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what’s in a blog?

Recipe: citrus almond salad

Did you know that this here blog, Use Real Butter (urb?), was born of surgery? I had a blog I started back in 2004 by the same name and it had everything in it: personal, rants, cooking, more rants, politics, life, more rants, work, funnies, rants, photography, relationships, and rants. Use Real Butter was more a directive on how to live life rather than how to cook – but it works for both. When I found myself wanting to participate in the food blogging world, I couldn’t. I didn’t want all of my personal baggage dumped into the public arena (I still don’t). I split my blog into Siamese twins, so to speak, and this is how you are reading the public twin which retained the original name.

When I met up with Cindy (Katie and I call her Figs, and I discovered that they call me Butter, and now I wish I had named my blog Lady Deathstrike or Badass Ripchick…) we talked about blogs that suck. I mean popular blogs that we think are *yawn* boring. My own biased deduction is that the readers have no life, which would also explain why so many crappy movies and television shows have so many viewers. Then again, those readers could accuse me of having no taste.

So what makes a blog interesting enough to keep *me* coming back?

I like reading insightful, informative, witty, and sincere blogs. Very few people cover all of those bases, but when someone does – it is usually a winner. This is the most important part of a blog for me.

Good writing is more than just mechanics, it is style. When skillfully-executed, it is a transparent vehicle to deliver the Content I refer to above. Writing is an art and this is the most commonly neglected aspect of a blog.

Yes, it is true. I am a visual being. Good pictures are quite a draw. However, good pictures and crappy writing don’t keep my attention for long. I’ll be a devoted subscriber of a well-written all-text blog before I will waste my time on pictures with no real narrative (unless of course, it is a photography blog).

What is good photography? Well, that is subjective. I personally enjoy creative photographers who vary their shots. I even love snapshots that capture a story, an action, an emotion. It’s the content of the image, not the frakking camera. It’s the vision of the photographer, not the stupid lens. It’s about the photography and not how much bloody money was spent on the shot.

[Sorry about that. People just don’t shut up about photography. Folks obsess over purchasing *really expensive* cameras and lenses and equipment and software and props and… for blogging?!! Like good writing, good photography is not something you purchase and suddenly have. There is innate talent, but more importantly, there is practice – lots of it.]

I’m not talking about Metamucil. Inactivity on a blog is much like a relationship where the other person isn’t holding up his/her end of the bargain. I’ve had relationships like that before. No more!

I love going to a blog and not even noticing the mechanics, because well-designed functionality should be invisible. More often than not, I go to a blog and cuss because navigation is buried under heaps of garbage.

I’ll overlook all of the above if you are a personal friend (even the posting once a month thing – ahem… you know who you are).

There are just some people who don’t function on This Plane of Reality, and yet they blog. Fascinating and terrifying at the same time, like a good (or bad) horror flick.

today’s recipe features: slivered almonds

California has caught up and smacked me on the back of the head, much the way a full pack does when you face plant on skis in the backcountry, with a small time delay. *thwack!* I’ve been passing out in the evenings when my intention was to blog. Zonked out, as my dad would say. Not sure how much longer the fatigue from radiation is supposed to last, but my oncologist just emailed me and suggested I try and chill out. *sheepish grin*

…and salad greens

I was so wiped the other day I didn’t hear Kaweah asking to be let out in the middle of the night (forget about Jeremy, he sleeps like the dead). Her GI tract is sorting itself after Camp Crazy and apparently she decided to let it sort right onto the guest room floor… Guess I have a date with a steam cleaner this weekend. We have a marathon string of house guests marching through soon.

oooooh! and oranges

After ten days of dining out or eating camp food, I have had nothing but fresh produce on my mind. Well, we did try to eat freshies on our backpacks, but I’m talking about salads. I suppose I am still on a salad kick since I couldn’t eat them during chemo (stupid chemo). This here is one of our favorite salads to eat and to serve to guests. The ingredients list is short and the prep can be done ahead of time. Just mix it all together prior to serving. This is one of my go-to salads. Only freaks dislike it.

