roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps cioppino


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2014 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent


here comes the rant again

Recipe: prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches

I get it. I do.

There are folks who want to make money and garner fame through their (food) blogs. And if food blogging is something they truly love, then good luck to them. It’s not terribly unlike people who want to make a living in let’s say, photography – although you can make a living as a photographer without heaps of cash or adulation. I think what bothers me is the overemphasis on (more) fame, (more) money. And you know there are those who will never be satisfied, they just want MORE. They’re easy to identify and in my case, avoid. I’m not a more kind of person. I see a lot of positives in LESS. Maybe if you slapped a pack on your back and hiked into the sticks for a week, you’d get a good sense of what is necessary and important. Maybe not.

I recognize that my priorities don’t always jive with the rest of the flock. I’m cool with that.

What’s funny (and by funny I don’t mean ha ha) is how some are pointing their fingers at those of us who frowned upon gearing blogs to maximize traffic and SEO. “I see your ads and your badges on your blog!” The implication being: having ads or badges on your blog means you have no right to criticize those who want money and fame. In essence, I’ve invalidated my rail against the SEO/traffic machine by hosting an ad and some badges.

Not true.

My blog is my space. I use my blog on a daily basis. Remember, I’m a little OCD and I love to archive. I look up old recipes. I use it to jog my memory (we DID go to so-and-so’s for dinner on such-and-such night four years ago). It tells me what time of year the columbines bloom in the high country. The fact that I can pull revenue to cover the costs of my hosting service (which became necessary when my home grown server could no longer handle the traffic), materials, and conferences is pretty damn sweet. This is not lost on me. The fact that urb is self-sufficient helps me to continue doing it without burdening our finances. That some publications I respect happen to like my mindless drivel is merely icing on the cake. But I’m not filling my posts with tag words (Angelina Jolie boobies chocolate cheesecake chili porn?) and altering content to drive more traffic to my site. Are you kidding? I can barely manage writing what I think in a coherent manner.

What I object to is the cookie-cutter mold for food blogging and the desire to blog just for money and fame. They all start to look the same when everyone is clamoring for and getting a recipe on how to get rich/famous off your food blog. I don’t think much of trend-chasers and disingenuous people. I prefer the blogs that are grown organically, with their own sense of style and voice. Be yourself.

There’s one last thing I wanted to address that some of my dear readers brought up in the comments. …it’s easy not to care about traffic when you have lots of it already! I understand that people want a response for their efforts. They want to know that someone is out there reading and connecting. I had a woman in all sincerity ask me on the Food Blog Forum why on Earth I would blog if I didn’t care about getting readers. As much as I love all of you wonderful people, I would be perfectly happy blogging to no one because (as I’ve said in the past) I blog for me.

My website started in 1994. It was well before the advent of blogs. I had pages dedicated to backcountry trip reports and some recipes. I knew that someone somewhere was going to find that information useful someday. I did this because I found other trip reports to be incredibly helpful. It was about sharing information and helping others. Feedback was unheard of then. I got an occasional email (like every 3 months) asking about weather and trail conditions. Traffic, comments, and SEO had no meaning. Fast forward 16 years (*gulp!*) and I have added urb, a photo blog, and a personal blog. My photo blog gets a few comments, but can go for months without a peep. That’s fine! I just keep dumping my pictures there so I can keep track of my noodlings. My personal blog has a few dozen readers and they rarely comment, but they read to keep tabs on what I’m doing and thinking.

So it’s about me, but it’s not about me. I need the outlet, but not the attention and I’m happiest that way. I learned long ago that placing my happiness and validation in the hands of others is a good way to get really pissed off (and screwed).


frost this morning on the deck



We had our first frost this morning. This means a couple of things. First off, it means SKI SEASON is coming. I hope it arrives before March this time. Second, it means fall colors will be making a (hopefully) grand entrance in a few weeks to Colorado. Third: this is my busiest time of year. Fourth: this is my favorite time of year! But before I get ahead of myself, I need to clear out the summer recipes so they don’t languish in the queue for 11 months. I’m enjoying local peaches like they are going out of fashion.

beautiful, cheeky things

a few slices of prosciutto



Several years ago, my good friends were married at a vineyard in the Alexander Valley and one of the appetizers passed around was a quartered (perfectly ripe) peach with a slice of duck prosciutto draped on top. I had peaches and prosciutto that needed to be consumed before my Seattle trip, so I began to think of different permutations on that appetizer. Grilled peaches with prosciutto? Peaches and prosciutto, grilled together? Ungrilled prosciutto on ungrilled peaches?

slice in half

gently pull apart (the really ripe ones got a little creamed)



