This FAQ is to answer some of the more frequent comments and questions I’ve gotten about my blog. I’m sure it’ll get updated now and again.
Why a cooking blog?
It’s a long story.
I’ve always loved to cook. And I love to eat. And then a few years ago during a big upheaval in my life, I started reassessing the way I cook and eat – and I came to the realization that I needed to do both differently. I changed how I ate and lost a lot of weight as a result. As I made those changes and as it affected my life so profoundly, I realized that I wanted to talk about it and share it with others.
I investigated a lot of different blogging alternatives, including writing self-published articles for venues like Divine Caroline and guest blogging. However, my control-freak side wanted something that was all mine, where I could control the look and feel of the content and the site. I also wanted to expand my photographic skills: Although I’ve been photographing weddings and portraits for years, I’d never explored food and product photography all that much. So in April 2008, all of those elements sort of came together and I thought … why not blog about my experiences in cooking, eating, and changing my perceptions towards food – and learn a new photographic skill to boot.
Which is how I got here: to a cooking and food blog.
Tell us more about the weight loss.
If I must!
During this time of upheaval in my life, I lost nearly 100 lbs. Which is a lot. And I’m not gonna lie and say that it was just a random byproduct of the change in my diet, although diet had a lot to do with it. I also started working out; going to the gym, running (whoda thunk!), and lifting weights. The two things feed on each other: The more I worked out, the more I wanted to eat healthy foods that would keep me going; and the more I ate healthy foods, the more I had energy and incentive to work out. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t a miracle diet. I averaged about 2lbs a week (some weeks less, some weeks more) and there were periods of several months that I stalled out and got very frustrated. Each stall encouraged me to learn more about what I was eating and how it might be affecting my weight and my health.
As of today (March 2010) I’ve gained back a little weight and am holding steady at 92 lbs lost. I’d like to lose another 30 lbs. I’d also like to run in a 5k before the end of the year. I’m working on both of those.
Are all the photographs yours?
Every image posted on this blog is my image. I made a promise to myself when I started blogging that I would not use stock photography (especially micro-stock which I think is a plague on professional photography – but that’s another post and maybe even another blog). Every image on this site was taken by me and if I can’t get an image I’m happy with, I don’t blog that subject or that recipe.
Can I post your recipe on my site?
Here’s the deal: Despite what anyone might tell you, a recipe cannot be copyrighted. A recipe is simply a list of ingredients and the instructions on how to manipulate those ingredients. It’s a formula. It’s not copyrightable. You can blog any recipe you find anywhere.
Any non-formula commentary *is* copyrighted. Any introductory paragraphs. Any funny asides, stories, or personality that the author has introduced. So you cannot copy and re-post anything that is original to the author/blogger.
My philosophy about blogging recipes (both when I do it and when others blog recipes of mine) is that you should always give attribution and a link back to a site. If I use an Emeril recipe as a base for my enchilada sauce (as an example), I say so and reference the book I found it in. If I say that Mark Bittman inspired my post on burnt onions, I say so with a link back to his blog post. If I bake something for a Tuesdays with Dorie, I provide a link to her book, but I don’t type out the recipe itself, since her recipes are full of her personal commentary. Since I earn my living by selling my copyrighted products, I am very aware of how what I post can influence (for good or bad) someone’s income stream. I ask that others give me the same courtesy.
Ultimately, though, I can’t stop you from copying a list of ingredients that I’ve posted. So … go for it!
Can I use your photos on my site?
Not unless you’re willing to pay me fair stock value for them. (A VERY VERY few exceptions might apply to this – so if you have a REALLY good reason, feel free to ask, but if your reason is “so I don’t have to take my own photographs” the answer will be NO.)
I earn my living (or a good portion of it anyway) as a photographer. Part of my intention with this site and in learning food photography is to be able to broaden my passive income stream, as my financial planner likes to refer to it. In plain English – I want to earn more money with my photography. No one is going to pay editorial or stock rates for my pictures if I allow anyone who asks to publish them.
That’s why my images are marked with my copyright and yes, I will pursue anyone who uses my images w/out purchasing the rights first. I know that makes me a big meanie in the “but it’s on the Internet so it should be free” world, but so be it. I like to pay my bills and buy more food to photograph.
Do you accept products for review?
I welcome any submissions for reviews that anyone wants to send my way. However, I will not guarantee to review any product (it’s based on time and availability and how well the item will fit in with my meal plans and blog schedule). Nor will I guarantee to give a positive review, if I do give one. I will only guarantee that I’ll give my honest opinion. I do sometimes blog about products I use and like (in the “raves” category), and as you look through the photos on my blog, you’ll also see that there are certain brands of things that I use all the time and will wind up in most of my photos (Penzey’s spices are a good example – you’ll see lots of Penzey’s products in my photographs and I’m happy to let people know I use them). I do promise that I will always let you know right up front in the body of a post if an item that I review or recommend is one that I was asked to blog about or compensated for in any way.
Do you do link exchanges?
Link exchanges as in “I’ll link your site if you’ll link mine”? Nope. I link sites that are my favorites on my front page. A list of all the food related sites I RSS is listed on my blogroll page if you’re absolutely deadly curious about what I read every day. If I read your site and like it, it’ll most likely find it’s way onto my blogroll at some point. And yeah, I do visit the sites of all the people who leave comments, so feel free to include the link to your site in your comments.
What’s your comment policy?
I moderate all comments. If you’re a first time commenter, then your comments won’t appear until I’ve reviewed and approved them. If you’ve commented before and been approved, your comments will appear instantly.
If your comment is spam, it will be filtered and deleted. If you post a valid comment, but include a spam link, I’ll allow your comment but remove your link. (If you have a valid blog of your own and link it in your comment, of course it will be allowed to stay. I think the difference between a valid link and a spam link is pretty obvious!)
Personal attacks and rude comments (towards myself or another commenter) will be deleted.