Saturday, December 30, 2006

How to (and how not to) market to bloggers

Hi all,

I'm gathering ideas for an upcoming conference panel (see BlogHer Business 07) on blogger relations, specifically how business should talk to and market to bloggers, and how NOT to. I certainly have my list of ridiculous emails from companies wanting my attention, as well as effective approaches. I would love to get your input on this subject.

What are some examples of what you would consider effective approaches that companies have made to you, trying to promote a product?

Conversely, what are some examples of what you would consider ineffective approaches?

The conference isn't until March, so over the next couple of months if you get approached and the promotion falls into either "effective" or "what were they thinking?" please feel free to pass those on to me (elise AT elise {dot] com).

Thanks in advance!

This Post was written by Elise from Simply Recipes

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Non-Latin Fonts in New Blogger

Has anyone had any experience using non-Latin fonts in the new Blogger? Can it now work with right-to-left texts?
Also, are you able to edit your post HTML and template HTML in new Blogger , or are you confined to the "easier" drop-and-drag editing?

This Post was written by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

[Event] Are you a Bay Area food or wine blogger?

Please excuse this interruption of our normal curriculum.

If you are a Bay Area food blogger and did NOT receive an invitation to the Summer Picnic you probably were not on the email list. Please send me your email so I can include you in an event that Sam and I are planning for February. (see the calendar for more details)

This Post was written by Amy from Cooking with Amy.

[New Blogger] Blogger Won't Let Me Switch To The New Version

Because I have been unable to upload photos to my old blogger blogs for the past several days (using Blogger Add An Image button on the create/edit page or the Picasa BlogThis! button on Picasa) I decided to bite the bullet and switch to the new blogger today using the link invite that has been appearing on my dashboard--hoping this would solve the uploading problems.
It wouldn't let me switch to the new version. I got the same message someone else wrote about a few weeks back saying my blog might be too big--they mentioned blogs with a couple thousand or more posts.
I've read through past posts here and see that apparently the problem isn't my fbs membership which is what I thought at first as others did.
I do have two personal blogs with about 1000 posts each, as well as another one with about 200. One of the larger ones only holds photos I uploaded one at a time using Picasa Hello and Blog This!
Is anyone else getting this message when they try to switch to the new Blogger? Do you think the combined number of my blog posts is the problem? They're all on one account.

This Post was written by farmgirl from Farmgirl Fare.

[Blogger] [Uploading Photos] Alternative ways to upload photos to Blogger?

Can anyone suggest a way to upload photos to my OLD blogger blog besides:

1) the ADD AN IMAGE button on the blogger edit/create a post page? (Not working at all for me anymore.)

2) Picasa BlogThis! (Also not working at all for me anymore.)

3) Flickr

I am in the US

use Windows XP

and IE6 (I just switched back from IE7 thinking that might have been the cause of the uploading problems--it wasn't)

I am on DIAL-UP.

I am very HTML/computer challenged.

Thanks so much!

This Post was written by farmgirl from Farmgirl Fare.

Reporting an Adsense Violation

I've found a website that I believe is scrapping rss feed content and using generic searches to post a couple lines of content to their site. And seemingly from their source, they have a Google Ad up. This site seems to carry no original content.

Is this in violation of Google's Adsense? If so, where do I find that text to include in my email to Google?

Should I just drop it given that three clicks away is my actual site?

thanks for helping educate me on this process.

This Post was written by McAuliflower from Brownie Points Blog.

Blogger comment emails

I think somebody may have asked about this before. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what post a comment might have been added to, especially if it was an older one, because the email notification from Blogger didn't specify the original post. Well, I just clicked on the link in the email that only lists my blog name, and it was actually a link to the specific post with the comments. Am I the only person who didn't know this? Surely Blogger could have given the post name in the link--feedblitz manages that for my subscribers.

This Post was written by Peter Cherches from Word of Mouth

Monday, December 25, 2006

(Blogger) Border Help

If you scroll to the very, very bottom of my website, there is a smidge of a piece of border that is repeated. Anyone know how to remove this? Help! Thanks in advance.

Written by Cate from Sweetnicks.

(WordPress) Adding Captcha or Something Similar

Does anyone know how to add captcha or other security image to WordPress? Ever since I switched Well Fed over to WordPress, the spam has been a little much. Help!

Written by Cate from Well Fed and Sweetnicks.
Hello, all,

Can anyone please advise why my updated post does not show up shortly after it has been published?

Just curious if the NEW Blogger has anything to do with it. As with other Food Bloggers, I'm still waiting to see if I want to do the switch until I have to, eventually.

Thanks, in advance, for your input!

This Post was written by Anni from Life is a Banquet.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Has anyone switched over and had any issues? I've customized my sidebar and header quite a bit, so i fear it getting all mucked up. Has anyone had any successful / bad experiences with the switch thus far, and how is your situation now?

This Post was written by Garrett from Vanilla Garlic

Friday, December 22, 2006

[Blogger][Publishing Blog]Error message in new blogger

I switched to the new blogger last night, and I thought everything looked fine. Then I tried to publish a new post this morning and got this message:

login failed for user: aminglin with reason: 200 TYPE is now 8-bit binary

On the blogger help group (see here:, it appears that other people are seeing this error, but no solution has been found. Also, I am getting comments emailed to my gmail account, but they are not showing up on my blog. I'm so frustrated, but I guess that goes without saying. Has anyone else had this problem, and have you found any way around it? Thank you so much for any help you can offer.

This Post was written by Julie from A Mingling of Tastes

Vaporized Blog :(

I went to make a tiny edit in yesterday's post and my blog vaporized!?
I see it on my dashboard and all the 146(!) posts but not when I hit the link.
I'm not sure where to turn.
I am not on Beta.
Is it just me that sees a blank page?
Carolg from

Thursday, December 21, 2006

[Blogger] [Picasa] [Uploading Photos] Picasa Blog This No Longer Working For Me

Hi Everybody,

Several weeks ago I started uploading photos to my Blogger blog using the Blog This! button on Picasa. Worked fine as of two days ago. Last night I went to upload a photo, opened Picasa, clicked on my photo, clicked on Blog This! and the Blogger sign in page came up as usual. But then, instead of the photo showing up on an html page, I was redirected to my Blogger dashboard. So it looks like I'm just in Blogger, but the tag at the top of the window says I am really still in Picasa. Only there's no sign of my photo or any way to upload it.

I closed down Picasa and tried again today from the beginning thinking perhaps it was just a fluke. Same thing happened.

I'm still using the "old" version of Blogger. I did notice that the sign-in page once you hit Blot This! now has the option for new and old Blogger users, just like when you sign directly into Blogger. I didn't notice any other changes with the Blog This! feature or Picasa in general.

Is anyone else having this problem? Do you think Blog This! is no longer working for those of us still using the old version of Blogger? I could find no helpful information in the Picasa help pages.

I use Windows XP, Internet Explorer, and I am on dial-up.

I did manage to upload a photo a few minutes ago using the upload images button right in Blogger, but it took 15 minutes. I assume because I am on dial-up. I was just about to give up. At least that option is working.

Any help greatly appreciated. Thanks and Happy Holidays to everyone!

This Post was written by Farmgirl from Farmgirl Fare

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I moved over a blog to the new blogger and lived to tell about it

I have a small, personal blog under a different blogger sign in and I switched it over just now and I was very pleased. I am not ready to deal with changing over my much larger main blog, mostly because of my many template customizations and my sheer terror of either Blogger or me goofing something up .

Here's what I have to report:

Save your current template as a text file and print it out so it is in front of you. (Blogger also save a copy of the original, but this way it is in front of you if you need to type in or change anything)
Take note of any special colors you might have used
Think ahead of time about what labels you might want to use

When you change over your template appears unchanged and you can use the label function immediately. If you want to have a list of the labels you are using you will have to change to the new page elements format and chose a new format, which are based on the templates previously available. (No new looks, unfortunately.)

You can then add in all sorts of goodies such as links and your list of labels by using the page elements button. When you are done, go to fonts and colors to customize. My test blog had some sidebar colors that seriously needed to be changed after the conversion but it was a simple fix.

