16 April 2012

One thing leads to another and before you know it, you're a food blogger!

I wrote the following and submitted it to the Bournemouth Echo for my regular Taste blog, but it appears to have been missed.  So as not to waste a few good words, I thought I'd post it here instead.

Can't be us - too many kids!
Hubby made an observation recently, one that I’ve thought a couple of times in recent months but hadn’t vocalised.  He said “we're so lucky, really, in that for the last couple of years almost every night we've had something different for dinner.  Not everyone can claim that!” – and it’s true.

Obviously, an awful lot of this has been driven by the requirement to keep posting recipes to Rhubarb & Ginger.  However, it also met a need – in fact, more than one need – although I wouldn’t recommend it as a way forward for everyone!

I can vividly remember the days when we would shop once a week, during which I would float rather aimlessly around the supermarket looking for “things that look nice”, “things that are affordable” and “things that you can do things with”.  On very few occasions were these three requirements satisfied.  We would wind up with a freezer full of mince, pies, sausages and pre-prepared foods like Chicken Kiev or lamb grills.  Not surprisingly, when it came to thinking about what to prepare for dinner that night, inspiration was lacking.

Hubby and I would sit in our kitchen, looking at the fridge and freezer and contemplate what we had that we fancied eating.  The response was usually “nothing” and we’d wind up with mince (again) or sausages (again).

This sad state of affairs was what spawned the meal plan that now is a fundamental part of running the household.  Yes, it can be a drag to have to sit down and plan out seven meals each week, but these days I lighten the load by collecting interesting recipes as and when I see them.  You probably don’t want to know about my filing system for potential recipes and I won’t embarrass myself by telling you about it.

So I started meal planning as a way of varying our diet and introducing interest into the process of eating.  After all, we have to do it – so why not enjoy it?

Around this time (probably some 4-5 years ago) I became aware of the increasingly popular process of blogging.

Now I’ve always been the type of person who would talk to anyone who will talk back, plus I’ve always liked the creative process behind the composition of a written piece of work and have a fascination for the English language – so blogging was absolutely made for me.

I began, as people often do, by writing a social blog recounting the day’s happenings within the family – which included food.  Very quickly, I realised that the recipes I shared were very popular and before very long, the recipes were taking over.

Enter “Jenny Eatwell’s Rhubarb & Ginger” blog.

I started writing it back in July 2009 and can remember being utterly blown away when my page views for the month achieved the heady heights of 200.  These days, the blog is attracting in excess of 12,000 page views in a month and some days, I feel as though it is driving me instead of the other way around!

Thinks .. is it "it's", or is it "its" ... hmmn ..
There are many good things about writing my food blog and, more recently, writing for the Bournemouth Echo.  Not least is the challenge of reclaiming a command of language following on from a stroke/seizure a couple of years ago.  I have no doubt that the act of trying to string together an intelligible sentence has been fundamental in my recovery – along with just pure & simply providing me with something to do, now that I have such limited mobility.

Then there are the people involved.  I’ve talked to some lovely people via the comments section of the blog and also via Twitter.  I would hesitate to call these people true “friends”, as they are unlikely to come to my aid should I require ferrying to the shops one day.  However, I’d like to think that the regular readers are as much friends as it is possible for them to be, in the circumstances.

I’ve been involved in some hugely interesting and fun P.R. campaigns through the blog, for people like Knorr, Barefoot Wines and South African Fruit and long may that continue.

"What would you do without me, eh?", says Rosie

The blog has taken me to places that I would never have visited, without there being some blog-orientated demand.  We wouldn’t have our Jack Russell terrier, Rosie, if it hadn’t have been for a contact made through the blog!

However, because it is a food blog, consideration of the benefits derived from writing for Rhubarb & Ginger has to include the cooking.  I’d like to think that my command of the cooker, understanding of preparation processes and flavour combinations (oh dear, there I go sounding like Greg Wallace) has been advanced in some leaps and bounds.

One thing is sure – we never sit and contemplate the fridge and freezer, wondering what to have for dinner any more!


  1. Jenny, I enjoy following you on Twitter and enjoyed reading this as well. I can identify with this subject since I just started my blog back in November and I already feel like it is driving me at times. One of the fascinations for me is the global reach. I wrote this post recently about it. http://areluctantfoodie.blogspot.com/2012/04/no-seriously-no-need-to-applaud.html

    1. Hello there! Global reach - now there you've hit upon one of my secret ambitions, which is to have had someone from every country in the world have visited my blog at some point or another. LOL Well, I can dream, can't I?

  2. Hi Jenny,
    What a great summary of your journey into food blogging. I have followed your blog over the past year. First in London and now, I'm in Hong Kong so you do attract an international audience:-)
    Your dog Rosie, is such a cutie!
    Keep up the good blog posts,
    Jacqueline x

    1. Hello there! Thanks for making yourself known - and thanks also for being such a loyal reader! Goodness me, all the way from London to Hong Kong, is some serious travelling. :) So at least I now know who one of my Hong Kong readers is! Yay! :) Rosie sends you many wags of her tail and a cute look that says "I'm a little horror, really". LOL Thanks for the kind words!

    2. Hi Jenny!
      I too started my food blog as a way to amuse myself but after a year of sharing my culinary ideas, I've been completely consumed. I love, love, love it!
      Congratulations on your successes and I hope to read more about your future food finds.

      Happy Eating from Miami!


    3. Hello Lenette and thanks for commenting! There's something about the whole blogging thing that just lights my fire and I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for your kind words - and good luck with your own blog. :)


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