Thursday, November 08, 2007

food blogging critical mass?

catnip in pumpkin containers at the Union Square green market

This episode of VeganMoFo is brought to you by the letters "B" & "C". Let me start at the beginning. As any regular readers of my blog know, I'm a devoted fan of produce, and a hopeless farmers market addict. I can't pass by a market without taking a peek, and the Union Square green market is no exception. It's one of the first markets I remember going to when I moved to New York City after graduation, got a job, and had to start cooking for myself.

I'd only ever seen tatsoi as individual leaves in a salad- how beautiful is it intact?

I used to work on 17th street, and so every morning I would come out of the Union Square subway station. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, this meant I would get to walk through the market on my way to work. I loved doing this. Depending on the season, I'd catch a whiff of hot apple cider or fresh berry pies, pine wreaths or herbs, delicious bread or heirloom tomatoes. I'd sample little tastes of this or that, and then spend all day at work plotting what I would buy on the way home from work. When I'd get out of work, much of the produce would be discounted as the market began to close down, and this is when I'd score $1 bags of apples, peppers, onions, or potatoes. This market is what allowed me to first try my hand at growing herbs at home (remember that summer when "infused teas" were all the rage? I bought lemong verbana with the sole aim of making infused tea with it). This is where I first (inadvertantly!) bought an $8 loaf of bread one Thanksgiving.

not parsnips, but yellow carrots

So this past weekend, during my trip to the city, it was only natural that I would go to the market, like a pilgrim drawn to the holy grail. And, as usual, I had my trusty little camera in my pocket, ready to grab as photographic inspiration struck.

macro detail of local concord grapes

But I noticed something odd, and more than a little discomfiting. Why had I never noticed this before? EVERYone at the market had cameras. We were all leaning in at uncomfortable angles, taking macro shots of the produce. The sellers looked at us wearily. We were fetishizing their produce and turning it into food porn instead of actually... buying and eating it!*


Seriously, when did this happen? When did the whole world become food bloggers? When did we all start whipping out our cameras at farmers markets, supermarkets, picnics, restaurants, the dinner table? Is something horribly wrong?

and more squash. more varieties than one could take in

Do those other people have cooler blogs than me? Oh my gosh, do I read their blogs? Do they... read mine? Is food blogging so over? Is food porn the new laserdisc?

Dorota & brussels sprouts tree

Are my friends and family laughing at me behind my back?

Sharon and Bazu's inner 12-year-olds laugh at strange gourds

But... the produce is so beautiful and compelling, darnit. I'm just not ready to stop photographing it yet. And, neither are all those other fellow travelers, crowding the market, ducking furtively here and there, trying to capture the perfect shot, that perfect balance of food as sustenance and food as art.

the fattest, purplest carrots in the world

*I did buy some things:

will this garlic take over the world?

I mean, it's arguably the best in the world? Who could resist? (I will report on the veracity of this claim once I try the garlic out)

best juice EVER

And, the BEST thing ever. This "Tart Cherry Stomp" from Red Jacket Orchards. It's ironic that they are located in Geneva, NY, a town very close to me, but I had to go all the way to NYC to try their awesome juices. This tart cherry / apple blend maintains the pucker-inducing integrity of sour cherries, combined with the delicious flavor of apple cider. If you are anywhere near Union Square, you HAVE to find this juice and try it. My friend Tony described it, very accurately, as tasting like a mixture of apple cider and pomegranate juice- with a unique twist. Seriously. Try this stuff. You will not regret it.

So, this episode of VeganMoFo was brought to you by the letters "B"logger and "C"liché. Has this ever happened to any of you guys? Do you ever get food blogging/food porn angst? What do you think? Has food blogging reached critical mass? Is that a good thing?



Celine said...

no matter the number of food blogs out there, I get a kick out of reading each and every one of them! I just wish I had more stamina to leave more comments.
I mean: come on, seriously? how could a pic of you poking [ha] fun at those gourds be UNinteresting? I'm lovin' it.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Well, I am certainly laughing. I have to admit sometimes I feel a bit strange taking food pics in public. But I've never really seen anyone else doing it.

Sometimes I feel like the whole food blogging thing is silly. I feel like maybe my time could be better spent. It is especially hard sometimes when I want to blog or read other's blogs, but I've been on the computer all day at work and am just sick of staring at the screen. Plus, we must consider ergonomic issues.. I developed a ganglion cyst in my wrist a year ago from mousing!

