Sunday, September 12, 2010

Steppin' Out

Blogging, like most writing,  can be a lonely thing. You sit staring at the computer screen and wonder if anyone is out there -- if anyone will read your digital scribbling. 

But then I attended the Food Blog Forum yesterday. It's not lonely at all. It's a cyber-community. There's ALWAYS someone to "talk" to. 

This was the first time I had come out of my shell since starting The Culinary Historian a few months ago. The forum was held at The Shed on Glenwood, a new restaurant in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Atlanta. There was plenty of parking,  as most of the surrounding buildings are empty or under construction. 

One hundred other food bloggers were crammed like sardines into the too-small space, perched on the hardest little wooden chairs many of us had enjoyed in a long time. But the speakers were knowledgeable and engaging and it was wonderful to spend a day in the company of such an interesting group. 

The main speaker was Jaden Hair, of  Jaden  de-mystified blogging and shared what it takes to be a successful blogger.  In the last session of the day, she just sat in a chair and talked about her experience, what she has learned, and what works. She had no PowerPoint, no visual aids. She just sat and talked and answered questions. I learned a lot. 

The main thing that I came away with was that a good blog is entertaining and has useful information. A cooking blog is a good example and most of the other bloggers had cooking blogs. They put up cute pictures of their kids and share a recipe or two. 

I wondered, how does The Culinary Historian fit into this paradigm? My aim is to have a blog that is thoughtful and informative. But is it useful? Is it entertaining to anyone but me? 

So, dear readers (and I only have a small idea how many of you are even out there), please tell me. Should The Culinary Historian be funnier? Have more pictures of food? Offer recipes? If it has recipes, should they be old and historic or fresh and new for today's cooks? 

I really want to know and will take action based on your comments and suggestions (Jaden refers to this as "community driven"). If you don't want to comment publicly you can send me an email at

I'm hoping to hear from A LOT of people! Thanks! 


Kristina said...

I love the idea of historical recipes that maybe haven't been in fashion for a long time, vetted as still being useful and delicious for modern cooks. I would read for that, most definitely. Especially with pictures!

By the way, it was lovely speaking with you briefly at FBF. I thought it was a wonderful event. But you were right about the chairs.

life, in recipes said...

Hi Deb:

I read because I like the insight you provide. I've always enjoyed seeing you on Good Eats and knowing that the information you're providing is historically and anthropologically accurate. I come to the blog for the same reason - there just aren't enough people out there doing what you do, and we need more. Of course, pictures and witticisms always help, but I think you should definitely keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

I just love history and food so food history is a natural for me!

I think your blog is just fine the way it is.

SteamyKitchen said...

Hey Deb! Great seeing you!! Entertaining could also mean great story telling, insightful wisdom...not just photos! I rely on photos bc I am a horrible writer!! ;-)

JodieMo said...

I enjoy your blog just the way it is. I think you are a great writer and have a great niche on which you are very knowledgeable.

Fran said...

I've taken some time to read through a few of your recent posts and I don't know that you need to do anything other than what you're doing. Your posts are full of information and while the posts with photos help to break up words in a lot of instances, your theme (yes, you are using a theme) seems to fit nicely. The site isn't cluttered which keeps it light and easy to read through the posts.

Ok, time to go back to enjoying my comfortable, soft chair now that I'm home! :)

Deb Duchon said...

Thank you, all! I also got some great comments by email. Mostly, people like what I'm doing. The main comments were to: stay on the same unique track,, post more frequently, and include historic recipes when appropriate.
A few people mentioned more pics, but I think they didn't scroll down to read my more "regular" posts. I used a lot of pics.
Happy blogging!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your assessment of the sardine-like conditions, but it was still a great time. I look forward to learning more through your blog.

life, in recipes said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my site ( - I'm so flattered by your comment:-). I've been following the CHA group on Facebook for a while, and just haven't been able to make it to the events (one of the few downsides to having young children). The Herbs of Shakespeare seems like a great topic, though!

bunkycooks said...

I hope that your back end is feeling better!;) I am so happy that you attended the event and enjoyed the content. We will take note on the chairs for next time! Thank you for coming!


Ellen said...

Deb: I was so happy to have discovered your blog.I love the interesting historical information and perspective you share.

Don't change a thing. You have found your niche.

Bookerson said...

I think sticking to the historical perspective on recipes/food is what you do best. Don't mess with success!

Hey, if you want me test the recipes, and feed them to my two year old Henry...I will post the pictures. :)

Billy said...

Recipe and picture blogs are frankly dime a dozen. Your historic perspective on things are unique, I say keep that up.

Darcy Baldwin said...

You already have such a great niche, and a wonderful perspective - I say stick with what you're doing - it's fab!

Though, I will put in a small plug for sharing some historical recipes :) We're a homeschooling family who incorporates food history into our regular history studies and love finding recipes for the time periods we're studying and the info behind them. So if you ever felt led to do that...we wouldn't complain much :)

Pook said...

Hey Deb! I'd agree with folks when they say that you're doing really well already. The old saying about a picture and words works both ways, a good story can paint a vivid picture.

I've got no critiques, but additional stuff that I might enjoy would include the historical recipes, some insight on the origins of common and uncommon ingredients and dishes, maybe some food history based in different cities and a few pictures are always fun.

Keep up the great work!