300th Post and Thoughts on Authenticity
A food blog, or any blog for that matter, usually starts because the author is passionate about their niche. I have seen lots of bloggers that love their crock pot, instapot, 30-minute meals, healthy eating, vegan, paleo, etc... And so that is what they write about. To be able to write continuously about one specific topic takes a lot of dedication. For me that passion lies in learning how the world cooks. The techniques, ingredients, and combinations are fascinating to me. As I have made an intentional search I have learned so much. Tons of information about flavors, ingredients, and cooking styles. I am proud of what I have learned about cooking, but also photography to clearly portray my dishes. Cooking is my art, and so I use pictures to share my food with those that I can't physically share a meal with. In addition to cooking, and photographing, there is also the need to clearly articulate the ideas and history behind a dish. Where does it come from? Why is it eaten that way? These are a few of the questions things that go in to a my research.
And so as a blogger as we pour our soul in to our blogs it opens us up to criticism. Which can be a good thing, not all critique is bad. It is what helps us learn and grow even further. Except some times it doesn't when it's judgement for judgements sake. HusbandMan says about the internet "everyone is 7 ft. tall and bullet proof". It's so true. On the internet we are more willing to attack at the slightest provocation. I am a very small time blogger. I am in blogging groups where people talk about their traffic numbers that are higher a month than I have in my almost three years writing here. And that is ok, my reasons for blogging are different than most. For me it is just a way to share what I love and to keep a record, a portfolio of sorts, for myself. A journal to help me improve. I am fully aware that without visiting each country and getting to live there and really see the culture I am going to have mistakes and flaws in my writing.
Why do I bring this up? Because small time blogger that I am, I have had quite the rash of trolls and naysayers recently. I wish to clarify my stance on "right" and "wrong" in the realm of cooking. In other things a totally different approach is required, but in cooking it's a whole different ball game. The words "wrong" or "inauthentic" can and should be used in cooking. Some things are specific to a culture be it ingredients, how it's done, or how it's eaten. But "authentic" and "how your mom/aunt/grandma/etc..." made it are not interchangeable. I was told recently that a recipe I had published looks like it would taste good. But it wasn't what I claimed it was. Because I was not of that particular ethnic background there is no way I could speak with any authority. Only I got the recipe from a friend who had family that was born and raised in that particular country. There were also countless video on YouTube of vloggers from that country directing their audience to do it that particular way.
So which is right and which is wrong? I challenge any person to find the "right" recipe for Tex-Mex style chili. Or beef stew. Or meatloaf. Or pot roast. Or chicken noodle soup. There will be a million variations for each. All probably edible. Some better than others but none of them would be wrong or inauthentic. Because we don't all cook like clones. We don't enjoy food like clones, why cook that way? We cook to tailor the tastes we enjoy.
Happy 300th post. Keep cooking everyone, I know I certainly will.