Another Site Announcement – Site Philosophy and Food Blogs

Those of whom who are paying attention to such things will notice that I have been posting less and less of late. There’s a reason for that. I’ve been thinking about what this site is supposed to be for me.

For the longest time, I’ve believed that this site was a food blog. I’ve approached it as such, and have used it as a stepping stone to write food books.

However, over the past few years, it has become clear to me that what food blogging has evolved into is something that I no longer do. To put it another way, while I blog about food, at some point, it has ceased to be a food blog.

It has been interesting to watch the medium of food blogging evolve over the past eight years. While in 2004, anyone and their mother could write about food and claim to be a food blog, I believe that now, with the big sites such as eater.com, Epicurious, and Eatocracy defining food blogging on a major scale, the core definition of what constitutes a “food blog” has changed.

And I have changed as well. Accidental Hedonist hasn’t had a recipe posted upon it in ages. It has been even longer since I’ve done a restaurant review. Both of these type of posts are often seen as critical foundations of a food blog.

I have no more interest in writing and creating recipes, nor do I have any desire to criticize a place of business that may have their life invested in the success of a place. What jazzes me, what makes me want to scream on-top of rooftops, is the cultural impact of food, and how, historically, we got to where we are. When I look upon the major players in food blogging, the more I feel that there’s little room for what I want to offer. This has caused me some measure of concern and, let’s face it, sadness.

On a walk recently, while I was considering this conflict within myself, I worked out some basic ideas on a philosophical level by stating the things that I know to be true. Let’s, for the sake of argument, call these “Assertions”.

  1. I love to blog. Writing a blog in some form or another for over 11 years now (eight on this one, three on another) is evidence enough of that.
  2. I like to write, but I have to be interested in the topic in order to want to write about. In other words. Once I lose interest in a topic, I lose the spark to write.
  3. What I love, isn’t food, or even travel, but the process of learning about any given topic handed to me. What made me love to write here at AH is that food is a vast subject, and I could pick any number of topics, and dig into the details of it.
  4. If what I love isn’t food, but the process of learning, then I need to write more about the learning of new things.

This is when I hit an epiphany – of course Accidental Hedonist isn’t a food blog anymore (at least by the unwritten standards that have been defined by the popular blog). This is, for lack of a better phrase, a learning blog.

I despise food posts (here and on other sites) that tell a reader what the best five beers in the world are, without providing an ounce of evidence on how the writer is speaking from a position of authority. The worst aspects of blogging (and writing in general) come about when a post comes out that says “My opinion matters simply because I have the forum and method to tell you it matters.” I despise writing that talks at me and presupposes that the writer is a genius simply because they can string two sentences together. Context, as I mentioned in a previous post, matters. How the writer arrived at those conclusions matters as much, if not more than, the conclusion itself. Food Blogging (and blogging in general, and many could make the argument that published writing itself as well) fails at this for the most part.

All of this is my way of announcing several things –

1) As of now, I no longer consider Accidental Hedonist to be a food blog.
2) I will continue to blog about food, but not limit myself to that.
3) I will seek to learn things that interest me.
4) I will endeavor to bring the readers of this site along my journeys, with the hope of demonstrating that I am not pulling various conclusions and assertions out of my tuckus.
5) I will facilitate dialogues via the various social mediums afforded to me, for both outside perspectives, as well hopefully lighting the fire of exploration amongst others.

If you want to call this a Mission Statement for Accidental Hedonist, I think that makes sense.

My goals are many for this new approach, but I’ve gone on long enough on this post. I’ll write them up sometime in the next day or so.