Want to be a food blogger?

Want to be a food blogger? But why?
Food bloggers are an obsessive crazy madpack who cannot finish their sandwich without thinking if they should have clicked it first. They speak food. Food is their lingua franca. Food moves them the way good movies do. They collect all kinds of junk for their food photos, spend enormous amounts of time on Pinterest, celebrate every conceivable day with food (red-blue themed independence day food, Aadi maasam food) and wake up to their blog stats everyday. It’s no surprise that majority of food bloggers are women. And many food bloggers I know are mommies. 
But being a food blogger is not easy. It is fun though.
This is not a guide for aspiring food bloggers. This is not a how-to. This is more of a ”what you’ll do” if you become one. It’s a fun take on what food bloggers do. If you still want a disclaimer please head to the bottom of the post. Disclaimers spoil the fun if they’re at the start.

  1. You’ll need to know a dozen different words to say something tastes good. You’ll invariably love love the karamani usili, Red velvet cake, Roast chicken, Curd rice, bulls eye or bournvita that you made and you need to proclaim to the world how wondrous it is. Kids of mommy bloggers will usually gobble up everything mommy makes.
  2. The dozen different words will also come in handy when you’re commenting on your friends’ blogs. Commenting on fellow food bloggers’ blog is absolutely imperative so that they return the favour. I am woefully inept at this and generally at social networking of any kind. You may at times spend more time commenting than blogging.
  3. You’ll spend hours online searching for Bread Upma to understand all the permutations and combinations in which bread upma is made worldwide and then make your own version with grated carrots (instead of finely chopped carrots like the rest of the world) and just a dash of Tabasco sauce – Recipe Development. Cake pots, rasam shots, pasta patties, pizza sandwich… you get the hang? You’ve got to make it smaller, change the shape, crumble it, put the inside outside and the outside inside, stuff it, roll it, dip it, sprinkle it, top it, drizzle it and dust it. There – a new dish is invented.
  4. Be prepared to kneel down, bend, twist, crouch, squat, sprawl and climb up on chairs and tables for that perfect shot of your risotto or stacked masala vadais. I work up more sweat taking pictures of my Ambur Biryani than I do while exercising (Hypothetically speaking of course – if I was exercising. I don’t actually exercise). It’s hard to make your cheese toast say “Cheese” (yeah, I know it’s a cheesy pun) so you’ve got to do all the unnatural movements to make up for it (watch Chinese Kung-fu movies – “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”, “Karate Kid” etc for tough postures, and practice).
  5. For all the talk about “Serve piping hot” and “eat right out of the oven”, you’ll probably eat soggy fries, melted ice-cream and hardened Naan after your marathon photo sessions.
  6. You’ll become the official ragpicker in your street, among family and friends. You’ll collect napkins, table mats, bowls, plates, spoons, knives, forks, glasses, bottles, trays, platters, toys, wooden boards, crates, pieces of fabric, drinking straws of all types, colours and sizes, diyas, figurines, mason jars (pickle/jam jars if you’re in India), string, twine, ribbons, bows, gift boxes, gift wrapping paper, greeting cards, invitation cards and designed envelopes, baskets, cupcake liners, pans, pots, woks, egg cartons and just about anything to tell a story. Friends will seek you out when they’re spring cleaning their house to offload their old junk without having to make a trip to the garbage bin on the road. Hint: Friends, if you have your Aaya’s paaku idikare kallu (a miniature mortar and pestle to pound betel nut) or the manchatti (mud pot) or the old broken chair that you’re planning to throw out, please call me first.
  7. You’ll have dozens of cups, plates and bowls but rarely a complete dinner set or tea set (not counting your wedding gifts of course). It’ll always be one tea cup, one coaster, one plate, one soup bowl of each pattern. That’s all you’ll need for your pictures.
  8. You’ll run from window to window, verandah to terrace to porch, with pots, napkins and coriander leaves for the perfectly sunlit spot for your food photos. You’ll worry about the bad light like you are director Shankar’s camera-man in Switzerland for a song shoot.
  9. For food bloggers there are no bad hair days (all days are bad hair days). There are only recipe-gone-bad days and those days are the worst. You’ll be grumpy and cranky and an obsessed ass to people around you.
  10. You’ll buy abnormal amounts of coriander, butter and unsweetened chocolate. But you may run out of something basic like rice or dal (No? ok then that’s just me). And you’ll hoard sauces, vinegars and sprinkles. Your pantry will be over-run with one-off ingredients that you bought for that authentic dish – black bean paste for the Korean stir-fry, blue curacao syrup for that pretty mocktail..
  11. You’ll think nothing of stepping out in chocolate stained T-shirt, uncombed hair scrunched on top of your head and chappals for some baking powder. I even drop my kids at school like this. My already mediocre dressing sense is even worse now after I started blogging.
  12. Your favourite shopping destinations won’t be Dubai or Singapore but Ratna Stores, Home Centre, Viveka Essence Mart, Ethirajulu, Poppat Jamal and Currimbhoys (these are for Chennai; substitute for your city appropriately) that stock pots, pans, aappa chattis, cupcake liners, fondant rollers and cookie cutters. You’ll go all glassy-eyed and wistful when you pass these stores. Your husband/boyfriend will distract you, take a detour, flash-dance and do anything in his power to avoid going into these stores. Jagan says it is even more torturous than saree shopping.
  13. God save the poor souls visiting India who have asked their blogger friend what they want from the US or Australia or South Africa. It doesn’t matter where your friends are travelling from. Food bloggers will give them a long list of ingredients, cookbooks and appliances to get them – fondant, food colours, doughnut pans, cupcake liners, cookbooks bought off Amazon and shipped to the friend’s address, coffee frother, waffle maker… In fact, same danger exists with bloggers staying abroad as well; who have friends travelling from India but the list is different – sambar podi, rasam podi, vengaya vadam, yogurt, idiyappam press.
  14. “Are you cooking for the family or for your blog?”, “You don’t have to bloody blog every bloody item you bloody cook”, “You’re obsessed” are things you’ll hear quite often from your husband/boyfriend. And that when you’re precariously balanced on the chair trying to click a top view of your 15 item Thali(without getting the kid’s toys in the frame) that you spent the entire morning making. And that is the exact moment your little one will want to go to the toilet (Yikes! the poori is deflating, the kootu is getting runny) . 
  15. Gone are the days when Rajni, Surya and Sachin Tendulkar were your heroes. You’ll admire Antony Bourdain, Vikas Khanna and Gordon Ramsay. Wow, such sexy knife skills, exquisite plating, raw brutally honest and funny writing. Swoon.
  16. You’ll covet recipes. You’ll unabashedly quiz waiters, caterers, family, long lost relatives, neighbours, the maid, friends, moms of friends, aayas (grandmothers) of friends and friends of aayas of friends for recipes. You’ll note down recipes from library books, airplane magazines, cookbooks, food magazines, TV shows, newspaper columns and oven manuals (and may forget to cite them in your post).
  17. You’ll always sleep with a cookbook by your bedside.
Disclaimer: All this is from my limited experience as a food blogger and has no reference to any specific blog or blogger. It is not meant to offend anyone.
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  1. Padmajha PJ says:

    Lovely post Jayanthi!!! .Enjoyed reading your post Yaar…Actually I thought I was the only one with such so called 'weird' habits! Glad to see that it is the 'curse' from the Land of Blogging that we all accept wholeheartedly 🙂

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