Comical Musings

Archive for July, 2013

Metapost: Spammety-spam

by on Jul.07, 2013, under Metapost

Just a heads-up that I’ve installed WordPress’s reCaptcha software to try and stem the tide of spam comments. (Earlier plug-ins were keeping them off the page . . . but dumping them all in my e-mail asking for moderation, which does not a happy administrator make.)

I’ve also gone through the user database and deleted any of the spam bots that I could find there. I’m sure this will get me a number of complaints about being discriminatory against inorganics, but that’s currently a price I’m willing to pay.

On the plus side, though, if reCaptcha manages to keep the spam posts out, then I’ll be happy to reinstate commenting on older posts. Here’s hoping!

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Shenanigan: How not to write a food blog

by on Jul.02, 2013, under Shenanigan

Picture of food

Source: user Interna,

You should start off your food blog post with some sort of attempt at relating to the readers. After all, they don’t read your blog for the recipes, no sirrah! Perish the thought and heaven forfend! The readers want to know all about you, not about your delightful recipe for gluten-free seitan or vegan polenta with meat sauce. Just because you write a cooking blog doesn’t mean you should consider recipes as anything more than a bonus for the readers who love you for your writing style.

One of the best ways to open up to your readers is with a bit of humor. Do you know a joke about fennel? Some charming witticism involving cinnamon and garam masala? A few bons mots with regard to paprika? Of course you don’t, but never let that stop you! Every article should include an abject failure at word play or a terrible forced pun to remind the readers that in spite of your cooking prowess, you’re only human.

You might think this is a good place to share the recipe. You would be thinking wrong. You’ve wasted at least a paragraph of writing without showing them any photos of the food. The readers have probably forgotten what it looks like by now! Refresh their memories with another photo.

Photo of food

This should be a close-up detail of the food, because people sometimes forget what a lime is.

With that photo now fresh in the reader’s memory, you might think that now would be the perfect time to share the recipe with them. You should punish yourself for your impudence. If your readers wanted recipes, they wouldn’t be reading your blog now, would they? You don’t want to be like the Food Network web site, tossing around so many recipes that they even list the ingredients for Dark Chocolate as a Snack. You want to be like the Food Network hosts, regaling your rapt audience with tales of far-off lands like Switzerland, Fiji, Zimbabwe, or Ohio between bites of expensive cheese and delicate sips of the good wine.

So go ahead, spin a long and boring yarn about how you first encountered this dish while you were backpacking your way across Tokyo when suddenly you were urinated upon by a homeless man who smelled vaguely like an aged dalmatian and wouldn’t stop shouting about how the whole world was controlled by the International Dairy By-Products Council and that he and his army of Pokémon would some day rise up and liberate the unsuspecting populace and make them face the truth and by the way have you ever read The Fountainhead because it really changed the way he looked at things and he never wants to have a President who wears magic underwear and that was when your friend, whom you miss dearly (now would be the perfect time to make a private in-joke that only your most dedicated readers and that friend will understand), was finally able to drag you away to a beautiful restaurant built entirely of mud bricks and old casserole lids, situated behind the latrine of a feudal castle and just to the left of some obscure monarch’s favorite linden tree, where the servers were obsequious without being unctuous, and they brought out this dish, this amazing dish, and you were so pleased with it and you pleaded for the recipe and they told you it would cost two hundred and you thought they meant yen but they really meant dollars so as your act of revenge you are now sharing the recipe (which you had to reverse-engineer because they wouldn’t even give you the real recipe after all of that bother) with the Internet so would everyone kindly send this to everyone in their address book right away.

No one will actually read the story, but you’ll have the most wonderfully cathartic feeling at the end of it. And who is this blog for, in the end: you, or those stupid readers who won’t shut up about some recipe?

Picture of food

You should include another picture at this point. Go for a slightly different angle from the first picture, or add some mood lighting.

The readers should be on tenterhooks at this point. You’ve connected with them at a deep level with your rapier wit, and then given them a truly personal reason to want to try the dish. Now that you’ve given them the sentimental desire to eat food,  you should also remind them that it doesn’t taste like crap. After all, there are some Philistines out there who insist on food being delicious in some way if they’re going to try to make and eat it; not everyone is able to sustain themselves on the piquancy of your nostalgia. So convince the reader that this dish is able to set off a party in their mouth. One of the cool parties, with Teddy Roosevelt impersonators and glow sticks (at least I assume that’s what cool parties have). Use all of the fancy words you can, like “palate” and “aroma” or maybe even “mingled”. Try to work the word “sumptuous” into the description if you can – if your readers aren’t reminded of medieval fabric laws when they read about your food, you just aren’t trying hard enough.

Picture of food

Use at least one photo of the food from an “artsy” angle to show how freewheeling you are. Just like Zooey Deschanel!

Your readers are probably ready to garrote you with a long strip of organic cotton cheesecloth right about now, yammering on and on about some recipe you promised them or something. You might as well give the ignorant masses what they ask for, or they might not come back to read more about your later escapades.

Picture of food

But not without one more bewildering close-up of the dish.

Fennel-Rampion Biscuits with Burgundy Beef Chutney on Saffron Rice à la Prager Fenstersturtz

The recipe itself should punish the readers for thinking they could try to cook with impunity. Insist on specialized ingredients that can only be found in tiny specialty shops in your metropolitan area. Any substitutions of common ingredients should utterly ruin the dish and make the reader cry. If you can, make sure that a few ingredients are in fact separate dishes on other pages of your blog, in order to increase traffic and draw new readers into yet another long-winded story with the promise of a recipe at the end.

Leave out a crucial step or two. They’re absolutely integral to the making of the dish, but you’re so familiar with it that everyone else should already know it, so why bother telling your readers? Most of those rubes will just blame themselves if something goes wrong anyway.

End with some commentary about how delightful the dish is, how many it should serve, how it’s so simple that only the most useless dregs of society wouldn’t make it perfectly the first time. Bon appétit!

Picture of food

Is this the same photo as the first one, or a slightly different one? The readers will never know.

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