A note, think about the style of your labels before you begin. If you type labels, LABELS, LaBels, lables, or whatever, that's what the actual label will look like on your post, any subsequent post you use it in and on your blog home page if you display your label list.

Adding labels to old posts looks relatively painless as long as you can tell from the title what the labels should be. There are check boxes and drop down menu on the edit post page to enable adding labels to published posts. You can add the same labels or label to multiple posts at the same time or add labels post by post.

There are differences in how past posts and blog archives are displayed, but for me they were minor. I'll continue to play with my "test" and will let you know if I uncover any issues.

Blogs Combined

I switched from the old Blogger to the new Blogger out of Beta yesterday. I have 3 blogs, two of which are connected, Christine Cooks and Raven Ridge Gardens, and one that I thought was a separate account, Box Car Odysseys.
Now all three blogs are on the same Blogger account and the user stats on my profile are now from the newest blog that I thought was a separate account, effectively deleting the fact that my cooking blog has been on Blogger since 2005! I don't know how to fix this. Can anyone help?

This Post was written by Christine from Christine Cooks

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

[Blogger] How did my side bar get resized?

I cannot for the life of me figure out how come the left hand side bar of my home page is suddenly TINY. I didn't make any changes!

Can anyone explain to me how to make the text bigger? In the plainest English possible? (I still really have no clue about any of this html/rss/who-knows-what-all stuff)


Happy Holidays!


This Post was written by Rachael from Fresh Approach Cooking

Sunday, December 17, 2006

YOU Are Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Time magazine has named YOU as person of the year if you're a blogger.

This Post was written by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Innapropriate Appropriations (stealing)

You might want to cruise this person's site for wholesale stealing of your content. I can not give you a better link because I got lost in the crappy navigation on her site. There is a link on the left side for reporting abuse.. if yours was stolen you might wish to let them know.

For those of you who are Flickrites, there is a nifty toy to help search for image stealing.

Flickr Inspector

This Post was written by Nika from Nika's Culinaria

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Blog Etiquette

I've noticed a non food blogger is using food bloggers photographs on their site without giving credit to the original blogger. I would notify them directly, the etiquette of giving credit where it is due but they do not have an email address on their site. I don't feel comfortable leaving it in the comments section. I'm hoping said blogger will read this and take note.

This Post was written by Barbara from Winos and Foodies

Internet Blacklist? Watchlist?

I interact with the internets as a consumer (spend LOTS of money through it thats for sure) and as a micro-content provider (thats blogger to you and me). I blog for my own reasons and do not make any money directly from it. I could walk away from blogging tomorrow in terms of real life impact because it doesnt support my family, it just serves as a great way to meet new people (you guys).

My career would not be negatively impacted by my blog, I am a scientist.

But I have to tell you..

I am getting creeped out that my blog is being cruised by "Internet Crisis Management" companies. I can see their footprints with StatCounter. I see them surfing my pages (its sorta like seeing dead people, sorta, only creepier).

I gotta wonder why supposed tech-savy companies would use their alphabetic addresses instead of numeric IP addresses.

I gotta wonder just what they think they will do if they find that I am saying something their clients dont like.

I gotta wonder how much money they make off of simply surfing the web, finding mentions (pos and neg) about a company or industry, and serving it to their clients like its fresh red meat.

Talk about derivative after-market trash.

Many of you may have likely first been spidered or fingered by such a company a few months ago if you participated in the Save the Internet campaign.

Now I have these same sorts of companies cruising a recent post I did on my issues with the use of carbon monoxide on any hemoglobin-bearing meat. This is intelligence gathering for the meat lobby (huge bux).

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this sort of thing? I cant suppress my gut-response creep-out to the big brother aspect but is it really benign or should it be something I should worry about? (I will likely just stay with the creep out and disgust but not worry)

This Post was written by Nika from Nika's Culinaria

Non-beta blogger comments on beta blogs

Hi, I just discovered the issue yesterday and the solution today so I thought I'd write in if it's any help.
My blog is non-beta, I haven't switched over yet. The blogs I wanted to comment in suddenly began rejecting my comments saying "Could not log you in. Double check or try later." Below it says 'No Google account? Sign up here' and 'You can also use your blogger account" but that is not a link. Then today, it struck me that I could try using my gmail ID - and it worked. But I still need to use my Blogger ID and password to get into blogger - the gmail ID didn't work.
This Post was written by Sra from When My Soup Came Alive.

Another sidebar?

I'm using a version of the Minima template on blogger, and I'm thinking about adding another sidebar, on the left of the main column. Is that even possible? And if so, how would I go about it? I'm fairly template-knowledgeable, but I don't really know any css, and I don't really want to change my entire template, just add to it. Any help would be great. :)

This Post was written by Anne from Anne's Food.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Paper Chef Limbo Land

OK - first my blog decided that it would not show comments properly - to see this in action go to, click on the (1) comment link at the bottom of the first post - you'll see one comment - now click on post a comment (you can back out - no need to actually post a comment) and now you see 8 (at last count) comments.

BUT - when I decided to write a quickie post explaining that to everyone and that I would do judging later in the week for the current Paper Chef - I got an error from blogger. Now that post sits there taunting me in the list of posts within blogger, claiming it is merely the most recent post. BUT it isn't on the live site! And now I can't publish to my blog at all!

SO....Paper Chef is on hold until I sort this out - or until I migrate to WordPress which I now fully understand and where I am in the middle of making a theme for another project so I might as well make a new one for Tomatilla!

This Post was written by Owen from Tomatilla

[Blogger] Beta - Food Blog S'cool Clarification


As I understand it and according to the information I have seen (please correct me if I am wrong)...

Bloggers are now able to make the switch to Beta without losing their access to food blog scool, it is not an issue any longer for beta bloggers as it once was. You no longer need to unsubscribe from FBS before making the switch.

If I switched this blog to Beta (I can't since blogger have NOT invited me to) it WOULD be an issue to all those members who also have not yet been invited to Beta, since they would then lose their FBS membership and i would have to sign them all up again. (I don't want to have to do this).

I imagine that this blog will switch when ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE has been invited to join Beta, and there is a consensus that it is stable enough to be generally acceptable.

Am I right in thinking you still can't switch to Beta until blogger have invited you to do so?

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

Monday, December 11, 2006

(Misc) New Info on Beta Blogger/FBS

There is new information regarding team blogs (i.e., FBS) and Beta Blogger.

Team blogs move when the blog’s original creator moves to the new Blogger. When that happens, team blog members will also have to move to the new Blogger in order to post. Team blog members don’t have to wait, though! If you move to the new Blogger, team blogs you didn’t create will still show up on your beta Dashboard. You’ll be able to post with them as before, though they won’t have the new features of the new Blogger.

Here a link to more info.

Posted by Cate from Sweetnicks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

[FBS] unsubscribing members for blogger beta

It would appear that I no longer need to take any action, according to new info from blogger. Unsubscribe is now cancelled.

I understand that many of you want to unsubscribe from food blog scool so you can sign up your blogs with the new Beta. This is a problem caused by blogger, not by me or the scool, but it is, as I hope you can sympathise, causing me it certain amount of work I am not prepared for.

I would love to be at everyone's beck and call to one at a time unsubscribe anyone who asks me, but because I am so ensconsed in Menu for Hope preparations with barely a second to pee, let alone do anything else, I just can not. I am sorry.

I will unsubscribe in batches, the first on Thursday this week. Anyone who wants to unsubscribe, please email me at the FBS email address with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject and the email address you used to subscribe with in the main body of the post before 6pm PST on Thursday next. If you have already written to ask me at a different email address, or without the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject, then please re submit the request. If you do not follow these instructions, I can not guarantee I will unsubscribe you.

Once that batch is complete, I will set a time for the next batch.

Thanks for your understanding

This Post was written by sam from becks & posh

Tags & Archiving

Can I just ask: who uses Technorati tags either on their blogs or to search for blogs? Ages ago I 'claimed' my blog on Technorati, but don't use the tags on my posts cos it seems a bit labourious, but I'm now wondering if it helps people find my blog, or readers search for specific articles better it might be worth it?

Apart from technorati tags, are there any better ways of archiving posts in blogger? I have so many posts now and would love to be able to sort them into catagories by type of recipe etc rather than just by date!

