Food blogs, amirite? Those magical web portals that lure you in with their tempting photos and delicious titles, and then trap you amongst their pages for hours on end. Don’t pretend you don’t love them. If you can honestly say you don’t, you must only be looking at the worst ones, like Oat Bran Daily and Fun With Kale! (Turns out, 365 Days of Kale does exist, if you’re into that sort of thing.) The problem here is that it is impossible to remain hung up on one bad blog when there are so many good ones begging too be looked at. Far too many, actually.
The typical wasted hours spent food blog-hopping go a little something like this:
I would love to bake today.
It’s Fall, maybe I should make something with pumpkin.
I think I have a can of that in the pantry.
Google: “pumpkin recipes.”
Oh good, only 38,300,000 results.
Oh. Wow. Those brownies look so good!
What?!? 41 Yummy Pumpkin Recipes from The Gourmet Glutton? Don’t mind if I do! ….
Next thing I know I’m looking at fresh pumpkin stew recipes with some particular type of canned tomatoes and that omnipresent kale.
I don’t have the ingredients for that, or the desire to cook a stew.
Oh well. Looks good.
Email to self.
Somehow ensure that I can never find it again among all my other bookmarks of other things I don’t actually want to make.*
I end up spending all my potential cooking time just looking at pictures, variations, and related recipes. By the time I realize I still haven’t decided on a single recipe, five hours have gone by, I’ve finished the entire box of Oreos, and I’m too tired from clicking and reading to cook anything but a frozen pizza. Thanks for nothing, food blogs.
Even sites like Pinterest that offer recipes amidst everything else she-bloggers love (weddings, babies, fashion, quotes, bikes turned into sinks, etc.) don’t help. I see you, pins of “easy” workout routines. But I also see YOU, baked Alaska. Teach me how to create that in my kitchen, and I’ll totally go run a marathon later, right? If I can ever get off the computer. What happened to the days where you could sit down with Ladies Home Journal (my mom was really hip with it and kept good reading material like that on the coffee table at all times) and tear out the page with that delicious-sounding pumpkin bundt cake–the only one in the whole magazine–and stick it in a cookbook, making a real life bookmark instead of a virtual one? Even if you didn’t make the recipes right away, you could still discover them later, in one place, and decide if you wanted to make them or not. I wish there was a way to do that on my computer or my phone. Is there an app for that? A recipes-I-want-to-try aggregator? Can I virtually tear out the recipe page on my tablet? Is the recipe Amy Cooksalot adapted from that Ladies Home Journal recipe really going to be that much better than what I already have?
I do admire you, food bloggers. You mystical beings who seem to have their busy lives under control or else have been blessed with making a life out of simply cooking. And I appreciate that you want me to have the recipe for those to-die-for kale cookies, but it’s hard for me to (a) see your recipe, (b) trust that it is both simple and delicious, and (c) take it to the kitchen without doing a little investigating first. It’s easier for me to trust printed magazines. You know the editors selected this recipe because it’s the best around. Not just anyone can publish a recipe in a magazine, so I feel that it’s easier to trust them than Amy Cooksalot, just some lady who posted a recipe on a blog somewhere. I can’t count how many recipes I make regularly from old editions of Everyday Food. I can almost always find the recipes I remember ogling. And I don’t have to even know that 37,299,999 other pumpkin recipes exist.
The internet is supposed to be a place that makes everything easy and accessible. It also allows anyone to share their voice. But with all these voices, things get a little too cluttered and distracting for it to be easy. Is it so wrong to want to abandon the information superhighway in favor of the old-fashioned bundle of paper delivered to my door? Yet, hard as I try, those food blogs will never fail to lure me in for hours, until I feel like Amy Cooksalot and I are best friends and she’s cooking just for me. Only I never end up being able to eat any of her food. It’s a love/hate relationship. And I can’t tell if I really want to end it.
*Full disclosure: I definitely emailed myself those 41 pumpkin recipes. Odds that I will make any of them? Zero.