There's an interesting discussion underway in the food blogging community today. Are food bloggers "faking it"? Is the surge of hundreds of thousands, actually more likely millions, of food blogs out there "dumbing down" the culinary industry?
You're reading this blog, and probably several others, so I'm going to guess you probably don't agree with either sentiment.
However, a food journalist put forth an opinion piece, "Faking It", on the IACP web site this week, that puts those ideas out there.
The premise is basically this: Major companies in the food industry are paying food bloggers to create recipes with their products, however, there are some food bloggers that do not test the recipes over and over, so therefore, the recipe/creation they put out to the world is an inferior product.
The writer also refers to many food bloggers as "hobbyists" or "stay-at-home-moms" with too much time on their hands.
Umm, do any of you actually know a stay-at-home-parent (because honestly people, there are stay-at-home-dads too, so get over your sexist stereotypes) that actually has "too much time on their hands"?
Also, isn't cooking about experimentation? It's about messing around with a recipe until it's where you want it to be? Does it have to be tested seven which ways to make it "publish-worthy" on the internet?
I don't think so.
Without food bloggers, you wouldn't have that perfect yellow cake recipe that came from someone's grandmother, instead of the dry, complex one that may have come out of the pages and test kitchens of some high-gloss food publications.
Food is NOT reserved for hoity-toity publications, that's where the culinary industry has gone wrong.
There is a place for high cuisine. I truly believe it's an art form and it's beautiful, and it should be left to the people who know how to make it happen with grace and style.
Most of the food bloggers I know or read, aren't aspiring to high-gloss covers, or high-cuisine. They're focusing on bringing good food back to the tables of whatever country they may be in. They're sharing time-tested family recipes, creations that worked in their kitchens, and information that has made cooking accessible again in their households.
Food blogging is not "dumbing down" the culinary industry. Instead, this movement is making cooking "real", "down-to-earth", and bringing people back into the fold of things like from-scratch baking, canning, and preserving.
You all know, I don't write this blog for money. I do get compensated from time to time for certain posts. This isn't my career, it's a love I have for food and sharing it with others. In the end, that's how almost all food blogs begin, with a love for cooking or baking.
Let's all celebrate that cooking and baking is making a comeback among the masses again, instead of tearing down the people that are working so hard to get it there.
Discuss amongst yourselves, while I offer up some nanaimo bars while you chat. Yes, they've been all over the internet already. No, they're not my own creation, but a mish-mash of other people's creations.
Honestly, I never even knew what they were until I first visited the man who would become my husband in Vancouver. His family had made them for years, and it was love at first bite. I now make them whenever possible. Enjoy.
Sources: City of Nanaimo and the Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook
Note - traditionally you add a 1/2 cup of chopped almonds or nuts to the bottom layer, I do not, feel free to add, however.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve of full graham crackers)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons milk or cream (whatever you have is fine)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla custard or pudding powder (custard is traditional, but can be hard to find)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 (1-oz) squares semi sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Take an 8x8 square baking pan, line with parchment (or wax) paper, leaving plenty of overhang so you can lift the bars out of the pan later.
Melt 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and cocoa in a double boiler.
Add egg and stir until mixture thickens (also making sure the egg doesn't cook either), then add vanilla extract.
Remove from heat and fold in crumbs, coconut (and nuts if using, see header above).
Press into your lined baking pan and place in fridge to cool while you make the second layer.
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream together 1/2 cup of butter, your milk, pudding powder, and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Spread over the bottom layer of the bars and place back in the fridge.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until melted together.
Allow to cool a touch, but when it's still liquid, pour over other layers, and then place in the fridge to chill until the top layer is hardened.
Lift parchment out of baking pan, and cut into small squares and enjoy!