This Post was written by Fahara from Souperior

Saturday, December 09, 2006

[event] DMBLGIT

Would anyone like to host the food photo competition Does My Blog Look Good In This for this month (that covers photos posted on blogs during November)?

I have hosted twice this year and do not really want to do it two months in a row. And would anyone like to be a judge for this round too?

Please email wine.scribbler AT gmail DOT com asap

This Post was written by Andrew from spittoonextra

Hi, two issues:
First, is there any way to find out who has subscribed to our RSS feeds? (I use Feedblitz and I couldn't find an answer to this in the FAQs.)
Second: If we ever need to establish that a blog is ours (as many of us don't reveal our identities), how do we go about providing proof?

This Post was written by Sra from When My Soup Came Alive

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tracking IP Addresses

I am signed up with as well as I would like to know how to find out someone's domain through their IP address. Although statcounter does give me details on their location, I'm still not able to find out their domain or even if they have one. Could someone help me with this since I'd really like to be able to get intouch with some of my visitors domains rather than having to google them out.


This Post was written by Meena from Hooked on Heat.

a nifty tool for displaying flickr photos

I found this very nifty tool to display Flickr photos on the blog. It's uses flash but in a very good way.

The tool is called Pictobrowser and this is what it looks like:

You can get your own just by clicking on the Info link on the bottom right corner.
(Thanks to Josh at The Food Section who brought it to my attention.)

This Post was written by Pim from Chez Pim.

(Misc) 2006 Food Blog Awards Coming

I've received quite a few e-mails asking about the Food Blog Awards and yes, they will be done this year, and yes, they will be on Well Fed again. Official announcement going up Monday with the list of categories in a call for nominations, but since this is such a great gathering place of food/wine bloggers, I thought you might want a heads up as well. Some wonderful prizes have been donated, including LeCreuset cookware and Sil-Pins for the winners of the different categories.

Just one question ... below is the list of categories that the FBA had last year. Are there any suggestions for an overlooked category? Want to make sure everything gets included.

Best Food Blog by a Chef
Best City Blog
Best Non Blogging Food Site
Best Group Food Blog
Best Food Blog - Writing
Best Blog Covering Wine, Beer or Spirits
Best Food Blog - Theme
Best Food Blog - Restaurant Reviews
Best Food Blog - Recipes
Best Food Blog - Photography
Best Food Blog - Humor
Best Blog Covering the Food Industry
Best New Food Blog
Best Post - Reader's Choice
Best Overall Food Blog - Reader's Choice

This Post was written by Cate from Sweetnicks and Well Fed.

[Blogger] Beta Issue

So, I was going to make the leap to Beta today (after working out some template issues with my template designer). When I tried to make the switch, I got a message saying one of my blogs was too big. Do you think it's because I am a member of FBS? My blog certainly doesn't have anywhere near even a thousand posts. But FBS has 891 (well, I think 892 now).

I am really eager to switch to the Beta because I can't wait to use the labels function for organizing posts. Anyone have any great ideas? Maybe Sam could remove me as a member and I can rejoin when FBS switches to Beta?

Here's the message I got:

Why can't I switch to Blogger in beta?
While the new version of Blogger is still in beta, some users with certain types of blogs will not be able to switch to it. We'll be adding support for these blogs as soon as possible, so everyone can join in the fun. But for now, if you have any of the following on your account, you'll need to hold off for a bit:

A very large blog. (More than a couple thousand posts + comments.)

Note that, even if your blog is eligible to switch, you may not have the link to do so on your dashboard. We are starting out by just switching over a limited number of accounts, but we'll add more and more as time goes on. However, if you still want to try out Blogger in beta, what you can do is to visit and create a new account. Later on, you'll be able to merge this account with your original Blogger account.

Thanks for your patience, and we promise it will be worth the wait!

This Post was written by Madeline from Everything Rachael Ray.

UPDATE:In the comments to this post, Trig mentioned that maybe Blogger is not letting group blogs migrate. However, I am a member of another team blog and got this message when migrating it:
Other authors will be invited to move their accounts to the new Blogger when they sign in. They must use the new Blogger in order to post to these blogs.

So, I think it's just the fact that are wonderful community is so big!

TypePad Photo Problems

I couldn't find this exact issue addressed in the archives, but this is causing me a major headache.

I normally upload my photos to Flickr, then have been linking the images into my TypePad blog.

When first using TypePad, I uploaded a few images, then took that HTML. I've been copying that, just replacing the URLs and sizes. I'd show an example, but it keeps showing the picture!

Lately when I do this, I keep receiving error messages saying that my HTML is overly complex or malformed, then it freezes up. I've literally been trying to work on a single post all week long, and can't seem to get anywhere.

If you use TypePad/Flickr, how are you getting your images up? I know you can just upload to the blog, but I'd rather avoid having to upload the pics twice in a row. And really, I'd love to get back into blogging, and not fuss with all of this image placement!!

This Post was written by s'kat from s'kat and the food.

sample code:

[a href=""][img src="" width="200" border="0" style="float: right; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;" /][/a]

[Blogger Beta] Change is gonna come

I logged into Blogger a moment ago and was greeted with this:

Your new version of Blogger is ready!

The new version of Blogger now has all the original features you're used to, plus new post labels, drag-and-drop template editing, and privacy controls. And, it's a lot more reliable.

After you switch you'll need to sign in with your Google Account, but your blogs will stay the same. Their content and layout will not change.

(And a link to switch me over)

Um, what if I don't want to because I am still not sure if I'll lose my spot in FBS and I like everything just fine, thanks?

I don't recall if we ever decided what would happen if there was a switch, only that folks in Beta can't accept the invite to FBS. Has any existing member switched and retained their membership?

[Apology] From Your Head Mistress

I apologize for the fact that Menu For Hope was beginning to over run our S'cool. As many of you know, I have a policy of not allowing bloggers to use the S'cool to promote their own events. I made an exception for Menu For Hope, because I hope it is an event than can bring the community together, the whole community and for a good cause. But I think we went to far in using the S'cool as a kind of notice board for the event, many of the posts caused by our own iinsufficient organisation skills that we are learning as we go along. This needs to take place elsewhere really, not here.

As a compromise, I have assembled all of the Menu for Hope information in one long post which I will link in the side bar too. If anyone needs to find out information about menu for hope, they can simply look in that post. If anyone wants to add to the information to this post, please email me and I will add it in.

Heartfelt apologies everyone, we all learn by our mistakes, please forgive me.

This Post was written by sam from Becks & Posh

[YouTube] How Do I Delete A Video On My Blog

I was playing around with the You Tube functions and published a video on my blog (Robbie Williams - so go and check it out LOL!) That was the easy part. However I was wondering if I ever wanted to delete it how do I go about doing that. I simply tried to delete the post in Blogger but the video is still there. The problem now is that I cannot go back to the post and make any changes as Blogger has deleted it!

Can anyone help me here?

[Update] I take this back! It has been deleted. After I deleted the post it seems like it actually takes some time for the post/video to disappear. Also just a tip for "YouTube" newbies (yes there are still a few of us out here) do NOT use the "Post Video" function at the bottom of the video. This posts the video immediately and automatically publishes it on your Blog. Use the embedded HTML snippet on the right of the video. Here is more!

Sorry if this was a bit lame!!

This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Blog Won't Load for Some People

Recently I replaced the standard Blogger Metadata in my blog template with some more specific data so that when someone picks up the rss feed they are directed to feedburner, not the original blogger feed. I had a very knowledgeable person helping me, so I think it was done correctly.

Ever since then my brother has been unable to get my blog to load on his computer, using Firefox 2.0 on a Mac. When he tries to load the blog, it either gets to a certain stage and then gets "stuck" or it says it is loaded but the screen is blank. (When he uses safari it looks just fine, so it's not his internet connection or his computer.)

Other people who use Firefox 2.0 on PC are fine. I can load it fine with PC using old firefox and several versions of IE. We have looked at the code again and can't spot any errors.

If anyone has a Mac with Firefox 2.0 I'd greatly appreciate if you would check to see if you have any problems loading my site, Kalyn's Kitchen. Also any of you experts who might be willing to look at the code and see if you spot anything I'd be so grateful. It's driving me a little cuckoo.

