Friday, 6 April 2012

Emily Jenkinson blogs on life as a newbie food blogger.


 Does the world need another food blogger? Probably not, but this February, after a least a year of dilly-dallying, I finally bit the bullet and launched The Lady Bites: Tales from the Table – an online journal, combining my own illustrations and ‘ditties’ with light-hearted reflections and observations on food.

As a foodie and a journalist, a food blog seemed to make sense offering a personalised, no-pressure outlet via which I could indulge two of my greatest loves, food and writing, while sharing an on-going tendency towards ‘doodles’ on a slightly more sophisticated platform than my desk diary.

After rejecting The Raw Prawn (already taken) and Tongue Sandwich (just no), I finally settled for The Lady Bites as a passable name for my new blog and set about (with the help of a techie friend) building the site. It would be a laugh, I thought, a good discipline (much like writing a diary) and something which I could look back on and enjoy (even if nobody else did) as the years ticked by. Who knows, I might even become a better cook.

Two months since my official launch and I am now a fully-fledged food blogger with, drum roll, 201 Twitter followers (yes, I now tweet), 388 unique visitors (thank you Google Analytics) and, er, 17 Facebook fans. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help getting excited when someone tweets @theladybites and I do feel a little surge of pride when I garner a new follower or fan. Meanwhile, I nearly faint with delight when someone feels inspired enough to comment on one of my posts (even if it is just my father-in-law in disguise).

A Day in the Life of a Food Blogger ©TheLadyBites

Of course, as one of my favourite food bloggers, David Lebovitz says, getting good traffic is “not something anyone should focus on, especially when starting out” and he’s absolutely right. The whole point of starting The Lady Bites was to do something which didn’t feel like work, was fun and relaxed and which didn’t involve (as the web copywriting work I do sometimes does) being a slave to SEO.

So far, it’s living up to and even exceeding expectations. Because it is my own – my little creative project produced entirely by me - it is more absorbing and rewarding than I ever expected it to be. Meanwhile, I have, according to my husband (aka The Heid) become a better and more adventurous cook in that where once I would have bought mayonnaise, now I attempt to make it (so far, so badly, but he’s not complaining - yet). At the same time, I feel lucky to have been employed as part time Food Editor at The Good Web Guide, where I have opportunity to interview other food bloggers and cooks, review cookery schools and books and become immersed more generally in the world of food and food writing.

The only thing I simply can’t get used to is taking photographs of my food before eating it. It seems like the ultimate cruelty for someone who loves their nosh, likes it served hot and isn’t much of a photographer and I can’t help feeling a little embarrassed doing it when out in public, especially when I overhear little children asking their mothers why “that lady” is taking photos of her food. "That’s a good question young whipper-snapper," I must learn to say with pride, "it’s because I’m a food blogger. Now pipe down and get back to your brownie before I steal it."

A Funny Breed

Food bloggers are a funny breed
Who’ve made an art form of their greed
By writing down for all to note
What they’ve stuffed down their hungry throats
And what they think they might eat next
The dinner out that left them vexed
And recipes that they’ve devised –
Or those of others they’ve revised -
If edible, it’s analysed.

You’ll spot them round about in town
They’re usually armed with camera/phone
Which they whip out triumphantly
To document their gluttony
Their breakfast, snacks and lunchtime, dinner
(They’d love to be a little slimmer)
But when there’s all this marvellous food -
Delicious things in multitude -
It’s not a goal that’s worth pursued….


Read more from The Lady Bites on www.theladybites.co.uk, follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theladybites and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theladybites

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