This is not a recipe post. I strongly believe that there is more to a food blog than just recipes. This is my (humorous) take on two years of blogging. You will also find some of my favorite photos from these last two years.. Do not forget to tell me which one you liked the most.
Something special happened a few days back – my blog’s second birthday or my second anniversary of blogging.
Pretty important milestone!
The blog – it all started like this….
When I started blogging, I had no idea where it will lead me to. I started blogging on a whim – with no idea about what is cool and what is not. Blogging (at that time) was merely a way to save my recipes (the family favorite ones) somewhere easily accessible. Combining my love for cooking with my husband’s favorite hobby – this food blog was born. But now, it means a lot more to us – an endeavor that we have come to love & nurture, has become part of our lives.
A celebration is incomplete without a party and people. A blog birthday party involves bloggers. I asked a few blogger friends to share their blogging story, blogging advice and stories that tickle the humor bone. Here is some serious blogging advice from a few bloggers that I admire.
There are down-in-the-dumps days in the life of a blogger. On such days, I resort to humor. Finding humor in the unusual places have helped me take care of the blues. That and venting out to my husband – he wears many hats – the sounding board, the broad shoulders to cry on, share my success, shout, yell & praise, blog-back-office and the official photographer (oh and yeah, proof reader). And if humor and venting does not help me, I resort to baking.
For my blog’s first birthday, I had jotted down my learning from my first year, as a blogger. All those lessons are still valid. Apart from those invaluable lessons, I learned a few more as the time progressed – so this sums up my blogging journey.
Before the blog – cooking – it started like this…
To be frank, when I started cooking, I had no idea that I will blog-about-food in this lifetime. Cooking at that point in my life was just a means to survive. When I was a kid, there were people around me who cooked for me, fed us well and we (my sister and I) were shooed away from the kitchen when we showed interest in cooking. Kids were supposed to study, get good grades, get a good job and not to worry about menial things like cooking. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But there was no denying that I loved to cook, because I was the one who stepped up and did the cooking after we got married. The memories of the dishes my grandmother, and later, my dad made, were fresh in the memory. I could recollect the aroma wafting from their kitchen and could recreate the dishes without too many failures. Of course, they were dishes from the Konkani cuisine. Not to deprive my husband the dishes he was familiar with, I started learning the Kerala cuisine from my mother-in-law.
Even then, having a 9 AM – late night job (I was in the IT industry), prevented me from cooking elaborate dishes and meals for us. It was just a matter of survival – a way to keep the grumbling tummies happy. Of course, there were many goof-ups, some dishes had major learning curves, but it was definitely fun.
Major cooking and recipe sharing started when I quit my job about 10 years ago. It was further accentuated when we moved to the US six years back (six years? already?). The place where we live has just one Indian store and a handful (OK, may be I am exaggerating a bit) of Indians. So, it is a bit difficult to get the Indian stuff that we are so used to, locally.
There are dishes that I used to take for granted back in India, including chaat items and some sweets and other stuff (on top of my list is the greasy Indo-Chinese dishes that we get.. Ooh! I am craving some now).
$10 for 5 boondi laddus?
I will rather make them at home. And when they turned out good, it encouraged me to try more. And in no time, I got hooked on to heat and then there was no turning back.
The blog started because of encouragement from friends and my husband’s passion for photography.
So, I cook and style, my husband takes pictures, and in the end, we all sit down to eat. Now, we are so used to eating cold food. We are figuring out unusual ways of heating cold and “non-reheatable” food.
And later, I blog about it.
There are advantages to blogging…
One of the major advantages of blogging is that Sonshine (BTW, Sonshine is the undercover name for my son on the blog), my darling picky eater, is ready to try newer flavors. Yes, he is still reluctant, goes “eww” most of the times, still prefers dal-chawal (dal and rice), but he is definitely getting better (he secretly hopes that he is allergic to mushrooms and avocados so that he doesn’t have to eat them).
