I really should heed my own advice so readily given to others; had I done so I might have made things a little easier for myself. The problem is this: I’ve become a food writing snob. Yes, I know, I’m a bit of a snob on my best days, This, however, is different.
In one of my very first food writing classes we were asked to categorize what we felt was good food writing. And when we’d bantered enough the professor finally clued us in to what is the difference between food writing excellence and food blabbing. Food blabbing, she said, focusses around the “me”; “I did this…” or “We went there…” without any kind of point or purpose. Conversely, Food Writing is GREAT WRITING with food merely the subject. If the writing is poor, the editing shoddy and the subject outdated – why bother wasting time to read it?
I suddenly started to look to what makes food writing so interesting and good and what makes a bad piece REALLY bad. And I’ve realized that most of the writers that I enjoy reading (particularly with food as a subject) are GREAT WRITERS. Never mind what they write about – the subject has become irrelevant to me in many regards. Primarily, I’m interested in the writing. Gourmet, Food Arts, Everyday Food, MSL, Saveur – all excellent examples of outstanding food writing. Bon Appetit? Rachel Ray Everyday? No so much. Of course, this is all a matter of opinion but there are standards – clearly defined and logical standards that can be used to determine the quality of the writing.
Having said that, I’ve been asked recently how I feel about certain other food blogs out there. More and more bloggers are brokering book deals, others have published a book already and others are asked to participate in various magazine roundup type articles, sample products etc. Sometimes the quality is there but for the most part, frankly, I can’t be bothered now reading what they have to say. Its self-indulgent blathering – not food writing. Muffin Top is not only meeting these standards of excellent writing, educational and timely in delivery but for the most part exceeds my own grasp of language and structure and certainly, interest.
I hold myself, now, to the same standard. If I cannot say something newsworthy, educational or at least damn well written – I won’t say it at all. I’ve raised the bar for myself and I only hope that I can leap over it.