January 31, 2011

CF105 – Food Blogging 101

CF105 – Food Blogging 101

Food is news, folks. There are sites dedicated to nothing but covering food in the news. Slashfood.com is one such site. And recently, I came across a few stories that I’d like to share with you.

First of all, there’s a new map in town. It’s a food map, and it was created by the USDA. What’s so cool about this map is that it’s interactive. You can find it online at ers.usda.gov/foodatlas

The food atlas was just released last week, and it details, on a local level, food trends: “Who has better local food, more farmer’s markets, better availability to grocery stores? What are people eating most per capita in each county? How much food assistance are we getting? And who goes out to restaurants more?” You can find this info and more on with this new food atlas.

Slashfood.com’s article by Jessie Cacciola gives some examples:

  • Oakland County, Michigan, had 983 fast food restaurants in 2009, and 1,042 in 2010.
  • Minnesota’s Hennepin County had 15 farmers markets in 2009, and by 2010, they had 39. Wow!
  • Unfortunately, San Diego, CA lost 7 percent of its farmers markets over the same period of time.

There really is a wealth of information available, and it is all easily searchable. If you have a itch to do food research, this new food atlas may be the perfect way for you to scratch it. Read more about it at slashfood.com OR go directly to the atlas at ers.usda.gov/foodatlas

Also in the news… Did you hear about Taco Bell’s beef taco meat? It’s only 35% meat, folks! Yikes!

According to a class action lawsuit filed last week in California, the “meat mixture” that Taco Bell uses in its products contains less than 35% meat. Therefore, they say, advertising the food as “beef” is misleading.

So what is this “meat mixture” if not beef? According to the claimants, “it’s mostly binders and extenders such as ‘water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.’”

I could say a lot about this. I have this thing with fast food. BUT, I will refrain and say only this: We don’t eat it, and we ain’t gonna start now. YUCK!

But, there is a guy who does eat Taco Bell… and on a regular basis, too, it seems. I’m talking about Erik Trinidad, the guy behind FancyFastFood.com. No. Really. I’m serious. FancyFastFood.com. Erik creates fancy “recipes” using Big Macs, Chulpas, and pretty much any other kind of fast food he can get his hands on. He comes up with the new culinary creations, which he calls extreme makeovers, using only ingredients from fast food that he buys at local restaurants. They only thing he allows himself to use is a simple garnish to add color to the presentation.

This is supposed to be fun. And funny. The tagline on his site says it all: YEAH, IT’S STILL BAD FOR YOU – BUT SEE HOW GOOD IT CAN LOOK!

Erik recently posted a video of his “recipe” for what he calls Tacoliatelle… which he makes out of items from Taco Bell. Take a listen on the show….

And this, my friends, is just one example of a food blog. In this case, one that kinda pokes fun at foodies and food blogging that might just take themselves a bit too seriously.

But that’s the beautiful thing about blogging. You can do what you want. You want to start a blog about gnomes. Do you know gnome secrets? Have you discovered that gnomes have a plot for world domination? Want to let us in on it so that we can defend ourselves? Well, then why not start a blog!

When it comes to food blogs, it’s better than Baskins & Robin’s. There’s more than 31 flavors. There are food-related blogs out there to suit every taste. And the cool thing about it is that many “food” blogs aren’t really only about food. Just look at the Catholic Foodie (catholicfoodie.com). It’s about food and faith.

Now there are what you could call “professional” blogs out there. Blogs that are strictly about food. I’m thinking here about Mark Bittman. Mark is a journalist. He writes for the New York Times among other things. Here’s how he opens his About Me page at MarkBittman.com :

“I’m not a chef, and I never  have been. And though I’ve cooked with some of the best-known chefs in the world, I’ve never had formal training, and I’ve never worked in a restaurant. None of which has gotten in the way of my mission to get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well.”

I like that. In addition to the blog, he also produces a video series that he calls, “The Minimalist.” Good stuff. You might want to check it out. MarkBittman.com. And Bittman has 2 t’s.

Michael Ruhlman: Chef, author, and blogger. You can find him at Ruhlman.com : That’s R-u-h-l-m-a-n. Ruhlman.com.

Michael authored some very famous books about food and cooking:

You’ll find serious writing on Michael’s blog. He knows what he’s talking about. He is also very down-to-earth. Here’s a clip of him from a recent video post at Ruhlman.com.

One VERY famous food blog is Julie & Julia… the blog that sparked the book and the movie by the same name. http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/

There are 1000s of different types of blogs, professional, amateur, serious, fun, recipes-only, and some blogs that just mention food when it happens to intersect with other parts of life.

Here are few blogs that I like that concern themselves, to some degree, with the intersection of food and faith:

Do you blog? Do you want to start a blog? Maybe about food? Or are you thinking you might want to explore food more in your writing? Here are a few resources that I highly recommend to get you started in the right direction [affiliate links]:

To leave feedback for the Catholic Foodie, call 985-635-4974 and leave a message. You can also leave feedback for me at jeff@catholicfoodie.com.

Download episode 105 here or listen to it below:

Simplicities of Life: Hand-made Rosaries, Chaplets, & Jewelry

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