This Post was written by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Great Article on Food Blogs in Sauce Magazine

There's a great article on Food Blogs in the latest issue of Sauce, a St. Louis based food magazine. Written by our own Alanna, this should be required reading for any food editor contemplating taking on this topic. In fact, if your own local newspaper has a food editor, consider forwarding them the link!

Here's Alanna's announcement about the article and the online version of Gather Round the Computer: Foodies Come Together in the Blogosphere from Sauce. Be sure to scroll down all the way to see what a great job she did compiling a very comprehensive list of food blogs by category.

(Please don't be upset with Alanna or take it personally in any way if you don't see your blog listed. She asked me several times for feedback about blogs to feature, and I know she agonized over trying to decide who to include. Ultimately she came to realize that there are simply so many good blogs that any list that was created would always be leaving out some worthwhile, high-quality blogs.)

This Post was written by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Beta Codes for hiding the top nav bar and spaces

I posted a code for old Blogger here.

Here is the code for new Blogger Beta users. I had to create me a Beta account for this. Maybe a certain person will even thank me for my efforts this time. :)

To hide the navbar, insert the code that is
highlighted in red in between the codes highlighted in blue (this is located at the bottom of the template).

< /div >< /div > < !-- end outer-wrapper -- >

< type="'text/css'">

#navbar-iframe {

height: 0px;
visibility: hidden;
display: none;

< /style >

< /body >
< /html >


To take the blank space out of the top of the header and make the header flush to the top, insert the codes
highlighted in red as shown below within the codes highlighted in blue (that is located on top of your template).

body {

font:x-small Georgia Serif;
font-size/* */:/**/small;
font-size: /**/small;
text-align: center;

position: relative;
top: -10px;




This Post was written by Mae from riceandnoodles.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

[copyrights] How much for that kitty on the website?

At Sam's suggestion, I'm moving my query regarding photo rights to a new post so it doesn't get lost within a longer comment thread.

Here's the semi-short version: A photo I posted last February on Belly Timber appeared in the Friday edition of my local paper. I'd uploaded the photo onto Flickr, and up until quite recently all my photos on my Flickr were listed as "all rights reserved." Just this past week or so, I changed that to a Creative Commons license that allows only for non-commercial, non-derivative use with attribution. Needless to say, the Oregonian didn't ask, didn't attribute, and didn't pay.

I'm now trying to figure out just how much to ask of them along with my request for a printed attribution/correction in next Friday's A&E -- as the Friday A&E is where the photo appeared, and it is one of the most popular sections of the paper.

Further information: The paper's weekday circulation is, I believe, about 350,000. The photo is in B&W and is just under a quarter page. (There's a scan of it up on Belly Timber now -- it's a cat picture and I couldn't resist a snarky response from my cat for Weekend Cat Blogging.)

In the Serious Eats comments thread, Nika mentioned a useful resource: the Stock Photo Price Calculator at This gives me a good ballpark to start with, but I'm also interested in hearing if anyone else has gone through the same thing and how their, ehmm, "negotiations" with clueless print media types fared -- because, frankly, it stuns me that staff members at a paper this large should still not get something so basic as the utter wrongness of stealing photos off the web for a for-profit publication.

This Post was written by MizD from Belly Timber

Hiding the blogger navbar and taking the space out on the top of the page

Trig [Aidan Brooks?] posted a question here about hiding the navbar button which is on top of the blogger page. I thought instead of answering his question on the comment, i thought it would be more useful for anyone else who might want to apply this code to their blogger account.

Here it is... (works on firefox and safari - i haven't tested it on ie and beta [i haven't got a beta account])

To find out how it looks, i've used my old blogger account as a dummy - check it out here.


To hide the navbar, insert the code that is highlighted in red in between the codes highlighted in blue (this is located at the bottom of the template).

< !-- End #footer -- >

< type="text/css">

#b-navbar {





< /style >

< /body >
< /html >


To take the blank space out of the top of the header and make the header flush to the top, insert the codes highlighted in red as shown below within the codes highlighted in blue (that is located on top of your template).

body {
padding:40px 20px;
font:x-small Arial;
font-size/* */:/**/small;
font-size: /**/small;

position: relative;
top: -50px;


I hope this helps. If you are not tech savvy and find it a little tricky to make changes to your template, i can offer some help by way of letting me get to your account and i will make the changes. Email me on maegabriel at googlemail dot com. You have to disclose your password to me to do this changes. I will treat them with strictest confidence and you may change your password later. This offer is only valid til 13th December as i will be away for a long well deserved holiday.

Sorry, this post is a little short and abrupt, i have 2 chocolate truffles in the fridge that is ready for rolling and photoshoot to be posted on my blog and to be boxed ready for demanding friends... :)

This Post was written by Mae from riceandnoodles.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Farm dinner tomorrow: I have tix, am sicks, need to nix

I hope this is okay for me to post: it's an opportunity for someone in the SF Bay area to buy my seats at the last Outstanding in the Field farm dinner for the 2006 season tomorrow. I am really sick with bronchitis and laryngitis, and it's kept me from working for over a week. So I am selling the tickets, hoping someone will want to go to a ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains, take a tour with a couple of local foragers, eat a five-course dinner made by a gifted chef from many foraged (and locally farmed) foods, and drink six kinds of wine from Bonny Doon Vineyard. (All this in the afternoon: the weather is supposed to be lovely.)

Details—including some of the dishes and all of the wines—are on my blog, which is at

I'm not trying to make a killing: my husband's been sick and worked less this month, too, and we're scrambling to pay boring bills. Thanks in advance for letting me post here: I know we all don't read all the blogs, and this is a very limited window of opportunity. I only decided today that I am too sick to go, and can't think of a better group of people than food bloggers who'd be interested in going.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Serious Eats

Has anyone seen Serious Eats? I just went there for the first time, was going to register an account and went to look at the TOS. At first glance, it seems rather heavy-handed in some ways.

There are lines like:
"Images published on Flickr or other public photo sites, with an implied license for use under the Creative Commons license associated with such sites"

Which is all fine and dandy, except that flickr lets you choose your copyright terms and you can choose NOT to use CC licensing. So it's not implied, it's explicitly chosen.


"Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that any material on our sites is infringing your copyrights."

They go on to say that someone had to pay $100,000 for such a claim and then note that "a copy of each legal notice we receive will be sent (with your personal information removed) to Chilling Effects for publication."

Talk about chilling effects!

I am going to register and lurk a while to see what the site is actually like, but I am unlikely to post anything there unless they lighten up a bit. (and I wouldn't be surprised if they did, so much shakes out at the start of this sort of venture) Protection is one thing, but geez!

Besides, I couldn't find an answer to the question that led me to the TOS to begin with: Do they claim copyright over the content of comments? Does anyone know?

This Post was written by kitchenMage from kitchenMage

One more go at the Blogger beta navbar issue

Thought I'd try again for a techie to solve my problem, as I got no responses at all to my posting of November 18th. I won't repeat it all.

Some time ago I searched out some code that I put into my Blogger template to hide the navbar at the top. Recently I've been looking at migrating from Blogger to Blogger beta and a search of the web quickly turned up the new code needed to hide the navbar in beta. It came with an add-on that gets rid of the space left at the top of screen.

The code can be found at - Technique 1, with the extra bit that you will find after Technique 3.

Testing the code on someone else's blog that has just migrated, I was very pleased with the result. That was until I realised that the code works properly in Firefox, but in IE it hides the bar but does not remove the white space at the top.

So does anyone have code that works properly in both browsers?


This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.

What is Stumbleupon?

I'm a new blogger with only 3 months of posts under my belt. Last night I got over 700 hits and it appears that much of that traffic is being driven by something called Stumbleupon. I googled it and it seems to be a Firefox extension. I could sink some time I don't have into further research of this but I thought I would first ask here if anyone has any knowledge or experience with Stumbleupon.


This Post was written by Vanessa from What geeks eat...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

[Etiquette] Replying to Comments #2

ok - I admit I have a problem currently with comments replies. For over 2.5 years I diligently answered just about every single comment I received. Every one. Ok - not quite - I confess I had a "duh" moment for the same 2.5 years, where if someone commented on an old post, I couldn't always work out which post they'd commented on so I couldn't always reply. I didn't realise the link in the email notification took you to the post in question. Anyway, I digress...