sectioning the orange

I typically cut the peel off (not peel!) the oranges and then slice out the segments into a separate bowl. I like to use Valencia juice oranges, but navels will do as well. It just gets to be a pain when you segment the oranges if there are baby segments to slice through at the top. I will reserve one orange solely for juicing, which goes into the dressing.

everyone can get along here

The greens and orange segments go into a large serving bowl. Top that with toasted almond slivers. You really have to keep an eye on the toasting because the almond slivers go from Not Toasted to Scorched in no time. Once they have cooled, I sprinkle those over the bowl.

whisking the dressing

For the dressing, I combine the fresh squozen juice, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, and a little bit of red wine vinegar in a large bowl. I whisk in a thin and steady drizzle of oil (vegetable or olive – depends on how I feel) until I have a satisfactory dressing consistency. Usually anywhere between a quarter to a half cup, but I tend to prefer watery dressings over oily dressings.

a light and bright salad

Citrus Almond Salad
[print recipe]

4 oranges (preferrably Valencia juice oranges)
8 oz. mixed greens (don’t you dare use ice berg)
1/4 cup almond slivers
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup flavorless vegetable oil (or olive oil)

Juice one orange, set aside. Lop the ends off the remaining oranges. Cut the peel away so that no outer membrane remains on the oranges. Carefully slice out the orange segments from the membranes. Toast the almond slivers until fragrant (350°F oven for about 2 minutes or less). Place the salad greens, orange segments, and almond slivers in large bowl. In a mixing bowl, combine orange juice, salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of sugar, and red wine vinegar. Whisk the liquid and while continuing to whisk, pour the oil into the bowl in a thin, steady stream. The dressing should be emulsified. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss before serving.

47 nibbles at “what’s in a blog?”

  1. Lan says:

    this salad look so refreshing! i bet the almonds add such a nice crunch to it all (i’ve sworn off all nuts until these braces come off so i’ll live vicariously thru everyone else!)

    thank you for the tips on blogging, as always i learned something.

  2. Kitt says:

    I’m glad you practice what you preach! I love visiting your blog. Good stories, fabulous photos, yummy recipes. And puppy pictures are always a bonus. Glad I found you (through Diane & Todd).

  3. Cate says:

    What a beautiful, simple salad (don’t worry, I would never dream of using iceberg…the horror!)

  4. Collette says:

    “Only freaks dislike it.” I love it–I could use this salad as a litmus test. Now how am I going to get complete strangers to eat it?

  5. Tartelette says:

    Love love love this salad…I just finished segmenting oranges for a Moroccan orange and mint salad we are having tonight with my grandmother’s Moroccan couscous (mutton, spicy sausage, chickpeas, courgettes and spicy Harissa sauce)…it’s pouring rain…I am cooking :)
    This salad will be on my plate tomorrow to detox!!

  6. Bridget says:

    I agree that writing is the most overlooked part of food blogs. It can be very frustrating. I hate when people say things like “but I digress…” or admit that they’re rambling. What makes them think I have time to sift through their rambling to get to the recipe?

  7. Tablebread says:

    I love your site – and this salad!

    Also, I’ve added you to my blogroll “In the kitchen”.

  8. Browniegirl says:

    Gorgeous blog you have here, I have bookmarked it to read all your blogging tips over the weekend. I just segmented my oranges like that earlier to also put into a salad, mine contained cooked baby beetroot cut into wedges, red onion finely sliced, the orange segments, baby rocket(arugula) leaves, danish feta & roasted pecans – I wanted to use walnuts but didn’t have any. I drizzled over the juice from the orange that ran free as I segmented it, a light drizzle of lemon infused olive oil and some balsamic blaze. Salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper finished off this marvelous salad. Have a great weekend guys

  9. cindy says:

    You chill? Ha. I’d like to see that.

    Very funny you should mention my name in a blog about good blogging because I’ve just been thinking what a heap mine is. It’s a mom blog! It’s a food blog! It’s a ski blog! No, it’s just some nutjob who can’t take pictures shooting off her mouth! Yes, that’s it. Sort of like a train wreck but not nearly as exciting. Oh, well. I’ll have to take comfort in the “documenting my own life” excuse. At least I can spell and punctuate correctly.