I wanted to grill the peaches because the flavor grows deeper with a touch of smokiness, but I left the prosciutto uncooked for that tender texture that almost dissolves on the tongue. Our (crappy) grill is a lot like a Whisperlite stove – it is either full blast or off. Unlike the Whisperlite, our grill on full blast still sucks because it cooks unevenly… and not even consistently unevenly. This just makes grilling more “exciting”.

place the quarters on the grill

more or less grilled



Once off the grill and slightly cooled, I wrapped each quarter in a strip of prosciutto. Wouldn’t you know it, even Jeremy (the guy who doesn’t eat drupes/stone fruits), said it wasn’t bad! These are great to eat in the company of friends who don’t care that you shove the whole thing into your mouth. If you are serving these in polite company, it might help to slice them in half with a knife.

salty sweet, good to eat



Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Peaches
[print recipe]

2-4 peaches, ripe (white or regular peaches)
8-16 2-inch wide, thin slices of prosciutto

Wash the peaches and dry them off. It’s up to you if you want to leave the skins on or not (hey, I like fiber). Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Cut the halves in half so that you have quarters. Oil your grill grate. Grill the peaches over high heat for a few minutes each side or until the peaches begin to brown or show nice grill marks. Turn the slices over to grill the other sides. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Wrap each peach slice in prosciutto. Serve.

62 nibbles at “here comes the rant again”

  1. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free says:

    This was so well put. I loved every word of this!
    I have had so many people assume that I am blogging for money, or popularity. I had someone actually ask me if I was doing it for an ego-boost. Ummm..NO! I actually love sitting down at my computer and losing myself in my words. And I do not care that my posts may get too long sometimes and that my recipes are not perfectly written. I used to journal things and hand-write recipes all in one notebook LONG before my blog. Now I just do it on my website instead. It is my favorite part of the day to sit down and type once the household has quieted down. I most likely will never see enough money to cover the costs of my blog (although, I would not be disappointed if I could at least do that). But that is more than FINE with me.
    I just have fun. I am enjoying everything about it and my blog is truly inspiring me to get more creative with my pictures and teach myself more about photography than I ever thought I could learn…
    So, thank you for writing this. You just spoke my mind. ;)
    And, btw, those peaches pictures are absolutely beautiful!
    Kim

  2. peabody says:

    I hear that. When people bug me about how to get traffic, I kindly remind them that I have been around awhile. A long while for blogging. Which I do for me and me alone. And if I want to title my post Cake So Good it Made Me Cry instead of Chocolate cake, so be it. That’s my style. Don’t fuck with my style SEO.

  3. Deliciously Organic says:

    Thank you! I’ve been reading the discussions this week and have been thinking about this topic, but haven’t commented until your post. Thank you for being honest. I think some are getting a little too wrapped around the axle for my taste about this topic. I honestly can’t understand why people would fill their blogs with tag words or blog about certian topics just for more traffic. How is that authentic? I don’t want to read about what everyone else is writing about. I want to read about topics that are new and/or stories that are original. I think SO much focus on making money, not giving out recipes, more traffic, higher SEO ranking, more, more, more is so self-seeking. I realize I may be the minority in this, and that’s ok with me.

    There is value in doing your best and wanting to make money off of what you love. I hope to do that someday, but I don’t ever what that to be my focus. If anyone ever sees me doing all of this for me, then please slap me and remind me of what’s important in life.

  4. Jaya says:

    Awesome (expletive) post. I have lots of comment-less posts on my own blog and I don’t cherish the love, effort and inspiration that went into them any less. I respect the variety of motives that drive bloggers, but I also agree completely that when it stops being about your creativity and starts being about traffic, some of that magic gets lost in a black hole in cyberspace. I haven’t commented a lot here, but I have been a looonnnngggg time follower of your blog and I really think of it as among my gold standard resources for learning being yourself, being cool with being yourself and being cool. Thanks for this post :)
    Jaya

  5. Gali says:

    I think that some food blogs are just crazy with the number of ads and to be honest I just close the tab right after I notice all the ads and never come back. As you said, as long as the ads are limited and mainly serve to cover the hosting expense, that’s fine! (and well, with rss and ad filter there is no need to see ads anymore)

    I also quite like the way you tell stories and not just dump recipes, that makes this blog much more interesting!

  6. Lisa says:

    Everyone has a pet peeve. I didn’t know that one could make money on a blog… I kinda liked not knowing. Anyway, it is easy enough to see that you do it purely for the love of doing it because your blog has honesty that you don’t get with other blogs. Your blog is like homemade cookie straight from the oven while others are right out of the mass produced stale bag from a super-mega-mart shelf.
    I read you blog daily… even when there isn’t a new post I will look at your older ones and write down something I want to try for dinner. You are also my gateway to a few other food blogs… I like that have been chosen by you, like a seal of approval.

    I am not a big fan of prosciutto, but grilled fruit is heaven. My grill is like yours. If there is a grill that will heat evenly and all that please post it.