Recently my readership has gone through the roof AND I have an intensive new job which has reduced the amount ot time I can spend on my blog by about ten fold.

Where I once had the time to answer every comment, I now keep getting behind with the task (which I really enjoy, by the way, so its not that I don't want to do it) and the more I get behind, the more terrible I feel about now not replying to everyone who so kindly made the effor to make a comment on my blog.

I don't know what to do - it's just not me not to reply - it's in my genetic make-up to respond and be polite, so the fact I am overwhelmed by it all is making me quite unhappy. I am consistently getting 10, over 20, sometimes 40 great comments a post these days which I love to get, how can I make all of those kindly commentors feel like their comments are really appreciated. I always thought a personal reply was the best way to go but I just can't quite cope with that any more and a global reply doesn't address all the individual comments presented.

Does anyone have any advice for me please?

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[Etiquette] Replying to comments

Not sure if Miss Manners has weighed in on this issue yet. I am always delighted when people comment on my postings. I love the exchange of ideas and would love to encourage more conversation on the site itself.

Initially, I used to reply to comments both on the site and also via email to the commenter, as I get an email notification on all new comments. I find this especially useful when I want to establish a one-on-one connection with a commenter, particularly if it's someone new to me. However, in so doing, that conversation gets derailed on the blog.

I don't expect that there is a single right or wrong way to go about this communication. I'm more interested in your thoughts. Do you reply directly to commenters via email? Do you expect direct communication? Or is it incumbent upon the commenter to return to the postings upon which they comment to continue the conversation?

(This dovetails with a previous posting, which I cannot find now, having to do with being able to track your own comments. I believe someone recommended a program called CoComment?)

This Post was written by Sean from Hedonia

[content] an Amateur on 'How to Food Blog'

Will you, or won't you agree with Adam's take on "More Blogging Advice"? Does he make points that make you feel umcomfortable, or is he simply airing publicly what you have been secretly thinking all along?

Agree or disagree, have your say here or continue the conversation over at Adam's blog.

This Post was written by "Cheeky & Charming"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I hate my hosting service!

So it's like this:

I've had the same hosting service for years and for years they've been just fine. Very little down time and they gave me a pretty good deal on a reseller account so I could host multiple domains and host sites for my web design clients.

Well. Ahem.

Two weekends ago, the SQL server at my hosting service crashed and I lost several days worth of blog posts and comments -- the service crashed on the 18th and hadn't performed a back-up after the 12th. Also that weekend, their email server went down, and though that's back up and running, the Mailman listservs haven't worked since. I was patient. I was going to give them a second chance.

Not anymore. Today, everything's down again, and while this may be a glitch and my sites may be back up and running soon, I've had it. I can't even get to the hosting service's main website to file a tech support request -- not that this will do any good: they used to respond quickly to tech issues, but since this last crash two weeks ago, they've been deathly silent.

All of this brings me to say: HELP! I need to find a new hosting service and I need it ASAP.

What I'm looking for is a reliable but inexpensive service that allows for multiple (25 at least) domains and the ability to continue purchasing added space & bandwidth as needed. I'm used to cPanel as a control interface, so that would be preferable. Also, I must have PHP and SQL installed, and various other scripting options & add-ons, like Fantastico Scripts.

If any of you techie types have recommendations for me, please let me know! I'm eager for personal recommendations and not just links to "top hosting services" rankings. (And I hope this info will be helpful to others who want to move to their own domains or from their current hosting services.)

The worst part of all this is that it's fallen during a week when Chopper's lost his temp job and we're still trying to dig out from all the wretched stuff the tenants did to our house while we were gone. Feh. Sometimes bad luck runs in streaks a mile long!

Many Thanks in advance,
Robin aka MizD of

Monday, November 27, 2006

I installed Site Meter and it took my blog down.

Yesterday I added Site Meter to my blog. It worked fine for a few hours, then removed access to the blog and all I got was code.

I removed Site Meter and the bog returned.

Anyone else have this problem?

Thank you.

This Post was written by mimi from French Kitchen in America

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How can I delete "LINKS TO THIS POST:"

How can I delete access to Blogger's "LINKS TO THIS POST:"
I'm getting very strange links turning up at the end of
My Camera post :(
Such as:
Hi My Name is Paul and I am a Racist & THE GIRL WITH SIX FINGERS etc.
Totally inappropriate. I haven't a clue how to remove them.
Has anyone else had this problem?
This Post was written by Carolg from

From Food Blogging to Professional Food Writing

Hello Food Bloggers,

I have benefitted from so many of your posted questions and helpful responses, and, for the first time, am submitting a question of my own.

In truncated form: How many of you are aspiring to write about food in a professional or semi-professional capacity?

In a slightly long-winded form: I am working on my Ph.D. in a non-food related field, and have found my food blog to be a really enjoyable outlet to write casually about food while dedicating most of my time to my dissertation. I would eventually like to do some freelance writing about food-related topics. For those of you who do this sort of work, did you publish a food blog first? If so, do you think that your food-blogging opened up opportunities for you to move into professional writing? Have any of you been approached with offers for writing projects by way of your blogs? Any suggestions for how I can, in the future, use the writing I have done on my blog to get my foot in the door of professional food writing?

This Post was written by Sarah Miller from Food and Paper.

Friday, November 24, 2006

How to insert a blank line?

Until a few days ago, I hadn't much time to play around with the way my blog looks. Now I've added Technorati and a few other things but I find I cannot insert blank lines into my template, even when I use the proper html command. What am I doing wrong?

I used it here, and it worked. (I took it out because I have no idea how to disable it.) So why doesn't it work in my template?
What am I doing wrong?

Thank you.

This Post was written by Mimi from French Kitchen in America.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

[RSS] Name and Shame

Anyone else rely on RSS feeds to read blogs? YES I hear many cry... I want to apply pressure on those who do not offer a feed - without it I wont read you. I am now going to name and shame two (in the wild hope they will cave in under the exacting pressure)

This Post was written by Andrew from spittoon etc

Note added to this post from Sam Breach the Food Blog S'cool Admin : the blogs previously named by Andrew have since been removed from this post due to the fact that the creator of the blog in question was not happy about being publicly shamed. I agree that the point can be made adequately without outing people or embarassing them, and Food Blog S'cool is not the place for picking on people or bullying.

Alright, I might be a bit slow but: I just wanted to say that I have been hooked on and think it's wonderful! I take tonnes of pictures and this is a wonderful way to share them on a blog (or on other mediums for that matter). It saves me play favourites with my pictures. Thoughts anyone? Maybe other new/old [free] useful programs anyone might want to share?

This Post was written by celine from black.salt

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Correcting Recipe Errors

I just corrected this recipe for chocolate pumpkin pie. (My original post was missing a line—and one cup of sugar). I also put up a subsequent message saying that the recipe had been corrected, but not giving details, because the less said the better, right? And I emailed one blogger who mentioned in comments that she might try it. I still feel terrible because this is my most hit recipe ever; I wish I could reach everyone who is planning to make it. Is there something else I should be doing? Have I fulfilled my obligation?

This Post was written by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan

[adsense] Blacklist

Anyone used this? It's a list of sites to blacklist in your google adsense account that apparently increases the revenue. It came from top blog ProBlogger so I am sure it fine; just wondered if anyone had success with it.

Posted by Andrew from Spittoon extra

[Bloggers who bug me] How Does One Handle Them?

Hi Folks!

I really need some advice because there are a few things that are driving me nuts about a few Blogger Buddies. i am not too sure how to tackle these issues.

1. I often get mails from certain Bloggers telling me to leave a comment on this or that post or even why I have not bothered to comment on a recent post or why I have not visited their blog for a few days.
While some have the time and ability to cover 100 blogs a day leaving comments, I cannot. I have a day job and I can only visit a few, sometimes even none, a day. There are times that I do not leave a comment because do not see the need to. Is this wrong? I think many of us are well acquainted enough to realize this and there are no harsh feelings. There are others however who actually go by their stats and as soon as I have visited a blog and did not happen to leave a comment, I can be sure I will get a mail telling me why I have not. How do I handle this?

