Blogging Tips for Food Writers
I am not really much of a cook, but every now and then I will stop and watch a cooking show. I am fascinated by how easy everything looks when a professional prepares it, but what really draws me in is the story the chef weaves.
Every ingredient is described with words carefully selected to help you imagine what the final dish will taste like. This is not easy, I know because every week we have to write about food for one of our clients. Our blogging challenge is to describe the food in a way which will make a connection between the reader’s brain and their stomach, making them just a little hungry as they read.
If you can’t taste it, ask Google
Most of the recipes we write about are developed by one of a group of professional food bloggers. They send us pictures, instructions and a list of ingredients. We rarely get to taste the recipe so we fake it. Jumping on to Google we can search for phrases like “what do poblano peppers taste like” or what is “allspice”? And if I find myself using the same word too often in my descriptions, a quick trip to thesaurus.com helps add a little spice to my copy too.
When you go to a new restaurant, particularly one of those “farm to table” types where the menu changes every week, you rely on the descriptions to help you decide what to order. You read the list of ingredients and decide if the different flavors and textures work together to form a dish that appeals to you. As we describe recipes, we often talk about how one ingredient brings out the flavor of another or how the combination of the two creates a distinctive taste.
When you are writing about food, the pictures are critical. The food needs to be well lit, placed attractively on a plate and shot at just the right angle. Then, as you describe the food, refer to the picture and your reader’s mouth will be watering.
Sound and smell
Want to make your reader hungry? Go beyond the taste and describe the texture, the smell and even the sound. When my kids come for holiday dinners, for example, it is the sharp, sweet smell of dill in my chicken soup, which feels familiar, long before they get to taste what I have been cooking all day. And, when my husband fires up the grill, I love the sound of the meat as it sizzles on a hot grill.
Hungry yet? You don’t have to be blogging about food to use some of these tips, try them to add spice to anything you are writing.