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Food Blogs: Computers & The Kitchen

September 10th, 2014

Photo credit: Big Stock Photo

This is the second installment of HTE’s NutriBee project on Nutrition in the News, written by students … for students.

by Elizabeth Bernard

You probably hear the word “blog” a lot these days. Blogs are those websites that are part personal and part informational. Just about anyone can have one … and just about everyone seems to!

It’s estimated there are more than 152 million blogs on the Internet!

And a new blog is created in the world EVERY HALF A SECOND! If you do the math, that’s 172,800 new blogs EVERY DAY!

What are so many people blogging about?

You can find a blog on just about any topic. There are blogs about politics puppies , and even haiku poems about Godzilla (can’t make this up!).

One of the most popular type of blogs on the web? Blogs about … food. There are over 2 million blogs about food!

The most popular blog topics include music, fashion, and cars.

Why so many blogs about food?

It makes sense when you think about how much our lives revolve around eating — at least three times a day, not including snacking! And since we’re a part of the digital generation, it makes sense for us to combine technology and food. One study shows that we now get about 90% of our recipes from the Internet instead of cookbooks!

Photo credit: Big Stock Media

How can there be so much to say about food that there are millions of blogs about it? 

Having all these food blogs gives us, as readers, a wide range of different topics to see. There are food blogs about burgers  and even the condiments that go on them . There are blogs about  yogurt  (aptly named Who Blogs About Yogurt?),  mushrooms , and the list goes on (and on … and on).

There’s a food blog for just about every taste … and taste bud.

Don’t eat meat? There’s a blog for you. Don’t eat nuts? There’s a blog for you, too. Don’t eat dairy? Don’t sweat! There’s one for you, too! No sugar? No problem. Want to eat a feast in a forest? Check .

Want to eat food from other countries but traveling across the world for dinner isn’t an option? No problem, because – guess what – there are plenty of blogs for that, too. We decided to see if we could cook something from Azerbaijan (a country located where Western Asia and Eastern Europe meet) so we typed it into Google and immediately found one. So, yup, there’s a blog for that too! It was that easy.

These aren’t just blogs about random countries’ recipes, though, they’re an opportunity to learn about how a country’s cuisine is shaped by its history, geography, climate, and traditions. Accessing these foods through blogs can give us a greater understanding about our world.

What is it about food blogs that makes them so popular with us?

The food blogging world seems to include us all whether it’s by favorite flavor or different cultures’ cuisine. With just access to a computer, we can access a world of food.

But we make a connection beyond the Internet. We make connections with the food bloggers, and our food, as well. Many food bloggers don’t just share their recipes, they share something about their lives and their process, including photos. And this makes us more involved in what we are reading … and eating.

Photography and Food

The pictures of food are probably the most important part in creating a successful food blog. If you see a picture of something that makes your mouth start to water, you’re pretty likely to want to read about it.

If I’m just telling you about this creamy Mexican bean dish I made that’s delightfully spicy and combines very well with taco meat and guacamole, you may not be persuaded to eat a glorified black bean paste. But if you see the actual picture of my meal (below), all prepared and beautifully displayed, you will most likely be more willing to try it! See?

Meal and photo by Elizabeth Bernard.

One of my favorite bloggers, Kathryne Taylor from Cookie And Kate , created a simple, nutritious, vegetarian blog. I interviewed her for this piece, and she agrees that pictures play a huge role in generating and maintaining readers’ interest in her blog, saying that “the best meal in the world could look disgusting under bad lighting.”

Instagram is playing an increasingly big roll in what we’re eating too. By looking at the beautiful pictures that food bloggers post on Instagram, you are led to their online blogs where you can find recipes you like.

Often, blog posts will show photographs of the process of going through the whole recipe, giving you a step-by-step guide to check your progress and make sure you’re on the right track! Ms. Taylor believes that “sometimes a photo can illustrate a step better than [her] words ever can,” because it helps people at home (like me and you!) to see what the steps and final outcome of a recipe will be.

The personal stories bloggers share also draws you in. It makes you feel a little as if you’re sharing a meal with a new friend, even if you’re not together. Cooking and sharing a meal can be a really nice experience and has always been an important part of our culture.

So how can all this make us have better health?

Seeing other people make all these appetizing meals makes you want to be able to make them too. It can make you want to cook for yourself, which has been proven to be more nutritious  than eating out – you can control what goes into your food and your own portion sizes.

Cooking for yourself can be really fun, too! It’s like an experiment or some type of science project but with yummy results and a sense of accomplishment. It gives you a certain type of independence when you can cook for yourself and feel good while doing it!

A blog-inspired meal I made. Photo: Elizabeth Bernard

Many of the blogs I visit are health-conscious, because I have shifted my habits towards trying to eat foods that are good and good for me. I like to eat food that’s in season, when possible, and try to eat lots of vegetables, fruits, organic meats, and whole grains. My new eating habits mostly come from visiting these food blogs! Seeing all the delicious things that I could make, while using fresh, nourishing foods, really boosted my interest. It made me look for more recipes and foods to try, which then lead me to more and more food blogs.

These food blogs allow readers to see people living healthful lifestyles and, by providing their recipes and stories, invite us to join them. We can do so, not only in making their recipes, but also by showing us that anyone can have a food blog; you don’t need to be a professional chef to share your recipes. You could be a teenager, a mom, a thirteen-year old, or just someone looking for a way to pass the time. There is a sense of empowerment, it provides an opportunity to connect people worlds apart through nutrition and a shared interest of good food.

These are a few of my favorites: Love and Lemons , I Am A Food Blog , Cookie and Kate , Smitten Kitchen Dinner a Love Story .

So, try it out! Go look for a food blog that could give you a recipe to something you are interested in. Maybe you want to find great snack ideas . Or maybe you want to impress your parents and surprise them by making dinner! You can find a few super kid-friendly ones and Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s Cooking With Kids initiative and recipes here .

Whatever it is, I’m sure that the Internet holds something for you, just make sure to get your caregivers’ permission! Have fun!

Elizabeth Bernard is a senior in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. She  first got interested in nutrition and food while on vacation with her family visiting restaurants and farmer’s markets. It got her interested in seeing where her food originated from and how it was made. She says the  best part of her Bee Quest was “finding more information on my topic – food blogs. Through my research, I found even more interesting blogs and resources!”

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