A husband calls his wife and asks –“What are you cooking for dinner tonight
Wife answers – “Fine long grain white rice handpicked from the emerald green lap of Vindhyas and tender golden lentils gently simmered served with dollops of clarified butter”
The husband is impressed with the yummy description and asks for the name of the dish and the wife answers “Dal Rice”
Face palm? Well Food blogging is probably summed up by this joke.
I took to blogging one fine afternoon, when I was sitting idle in office and since April 2014 since this started, the blog – its following and popularity has thankfully soared from aviation to food and travel.
A food blogger visits umpteen places, reviews the ambiance/décor, food and service and writes about them. As I look back to my first blog and my latest blog, I realize how my knowledge of food has increased over a period of time but not just knowledge of food, it changed my language too. Juicy became succulent, soft became supple, tasteless became bland and tangy became – well so far remained as it is.
A blogger also embarrasses his family or friends who are visiting the place with him, by taking own sweet time to explore the menu, to read the ingredients and the most embarrassing part – by taking umpteen pictures, attracting attention of by standers and other diners. Imagine being on a table with another 10-15 tables around, all occupied and some sudden flash and the camera sound on just one table. “Wannabe” said one; “food blogger” said another.
There is a growing breed of food bloggers in India, thanks to review sites like Zomato and I find it strange when people review places like McDonalds and Café Coffee Day for food and not service – which is the only parameter which will change from store to store for a standardized centrally supplied food joint.
Since January, I have had the pleasure of attending food tasting sessions, getting some surprises over food or getting discounts after the restaurants have checked my public profile. All of which were pleasant surprises, which I had not even anticipated when I took to food blogging.
On this journey I have met some wonderful people who love food, who write about food and share some amazing tips about places to eat and cooking. I have also met some hilarious people who want invitations and are excited just by the thought of free food and could go to wits end of imagination while reviewing some place. I am sure they are restaurateur’s nightmare.
The most difficult part has been to be polite in telling how some dish is not good to a chef or a manager when you are visiting that place, more so if it’s on invitation. “This does not taste like the other day”, “This is not how it should be”, “In so and so place this tastes different” are not appreciated. What is probably appreciated is why this is not as good as how it should be and what will make it good. Food blogging does require some knowledge of food.
And when you go looking out for food it can lead to some hilarious experiences. Like this one I had in Mexico – where a friend of mine and I bought an instant noodles packet which was tagged green – thinking its vegetarian only to realize that they tagged Fish products in Green, and after that when we put the staff and owner of a small Mexican joint in Pune by replying “We have never been to this place before, but we have been to Mexico before” when asked if we have been to this Mexican restaurant before!
There are few who keep asking – how and when should one start a food blog? Well, Google lists out umpteen results for “Food Blog” starting from How to, When to, Why to and more. But the answer is simple, start when you feel like. The chances are that good blogs will be picked up very quickly and you will soon find yourself amongst like minded people talking about what else but food and doing what else but eat! Just remember, it’s an expensive hobby!!
From getting close to 2 million views for what I have written about food and reviews of restaurants to getting invited as a food blogger for food tasting meets, my food blogging has come a long way. It is nothing else but writing stories.
However I continue to have a question mark on my face when my wife or mother asks me “Is salt OK in this or some more salt is needed?” There goes all the respect a food blogger earned outside the house