  7. Stephanie Schamban says:

    Jen: I had no idea there was this ugly underbelly in the food blogging world! I read your blog because it makes me happy and it inspires me. Thank you for that.

  8. barbara says:

    Grilled peach and proscuitto sounds delicious. Roll on Aussie summer. I make a similar dish with grilled mango and proscuitto. I sprinkle a little sugar on the mango first and caramalize it.

    The advantage of not going to a blog conference is not knowing anything about tag words. I recently said to some one I have never seen an Angelina Jolie movie. I won’t be sharing that on my blog,but hey we got it onto your blog twice :))

  9. Chuck says:

    Nice rant Jen! I couldn’t agree with you more! Eff SEO and blogging for traffic/popularity. Blog for yourself about things you enjoy and if it’s good, people will come organically, naturally! Which reminds me, I have many recipes I need to document on SND for our friends. I told HB that I’d get at least 2 posts up before BlogHer Food… knock on wood!

  10. keiko says:

    Wonderful post Jen, and it made me grateful (again) that I’ve met you through blogging. I’ve been dreaming of autumn colours in Colorado – I must, MUST visit you there sometime soon! Enjoy the lovely peaches while you can. kxx

  11. Joy says:

    You need to be true to yourself. I love that you use white peaches.

  12. TheKitchenWitch says:

    I can’t believe you even felt you had to dignify some of that negativity with a rant (although I do love to hear you rant, girl). Anyone who has been at urb for any length of time knows that you are a straight-shooter, a passionate person, and a vociferous enemy of the bullshit.

    Your blog gets traffic because you have an engaging voice, take stunning photos, have passion for the craft and aren’t an asshole. The few piddly ads you have on the side? Puh-lease.

    ps: send me those peaches wrapped in salty pig.

  13. naomi says:

    okay, so i’m new and totally green, five months into the blogging madness. I blog as a creative outlet and also because i’m an insominac. as for traffic i’ll admit it’s nice to have it but i also don’t need it. of course that is coming from someone who has about 14 readers on a daily basis. but i’m quite sure i’d feel the same way if I had 2400 readers a day or else I would be sprinkling my titles with things like “the chocolate cake that made kourtney kardashian pregnant”.

    i blog for me and if some day i make some piddly pennies from ads to pay for my blogging addiction than great. but blogging re-calibrates me by engaging my creative outlet for baking and writing-it’s my escape where it’s all about what I can create with my hands.

    so cheers to you and a crew of passionante bloggers who can do without adulation.

  14. Wei-Wei says:

    Really, really, well said. You’ve seen those healthy-living blogs, right? They start out by just posting about their daily lives, then eventually it all becomes a giant sponsorship ad. I think that you’re a wonderful writer and cook, and that you should keep doing what you’re doing no matter what anyone else says. I’m a new blogger, and I do care about readership, but it’s only because I treat my readers like my friends. If they’re not there for me to share something with, I get sad. I hope someday I’ll be able to let go and just blog for MYself. And that would be awesome.

  15. Denise says:

    I’ve really met the entire spectrum of bloggers (carefree to business in overdrive). I have a good friend who is desperate for me to write articles so I can link through to a affiliate products, every time I see him he’s like let’s talk monetization. I always kind of chuckle. I’m a little speck on the blogosphere and I like it. I have an entire folder crammed with ad offers, review offers, etc. I just like doing my own thing, if an offer comes up that aligns with my philosophy I entertain it. Most of the time I pass. I pass on SEO as well, but it’s really because I am content being a little hodge podge blogger.

    I think everyone needs to do what makes them happy. Whether it’s about the money, capturing the moment, creating archives of ideas/recipes/inspirations. The beauty is we opt into what feeds us when we read or comment and sometimes it means saying goodbye to an old blog friend that is non stop writing about Conagra products (just happened this week).

  16. Laurel says:

    The only window I have on this controversy is through you, I’m not heavily involved in the food blog world or anything, but I roll my eyes thinking that someone’s comparing your ads and badges to what one sees some of the much more heavily profit-oriented food blogs out there.

    You know when someone gets too wound up in the marketing because they have less and less to say. A lot of them start using fewer words and highlighting the important phrases in bold. You don’t get much sense of the blogger’s character filtering through. I like your recipes, have used them, will continue to read for them, but honestly, if you stopped including recipes tomorrow, I think I’d still read just for your character.

    I agree with another commenter, I love your comfort in your own self and it’s a great thing to read for not-always-as-assertive-as-I-should-be me. Rock on.

  17. marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    You know what I love about you? Your sincerity, talent, drive, ambition, passion for life & the fact that you love this time of year just as much as I do.
    For me it just gets better as the temperature gets cooler. Love the photo of the frost (happy dance.) Love the peaches & prosciutto.
    One day I will earn enough $$ from my blogging passion (well see!!) to drag your ass out to Telluride to tele. xxoo

  18. Shanon says:

    Hi Jen!

