It’s been almost a month since I’ve had any worthy original content, and the new year has passed, which means we’ve once again arrived at that point where I wonder, do I continue with my blog?
It’s a question I’ve visited frequently over the last few years and half a million page views. When I first started doing this, I didn’t really fancy myself a dining authority, or a photo journalist, or even a decent cook. I just wanted to learn a bit more and take my hobby to the ethernet streets. Of course I started with the “hey, I made this dish” and “look at my breakfast” that plagued the blogs (and now Twitter), but once in a while I felt I had something worth while to say, an experience to offer, or a challenge to myself I wanted to throw out there.
Being the first to a restaurant and offering up some snappy photos is the surefire way to get instant traffic and exposure on a blog – the stats don’t lie. Months in which I visit a brand new restaurant, visits skyrocket. December was my most trafficked month ever. This is misplaced success.
I’ve become lazy. I can keep a timeline of restaurant openings. My work schedule is generally flexible enough where I can skirt out for a meal on day one. And I often try to visit new restaurants at lunch, because natural light makes for great photos, and Google Analytics will tell you, that’s what people want. And yes, I sometimes decide where I’m going to sit based on the lighting. This is not satisfying.
My most visited post ever? Chili Sauces Explained: Sriracha, Sambal Oelek, and Chili Garlic Sauce.
I had a question, I researched it, and put up a post with crappy photos snagged from an image search. And people appreciate it, and disagree, and improve upon it, and it’s lasting.
I’m looking for inspiration. Stories that are interesting, not a chronology of what opened this week. One idea has been to focus not on restaurants, but on the very cool people that make them. Maybe dig into dishes – how they came to be, their muse and motivation. I have a few ideas about how/where restaurants source their product. The economics of the industry interests me.
On the cooking front I need some good ideas. My sous vide cooker is working now, so I’ll play with that. But how useful is that to a reader? I want to dig into Indian cuisine, which could be fun. My favorite part of when I went through Fuchsia Dunlop’s Sichuan cookbook was sourcing the ingredients, wandering around the dingy Dinho market in Chinatown, learning how to identify an English-less Shaoxing rice wine label.
If you aren’t already face down drooling in your keyboard by now, don’t worry, I’m not sure where else to go with this. But I guess questioning my motives and self criticism is a good thing. It’s what drives me.
There’s always room to be better. If I want this blog to be worth a damn, I need to get back on that path.