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Crappy Food Writing


gfweb

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Over the past few months recipes have popped up on Bon Appetit and Food and Wine that talk of adding a "glug" of something.

 

Hideous little thing that quickly/instantly has become irritating. Worse than a cliche because it really says nothing and sounds/reads stupid.

 

 

 

 

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Given that 'glug' has been in use since the 14th century, while 'crappy' is only 19th century, I think that battle is lost.
 

I agree there is a lot of terrible food writing about. It's called the internet.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

Over the past few months recipes have popped up on Bon Appetit and Food and Wine that talk of adding a "glug" of something.

 

Hideous little thing that quickly/instantly has become irritating. Worse than a cliche because it really says nothing and sounds/reads stupid.

 

What has happened to Bon Appetit, and Food and Wine for that matter?    Maybe 15 years ago I subscribed to both but let them lapse.   I was recently gifted both and have been appalled at both content and presentation.    Is it just that their readership is now so dumbed down?    When my year ends, I certainly won't be renewing either.

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eGullet member #80.

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Magazines are dying because of the internet.

 

The foolish fix at many has been to mimic web formatting and style, which of course is playing to the enemy's strength, and ceding your own which is depth and insight.  Look at the food magazines...a pot luck of photos, fonts and sidebars and minimal written content.

 

Consider The New Yorker, which hasn't changed much over the ~40 years I've been reading it...other than the death/inactivity of several great contributors ( eg Updyke, McPhee, Buford) it hasn't changed much other than adding a crossword puzzle.  It appears to be succeeding.

 

 

Hmmm.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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New Yorker - only print subscription I have. Though some recent food reviews were bizarrely like a new writer's attempt to impress with word overuse and odd descriptors - but the food got lost. The writing on-line and some print on food makes me cringe. Bad grammar, twee phrasing, just painful to even attempt reading. So many do not even seem to know or care about basic food prep. And really is everything truly "amazing"? Oh and those "x" number of ingredient, quick & easy - good grief, If you can't figure out simple ordinary meals yourself. That Milk Street guy just had a pop up ad for a 6 ingredient- new cookbook. But I am a grump. Not fond of "the best way" in rags like Cooks Illustrated either. Rant over..

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6 hours ago, gfweb said:

Look at the food magazines...a pot luck of photos, fonts and sidebars and minimal written content.

And I have some major trouble actually trying to read some of that minimal content; between the fonts and the backgrounds, these aging eyes can’t deal.

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2 hours ago, Maison Rustique said:

I do realize that I'm old and as such, am perceived to not have buying power. It is quite clear that I am not the target market for these magazines. I'm not sure who is their target market, but I hope I never have to spend any time with them.

 

The same people still buying these magazines are the same people who watch the "dumbed down" The Food Network.  I get 2 magazines now, Canadian Living and Fine cooking, and I'm thinking of canceling Canadian Living.  Canadian Living is not just a food magazine but the content interests me less and less.  There should be a food magazine for old fogies who know how to cook.  While I'm at it, a lot of the food blogs could cut waaaay back on the number of pictures they post of "the "process" of making a recipe.    One last gripe are the blogs that have 50 recipes for soup, 25 deserts, 33 main courses, etc. All in the same post.  Who do they think has time to go through all of them?  Or would want to?

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On 10/16/2021 at 8:24 AM, liuzhou said:

Given that 'glug' has been in use since the 14th century, while 'crappy' is only 19th century, I think that battle is lost.
 

I agree there is a lot of terrible food writing about. It's called the internet.

I like glug, as in oil. And I like knob, as in butter. 

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I still subscribe to Cuisine et Vin de France.    Yes, it's in French, but the food is more to my taste and, moreover, I've found that reading a foreign language about a topic with which you are familiar is an easy way to expand your comprehension.    I.e., pick your foreign country and check out a food magazine published there.    Google offers up a slew for most countries.  

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47 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Yes. And also Smitten Kitchen. Both appear to edit their posts and both write well.

Yes I recall their discourse once about in the beginning monetizing was ??? and they had to write their own code!

