New tricks

I’ve always wanted to write a food blog. This blog was supposed to be about food and farming, as well as the group, but it sort of wandered away and became a ramble through life with digressions into birds, butterflies, the evils of modern life and anything else that came to mind once my fingers hit the keys.

This is probably not the way to become rich and famous from blogging, though with the exception of Jack Monroe I can’t actually name anyone else who has become rich and famous from blogging. There will be some, I’m sure, but I just don’t know them.

A friend of mine, who is neither rich nor famous despite being a top notch food blogger, once told me he didn’t have a clue what my blog was about. I was glad to hear it, because until then I thought I was the only one who didn’t know what I was doing. Incidentally, I’ve never read the article in the link before, and was surprised, when reading it, to find I was mentioned at the end. So maybe I am a little famous. Catch his blog here.

Over the weekend I have been reading a book about how to write a food blog, and as always, when faced with advice on writing I become scared. I’m not the world’s greatest writer, but I get by. I have always tried to stick to George Orwell’s advice after reading it as an earnest 16-year-old. The six rules are at the bottom of the page to save you reading through the whole essay.

I’ve drifted over the years, but I like to think I’m still writing passable English. However, after reading the new book I’m starting to worry about tinkering with my writing style. Once you start to think about the nuts and bolts you aren’t far from breaking it.

Writing is a bit like a kitten – it’s cute, magical and alive. But if you attempt to take it apart to improve individual parts I’m worried I’ll end up with a mess and have to play with my own wool.

Moving quickly on from that image, I’m also having to learn not to eat food when I see it. That’s always been a problem. I buy food, I think “photo” and I find myself looking at a pile of crumbs.

That’s why I had a special session today practising food photography. I’m not sure I’ve got the hang of it yet, but it’s a start. One pie is from Pork Farms, and that’s going to be my “control pie”: the other is from Hampson’s Garden Centre in Wakefield. (I was in Leeds yesterday dropping Number One son off – he starts his new job today).  I thought I’d drop by and pick some pies up, buying a big meat and potato pie for tea and three pork pies. After eating one in the car park I kept the other two for photography and testing. As luck would have it the luscious, savoury, jelly-filled piece of pork pie perfection turned out to be the best of the bunch. The other two, reserved for the photographs, were just not as good.

There is more to this food blogging than meets the eye.


George Orwell’s Rules

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are
used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you
can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.



10 thoughts on “New tricks

  1. Pingback: The pie that started it all – Pies and Prejudice

  2. derrickjknight

    Great post. Do not be categorised. When we were in Newark there were so many good pork pie outlets that we began to mark them out of 10 – for both pastry and filling. I can’t remember who won, but the research was enjoyable.

  3. clarepooley33

    Your food photography looks absolutely fine! Knowing what many professional food photographers do to the food before they deem it ‘photographable’, I’d opt for your pictures any day knowing that the food can still be eaten!

  4. Helen

    The pork pie looks very very eatable….. And I’ve already eaten three (mini ones) today.

    Thanks for the summary of George Orwell’s essay on good writing. I think the important thing is to be happy with your own style.


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