Dear Martha Stewart… An Open Letter by an “Unprofessional” Blogger
I am a food blogger, a self-taught photographer, and a recipe developer. I am a social media guru, carb loving, and hungry-for-food-and-knowledge-full-time-job-working-blog-aholic. And I love what I do.
I am not what you call a “professional”. My job does not require a white chef’s coat. I am not a food photographer who works full time for a large corporation with a tangible, lick your fingers to flip to the next page magazine full of recipes I must try. I write on the internet in a small corner of the web that only a few hundred thousand people see in a month – where you have a few hundred thousand in a day visit you.
I recently viewed a clip of an interview that you gave that asked you about social media, and particularly bloggers. Though I agree with some points of your statement, that we are not all “professionals” per se, I disagree with you on almost every other point therein. And it breaks my heart.
Please, I implore you, don’t tell me that I am not a professional. Working for a large scale publication, having a television show, or having multitudes of published cookbooks is not the sole bar in which to mark a professional in the food industry.
I get up in the morning on my weekends at 6am after working a 40+ hour work week, to brew coffee, peruse the internet, respond directly to reader and company e-mails, and then jump into the kitchen to test out and photograph my latest carb laden brain child, all done in an effort to share my joy on my blog the next week and repeat this process the next weekend.
Please don’t tell me that I am not a professional who devotes all of her extra time – and let’s face it – time at my “real job” to do what I am fiercely passionate about – food blogging. You’re very fortunate to have entire departments available at your disposal to create, test, photograph, and market all of your wares, recipes, and trusted ideas. I? I do that all myself for a fraction of the cost – though my bank account may disagree. I am the complete professional package. I conduct myself professionally, and have a business, like a professional. So what did I miss to rise up to that level of “professional” we all hold in such high esteem?
Please don’t tell me that I don’t test my recipes and don’t rely on skills that I have accrued from trusted sources, including your publications, soaking up hours of reading, and my DVDs of America’s Test Kitchen played on repeat to the chagrin of my husband, and internet video’s of Jacque Pepin learning how to debone a chicken and how to temper eggs with melted butter to make the most divine, lemon scented hollandaise sauce known to man. Knowledge and learning is power – and I am viciously hungry for it.
For nearly four years I have worked tirelessly on this hobby, which has become my unwavering passion. I’ve tried to mold my own corner of the internet into something that I can be proud of, something I can show off and something that will last indefinitely. Perhaps you have lost some touch with those who read your publications – because when someone emails you to tell you that they have one of your recipes in the oven filling their home with a smell so wonderful it comes bursting out of their windows it makes your heart grow knowing that someone thought of you as a trusted source and welcomed you into their home, even for a brief while.
You have an army of infinitely talented people working for you, photographers who have spent years working on and honing their craft. Is it somehow less legitimate that I have picked up my Canon Rebel and created a photograph of the same caliber? Is it less worthy of praise or someone’s drool on their keyboard?
We have all come from different roots, background and skill sets. I believe your background did not start in the kitchens and working your way up through the ranks? Yet we all wish to rally people around a common theme of food, friends and family. I don’t see our missions as all that different – just the methods we use to get there. You have created an empire, one that is trusted by millions. Let me have my empire. I’m proud of it, no matter how small it may be. It’s all mine.
I have the upmost respect for you, your publications, the things you create and how you have diversified into products that are of high quality and great style. I have products of yours in my home that I adore! Though you seem to see us bloggers as having nothing original to provide to the ethos, and that there is nothing solely original to provide to the masses anymore, why do you continue with all of your hard work? What is the point of continuing on if not to inspire and be bountiful in spreading the knowledge that you have and sharing that with others who crave the same? I hope you will look past our, as you say, unoriginality and see that we are a community, a very tight one that lends itself to inspiration and rallying together provide support to one another, to teach one another new skills, and to tell one another there is nothing we can’t do and there is nothing we can’t create if we put our minds to it.
Thank you for being an inspiration to millions, and please continue to do so without airs and looking down upon us. We do try, so hard.
I have a crème brûlée to make and bourbon to go drink now. Perhaps I will pair them together. And photograph it, too. Of course.