    I don’t know what urb is, what SEO is, or that people would intentionally tag their blogs with crazy things. What I do know is that if you are tagging your blog with crazy things, then you are bound to attract crazy and fair-weathered readers. I’m totally brand new at this blogging thing, and I am sick of people saying, “Oh, you are just trying to be like so-and-so” or “how cute”.

    What I do know is this: this is a cathartic journey for me. I attended the Food and Light Workshop, met fabulous people, and fell in love with something that I never had even opened my mind to before. I’m looking back through my posts (which are few, I admit), but it’s amazing how it’s almost like a personal journal entry for me. I could tell you my emotions of that day, what I was feeling, what I was focusing on, and I can see a transformation in my creativity.

    That is why I am blogging now. I’m celebrating my own personal journey, and who cares if the only people who see it are my mom and dad? :)

    Thanks again for all of your wise teachings.

    Shanon Lacy

  19. D says:

    I commend you for staying true to your beliefs and not giving a f*ck what people think! I’ve loved reading this blog for the past year or so because of the great recipes, AMAZING photos, and small tidbits of your life (kawea, jeremy, colorado) because I love learning about other places than California, where I live and seeing beautiful pictures. I’m happy that you aren’t pushing tons of products on us and writing tons of bullsh*t recipes just to post every day and to work in a brand’s name. Also, is your personal blog public, because I would love to read that too (I like your writing style!).

    Thanks!

  20. Linda says:

    Jeesh…and I thought I was fairly current. Didn’t know this controversy was a controversy. I’ll continue to enjoy my bubble. I love your blog because….A. I am a 56 year old female telemark skier. B. I am a serious foodie. Seriously. C. I love your pictures. D. I am an English teacher who loves REAL WRITING. Keep your integrity and if you need to modify your blog for financial reasons, just tell me, and I’m o.k. with it.

  21. lynn @ human, being says:

    To each his own, I say. I can’t fault people who want to blog for popularity and big bucks, or even those who are successful in doing so. However, those aren’t the people I choose to read. Just my preference. I thought long and hard about doing any monetizing on my blog and decided against it. Since my blog is a hobby, I’m willing to invest for now.

    I do like it when I get comments. I do write for my audience (and I think you do too, but it’s secondary to writing for yourself). I also write to be true to myself and my process as a spirit having a human existence. Pretty hard to monetize that, huh? I also pay attention to my stats somewhat, as well as referrals and searches, because they tell me when what I’ve written is resonating with anyone. I’m still finding my niche, just over a year into this experiment.

    Jen, you have a unique voice in the blogosphere. You keep on doing it your way. We’ll keep reading.

  22. Laura B. says:

    I love your blogging attitude. I don’t blog, but if I did I would imagine my attitude would be much of the same. That is what keeps me coming back to urb. I love your photos, your food, and your honest opinion. Keep it up girl! And we’ll be here reading!

  23. Amanda says:

    Very well said. I’ve been following your blog for a while and always enjoy the stories and recipes. I blog for my own enjoyment, as well evidenced by the lack of comments to almost all of my posts! I blog so I don’t forget my own stories and I can remember my new recipes when I create them. The people blogging for ad revenues sound contrived. If you serve something worth reading, the readers will come.

  24. Veronica says:

    I see your point and I agree, I like it!

    I have always dreamt about making money on my hobby: Which now is in the form of a blog where I test various crazy products I find (Left the field blank on purpose – I blog in Norwegian anyway :P). If that could turn in to say, TV show, travel the world, eat insane stuff and say what it’s like, I’m not saying no!

    But a first goal is what you have: If I could have a blog that paid itself, I am un-employed… Of course everyone have to eat, but I can’t always afford to try EVERYTHING I want. Travel abroad? No way.

    I don’t care about hits and don’t care about comments, but it is great when new products I have written about, and complained “are we in 1998, because the homepage of the BIG company hasn’t updated with new products since like… last year?” and everyone is searching for THAT PRODUCT and what to they find? ME, because the idiots don’t have it on their own page!! Proves my point. And when everyone agrees aswell, I have written about this so-called-healthy-chocolate, with more sugar than anything else…. and everyone’s like “WHAT ok my fault should have read the label but this is a fraud!” and the hits on that page grows and grows… Can I stop that nasty cheat-product by word of my mouth, I can see I get hits from Facebook…, well that would make my day.

    So for now, it’s fun and something to do. Later? A sort of job, I hope, which I hope can pay for a house and stuff and travels, but I don’t need much more money than that. To have money for what I want and need is more than enough, because I’ll be having the greatest job ever!!

