Monday, March 24, 2014

Rant: Taking Food Writing To The Next Step

Peruse the myriad of food blogs and online sites and you'll often find restaurant reviews, breaking stories about upcoming restaurants, gossip about chefs, recipes, and lots of photos of enticing dishes. You might find a discussion of the merits, or lack thereof, of the Cronut or lists of the best places to find burgers, pizza and gelato. You might find discussions about the vast number of "froyo" joints or whether bacon really makes every dish better or not. You might find discussions about who makes authentic ramen or which are the best food trucks.

In the grand scheme of things, how much does any of that matter? All of these items certainly have their place, however it deals primarily with pleasure, an appeal to our senses. They can make our lives happier, more content, but they are not absolutely necessary. They are more in the area of luxuries. We possess the ability and privilege to be able to write about such matters, to indulge ourselves in such discussions. Each of us has built ourselves a pulpit from which we speak to our readers. We can connect with many individuals in this manner, and each of us possess a certain measure of influence.

There is nothing wrong with this type of writing. I have engaged in such writing many times on my own blog, and will continue to do so in the future. Many people want to read such articles and posts. They want to know what is new and good, what is hot and what is not. However, food writing can be much more than just that and I am calling on all online writers to sometimes take a different path, to use their influence and reach to educate and inform about more compelling issues.

Last week, I attended the Seafood Expo North America and it resulted in 21 articles about seafood issues. Though there were a couple fun posts, such as the best seafood I tasted, the majority dealt with issues that are vital to all of us, from the coming food crisis to the environmental and social impacts of aquaculture. These are issues that need more discussion and visibility. They impact your local community, our entire country, and even the world itself. Several other local bloggers also covered the Expo, writing their own articles about these vital matters.      

It is easy to hide your head from such imperative issues, to lose yourself in food porn and gossip. Don't do this! I want more online writers to step forward and cover some of these important matters on their blogs and online sites. I want them to bring attention to food-related problems, from hunger to factory farms, from food safety to aquaculture. I want them to use their pulpits to inform their audiences about the issues that truly matter. I want them to use their influence to create some positive effect upon the world, to make it a better place for us and future generations.

I'm not asking you to change the entire focus of your blogs or online sites. I'm simply asking you to occasionally cover much more vital issues, to take opportunities when they arise, and to do your part in making the world a better place. You have an audience and influence so why not use it to inform and persuade your readers to act better, to help resolve some of our world's problems. I'm doing my part so won't you join me?

5 comments:

Frederick Wright said...

Richard - I'm not a blogger, I'm more on the consumer end of things. I've learned quite a bit just by reading various food blogs such as yours on topics of sustainability, making me more aware of the impact of what I eat and how I live my life.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks! And I am glad that I have had even a small impact on your choices.

Susan Holaday said...

I've been professional foodservice print journalist my whole adult life and try to offer readers in the industry informative info, trends, news, new products. The stuff I see online is really for the foodie consumer who wants to know what's new, find a recipe, etc. Your post is excellent and I applaud your attention to the major issues impacting not only the industry but the consumer world as well.

Susan Holaday said...

58I've been professional foodservice print journalist my whole adult life and try to offer readers in the industry informative info, trends, news, new products. The stuff I see online is really for the foodie consumer who wants to know what's new, find a recipe, etc. Your post is excellent and I applaud your attention to the major issues impacting not only the industry but the consumer world as well.

canaryinthekitchen said...

Great words, always good to see a point of difference among the many (great) food blogs out there