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Copying internet models is simply another way to dummy down what was once considered intelligent writing. Many sites now offer limited writing in picture book format for adults with short attention spans. To understand why this, stylistic continuity, syntax and consistency have suffered, this article pretty much says  it all: https://theoutline.com/post/2780/new-york-times-copy-editor-layoffs-aftermath.  

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  • 1 year later...

 It is everywhere but this one struck me today. In Eater New York in the Best Dishes Edtors Ate This Week with the title "Smoked gnocchi at Lambs Club" Melissa McCart gives this useless noninformative description. Smoked how, truffle? " the smoked gnocchi with corn and chanterelle stole the show ($38) with its in-season ingredients and umami truffle luxury. "  ???

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24 minutes ago, heidih said:

 It is everywhere but this one struck me today. In Eater New York in the Best Dishes Edtors Ate This Week with the title "Smoked gnocchi at Lambs Club" Melissa McCart gives this useless noninformative description. Smoked how, truffle? " the smoked gnocchi with corn and chanterelle stole the show ($38) with its in-season ingredients and umami truffle luxury. "  ???

 

Eater is pretty bad in general.  Their food writing is highly politicized and obviously unedited (see above).

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Passage from a novel I'm reading, the woman is cooking four stockpots full of Cajun stew:

 

'She lifted the lid on the largest pot, and tiers of white smoke wafted out, smelling like shrimp and andouille sausage'

 

Uhhh, I think if your stockpot is emitting smoke rather than steam, you have a problem 😱

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3 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Passage from a novel I'm reading, the woman is cooking four stockpots full of Cajun stew:

 

'She lifted the lid on the largest pot, and tiers of white smoke wafted out, smelling like shrimp and andouille sausage'

 

Uhhh, I think if your stockpot is emitting smoke rather than steam, you have a problem 😱

 

Not to mention that "andouille sausage" is redundant and either ignorant or condescending. It's like writing "kielbasa sausage" or "challah bread" or "po' boy sandwich" or "bocce ball."

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

"Imagine all the food you have eaten in your life and consider that you are simply some of that food, rearranged."  -Max Tegmark, physicist

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"...in the mid-’90s when the internet was coming...there was a tendency to assume that when all the world’s knowledge comes online, everyone will flock to it. It turns out that if you give everyone access to the Library of Congress, what they do is watch videos on TikTok."  -Neil Stephenson, author, in The Atlantic

 

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer

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  • 3 weeks later...

to chime in, i think eater's writing on all the non-recipe stuff associated with restaurants (labor issues, technology, etc) is pretty good. also their sister site punch is excellent.

 

i'm curious what is going to happen to saveur...i know they got bought back by (i think?) the editor from whatever crony corp entity had driven them to approx bon appetit levels. the site and their socials seems pretty quiet but in my experience they tend(ed?) to have the best quality recipes for a online food mag.

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On 8/23/2023 at 3:13 PM, pastrygirl said:

Passage from a novel I'm reading, the woman is cooking four stockpots full of Cajun stew:

 

'She lifted the lid on the largest pot, and tiers of white smoke wafted out, smelling like shrimp and andouille sausage'

 

Uhhh, I think if your stockpot is emitting smoke rather than steam, you have a problem 😱

Not to mention the shrimp being overcooked.

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/13/2023 at 6:06 PM, hotsaucerman said:

. . .

i'm curious what is going to happen to saveur...i know they got bought back by (i think?) the editor from whatever crony corp entity had driven them to approx bon appetit levels. the site and their socials seems pretty quiet but in my experience they tend(ed?) to have the best quality recipes for a online food mag.

 

I just saw this from the new editor and CEO: https://www.saveur.com/culture/print-is-back/.

 

From the announcement: "Today, I’m so delighted to announce the pre-sale of our first new issue, which will drop in March of 2024—just in time for SAVEUR’s 30th anniversary. . . . This doesn’t mean we’re diving right back into printing monthlies. In starting from scratch, we had the opportunity to reconsider the old print model and land on one that will allow our publication to be the best possible version of itself, in 2024 and beyond." 

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29 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

For those who may be curious, the price per edition is US $25.00

 

Woof.

Didn't Peach fail with this model?

FWIW, my price point for a magazine-ish thing is probably <$15.

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