  25. Debbie says:

    One of the reasons I love your blog is not just for your recipes and photos. I love your honesty Jen. It is very refreshing. You say it like it is. As far as why we all blog, I’m 53 years old and to be honest not computer savvy at all. I don’t know how people make money regarding ads and traffic when they blog so that should give you a clue as to how “clueless” I am. I blog because I love eating cakes and delicious cookies and love looking at them. Also love good food. But mainly baking. I discovered food blogs a few years back and that opened a new world to me. I decided to become part of it by having my own blog to post some pics and recipes and share this with other people that would enjoy it. Once in a while I post pics of my family and vacations etc, but I also just do it for me because it’s fun. Sometimes I think my blog is boring since I don’t think I am that great of a writer but I try to make it interesting and will keep trying. But just wanted to say thanks for being who you are and having such a great blog!!!!

  26. Leanna says:

    I like you. The end.

  27. Ruth says:

    I have been reading your blog for over a year, maybe even more like two years, I found it and I love it, I have read many other blogs, from frugal to fancy, from vegetarian to only breads or cookies, I dropped them all, yours is the best, you are incredibly talented and inspiring, I want to thank you for that, thank you for sharing!!!

  28. Leeann says:

    I love your blog! It has great recipes and pictures and your personality is refreshing. Keep it up. Many of us don’t even look at the badges and such! I guess I didn’t even realize how it all works.

  29. burkie says:

    as somebody whose blog has about 12 readers and isn’t hooked up to any search engines, i hear ya! and speaking of the positive in less? peaches & prosciutti! gotta love that :)

  30. Alyson says:

    It’s sad when people don’t write for the joy of writing. Am I crazy for feeling sad when a blogger just sees me as a traffic number? It’s such a turn off.

    I love your blog; I love your honesty and your recipes, and it’s one of the few I regularly click follow!

  31. Dian Hale says:

    Not only am I a novice to food blogs, I don’t understand the politics but love your pictures, recipes and comments

  32. Nancy says:

    I was so inspired by you from the first time I read your blog! I love the way you think and the courage that you live your life with. And you really LIVE your life…and just don’t go through the motions!

    I love looking at all the beautiful pictures you take of all the glorious nature all around us. And your food pictures always make me want to jump up and make them right away.

    So I’m so glad you are who you are! And I’m glad you’re not pressured into becoming “one of those” bloggers!!

    Keep on keeping on, girl!!

  33. tz.missjane says:

    Colorado Peaches . . . drool. :) So glad that I was there when they were in season. And Grilled! Love it. And I totally concur with what Nancy wrote.

  34. Cate says:

    Well, this post pretty much sums up why your blog is one of my absolute favorites. You don’t worry about the money or the fame, you just let your passion and talents shine without chasing endorsement deals or selling out, and I completely respect you for it.

  35. Lori says:

    I love that line about learning a long time ago not to put my happiness in the hands of others…. So true.

    People are goof balls really!

    And I so know what you mean about “where did I put that recipe..” Ah yes, my blog. I love that about blogging. But I also hate when I go to look for recipes that I think I blogged but didnt. Bummer.

  36. Bing Chou says:

    Do your thing. We’re reading because you share things that we appreciate. Thank you for that.

  37. Annie says:

    Just a big fat ditto to everything Kitchen Witch said.

  38. Susan says:

    I applaud you for not trying to use your blog as a way to get a book published. I was just thinking about that the other day about what ever happened to the people who blog JUST to share their love of life, or the love of their life. By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and I love it. Thanks for sharing your life with me.

  39. Ronine says:

    I’m primarily a blog reader and with so many-many blogs to choose from, the ones I read every entry from are the ones where I like the writing style, the food (of course), the mix of topics, the photos/illustations, the comments – and not least the personality of the blogger. A few of ‘my’ blogs have undergone the transition from a more personal blog to a more commercial blog while I’ve been reading and quite frankly, it has affected the quality of the writing. Often too many point-less posts just to make sure the blog is updated daily, silly competitions, and generally too many reviews of places where the blogger was invited. Some might like this; it’s just not for me. In all justice, I also find some ‘commercial blogs’ to be very good, inspirational, well-written and well-managed – but not all manage this balance. Generally, I think the “winners” will be the blogs with a true voice – whether they seek to live of their blog or not.
    Actually I also wonder about the ads on blogs since quite frankly I don’t notice them (unless there are WAY too many – and this is not good) and also, if I don’t go to the actual blog itself (primarily if they don’t have an interesting ‘group of commentators’ – and in this respect too many comments can be a hurdle too!) I just read in my feed reader and don’t see anything but the actual post content.
    One can only follow so many blogs and I think we all find the ones that appeal the most to one’s preferences.

    Sorry for this long comment but I do have a lot of opinions on this topic :)
    Keep doing the blog for you, Jen, and we will all be happy following your adventures.
    Oh – and keep posting photos of Keewah!

