Food Blog Analysis

This assignment encourages you to bring what we’ve learned in class to critiquing and analyzing how food is discussed. It’s quite similar to the early cookbook analysis we did in Week 2. (remember then?!)

Basics

  • ~800–900 words. But quality is more important than quantity.
  • Posted on the Discussion Board like reading reflections.
  • At the top of your essay, put a functional hyperlink to the blogs you reference

What to do

  • Remind yourself what we did with the early cookbook analysis. You’re basically doing the same thing here with a slight twist.
  • Identify at least THREE food blogs that you want to skim through (I think the assignment is more fun if you skim through 5-6, but it’s up to you). These can be ones you already know or ones that you’ve never seen before.
    • You can find collections of food blog links here and here and here. You’ll notice there is a lot of overlap on these. You can also CHOOSE WHATEVER BLOGS YOU WANT TO. The particular sites you use are of no consequence, but it’s best to avoid super specialized ones for the purposes of this exercise. But it’s fair to use ones that focus on health, or vegan recipes, or chocolate, or whatever as part of your set of sites. They say something important about contemporary food culture, too, even if they have their own niche.
  • Click through the blogs (especially the “about” pages, a handful of recipes, photography, etc) to get a sense of what each is trying to do. Think about tone, style, assumptions about food, cooking, etc.
  • Make sure you’re answering the question about the future historian as stated below!

What you should THINK about as you’re browsing

  • Who is the intended audience? What do they know? Are they intimidated by cooking? Are they already proficient cooks?
  • What kind of assumptions does the author(s) make about cooking/cuisine/food?
  • What kind of larger themes do the blogs appeal to (exotic, health, comfort, frugality, regional or national food, etc)?
  • What are the various “national” or “ethnic” influences of the recipes or instructions?
  • How much does tradition or originality matter to the author? Is there a lot of appropriatation at work? Or just the embodiment of American food?
  • How does it help construct an American identity or a sense of “American food”?
  • How might the blog NOT represent American food based on your own experience or understanding?

What you should WRITE about in your essay

  • Just like we looked at cookbooks from ~150 years ago to learn about food at the time, what would a historian 150 years from now think American food if looking at your blogs?
  • What did we care about? What did we know how to do, or NOT know how to do?
  • How do your blogs help construct an American identity or a sense of “American food”?
  • How might your blogs NOT represent American food based on your own experience or understanding?
  • REMEMBER: You’re READING BETWEEN THE LINES to learn about American culture and cuisine.

Questions

Writing is hard enough, and virtually impossible when you’re not sure what you’re trying to do. Please get in touch!