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The internet is a salad of random crap.

A big, freshly-washed salad of diverse junk, drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette of curiosity and resting on a bed of soggy disappointment croutons. That’s what the food blogging corner of the internet is.

I love food. So I love reading about food, food blogs, forums, etc. etc. Awesome places to yammer about yeast, waffle over waffles and shoot the shit about shakshouka. But, in keeping with Sturgeon’s Law, 99% of food blogs are crap are not to my taste. People, it’s not enough just to shove a photo of a slice of cheesecake up there and assume that it will distract us all from bad layout, dud writing and uninteresting posts. Allow me to guide you through some basic principles.

I’ve got some rules about what I’ll read. (I didn’t sit down and plan these out or anything, these are just observed patterns of behaviour.) First rule is that you’ve got to be interesting. Time is short. Like my legs. Your skills with a baked ham may be beyond reproach, but if your writing is blabbery and unfocused, you’ll just sound like a nine year old who needs to pee LIKE RIGHT NOW, and you’ve lost me. No recipe is so awesome it’s worth trawling shit sentences.

Rule two! I am uninterested in your cupcakes. You can have photos of dear wee decorated cupcakes that moisten the panties of the masses: I can promise you they will not move my cold, dead heart. It will be as a marble heart carved on the tomb of your ancestors.

Third rule: if at any point your recipe suggests I have to open a packet of cake mix, brownie mix, powdered French Onion Soup mix, or any other prefabricated box of crap, my cursor is already hovering over the back button. Proceed with extreme caution, and know that the presence of two prepackaged ingredients is likely to result in a muttered curse and clearing Chrome’s history .There are exceptions, obviously: peanut butter, sriracha, mayonnaise, jam, Cointreau – I could go on). If you post a recipe that involves pre-grated cheese, you should be prepared for the repercussions. That chill on the back of your neck and those nightmares you’ve been having: yo. You deserved it. (If you post a recipe that involves cheese from a can, then you can expect carbuncles, bunions and plagues of dildos raining on your next garden party. That’s not me, that’s just divine justice, but I wholeheartedly support it.)

Rule the fourth! A sandwich is not a recipe. C’mon, put some effort in.

All of this boils down to one thing, and it holds true across the internet. Don’t waste people’s time. Never forget for a second that your brave little blog post is launched into the heaving, extra-spicy combination laksa of info, stories, pictures and games that is the internet, and your reader could be reading something waaaaay more interesting and informative at the click of a mouse. Give folks a reason to stick around and read your blog instead of, say, foodgawker, Wild Yeast or Rabbit’s Reviews. You’re asking someone to give their precious time and eye juices to you: to make it anything less than 100% worth their while is downright rude. And stupid.

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