  40. Trolleira says:

    Well said! And your wonderfull blog is just right as it is! I do love coming back for getting real great recipes or just marvel in your pictures. And I am sometimes really pissed, if I see how nice blogs are getting down by adding more ads and more statistics and more what ever, so this overflow of business is getting more attention on the blog than the content. You see, my blog started to keep my family, which lives far from me, up to date and informed about my condition and now, getting better and better, I started putting photos on it and though getting some coments, which is nice, but as you said of yours, my blog is for me and the important thing is to be happy about what are you doing!

    I am happy I found your blog two years ago – it helped me a lot through my difficult time with breast cancer!
    I can`t thank you enough for your thoughts, your recipes, your photos and your attitude!

    Greetings from Brazil,
    Trolleira

  41. Ali says:

    I can’t believe you have frost already.
    There’s endless things to be annoyed about by bloggers. There’s nothing about the virtual forum that makes the odds of finding bothersome people any less, unfortunately. I hope you do get more than your bills paid by your ads and blog, because art like yours, the simple everyday kind, is too often unnoticed, much less compensated.
    Someday, when I have a wall I can hammer with nails with reckless abandon, I’m going to buy one of your photos. Until then, thanks for the beautiful delicious recipes.
    But really, I can’t believe there’s frost.

  42. Lisa says:

    I only can image how cool it was when you saw the frost on your deck while we are still running air conditioning like crazy. Glad that you have space to vent out your frustrations and sum up your thoughts. Then again, there are always ups and downs in every profession and in every business. People are different and that makes some folks are admirable and some people are less desirable.

    Your blog is certainly quite different from many others that I have viewed.

  43. Nan says:

    Jen,

    For a couple of days I’ve been thinking about what you had to say regarding blogging for profit and I’ve decided that you are right, at least in my situation. Over the years I’ve turned several hobbies into businesses and have always missed the “hobby” aspect. I think when you take something you love and do for fun, then turn it into a “business,” it becomes a burden, one often full of stress, rather than the escape — its original purpose. I’ve learned to tread warily when it comes to these vocational transformations.

    That being said, I am lucky that I don’t necessarily have to have my blogging create income. Granted extra income is always nice, but it’s not a necessity, at least not yet. I have been a published writer for years so I don’t necessarily need the recognition, at least not in my other writing endeavors. It would be lovely, but not necessary. I think I write my blog for my family and friends, especially my husband and daughter. I have done a private travel blog for years with the same intentions.I hope they will look back on these bits and pieces — remembering me and learning about parts of my life with which they may not have been familiar. Now, I write for myself and the ones I love… I think you do too!

  44. johanna says:

    don’t apologise for your rants, I always enjoy reading them… especially when they speak what i think! i am really with you on this one, i barely find enough time in the day to cook and blog about it, i really don’t have time to worry about traffic, hits etc. above all, the blog is meant as a personal log of my own journey in cooking and eating, if other people can benefit from it or enjoy reading it than that makes me happy – but certainly not numbers. then again, if others want to sell their soul to have a shot at being “famous” (whatever that is) or “rich” (whatever THAT means), then let them. you’d hope that other people show the same sort of respect and don’t criticise you or me for the way we do things – but hey, that’s probably too much to ask, so let’s ignore them, they’re really not worth getting wrinkles and grey hair over ;-)

  45. cookinmiami says:

    First, I Love Rants….so here’s mine…

    When you write a blog, you start for yourself, because you feel you have something to contribute, but a lot of the fun comes in having people read your blog and then interacting with them, through comments, or emails.

    Most of us blogger, and I include myself bashfully, since I’ve just started, don’t really know what we are doing at the beginning. We usually start on blogger, or wordpress, because they’re free, and then we just read tons of articles on how to make our blog better.

    Traffic is important because its fun to have readers you can write to, and if you can make a little coin, thats just icing, then you can have contests, and make your blog look prettier, and maybe even add more active pages to write about other interests. I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly cannot take money from my household budget to do that.

    And lets not talk about the flack you can get if you spend a lot of time blogging and making no money or have no readers, your family starts to feel like you’re being self indulgent and weird, writing for no one.

    Yes I won’t use weird key words that don’t apply, but really I just learned what a key word does, and ads make your blog look like its been around a while, and I don’t even know about disingenuous practices.

    So I say try to be patient, some bloggers may be making mistakes in how they are going about their blogging due to lack of experience.

    Plus seriously I find that some successful bloggers sometimes present themselves as just ordinary folk who started a blog and it just took off, like magic, and they are still just ordinary folk. But when you dig deeper you find that they weren’t just ordinary, they had some money to invest, and now that they are successful they have help, so they can post everyday, while at the same time run a household and a business. They are not doing it alone, and they had a plan or at least a system, it didn’t just happen like magic.

  46. Erin says:

    Thank you for your inspiration. I’ve been having a bit of blog envy, haha, and was torn with myself on why I even started a blog. I feel like I’m coming back into the fold! Hallelujah! So, thank you. You and TKW blogs have been a nice breath of fresh air. Thanks, again!

