November 2, 2007

So the kool kids are not impressed because, you know, they were all born blogging. At least one got the point: It’s ridiculous to pay someone to teach you to start a blog. Or, worse, as I heard from a computer whiz out in Arizona last night, pay someone to start one for you — he said he has friends who have been shaken down for thousands. Then there are the people I meet who still yearn to start a web site but can’t come up with the cash for a designer and code writer; a very liberating four-letter word has not penetrated their consciousness. Meanwhile, companies selling domain names are cleaning up on ignorance and dreams. . . .

As for the snark that someone who still shoots film is not fit to print, I suppose all the bloggers who discover you can roast a chicken! should keep their eurekas to themselves? That would clean up a lot of debris in cyberspace for new voices, no photos needed.


October 30, 2007

Now that it’s too late, I realize I should have paid a lot more attention to my photo files. I went back in (with help) the other night and sharpened the tomato shot, which only made the template look fuzzier. And of course I have no idea where that image might be. Having wasted a couple of hours going through all my CDs and rummaging around in my Pictures folder, I’m here to say you can save yourself a lot of misery by giving every picture a name and keeping them all in one place. Another late-breaking realization is that adding categories to each post is a lot easier when you do it as you write each post. Now I have to go back and think of words to describe the ones below. Somewhere in here is a dual lesson you would think I would have learned from cooking: organize your cabinets and clean as you go.


October 18, 2007

I remain a techno-dunce but want to try inserting a photo the way the kool-kid bloggers do. Here is a better-in-my-memory shot from Piedmont, where my consort and I were wandering with an Italian friend, Andrea, through the back streets of a hill town whose name escapes me and came across this scene. The women were straight out of “The Gleaners and I” — they had collected the tomatoes from a field after the harvesters had come through and were tidying them up to can for the winter. As we left, they insisted we take a big jarful, still hot from its water bath.



October 17, 2007

Okay. Time to make the blogroll. That is the whole reason for being out on the internets, apparently. But I will include only those I read faithfully. And, for this exercise, only those that are personal blogs rather than aggregates, aside from the excellent chorus of individual voices at a certain newspaper.

Post-pub update: My standards have dropped rapidly. I am now including reactionary blogs to demonstrate how viral cyber-publishing can be, to everyone’s benefit. In the cartoon words of the New Yorker, on the internets no one knows you’re a dog. But bark can also count more than bite.


October 17, 2007

While I wait to hear, I will be lamenting having chosen the wrong name for this particular recipe. . . .


October 17, 2007

It’s up. Who will punch me down?

(I never worried like this with my web site because all I did was fill in words; far smarter people did the design and graphics for me. But this, oddly, is more fun.)


October 17, 2007

And that’s it. I have a new blog that has cost me nothing. Now comes the hard part: content. I’m writing a few posts and saving them before taking the scary step of hitting the “publish” button. If it isn’t obvious, I’m trying to be clever with my titles. Because the worst sin of food blogging is being boring. Second worst? Blathering on. If ever a medium was created for the old advice to “be bright, be brief and be gone,” it was the internets. That’s why links were created.

The pan

October 17, 2007

Now comes the fun part: Choosing what this sucker will look like. I want something clean, spare, stripped down, with one photo stretched across the top, without colors and effects that will make downloading proceed at escargot pace. And I want to be able to customize the photo, which rules out most of the templates. Finally I am motivated to check out all the CDs I have collected with my photos at the drugstore while the rest of the world has run digitally wild. . . .

The dough hook

October 16, 2007

Step one was choosing a name, which proved to be an invaluable experience. On newspapers, editors and reporters assign stories a “slug,” the most shorthand description of the subject, and it is an exercise in distillation, reducing a tale to its essence. Deciding what the blog will actually be about is the same exercise; with luck you wind up with a name that crystallizes what you want to write about.

My instinctive first choice was cookedup, to reflect the manufactured nature of this blog, but it was already taken. After wasting half an hour flipping through a couple of books of food quotations, I realized any more than two words would be too many because they would be part of the URL with (so much for redbeansandricelyyours, Louis Armstrong’s great signoff to his letters). So I fished around in my “someday” mental file and thought of foodfake, for a professional writer creating a blog for theatrical effect. Down the line it may be useful for a “real” blog. . . .

The yeast

October 16, 2007

So I was working away back in August on a piece on how the narcissism of the ever-expanding internets is affecting the anonymity of restaurant critics when it occurred to me: Everyone and her Chihuahua seems to be blogging these days, but no one is talking about how you actually do it. The closest analogy seems to be to real porn — the assumption is that the motivated will make it happen, no manuals required.

And so I proposed a story to my editor on exactly that topic: a recipe for a blog.