I love a good food blog. I love spending hours looking at all the wonderful pictures, so painstaking in their effort that it hurts to think that these bloggers are doing it for no reason other than the love of it. There's a variety of recipes, all presented ever so professionally. A drizzle here, a coriander sprig artfully tucked there. They also makes me acutely aware of my shortcomings. Admittedly, I had my own food blog for a while before I surrendered to my incompetence. For I can never, in a million years do dainty drizzles. Unless I happen to spill some by mistake. My food is chaotic. Served in mismatched bowls. With not a napkin in sight. At home we eat food with our hands, often messily. And when it's good, we lick, slurp and devour it with abandon. With an energy best left for the passions of reunited young lovers who have been apart for a year.
I go back to the food blogs and I see such a lot of quest for perfection. There is none of the burnt pans and runny cakes and stodgy upmas that plague my kitchen. Perhaps their food really does get served like that everyday. Even when when their mothers come around for lunch. Perhaps there will be a little assortment of kichchdis and pachchdis in delicate china bowls all seated carefully like school children arranged according to their height in class photographs. My mother would have a fit if I served her food like that. What's this? she would demand sneeringly, all fancy-pancy nonsense? Get me something real to eat. And I would oblige her willingly.
Browsing some of the popular food blogs, I am reminded of a friend's extremely pretty mother. So pretty in fact that she was a bit scary. There was none of the comforting folds of fat and rough-and-ready look that I had come to associate with mothers in general. This friend's mother was polished and positively gleaming. Nearly every other food blog I come across seems giddy with aspiration, worryingly flawless. I look and look for some signs of weakness, some small admission of a mishap, something familiar for me to hang my insecurity on. But all I get is gorgeous pictures of shiny stainless cups holding steaming hot payasam. Perhaps I should start stocking on coriander sprigs after all.
Please note: A delightful exception to this rule is my dear friend Shyam's food blog where she charts her culinary experiments (and the occasional disaster) with humour and honesty.