When I was a senior in high school, I would sit in the front row at the far end of the room in Mr. Lovell’s AP Physics class, hold my phone (not so discreetly) under my desk, and scroll through FoodGawker. I don’t think I digested or retained an ounce of material from that class. But I couldn’t help it. I was enraptured by the endless stream of mouthwatering food photography, and Mr. Lovell was my only teacher who wouldn’t reprimand me for having my phone out during class.
FoodGawker was like Instagram but only for food, and the photos linked directly to the recipes. Day after day, I would get lost in the maze of gooey S’mores cookies and crusty loaves of fresh-baked bread. I started reading food blogs, cooking my own dinners, and looked for any excuse or occasion to bake a new sweet treat.
Fast forward to my first year of college at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Our dining halls had exceptionally subpar food, so I started cooking for myself in my dorm suite’s kitchen. Before I knew it, friends far and wide were asking about how I cooked healthy food for myself while on a budget and while attending school full time. That next summer, I started Primal Bites.
After a solid 3 years of developing recipes, writing a blog, and self publishing an eCookbook, I laid Primal Bites down to rest. As I look back, there are a few things that come to mind about food bloggers that you, as a reader, probably do not know...
1. We plan our meals based on what will photograph the best.
Whether we’re cooking for ourselves at home or ordering at a restaurant, our decisions very often hinge on what will appear aesthetically pleasing. I can’t speak for all food bloggers, but I often felt pressured to only cook meals that would look good on the ‘gram. Sad but true.
2. We will without hesitation stand on chairs in restaurants to get the perfect shot.
The funniest restaurant experiences I've had were all with fellow food bloggers. It’s pretty hilarious to watch 4 people all pull their phones out, meticulously arrange their plates and silverware, and spend 5 minutes taking photos from all angles. And if you’re eating with us, be prepared to eat room temperature food, because by the time we’re done, your food will no longer be hot.
3. It makes us want to pull our eyeballs out of their sockets and light them on fire when you say you subbed a key ingredient and complain that the recipe came out badly.
Using oil is not the same thing as using softened butter! Coconut flour does not equal wheat flour! Adding an egg will change the baking chemistry! If you want to experiment and sub things in and out, fine. But for the love of jeebus-- when it fails, I don’t need to hear about it. We spend precious time developing recipes to be very precise. So if you change something about the recipe, duhhh it’s not gonna look like my photo.
4. We schedule our days around ideal natural lighting.
If you know anything about food photography (or most styles of photography), you know that natural lighting is vital. So don’t be surprised if we schedule lunch dates around prime photography time, or rush home after work to catch the last rays of light before sunset.
5. We eventually become food snobs.
Once you begin to religiously cook and bake your own food, you learn to appreciate the beauty of homemade food. So much time, knowledge, and love goes into small batch cooking. We taste the difference between a jar of spaghetti sauce and sauce made from scratch with fresh basil and sautéed onions. Nothing excites us more than freshly baked bread, hot from the oven, slathered in butter. We’ll still eat and enjoy our Chipotle and those cupcakes from the supermarket, but after we become enlightened, nothing will ever compare to the magic that is a homemade meal.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.