feel exactly the same way, and I'm trying my best to distance myself from people like this now. :)

I organized a food blogger meetup with only people I wanted to see, which resulted in (probably) a few people wondering how come they weren't invited...hahahah.


ps, I also want to go to Per Se...and many other restaurants in NYC, consider yourself lucky!

Nicholas said...

Kevin - dude, you have no clue. I used to go to those food blogger dinners, but now I find myself hanging out with the same 4 or 5 people I actually like. As for Per Se - still can't afford that shit man. It's even worse when it's right there and you can't go.

Feather said...

Don't hate food bloggers, even if they aren't so passionate about food themselves, they are making many people learn culinary skills. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahh - "Food Braggers". I am waging war against them with my own blog - very much like a popular London Blogger's site.

Ethnic Food said...

hhahaha nice post. I love this.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I google'd "I hate food bloggers" and this came up.
Well done.

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