Wednesday, July 04, 2007

[categorisation] Food Blogs

Some of you will know about the time Mario Batali declared

'I hate food Blogs'

This kind of upset me, because most of the food bloggers I know love him. Anyway - that's not the point of the post. The point is the blanket description "Food Blog".

What does that mean exactly?

Mario's gripe was mostly with some kind of restaurant gossip site as far as I can tell but the term food blog is such a large umbrella.

Now, as far as I can tell - my own blog is a pretty generic food blog because it contains a mix of everything. But other people might not like be banded with that name. What other names could we choose to call ourselves? I think we all chose food blog in the first place, so if it becomes a problem we have to be part of the solution.

Restaurant Review Blogs
Recipe Blogs
City Food Purveyor Blogs(I like this one for me - in fact I have a Bay Purvey section on my site already)
Food Style Blogs?
Diet and Food Blogs
Eating Local blogs

Has anyone got any ideas to help poor Mario understand that food blog is a very wide term and if he starts dissing it he is going to upset a few people including some of his most stalwart fans.

This Post was written by sam from becks & posh


Janet said...

Pfft. Seems to me that time might be better spent expanding our audience than trying to open his closed mind. But if you want to give him a clue, maybe you should just suggest he get out (on the Web) more often and more widely.

Amy Sherman said...

How about good blogs and bad blogs?

I'm not sure coming up with a new name solves the problem. Mario is just reacting to one irresponsible blog and sadly generalizing about all blogs. It seems to me that the same thing happens with the press all the time. Politicians say "the press is biased" but that's only when they disagree with what's being reported.

I think eventually he'll come around.

Chef JP said...

Mario Batali, like many of the current celebrity chefs, is a self-satisfied twit who's forgotten what's important---i.e. the food! Food bloggers, like myself, celebrate as well as deliberate the current state of food. Most celebrity chefs don't like that because we're "rocking the boat" and exposing them for the vain creatures they are. Amen. chefjp

nika said...

janet, amy, and Chef JP: you all completely sum up how I feel about this (and most likely the rest of us). JP - I am like you in particular.

Some people have so got to get over themselves. If you own a restaurant and you put food out and people PAY to eat it then you had BETTER be ready for the customer who has an opinion.

If its too hot in the kitchen Mario, get a clue about what REALLY lies beneath your success - the opinions of your customers and your fans. Without market share (something that WE GIVE YOU hon), you are just one more clog wearing skippie in the back of the house (just like the rest of us unwashed masses).

Maybe its just me .. I am not the sort to sit in a studio audience and clap orgasmically when someone puts garlic in a fry pan. I know, I am a frump.

cookiecrumb said...

It's a misperception on Mario's part. He probably never reads food blogs, but has heard this and that, and formed an uninformed opinion.
Like when print journalists get all screechy about political bloggers, calling them pajama-wearing nerds who live in their mothers' basements.
Just wrong.
BTW, I wouldn't want to narrow down my own category so much. I still want it to be a food blog. That lets me get away with so much.

Kate Hopkins said...

Tho I feel your pain Sam, I think the effort to categorize different food blogs is better spent elsewhere.

First and foremost, the labeling of anything, be it a blog, a genre, or heck, even a person, is by definition a restrictive act. And if there is one thing that blogs are not, it's restrictive.

For example, if I state that I am primarily a food politics blog, then suddenly I've painted myself into a finite space, where all I will write about is food politics. Personally, I don't want to do that, nor should I. And I believe that any blog run by an individual shouldn't feel as if they need to define their niche. (Institutional blogs...blogs run by and for institutions are bit of a different beast. Well Fed, Slashfood and Eater would all fall into this category, and they have different ground rules).

This isn't to say that sub-genres of food blogs don't exist, because clearly they do. But I believe it's up to the readers to make these distinctions, not the people creating the content.

Haalo said...

What got me when I first read that article is that he was angry at a blogger quoting a newspaper article - so his anger was really placed at the initial fact-checking, "trustworthy" journalist but he just seemed to get off on blasting bloggers. He comes off quite arrogant and rather uneducated - I'm not sure anyone could change a mind that is so closed. If he loses fans than he should wear it.

Ed said...

In nearly 20 years of journalism I've found that every industry that is written about bags the writers. The same goes for blogs. what they don't like is that they can't control what you say and when you say something they either believe is wrong, untrue or simply something they don't want you to say they become upset. Chefs are more sensitive than most and even ban journalists so it is nothing new for them to be worried about bloggers. I'd still with the generic food blog as too many of us cross too many categories.

Almost Vegetarian said...

I suspect teh man is merely looking for some publicity and I, as a food blogger, prefer not to provide any.


Joanna said...

I've never heard of this guy, but I do know that I dislike tv chefs, I hate all the hype surrounding celebrity restaurants, and just want to get back to the food. I'm proud to call myself a food blogger, don't want to be pigeon-holed into some little subset because a chef is frightened of bloggers (some of whom, after all, must be his customers, or they wouldn't be writing about him).

It's funny how people who make a living from second-rate writing (not just in the sphere of food) are the ones who shout loudest about the horrors of the blogosphere ...


christine said...

Did he say why he hated them?

"First and foremost, the labeling of anything, be it a blog, a genre, or heck, even a person, is by definition a restrictive act. And if there is one thing that blogs are not, it's restrictive." Kate, very well said and I couldn't agree more.

My blog for example does not fall into just one category because I write first and foremost for myself. Thus it's really about most of the things I love which includes food and travel.

DawnsRecipes said...

"Seems to me that time might be better spent expanding our audience than trying to open his closed mind."

Janet, I couldn't agree with you more. Guys like Mario are generally not part of our target audience, and we should value his opinion as little as he values ours.

Sam said...

Great comments everyone. Thanks for all chimimg in. Especially love Nika's remark:

"Without market share (something that WE GIVE YOU hon), you are just one more clog wearing skippie in the back of the house (just like the rest of us unwashed masses)."

This post was a result of me thinking off the top of my head in a dash and not really well thought out - so thanks to everyone for doing my thinking for me! It produced one of those lively discussions that I like to see turn up on this blog. So cheers!

Rachael said...

While I agree I don't want to sub-catagorize my (recipe) blog...I do think this is yet another (good) argument for having a clear voice and at least some idea of what you are doing writing a blog in the first place.

Even if you write about everything, having a distinct tone and POV (the perfect example, for me, is Cooking with Amy) is what really lets the reader decide what catagory you are in and what keeps them coming back.

As for Mario...maybe the dude just hates blogs.


Omnivora said...

But he does have a small point, doesn't he? I mean the fact is that negative reviews are easier and more fun to write, often, than positive or thoughtful (or for that matter, grammatically correct) reviews. And there are a lot of not-so-careful bloggers who just like to hear themselves spew.

I'm not one of those who wants to bemoan the degrading of journalistic standards as a result of blogging but I do wish that there were better guidelines for online reviews.

That said, if he wasn't hating on bloggers he'd be hating on reviewers and food journalists. (Oh, I see that I'm agreeing with Ed here).

Restaurant Mom said...

Yes, I agree with Amy. I don't like when someone (Mario in this instance) have a problem with one specific issue or person who writes a blog and then decides to lump all bloggers together and call them all crap.

Lillbet said...

Ditto what "Almost Vegetarian" said. So rather than publish something about this on my blog, I plan to flip open the real estate section and continue my home search rather than respond to Batali's crapola.

Everyone have a nice day :)