Who goes through all the hard work and needed perseverance to produce a successful food blog? In 2009 a team of anthropologists surveyed Swedish fruit and vegetable (F&V) blogs to answer that very question. Fifty noncommercial F&V sites for a total of 250 posts were categorized based on reported gender, age, apparent intent and methodology.
The majority of the authors were women. Thirty-five women to 12 men, one site crafted by a married heterosexual couple with two sites not reporting gender. Only 17 of the 50 bloggers reported their age. Five under 25 years, five more between 25-29 and seven older the 30. Total number of entries varied from 15 to 50, length of each post from 19 to 3800 words, with a mean of 511.
Food blogger ideal types were developed based on either passive or active influential purpose and the the use of either lived or mediated experiences. The four types: the Persuader, the Authority, the Exhibitionist and the Mediator. The most common were the Exhibitionists just more then half of the entire population (56%) and 80% of the women. Exhibitionists focused most on self-expression sharing personal experiences as much as food with little effort toward audience influence. One particularly colorful example:
“The most difﬁcult thing about preparing a pumpkin is to
split it when it’s raw—the slippery rind and the hard pulp
make it easy to slip with the knife and cut yourself. The best
and safest way is to use a sword. Stand one step from the
pumpkin, swing the sword high above your head and cut
straight through the whole pumpkin. Wear some kind of gear
At 24% the Persuader was the next most frequent type. Characterized by the obvious desire to change readers diets, Persuaders often presented themselves as “saved”. Salvation may be from a grand change in diet (vegetarianism, organic, raw, locally grown etc…) or from a moral epiphany that lead to new view of food. Persuaders almost exclusively wrote about personal experiences related to food, criticizing official food policies and dietary recommendations when they conflicted with their personal views. For some Persuaders environmental and ethical issues were so important they presented consumption of F&V or organically produced F&V as a moral responsibility to humanity. Authoritarian food bloggers comprised 14% of the sample population. Authorities presented themselves as F&V or subject matter experts. Typically using mediated experiences and “facts” to directly influence followers into action. For these bloggers political expressions through food policies are more important then recipes. Food was discussed in relationship to social institutions, individuals and society. Finally, Mediators represented two percent of the authors. Typified by passive outsider position and mediated experiences, Mediators provided information as simple observations not to influence opinions.
Who is the typical food blogger? A woman over 30 more interested in self expression then money, politics or social change.
Snowny Broccoli and Cauliflower Cake:
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound Florida broccoli florets
- 1 pound Florida cauliflower florets
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Florida rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Florida thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- Low-fat milk
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons unbleached flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Small dash of ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cook just until slightly tender yet crisp. Drain broccoli and cauliflower, removing as much water as possible. Set liquid to side.
- Add milk to the vegetable liquid to measure a total of 2 1/2 cups. Pour vegetables into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk mixture.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Season with the salt, pepper, herbs and nutmeg. Pour sauce over broccoli and cauliflower. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and paprika; sprinkle over vegetables. Bake at 450° for about 20 minutes, until casserole is bubbly.