2. The mails also often have comments like "There have been 67 comments on my post, why have you not commented yet?" "My post today had 140 comments!"
Hello? Did we all go back to Kindergarten and someone forgot to tell me? A closer look reveals that out of the 140 comments 120 are from the blog owner themselves. So what is the deal here? Are our blogs judged my the amount of comments one gets or should this be a fun thing?

3. I have noticed many new blogs and while I know I cannot do anything about it, I just wanted to vent my frustration - I see that some are very much copying a similar style and layout. There are some things that are fine - for example the recipe boxes, this is not the annoying factor.
What I mean are things that I find personal. For example, the Google Reader bit on my sidebar under "Blogs I Am Reading". I noticed this on a certain blogger's sidebar too - that is OK I have noticed the Reader on many blogs - but what bugs me this blogger has the exact same reading list, contents and titles!! Are these people lacking imagination or are we so similar that we could have been long lost twins?
I added a little thanksgiving graphic to my Banner and I am wondering how long it is going to take these people to implement this idea too. As this is my personal touch for my readers it gets annoying when one sees the same thing everywhere. Am I being petty?

This Post was written by MEETA from What's For Lunch Honey

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

[img] problems with blogger img upload?

hi all!

for the last day, i have been having a very odd problem with uploading photos for my blog.

i use HELLO - the little tool to upload photos directly to blogger. when i look at the image in say, photoshop or in explorer, it looks fine - 200x150 px. after i upload it to blogger, the image is cut off at the bottom. the image itself is 200x150, but for some reason, the bottom part is white.

for example, this:

looks like this:

(i have no idea how it worked this time, but for everything else, it's getting cut off)

am i doing something wrong with photoshop? is there an issue with the HELLO tool, or is it blogger?

any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

This Post was written by sarah from the delicious life

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hiding the Blogger Navbar

Some time ago I searched out some code that I put into my Blogger template to hide the navbar at the top. Recently I've been looking at migrating from Blogger to Blogger beta and a search of the web quickly turned up the new code needed to hide the navbar in beta. It came with an add-on that gets rid of the space left at the top of screen.

The code can be found at - Technique 1, with the extra bit that you will find after Technique 3.

Testing the code on someone else's blog that has just migrated, I was very pleased with the result. That was until I realised that the code works properly in Firefox, but in IE it hides the bar but does not remove the white space at the top.

So does anyone have code that works properly in both browsers?

This Post was written by Trig from Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blog redesign inspiration

I've got this major redesign looming over me and apparently the silly writing project I've been buried in has left me utterly braindead when it comes to graphics. To complicate things, I've got multiple sites that need a coordinated look/feel and I need to come up with a logo. (and I have no clue what I am making for thanksgiving dinner, beyond a 21 lb turkey, but that's another problem entirely!)

My problem is not that I can't do the design work, it's that I can't decide what I want. (any mindreaders out there to help?) I have some general thoughts but I think what I need now is to go look at a bunch of sites for inspiration. Which is where you all come in.

What are your favorite blogs as far as design goes?
Are there specific aspects of blog designs that you either love or hate?
Have you run across articles that helped you with site design?

Anything else you think might help would be great!

I have a few Typepad specific questions, but I'll save those for another post.

This Post was written by kitchenMage from kitchenMage

For Fans of Sugar High Friday

The Herald-Tribune just published a great piece about Sugar High Friday by Laura J. Cullumbine, who's another SHF fan. The story is here (and might require registration).

This post was written by Alanna from A Veggie Venture

CSS problems in safari


I have some problems with my blog formatting correctly in Safari. It displays with no padding in between columns, making things difficult to read. I use wordpress using a found theme that somewhat suited what I wanted. Though from there I completely bastardized it, taking out entire sections and resizing the borders and padding and CSS styles. This is definitely where the problem lies though it displays fine under IE and Firefox. Does anyone know some quick fixes for such a problem or do I have to go back to square one and redesign with Safari in mind? Has anyone one had problems with Safari in general?

This Post was written by Conor from I Think Food is Great

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Error Message in German??

Hi all!

Does anyone know why when a page won't load I get an error message in German? Actually I am only guessing it is German.

Webseite reagiert nicht
Die Webseite, die Sie angefordert haben, ist wegen eines besetzten oder unterbrochenen Servers auf technischen Schwierigkeiten gestoßen. Bitte versuchen Sie es noch einmal, indem Sie den Button Neu Laden auf Ihrer Navigationsleiste anklicken oder - wenn das nicht funktioniert - kommen Sie zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt zur Seite zurück.
502f Verbindungsfehler

This Post was written by Gabriella True from

My Life As A Reluctant Housewife

Moving Photo hosting to Flickr?

I use Typepad, and for 99.9% of my posts, have inserted photos into my posts from my computer, basically hosting them at typepad, which is fine, except that I am really exceeding my bandwidth. One way they suggest of extending bandwidth is to host some content at shared hosting sites. I thought I might move all of my pictures to Flickr, which I already use but not really for blogging. Has anyone done this or another type of shared hosting for content? I don't want to lose anything.

This Post was written by Lisa from Restaurant Widow

[Ads] Problems with AdSense?

I searched and didn't find this mentioned yet, so forgive me if it has been discussed before.....

I recently added Google's AdSense to my blog more out of curiosity than anything else. I really don't get the traffic to make much money, but I figured I'd try it out just to see how it works.

When I first added it, I got a lot of blog-related ads. I followed some of the tips about removing the word "blog" from the sidebar which seemed to solve that problem and things were working pretty well for a while. Now I'm getting a lot of junk. "Find your soul mate" kind of stuff that I really don't want. I visited Kalyn's Kitchen and noticed that the same thing is happening on her site as well, although perhaps not to the same degree.

It appears that this is happening mostly on the main page. When I click on posts that are elsewhere in my blog, such as a specific recipe or the permalink, the ads at the bottom of those posts are generally relevant.

Is this normal for AdSense or is this a recent problem? I certainly am not going to make much money on this, so I'm tempted to remove it if it can't even generate relevant ads.

Any tips or suggestions?

This Post was written by Alysha from The Savory Notebook

Chain emails : Recipe Exchange

By now, some or all of you might have come across this chain emails that is circulating around the food blogosphere.

I don't mean any malice or cause anyone upset but i am terribly busy at work and home at the moment [i'm preparing for a 3 weeks holiday], that i have to decline participation. So please don't take it personally.

This chain email though, bugged me a bit.

This is how it looks:

1. name of person - email
2. name of person - email

You've been invited to be part of a recipe exchange!
Please send a recipe to the person whose name is
listed in the number 1 position above (even if you
don't know him/her)--preferably something quick, easy,
few ingredients.
Then copy this letter into a new email, move my name
to the number 1 position, and put your name in the
number 2 position. Only your name and mine should
appear on this list when you send out your email. Send
this to 10 friends. If you cannot do this within 5 days,
please let me know so it will be fair to those
participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It is
fun to see where these recipes come from. Seldom does
anyone drop out because we can all use new recipes.
The turnaroun
d is fast because only 2 names are on the

I really don't get why whoever set this up have chosen to email to 10 people?
I mean, they've overlooked the fact that one person might get so many repeat participation email because of the amount of people to email.

Let's say i get 5 emails and reply to all of them, that means, i have to think of 50 new participants, right? Also, it would mean that whilst i only share 5 different recipes and pain-stakingly type them as email format, i would then receive a whopping [it says i will get 36 recipes in total for every participation- how did they get to this number?] 180 recipes if i participate to all 5 emails.

But my calculation tells me that i will get 100 recipes for each participation. So multiply that by 5, equals to 500 recipes. That's if my math's right? I had to draw up a diagram to understand and work this one out.

Wow. That's a lot of recipes. Do i really need all these? As it is, i haven't even had a chance to cook from my cookbooks...

What do you personally think of this?

This Post was written by Mae from riceandnoodles

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kosher cooking food blogs


A reader of my blog asked me for recommendations on kosher cooking sites and "hip" Kosher food blogs. I haven't found anything, but I am sure there are some sites out there. This seems like a fun niche. Does anyone have some suggestions I can send along to him?

