Food Bloggers –  the Cauldrons are Bubbling

The curse of the writer, well one of many, is that writing is a mechanism used to vent.

Sometimes you find yourself in the position where something not so great happens, and the outlet you use to vent, is this very public one.

Does writing about it make you weak and crushes you to succumb to the level of the problem, or the instigator? Would a classier approach be to ignore it, the way one sometimes has to ignore a lovestruck, persistent partner when the affair is over? Of course, I’m just borrowing from the bodice-rippers now; what do I know of such things.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m mighty cowardly to open up about this on the blog, only when something has been directed towards me. I’m not the first and won’t be the last who has been treated in this manner.

So, I’ve decided to leave the issue out from here, as it has appeared on another public forum, where my ordinary approach of watching attention-seeking bun fights from a distance actually called for my considered reply, some of my time and me seeking legal counsel. All the things one looks forward to on a Sunday evening after attending a very civilised afternoon tea in aid of a new library project, with piles and piles of work to be tackled before the manic week ahead. Someone say double gin?

I was assured by the corporate dragged into this, that no attention was paid to the trouble- making claims. But, still, having to justify yourself, lay out correspondence, point out disclaimers ignored- hardly fun stuff, you will agree.

Two things have emerged, that almost force me to realise that this food blogging business needs a formal qualification system to almost foster and forge sensibility and comaradarie. I think that teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, journalists etc respect each other (in general) because they know what it’s like to slog toward their hard earned qualifications. Arguments are kept sensible and fair, with the option of after-work drinks despite differing politics. It would be ultra optimistic, I gather, to assume treating each other with dignity and respect should and could stem from civility.

The crucifixion mentality, without calmly gathering the facts and asking the involved people for their opinions seems to elevate (and excite) individuals as they wield free-speech and greater community good as the causes. It is very amusing. Unless it is you coming under fire.

The second very evident thing, is that it’s awfully hard to be happy for each other, for some. It’s better to say no word of congratulations, no acknowledgement when an  interesting, unusual or innovative recipe is showcased, a contract awarded, a piece commissioned, a destination explored. Instead, the snide, the roll of the eyes, the bitterness and bile are showcased. It would conclude that we achieve nothing as a community when one of us does well. We are, it seems, a misfit of individuals selfishly claiming a stake to a community, but having no real concern for one.

If anything, when we act like sheep, and don’t bother to find out from one of our own, what the other side of the story is, we display the weakest elements of humanity. The poverty mentality.

So, what am I saying about the local food blogging community?

I can’t speak for you. I can only only speak for myself and I am utterly grateful, for all my talent in the kitchen and my love for sharing food, that this is only a hobby. Not relying on the community for anything- read: stuff/an income etc (and certainly nothing free, which is a particular bugbear of mine), and maintaining an independent outlook has been my strength.

I eat where I chose, I cook what I want, I attend only what I have time for (very, very little), I promise nothing I can not deliver. Oh, and I always ask if another blogger is welcome to anything I’m invited to, and pass the invite on where applicable. Now you know. I up-skill at cooking classes whenever I have the time and money – I’m lucky too, to have a set of really amazing chefs as friends. This has been a journey of learning for me.

If a project comes my way, as a result of the quality of work I produce, it’s a an honour. But one I need to make time for and balance with the job I perform that actually maintains my lifestyle and livelihood.

I have made dear friends within the food and wine blogging community, people who bounce in and out of our home and for whom I’ll cook and make time for, with pleasure.

You read this blog or follow my twitter account and you know: I’m always looking for ways to strengthen this community and share skills. Cookie swaps, charity dinners etc etc. It would be lame of me to even link to these events. You know what I’m speaking about. We are nothing without a united community. Our blogs are nothing without the people. And so, I will repeat what I said in my reply earlier (which when I last checked was not published) :

” Kindness is what builds a community, and in this one, the people come before the blogs. In my opinion.”

But there are some, who thrive on discrediting others, on waving their blog stats and self-importance around. Your modus is obvious and to those with some common sense, we feel embarrassed. For you. I have no time for the nasty and the negative, though I am quick to forgive.  To you, I say consider spending some of that energy doing or saying something wonderful about someone else. Someone who isn’t a P.R agent, someone who doesn’t hold the key to your next free meal or ego-boost. Help someone starting out who can do absolutely nothing in return for you. And try not to tweet or post about it afterward.

This is a very unsual recipe: Pan fried Prawns and Barlotti beans over a pasta I brought back from Andorra (white and brown mushroom flavoured- very subtle). It’s a comforting, hearty dish that somehow takes me back to Catalonia.

Anyone want to guess where I got the recipe from?

( Also, it reminds me of the time Jan Tripepi came over and cooked a prawn and chorizo pasta: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.301782453218637.74103.206814006048816&type=3 Utterly divine!)


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