One more advantage…. (This is one of my favorites)
For me, cooking is therapeutic and a wonderful excuse not to do the mundane tasks of folding clothes, cleaning and dusting. At the end of the day, no one complains if the house is a tad bit messy (understatement of the year!) when you serve a warm comforting meal. Or rather, no one notices how messy the house is. All people around you want, is to relish the delicious meal. Everyone is happy.
Money from blogging? Yeah, Right!
When I tell people that I blog, the first reaction is “Wow! You must be making a lot of money”.
Yeah, right! (And how I wish they were saying the truth).
My major income from the blog is through ads. Please do not get carried away, on an average (good) day, my blog income is $0.62. And yes, the decimal is in the correct place.
I did not have ads set up on the blog until December 2015. When a friend of mine remarked that “You still do not have ads on your website?”, we thought, let’s start showing ads.
Are you a hoarder?
I have made a little money out of ads on the blog, but nothing substantial. I have not even had a break-even moment yet. Instead, I spend a lot of money buying props for food photography, and now, my kitchen shelves and basement make me look like a hoarder.
Tons and tons (OK, I am exaggerating a little here again) of plates and bowls and spoons and don’t get me started on the number of Iron skillets I have.
Last time I counted, I have 22.5 mismatched white quarter plates. Wondering about the 0.5? Well, one of the plates has a massive chip on it, but I still use it for food photography. I just have to position it in such a way that the chip is not seen in the photographs.
Do you have some old cookie sheets to dispose off? Find a food blogger and they will take it from you, happily.
Blogger’s Best Friend
We all need friends to help us through difficult times. Some time back, I realized who a food blogger’s best friend is. Want to guess?
It is the DISHWASHER.
I experiment a lot with food and that means a lot of dishes to do. My dishwasher was not working and I was having trouble finding someone to come and fix it. So, during those days, I spent a lot of time “ghisso ghisso” utensils, but in a few minutes, the piles of plates and glasses were back in the kitchen sink.
This went on for a few weeks, and I gave up. An appointment with an appliance repair company and a few Benajmins later, my dishwasher got fixed and now I am the happiest blogger.
Food does not go waste. But where does it go?
Let me be frank – Food blogging – not a good thing for your waistline. Some of you know me from when I was in college and know how petite I was (wishful thinking about petite, I was thin – borderline skinny for most of my life). Pregnancy changed that a lot – I went from the borderline skinny to thin. And now, blogging changed that a whole lot – let us just leave it at that.
Food, Blogging and FaceBook
There are times when I wish, food blogging was just about food. Trust me, it is not. There is a lot more to food blogging than just food and blogging. I learn something every day. We mainly connect through Facebook (FB) and FB has become an integral part of blogging. Most of my friends and family have migrated towards the greener pastures of Whatsapp messaging and I am still stuck with the old-is-gold applications like Facebook and Google+, because that is how I socialize with other bloggers.
I have friends/acquaintances who ask me “Send me your number, Let’s connect through whatsapp?”. When I say “I don’t use Whatsapp”, they give me this quizzical look, which means “Which time period are you living in?”. I tell them I use Facebook to popularize my blog and to socialize.
I get sympathetic nods.
If you are friends with me on Facebook and your stream is flooded with my “likes and comments” on other food blogger’s posts, please understand that it is all because I-blog-for-food.
All things said and done…
All things said and done, I have finally found my passion in food blogging and I am enjoying it to the core. It has been a fun roller coaster ride for the past two years and I would not change it for anything. Here is wishing you, one and all, that you find your passion. It is exhilarating!
We, bloggers thrive on likes, comments and feedback. Comment and like a blogger’s posts, and you will be making a blogger very happy 🙂 .
Thanks for commenting!
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Part of this post is from an article I wrote for the Onam Magazine which was published during 2015 Onam celebration in the community we used to live in Bangalore.