This Post was written by Chris from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen

Monday, November 13, 2006

Menu for Hope III, a call for participation

Hi everyone,

It's that time of year again for our next Menu for Hope campaign. Many of you were involved in the last year's very successful campaign to raise funds for UNICEF. Together we raised over $17,000, which was much more than any of us expected. Even more remarkably, we somehow reached that high number by selling raffle tickets that cost only $5 each.

Many of you were very generous in providing raffle prizes and in helping us raise the awareness for the campaign last year. This year, I hope that even more of you would participate in our third annual Menu for Hope campaign. The campaign is scheduled to run for two weeks from December 11-22. (Here's a link to last year's campaign announcement on Chez Pim for your reference.)

This year, I'm very proud to announce that the United Nation's World Food Programme will be our very worthy recipient. What better cause for us food bloggers to raise money for than the UN's World Food Programme, which has been feeding the hungry since 1962? The people at WFP are very excited by the prospect of this very novel fundraising campaign –only novel for them of course, this is our third year at this now, remember? They have assigned a Public Affairs (that's to say PR) person to help us publicize the campaign, and hopefully together we could break the record we set for ourselves last year.

Here's what I'd like from you in order to participate in our Menu for Hope III:

Preparation, before December 1.
1. Come up with a gift, or a set of gifts, to offer as a raffle prize. You could offer books, foods (your specialty or those of your part of the world) or solicit gift certificates from restaurants or food producers in your area. Remember that you will also be responsible for shipping the prize to the raffle winner, no matter where they live. So, please make sure you could afford the shipping cost as well.
2. Provide two images of your gifts, one at 75x75pix thumbnail and another a bit larger at 240x160pix. Please remember to optimize the images for the web as well.
3. Provide a description of your gifts. You're trying to sell the gifts to our donors, so be persuasive, be very persuasive!
4. Email all of the above to corresponding host blog in your region. Those of you who participated last year should remember that all gifts were hosted on Chez Pim. This year we are doing things a little differently. I'll still be the main host for the campaign, but in addition to that we will have 6 host blogs, who will each be hosting the list of prizes in their own geographical region, as followed:
  • West Coast USA –Sam of Becks and Posh - menu4hope.west at
  • East Coast USA –Adam, the Amateur Gourmet - adrober at
  • The rest of the US -Kalyn, Kalyn's Kitchen -kalynskitchen at
  • UK/Europe -David Lebovitz- davidlebovitz at
  • Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand (Helen of Grab Your Fork - grabyourfork at
  • South America (Cooking Diva - pty_cooking_diva at
  • Canada (Jasmine at the Cardamom Addict - cardamomaddict at
During the live campaign, Dec 11-22
1. On December 11, write a blog post about the campaign and your raffle prize and ask –no, beg- your readers to donate money to buy virtual raffle tickets to support WFP. Each $10 will give the donor one virtual raffle ticket for a prize of their choice. (They can specify their desired prize in the comment area of the donation form.)
2. Be active during the time our campaign is live. Monitor how your raffle prize is doing on our fundraising page, and encourage more of your readers to donate. You may also write about other prizes that your readers might be interested in.

A little note about how we will collect the donated funds. We are, once again, using the online fundraising company First Giving to coordinate the donations. No money will pass through my hands, First Giving will collect the donations and pass them directly to the World Food Programme. I'm also very happy to tell you that First Giving has given us 25% off from their usual fees. The fees is 4%, which is not very high, so the discount is only 1%, but it's still a very nice gesture from them.

One more little change from last year is this year's electronic raffle ticket will cost $10 instead of $5, and a donor can only select one prize for each set of donation –that is to say a $50 donation will give the donor five chances at only one prize of their choice. This is to make our lives easy during the raffling of the prizes.

I do hope you participate and help us beat the blockbuster success of last year's campaign. Please feel free to email me at pim at if you have any question or concerns. You may also contact the host blog in your area, they will be able to help you as well.

Thank you so much in advance for your help.

Chez Pim

This Post was written by Pim from Chez Pim

[charity] How Can I Participate in Menu For Hope?

Many of you already know that Pim of Chez Pim announced the 2006 Menu for Hope here on Food Blog Scool a few weeks ago. This year any funds raised will go to support the United Nation's World Food Programme. Menu for Hope kicks off in a week and a half and it is time to get organised. As the USA West Coast host of the event, I have had several people asking about the kinds of gifts they can offer. Here are some tips:

- Firstly, if you are not already familiar with the event, go and see what kind of gifts people donated last year. Think about which ones you find most atttractive and conversely make a not of those which you wouldn't bid for. Use this information to guide your own choice for a prize this year.

- Minimum bid for a prize will be $10. Bear in mind that people will be less likely to bid for prizes that are worth less than the price of a ticket.

- Value of the prizes does not have to be monetary. There are a couple of prizes from last year, that attracted high bids but did not cost their donators anything at all. Farmgirl Susan donated the opportunity for one lucky winner to name one of her sheep and VK from My Dhaba offered to give away her treasured cast-iron Kadai which, thankfully, the eventual winner refused to accept.

-Prizes that are unique, or funny, or unusual or valuable will be more attractive.

- Don't necessarily think of Menu for Hope as a way of getting rid of something you don't want yourself. The chances are, if you don't want it, no one else will either.

- Think of your own readers when choosing the prize. What would your readers like to win? The whole point of this is to attract your own readers to donate money first and foremost. We want everybody's readers to bid for prizes on the blogs they normally read, then we want them to discover everybody else's prizes and donate again.

- Some prizes will be tied to a locality. For example, the prizes I offered last year were only available in the Bay Area. This can be limiting, depending on your location and your readership. In the Bay Area where food bloggers have a decent readership and other similar metropolis, these kinds of prizes probably will hopefully attract a lot of bids, but in more remote areas the voucher for a local restaurant, for example, might not be so attractive.

- are you a personality? Offer yourself up as a dinner date?

- Be mindful of where you can ship things globally, particularly foodstuffs and alcohol. Check to see if you can ship your prize abroad. If not, then make sure that bidders know that they have to come from your home country, or change your prize to something that can be shipped globally.

- Be aware that the prize host is responsible for shipping the prize to the winner, perhaps anywhere in the world. Weightier gifts will cost more to ship.

- Not everyone can afford to host a prize. This is not a problem - there are other ways to help - in particular by buying a ticket or two, or even simply publicising the event on your own blog. Do not feel obliged to host a prize, we will be equally greatful for anyone who can't, but who chooses to publicise the event and send their readers to buy a ticket. In fact, I will write a thank you to our sponsors post linking to every blog who publicises the West Coast roundup to show my appreciation.

I hope that has given you all something to think about. Please address any questions here in the comments so that any of the hosts or previous entrants can dive in and answer the questions for everybody to see. I will write some more posts about the menu for hope over the next week on FBS. Don't forget - launch date is December 11. The main host and organiser is Pim and your global local hosts are as follows:

  • West Coast USA –Sam of Becks and Posh -
  • East Coast USA –Adam, the Amateur Gourmet - adrober at
  • The rest of the US -Kalyn, Kalyn's Kitchen
  • UK/Europe -David Lebovitz-
  • Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand (Helen of Grab Your Fork - grabyourfork at
  • South America (Cooking Diva - pty_cooking_diva at
  • Canada (Jasmine at the Cardamom Addict - cardamomaddict at
During the live campaign, Dec 11-22



At Thursday, November 30, 2006 11:49:48 PM, vkn said…

Dear Sam - This is great news. Count us in once again this year. We will come back and let you know what we would like to offer this time.

It was a sheer coincidence, we guess, or telepathy? My Dhaba has also embarked on a similar life-saving mission - "Feed a Hungry Child Campaign" on November 23, 2006. Please do check out the ongoing group book project - "You Can Cook for FAHC campaign".


At Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:39:44 AM, shelly said…

Menu for Hope is a truly wonderful campaign. Many thanks to those who are donating their time and effort to get this project going.

That said, I've been poking around the UN WFP site out of curiousity as to where our money will be going. The site is fairly informative, but it also raises some questions for me. For example, I'm not clear about how WFP chooses the recipients of the aid they give. All the recipients on the list of operations are certainly worthy, but I can think of several others who, strangely, are not on the list.