Back to the point... then I remember why I blog. First it's vegan outreach. Other food bloggers may not have quite the purpose as vegan food blogs. We are spreading the message of compassion with our food, how cool it that. Also, it's an amazing network of people! I have discovered so meny new things by reading yours and others posts. And finally, years from now, I hope to have this as kind of a record of my life. A diary of sorts.

This long, comment is brought to you by the letters "B" and "W"... bored at work, but hey, at least it's Friday!

Emilie said...

Oh my god, well, I can get angsty and over-wrought about anything, so I'm just going to leave that there.

I will say that I just last week saw brussel sprouts in their original form like that on the stalk and freaked out at how cool they are! I didn't take a pic though, so I'm glad you did. Now I can point to it.

SaraJane said...

Actually, I think all the cameras at the farmer's market is a good thing! It means that people are doing more to connect with their food. Instead of just blindly going to the chain grocery store and buying icky old produce, people are doing exactly what you are. Sniffing, caressing, cuddling, and getting really excited about their food. In this day and age where people are always so busy and want everything so fast and pre-made, it's awesome to see a trend in the opposite direction.

Personally, I don't know any other food bloggers and I don't think I've ever run into anyone else taking pictures of their food at restaurants, but maybe I'm just so wrapped up in the excitement of my own yummies, that I don't notice.

I say, it's something to be celebrated. To hell with trends and if it's now "cool" to have a good blog. Lots of us are doing this because we genuinely love it and really love having other food dorks to talk to and with about food.

Ashasarala said...

I agree completely with sarajane. It's wonderful that people are so in tune with and passionate about the food they're eating. After all, food is our energy, our fuel, the very thing that makes us happy, restful and ready to take on the world.

Besides, farmers markets always have such gorgeous produce. It's no wonder people are snapping photos.

I love the food blog community, where everyone can get together and enjoy making food with love. That's the special ingredient in every dish, isn't it? ;)

Eve Love said...

I totally agree with vegan noodle about vegan outreach. And srajane is so right about people connecting to thier food. it is so important.

Rural Vegan said...

If I had a worthy farmer's market I would absolutely be taking photos! But mine is only about 8 tables, all run by little old ladies. They already think I'm insane, I can only imagine the fun if I brought my camera.

textual bulldog said...

yeah, i feel totally nerdy taking pictures in public, and actually i don't really tell the whole entire world about this vegan blogging hobby o'mine, but i agree with vegan noodle about the vegan outreach, and with srajane about people noticing their food. i've done the sign-toting kfc protesting thing at various points in my life, but at this point i think it's way more effective to have a sexy vegan blog or four to email interested parties. plus, just selfishly, i love your blog, bazu, with its many pictures of pretty produce, and would be sad if you stopped. there may be other bloggers who photograph farmer's markets, but i don't read their blogs, so i need yours! :)

Village Vegan said...

Tart Cherry Stomp? Must. Try. You had me at "tart", and "cherry" certainly does not hurt either.

You look so cute with those crazy gourds!

I like the Union Square market, too, but I hardly ever buy anything there (except hot apple cider...can't resist) because it's SO overcrowded (at least on Saturday) and it's also quite pricey. So unfortunately I only buy things I really can't get elsewhere there.

I stress out about blogging and especially taking pictures of food all the time, which is kind of annoying and also quite stupid. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

well i dont know but as far as people are happy taking the photos and you keep blogging im happy!!!

You look so cute with gourds :)

KathyF said...

That's funny; I noticed some people with cameras at Borough Market but most were the average tourist variety. I was the only one taking photos of the food, not the place.

Amy said...

I agree with everyone - it's a great celebration of tasty food to blog about it!

Seeing the gourds gave me a "Life of Brian" flashback!

urban vegan said...

Ah, Union Square's Greenmarket. I adore it. I've seen celebrity chefs there (Mario Batali) sniffing out great produce--and what produce ti is, as your photos testify. I love to watch the parade of humanity (and I like to stop at the dog walk in the park!). The XmasMarket is also coming up, which is fun.

Only problem is, since we day trip to NYC, Omni and I never feel like lugging produce around for the rest of the day.

scottishvegan said...

I have never seen anyone else take photos of their food. Outside of the house I generally try to take photos as covertly as possible cos I feel a bit silly :) I think it's great there are so many vegan food blogs out just shows that living vegan is easy, fun and tasty!

dreamy said...

The pumpkin looks as it it's crying :o

vko said...

Red Jacket Orchards does make the absolute best juice and I was guilty of taking pictures of the greenmarket- but I've been going so often that haven't taken any pics...I can't say that I really noticed anyone else taking pics though except the time I saw goose-necked gourds.