*Waves* to new readers from CLEO Magazine!
I'm thrilled to announce that the February edition of CLEO features a "foodgasmic" article (page 78) on food bloggers, with mentions to myself, Lorraine, Suze, Lili, Lisa and Anita! While it has been almost a decade since I've last purchased a copy of CLEO, I'm so excited that we are featured in something which was the fashion bible of my young teen years.
Here's a readable version of the article:
For food bloggers, a meal can be a downright "foodgasmic" experience.
Carla Caruso investigates.
In the same way other girls might obsess over RPattz, food blogger Lorraine Elliot, 37, of notquitenigella.com, derives pleasure from food. "I love it when you get a dessert with a crunchy layer followed by a creamy or soft layer," Lorraine gushes. "You can't help but moan with pleasure when you crack through and there's a lava-like oozing of cream." Fellow bloggers call this a "foodgasm".
Jennifer Lam, 25, of jenius.com.au, says, "I want people to look at my blog and really salivate all over the keyboard - maybe even lick their screens."
Welcome to the world of food blogger, where mouth-watering morsels are paraded like porn in a food envy-inducing show-and-tell, and recipes and restaurant reviews are traded faster than designer clothes at a swap party. So, really, what's with the obsession?
Sharing their plates.
Food blogging was recently brought to our attention in Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, which traces US blogger Julie Powell's real-life challenge to cook and document all the recipes in a book by France's Julia Child.
In society, food bloggers are fairly easy to spot at a cafe or restaurant - they're the ones whose faces are usually obscured by a camera. They don't mind eating their dishes cold, so long as they get a good shot for their blog. Lorraine confesses, "I've only eaten out once and not taken a photo [since starting her blog two years ago]. And, it hurt. Similarly, when I was checking out Mad Men the other week, I was so engrossed in watching Peggy having dinner with her date, I wondered why she didn't whip out a camera - and my hand actually reached out to gran my own. It really did!"
Lorraine believes bloggers "love to share food". So, if you spy a group of four girls splitting a bagel and two milkshakes among them, fear not, they're not on an extreme diet. They're probably just on a food tour and will likely be hitting up at least seven other eateries that day.
So, what else do food bloggers do for kicks? Forensic dinner parties, where each guest brings along a homemade dish and the others have to guess the ingredients. CSI food, blogger-style.
Then there are the more extreme pursuits, like cooking food on a car engine and "dumpster diving" - finding edible leftover food from supermarket bins to use. Lorraine has donw both in the name of her blog.
There are pitfalls to subconsciously thinking about food all the time and indulging in your fantasies. Lili Roby, 26, of pikeletandpie.com, says, "I've just been to Malaysia and my intense eating regimen hurt my budget, waistline and gave me killer food hangovers daily." Susan Thye, 26, of chocolatesuze.com, agrees, "It can be an expensive hobby".
Lorraine, who admits to spending several hundred dollars a week on eating out and making home recipes, says food blogging can also be time-sapping. "I work on my blog seven days a week, from 9am to midnight. I couldn't imagine doing those hours on anything else - certainly not a job working for someone else!" Blogging is now her full-time gig.
Professor David Kavanagh, an addiction specialist at the Queensland University of Technology, says there's a point at which such a passion can become unhealthy. "Things that we like to do really only become a problem when they're interering with other things in our lives, such as our job, relationships or health. [An obsession] can capture your attention and make it rather difficult for you to do other things."
Kavanagh often displays food photos in his lectures to illustrate how craving and desire work. "Photos provide a much richer image [than words] and are likely to increase your desire" This is not such good news for the waistline, especially when obesity rates in Australia doubling in the past 20 years, and almost 60 per cent of Aussies now overweight or obese.
Kavanagh suggests curbing any blog-related food cravings by limiting the hours you spend online. "One thing you can do is give yourself a bit of time out from the obsession."
Jennifer believes balance is needed: "My compromise to living a delicious life is having to regularly work out at the gym."
I'm crazy food you.
Sharon Natoli, of Food and Nutrition Australia, says one benefit of our nation's current foodie craze - from blogs to Masterchef and celebrity chef worship - is a focus on our diets. "It's certainly a lot more positive to have more people cooking at home and trying new things."
And, in moderation, salivating over a food blog is surely healthier than punishing yourself with an unrealistic diet and feeling guilty every time you treat yourself to the occasional chocolate.
For Anita von Korff, 25, of leaveroomfordessert.com, food blogs provide a way to connect with like-minded people. "The food blogging community is so friendly. I love looking at fellow sites and discovering new recipes," she says.
Lisa Manche, 21, of spicyicecream.blogspot.com, says, "Food is an important part of our society, not just to fuel our bodies, but for the rituals and memories that go with it." And this is something worth celebrating, she adds. Food for thought, indeed.
Cheers to a new chapter of food blogging!