It's also not clear what foods they donate, where these foods come from, and how they are grown. Are the foods free of GMOs? Are they purchased from local farmers so as to assist the growers as well as those in dire need of sustenance? What is Unilever's role as a donor?

While providing emergency food supplies to people in need is highly commendable, I wonder what happens to those people when the emergency is over, or the supplies run out. There is certainly a place for providing immediate help to those who are hungry. But there is also the question of how to help people feed themselves when the WFP must move on to the next crisis. Is WFP involved in programs to help farmers through natural disasters, or helping farmers use natural local resources to improve their crops, rather than relying on expensive products they can't afford, or programs to develop school gardens grown by pupils which they then harvest to feed each other?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit and felt the need to discuss it, not as a criticism, but just as something to think about or perhaps open up for discussion. Again, I really admire the people who have organized this amazing campaign. That the foodblogging community can pull together to help those who are hungry is remarkable.


At Monday, December 04, 2006 10:31:58 AM, Sam said…

Hi Shelly

I wrote to Pim and asked her if she would respond to this comment, because they choice of recipient lies solely with her.

Personally I loved Blogathon because for that I was able to choose my own recipent.

Every individual has different reasons for wanting to support some charities more than others. And some people know more about what goes on behind the scenes than others which is why the points you raised are interesting.

When doing something like this on a global scale, it is difficult to find something that everyone is going to be happy with.

To anyone who isn't comfortable with this Programme, I would suggest you branch out on your own and run your own campaign if you want to. I did that with the Blogathon and it was satisfying to help the charity of my choice.

If you feel strongly, and it seems you do, maybe you need to raise and publicize these issues on your own blog. I definitely think it is something to consider and make more widely known.

Start a FBS post on the subject if you like, it might attract more attention than being buried in the comments.

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

[Menu for Hope] Update for US West Coast Participants

The deadline for Menu for Hope is drawing near, I just wanted to remind everyone about the latest details and deadlines. I am just working with participants who live in the Western United States (those ajoined to the Pacific including Hawaii). Please contact the host for your region if you are not situated on the US West coast, thanks. (list of global hosts here)

If you live on the West COast, USA, and have yet to send me notice of your prize contribution, please make sure you include all of the following information in your email and address it to:

- the name of your prize
- an eloquent, persuasive description of your prize
- your name
- your blogs name (this should be the blog where you will post your
Menu for Hope Post on launch Day, December 11th)
-your blog url
-your physical location
-check shipping: Please let me know if there are any
country/regional/global shipping restrictions on this prize and if so
what they are. Be sure to include this information in your
announcement too. Please note that the onus is on each prize sponsor
to clarify shipping restrictions for their entrants, so as to avoid
disppointed entrants further down the line, Thank you.
- a digital photograph of your prize, preferably horizontal, (which you should understand may be cropped, colour corrected or resized for use in the prize roundup
on mine and Pim's blogs whilst promoting the event)

If you manage to send all of this information intact to me by midday
PST on Friday December 8th I will guarantee you will be included in the
initial launch roundup on mine and Pim's blogs on December 11th. If
you contact me later than that time, your prize, of course, will still
be promoted extensively during the campaign but might not make it to
the launch day post.

This next section is information for everyone taking part. This is a description of what is required of participants on launch day, Dec 11th and the post that participants will publish on their own blogs to announce the event.

Please Note: Once you have contacted me and pledged a prize (with all the details as outlined in this mail) I will assign you a code number starting with the letters UW. Please use that code number wherever specified in the instructions, thank you.

Participant Instructions from Pim:

On December 11:

1. Write a post on your blog, describing your participation in Menu
for Hope and your prize(s). Please include at least one photograph.
Please state your prize code clearly for every prize you offer.
Your donors will need to use the code(s) when specifying the prize(s)
he/she wants to raffle for. In your write up, be funny, be
irreverent, beg if you must. Get your readers over to the main Menu
for Hope campaign page on Chez Pim to browse the list of all the
prizes or go directly to the donation page to make a donation.

2. Link to the main Menu for Hope III page on Chez Pim: (

3. Link to the regional round-up post on your regional host blog:

(on the day Dec 11th of you might want to change this to the permalink
url for the roundup post, which in blogger you can not set in advance)

4. Link to the donation page on First Giving: (

5. Provide the following instructions for donors:
Here's what you should do...

1. Go to the donation page at ( )

2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward
a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd
like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when
confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and
please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 2
tickets for UW01 and 3 for UW02.

3. If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to
check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the
corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address
so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address
will not be shared with anyone.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the result
of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our
friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible
for the wicked application that will do the job.)

During the campaign:

1. Please monitor the donation page if you can, perhaps you could
help drum up support for great prizes that have not been sufficiently
noticed by the donors.

2. Please consider keeping a Menu for Hope logo on your side bar.
It can either link to the prize round-up page on Chez Pim ( or to
the donation page on First Giving ( ).

thanks very much for your participation

Let me know if you have any further questions

I would like to add that we are really excited that you are taking
part. This is a community event that can help the world be a better

Thank you


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh



At Wednesday, December 06, 2006 11:46:50 PM, david said…

Great write-up!

I do advise also if you're donating something like a food tour, class, or get-together, to give an expiration date. I'm asking my donating parties to give a one-year deadline.

So far I have almost twenty amazing gifts, including wine tastings in a chic Parisian loft, language lessons, dinner in a typical Bavarian home, and glorious food packages from Italy, Sweden, France, and Israel.

Should be great; let the bidding begin!


At Thursday, December 07, 2006 6:20:36 AM, Mae said…

I have added a link on my sidebar, Sam.

Good luck everyone!


At Thursday, December 07, 2006 8:31:23 AM, Sam said…

ha ha david - does that mean my mum's ice cream with you has expired.

i wanted to come and share it with her but i am stuck in the US for the last year due to visa issues, argh.


At Thursday, December 07, 2006 11:01:38 AM, Kalyn said…

I don't have a high number of prizes for the central U. S., and would be happy to get more, even if it's past the deadline (even past my extended deadline of December 9, LOL).

However, although I don't have a huge number of prizes, the prizes I do have are quite fabulous. If I dared, I'd give a hint, but I better not.


At Thursday, December 07, 2006 11:18:56 AM, Sam said…

I am pretty sure, Kalyn, that once the campaign goes live, more people will want to help out.

That is what happened last year.

We'll see....

...sleepness nights...

[Menu for Hope] Shipping/Deadline Notes

Menu for Hope prize hosts: Please let your hosts know if there are any country/regional/global shipping restrictions on your prizes and if so what they are. Be sure to include this information in your prize announcement post too. Please note that the onus is on each prize sponsor to clarify shipping restrictions for their entrants, so as to avoid disppointed entrants who cannot accept their prizes further down the line.

*generally - unless you state otherwise, as a prize sponsor you will be expected to meet the costs of shipping your prize to whoever wins it.

David Lebovitz, the European host also suggests the following: "I do advise also if you're donating something like a food tour, class, or get-together, to give an expiration date. I'm asking my donating parties to give a one-year deadline."

I know that for evey one who is taking part, there are a lot of details to assimilate and it is a slightly trying process, but please do try and get back to your hosts as quickly as you can with all the information they ask for by the dates and times requested. If you think it is hard to cope with organising one prize, please spare a though for those of us who are trying to keep a track of a couple of dozen or more, Thank you all very much.

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

Logos to Use:

Hi everyone,

Here are some logos you can use for the Menu for Hope campaign post on your blogs.

The Menu for Hope main logo:

a small logo

WFP logo

Please email me (pim at chezpim dot com) or your regional blog host if you had any further questions.

thanks so much for your help,

This Post was written by Pim of Chez Pim

Charity Mention

If you are taking part in the Menu for Hope this year, you may have noticed that the final particpation instructions failed to mention the charity we are supporting. It is probably a good idea, since we are trying to raise money for their benefit, that we give the United Nations World Food Programme a mention. People will want to know where their money is going.

I will leave it up to individuals to read up on the charity and add it to their launch posts in whichever way they think suitable.

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh