If you haven’t heard, Project Food Blog is Foodbuzz’s new foodie challenge that will let bloggers compete in different challenges and use YOUR VOTES (plus those of the judges) to decide who should be the “Next Food Blogger”.
Challenge 1 is pretty basic, but fun: Write a post about why you could be the next food blogger, what makes you unique, and what YOU bring to “the table”.
In thinking about this first challenge, I just kept coming back to this question:
What Makes Me a Food Blogger?
First of all, let’s get these out of the way:
I’m not a professional chef.
I don’t write recipes for a living.
I make no money taking pictures.
I don’t make a living from my blog.
I don’t have a book in the works, a lighting studio in my kitchen, or connections to the finest restaurants in town.
My dishes are washed by hand (not by choice), there’s not a food processor or mandolin or any Le Creuset in my kitchen, and I can’t make a perfect layer cake for the life of me.
So what makes me a food blogger?
Do you have to be qualified in some way in the “food world”? Is training necessary? Do all my pictures have to be worthy of taking the cover of Food & Wine or BonAppetit?
If so, I guess I’m not.
Apart from watching family while I was growing up, I learned to cook on my own by watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks and recipes, and making myself get in the kitchen and spend quality time there.
And I think that’s the best training there is.
Maybe I’ll never know the perfect way to poach an egg or be able to whip up crème brulee whenever the mood strikes, but I can find my way around the kitchen. I have as many successes as I do failures, but I think that’s the point.
Being a food blogger – however you define it – keeps me in the kitchen. And that’s where I want to stay. Every day gives me another chance to create something new or make a family recipe that brings me home as soon as those familiar smells fill the house. And I’m proud of that.
No matter what happens with this blog or whether I move up in this contest, I know for a fact that I can make my Mammaw’s ham gravy at Thanksgiving, which is her specialty and something that I’ve never seen anywhere else. I’ve watched her make it and made it myself with her watching over my shoulder to make sure I got it right.
And I may never blog about that recipe. It’s a family tradition and one that I keep close to my heart. Same with my mom’s fudge pie.
The holidays aren’t the same without them. I’m not the same without them.
I guess what I’m saying is this: As food bloggers, we all bring our baggage to the table. Maybe yours is filled with culinary school, perfect cookies, and a pressed chef’s apron or a slew of cooking classes and oodles of freelance food writing.
Mine isn’t. I’d like to think that mine is filled with sticky messes, frustrations, contentment, and lots of sourdough.
My time in the kitchen isn’t usually pretty. But I think I bring a different perspective to the table.
I don’t know everything about cooking.
I mess up easy recipes, find dough on my forearms 4 hours after mixing up bread, and have a bad habit of trying new recipes for dinners or get togethers, leaving me hoping that the dish will turn out good enough to serve to others.
Dabbling in sourdough this year has opened up so many other interests for me, ones that I feel are beyond my years but I don’t mind it one bit. I get to have conversations with Mary Alice at church about sourdough. My neighbors invite me over to can tomatoes and tell me apple pie recipes while we’re standing in the middle of the road after work, catching up on life. I sit around family tables, brainstorming ideas for big holiday meals.
I love the idea of Project Food Blog, but I have no expectations for myself. Considering that voting is part of the equation, I may be out of my league. There are many more blogs that are extremely popular and get more views in one day than I may get in a month.
But a challenge is a challenge! I’ll never make it if I don’t try, so I’m putting myself out there.
What makes me a food blogger?
Simply the fact that I’m here: cooking, writing, sharing. And that’s enough for me.