I’m glad I’m just a few posts into this food blog journey, because I just read a post by James Oliver Cury over at Epicurious about all the trite words and phrases that bad food writers use. Sadly, I’ve used one for each of my three blog posts! Can you say inexperienced?
My use of the terms yummy, cozy, and wash it down, were among the list of offenses. I would have to agree. The first two aren’t descriptive at all. The last phrase was a weak attempt to segue from food to drink. All products of lazy writing.
The authors included decadent and save room for, as typically overused language. I would have to add a few more tired clichés such as the classic valley girl megaphor, to die for. And how about, meh, the latest blogger gruntaphor. And finally, flavor profile, because I don‘t understand what this means.
Food is a new subject for me, so I can only attribute my poor word choices to a lack of confidence. That, and knowing that if I let my inner perfectionist take over, I’ll never get anything posted. But, I’ve read a lot of great blogs and it’s always fun to see the writer’s style develop over time. If anyone out there starts reading this, I hope you will stick with me as I develop my voice along with my palate.
What I’ve already learned from my foray into food writing is that it’s a whole lot harder than it looks. That’s because good writers make it look easy. Through the limited channel of words, talented writers use their culinary knowledge and trained palates to convey an entire sensory experience to the reader. That’s both an art and a science.
Experience gives me hope, though. About 10 years ago, I decided to become a poet. I hashed out and posted some of my poems to an AOL message board for critiquing. I was ignored at first, but started to read all the other poems that were posted, along with the critiques. I bought and studied an encyclopedia of poetry, and I started to understand more about different poetic forms and techniques. I kept writing. I kept reading. Eventually, I starting winning little awards with my poems, and I started getting the attention of the more serious critics. I didn’t get famous. I didn’t get any money. But, after about a year, I was able to call myself a poet.
A year isn’t that long. I hope that by this time next year I can call myself a food writer, but with an important difference. This time, I'm writing for you, my imaginary readers.
P.S. Like the Epicurious author, I’m opinionated about clichés that show up in bad poetry. I will stop reading any poem or prose that contains the words: soul, gaze, heart, weary, sorrow, or shadow.