  47. Erin says:

    I have followed your blog for a while and thanks to you (and a few other key blogs), I started blogging for fun and to keep track of everything I do (my blog is my memory since I have trouble remembering things.) I have always loved the lack of “corporate” on your blog and the others I love. Thank you for the rant. I always feel under pressure to care even though I blog and do photography for fun.

  48. Hettar7 says:

    Word…(s) :D

    When I first heard about the meat/fruit combination, I thought it was …. weird. After tasting it, however, I actually like it. I still think it’s weird, but I like it. The idea of grilling the fruit hadn’t occurred to me (yeah, not the most culinarily inventive person here) before, but it sounds really good. I will definitely have to try it. Just as soon as I learn how to use a grill, that is. ;)

  49. Pei Lin says:

    Seriously, my blog probably has like one or two kind folks who comment. But, like you, I blog to keep a record of what I have done and at the same time to share with others what I have learnt along the way. I think the whole shebang of signing a cookbook deal is just too alluring for some folks who blog for fame and money. And I am not saying every food blogger who has had or will be having a cookbook due soon is blogging for fame and money but the people whom we don’t quite gel with are attracted by this mega opportunity! well. As the Chinese saying goes, hundreds types of human personality can emerge from just one type of rice grain. So good luck to those!

  50. angelitacarmelita says:

    I think this is one of the reasons so many of us love URB. It’s about your artculation of the journey, some, most of us would love to be on, and yet other parts of your journey, not so much, but you allow us in just the same, good times and the bad. Your photos (stunning and breath-taking), your insightful and FRANK journals, love them. We love the fact that URB is not cluttered with all of the ‘noise’ There’s way too much of that and I for one, appreciate you keeping it real. Now, Peaches and proscuitto? one of my favorite combos. We grill peaches a lot in the summer, but I’ve never wrapped it in proscuitto, oh my… but I have made a summer salad with soft butter lettuce, grilled peaches, fresh mozzarella, drapped with proscuitto and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Sounds fussy, but seriously, it’s as easy as grilling some peaches and reducing some commercial balsamic. And also, quite a stunner. Just sharing.

  51. Rachel says:

    You go girl! I agree with so much of what you said and all the comments too. So to throw in my ha’penny worth . . . keep on doing what you’re doing! I read your blog because it is entertaining. I like your writing style and there probably is a little bit of lifestyle-envy going on as well. You have spent years building up a community of readers and you don’t need to justify yourself to anyone. Your recipes inspire. Lovely!

  52. jenyu says:

    Everyone has their own preferences for a blog. There are definitely those who DON’T like the style or voice of my blog (or me). I’m totally cool with that. The nice thing about so many different blogs is the choice available to all of us. That’s why I bemoan the “follow this recipe” for food blogging. To each his/her own, right? Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. For those of you who had not been tainted by the notion of blog monetization – I apologize! It’s a hot topic at the conferences :\ Anyway, thanks for writing in and sharing your thoughts on the matter. You guys are great.

    Kim – I have a notebook full of recipes too :) Been slowly moving them to the blog.

    Pea – ;)

    Barbara – love you for that!! ha ha ha!

    Chuck – yeah, I wanna see those posts before I see you guys in October :)

    Keiko – you absolutely must! Anytime, dear.

    TKW – xo

    naomi – good on ya!

    Wei-Wei – a lot of mommy blogs have gone the way of the healthy-living blogs, me thinks.

    Denise – that is CRAZY! Wow. Kudos to you – stick to your guns, lady.

    Laurel – awww, I hope you have the confidence to stand up for what you believe in every day and live the life you want to live. Here’s me giving you a pat on the back and a “light” punch in the arm. xo

    Marla – ha ha ha!!! Or you could just visit me and I’ll take you to Vail :)

    Shanon – hello sweetie. urb is short for use real butter :) You’re blog is relatively new and so it’s a clean slate, to do with it as you please. Make it for you. I know you’ve got the photography skills for the photos already! Not to mention, with your line of work, sitting down to write a blog post must be a great release. More power to ya!

    D – my personal blog is restricted access :) That’s one I keep close to my chest, sorry!

    Lynn – I think writing your blog is a cathartic process for you. I can see how you are working through your feelings and thoughts when you write. You’re incredibly candid, which I think takes a ton of guts :)

    Debbie – just remember that what matters most is if you are happy. You keep doing what you do and screw everyone else :) xo

    Alyson – exactly. Where is the humanity in all of this?! If they can’t be a person, then I guess they’re nothing more than a bot :(

    Lori – yup, total goofballs! But some goofballs are better than others (I think in essence, I am a goofball too) :)

    Ronine – I understand that bloggers with more traffic get offers from various products. I used to do more, when I thought it was a “nice” thing to do. But then I realized it really put me out, even if I liked the product. Cramped my style, so to speak. So these days I generally turn down heaps of offers unless it’s a product I really like or feel strongly about because those are the easy ones to share and talk about – not the other junk though, it’s like pulling teeth. Bloggers certainly evolve. I have! But the ones who enjoy shilling are the ones I’m kinda wary of.

    Trolleira – I’m so glad you are here with us. Breast cancer… any cancer… SUCKS. So here is a special hug just for you. xoxo

    Ali – ah well, I get paid for being a photographer :) which is separate from the blog – hee hee. You’re very kind. xo

    Nan – anytime you go pro with a hobby, you run the risk of killing the joy. It’s a hard balance to strike. If you can still love it after professionalizing, then you may have found your calling :)

    johanna – right on, sistah!

    cookinmiami – I think you make some assumptions that don’t apply to everyone (certainly not to me) like :a lot of the fun comes from having people read your blog OR traffic is important. I (thankfully) have some wonderful readers – but I’d have fun regardless. Traffic isn’t so important to me for the same reason. I’m having fun. Perhaps you are missing my point, which is that I feel blogging should come from the heart – not from a desire to become successful. Of course, that’s just me. It sounds as if you have goals that diverge from mine.

    Pei Lin – that is an AWESOME saying! I have never heard it (or maybe I did, but didn’t know what my parents were saying) :)

    angelitacarmelita – that salad just made me drool – noms!!

    rachel – thanks! xo

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  54. Sil says:

    Jen,

    one of the best things of your blog for me is how truth to yourself you are, how you always speak your mind. I love your recipes, your wit, your sense of humor and how straightforward you are. Un abrazo!

  55. noelle says:

    I was offline for several days over the holiday weekend and just saw this post and comments. First off I want to make it clear that my comment that you quoted above was not meant with any ill will whatsoever- it was just more like, “hey, think about how the little guy feels!”. Also, I would not have dreamed of “calling you out” for having ads!! That’s disappointing that some people went there.

    I’m not having a pity party for myself either- although I strive for improvement, I am, overall, pretty happy with my blog. My original comment was, I think, subconsciously reacting to the fact that I constantly see certain successful bloggers on Twitter complaining about how annoying it is to get PR pitches, etc, and this comes across as rather ungrateful. I can’t help but think, I’m sure a lot of people would be thrilled to have the readership they have, even if a few annoying emails were the trade-off.

    However- When I read this post and you explained that the seminar was encouraging people to put cheesy “key words” in their posts, etc, it made a LOT more sense why you would have reacted that way! Sure, I wouldn’t mind a little more feedback, but I’m not gonna put artificial phrases in my posts to get more traffic, and if I a blog I read started doing so, I’m sure I’d lose interest pretty darn quickly. It’s not hard to tell who’s doing it for love and who’s not, and the former are always going to have a more faithful and engaged readership.

    I very much appreciate that you took time to respond to people’s comments even though some were, from the sound of it, a bit out of line. For the record, I think you deserve all the success you have achieved and more, and I hope I’m still welcome here as a reader/commenter.

  56. Kelly says:

    I am very new at blogging for myself but not new to reading them. I really adore the ones that have a story or talk about their day and their lives. The food almost becomes secondary to me. But..that said, i have ones I visit just for ideas and if they have ads and juicy words so be it. Some tag words may help me in my search for something and for that I am grateful. As far as being paid for stuff, well I am rather naive to that so I dont really have an opinion. I think your blog is great and what makes it so great is that it is yours and you are willing to share it with me.

    And if one day I can take a picture half as good as you I will be ecstatic.

  57. Joanne at Frutto della Passione says:

    So much of this spoke to me. One thing that I get a lot, especially lately, is criticism about the frequency of my posting. I have had spells where I haven’t posted or read other people’s blogs for months. Life and the job get in the way :) The funny thing is that the criticism comes from people that don’t blog at all. I love my blog, I love writing for it and taking the pictures and planning the posts, but I am not crazy about feeling the pressure to *produce*. Hmmm getting a little off topic. I love reading your blog, I love your photography and even though I haven’t commented in ages I still enjoy it immensely.

  58. jenyu says:

    Sil – you’re such a dear. Thank you, my friend.

    noelle – you’re always welcome. There was nothing in your comment that I took as ill will. I think you made a VERY good and valid point, which is why I wanted to address it – because I think it’s worth discussing. So thanks for tossing it out there. I really like that my readers have different perspectives on all of this :) xo

    Kelly – :) Just keep shooting!!

    Joanne – who is criticizing you?! Good grief! If someone doesn’t like a blog, then they should STOP READING and STFU! ;) Your blog, you do what you want. If people don’t understand that most bloggers are real, live, breathing people, then they already have unrealistic expectations. Good on ya, my dear.

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