    I make a dressing much like that with Meyer lemon juice. Citrus is good.

  10. peabody says:

    Well my nickname among the blogging world is Gracie for my fabulous ability to injure myself doing the most useless of things. Go me. I think I would prefer butter for a nickname. But if you would like I can start calling you Princess Mountian Shredder…or PMS. ;P
    I agree on all accounts with your ideas of what makes a good blog. Especially about consistancy. I mean you went through chemo and still posted. I have some really bad healthy weeks…and still post. I just wonder what people do sometimes when they are gone for months. :( There are some really good blogs that I miss because they up and dried up. :(
    Also sincerity. There are some blogs I read now a days and I swear they just started a food blog to try and get a cookbook deal and it really shows….and blows. :)
    And as for cameras, a fancy camera does not make you a photographer! I did quite well for 2 years with my point and shoot. And do quite well now with my lower end SRL…enough that people pay me. :)
    The salad looks good. Nice and simple.

  11. Anne says:

    Love your blog, love your recipes, love the pix. I would love it if you would expand on your thoughts about white people in Asian restaurants. I could use some expert tutelage!

  12. Susan at Stickygooeycreamychewy says:

    I so agree with you about the writing being the most important thing. Lovely photographs hook you in, but interesting and insightful writing keeps you in. This is a struggle that I have with blogging. I love to cook, but I also love to write. I’ve been writing in various genres since I was a child. I’ve done okay with it, and even won some awards. But, for me, good writing takes time. I don’t feel comfortable just slapping together a post about what I ate for lunch that day and tossing in a gratuitous recipe at the end, just to be able to post something every day.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t even bother reading the posts at all. They look at the pictures, gloss over the recipe and leave you with a “that looks delicious!”. It’s sweet and appreciated, but a little disappointing when you’ve poured your heart out and then spent 2 days fine tuning it! Lately, I feel like I’ve been shortchanging my posts, just to keep up with the next guy. Not what I intended at all. I guess I’m just not prolific enough to come up with killer material more than a few times a week. (Either that or I’m just too damn boring!) ;)

    I love when you write posts like this! It provokes debate and inspires creative thought. And, I think it is really helpful to many of us who are still feeling our way through and could use some guidance.

    Now, I’m not going to tell you that your salad “looks delicious”, (even though it really does). Actually, I love to make and eat salads like this. I always throw lots of fruits and nuts into mine. And I never, ever use iceberg lettuce! ;)

  13. Mollie says:

    Squozen. That is a great word that makes me smile.

    And you’re making me blog-paranoid! :) But the salad looks amazing. I want to learn to supreme an orange. It looks cool.

    I could consider calling you badass ripchik… it doesn’t roll off the tongue like buttah tho…

  14. Lori says:

    After reading your criteria for a good blog, which is in fact good criteria. You are right on. But I think I suck… Oh man… back to the drawing board for me.

  15. Margie says:

    Jen, as always you say it soooooo well! Salad aside for a minute, and seriously speaking, your timing is perfecto mundo for me. I’ve contemplated the assembly of a blog for months now, but have always found just one more excuse not to start on it, ‘today’. When I think of what it is that makes a great blog I always find my reality. Do I really want to write daily? Do I really want someone using a red pencil and edit marks whether I know they are doing it or not? In other words….a blog is just TOO MUCH WORK for me. I enjoy reading my favorites, watching them evolve, or as in the case of yours, simply coming in to the room and finding myself at, ‘home’. And I do mean, AT HOME. I can view your photo’s and enjoy your food, but most important, I can hear you rant. I rant all the time. And while there are those that will say that my rant serves no purpose I will always disagree. How on earth can they understand the value of MY rant? And so it is…and so it was….and so it will be….Rant on girl! I be listening. ;)
    And that salad…well, my keyboard is shorting out from the drool.

  16. Grey Street Girl says:

    I love the look, feel and content of your blog. Truly inspirational and well done. :) Welcome back home and thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

  17. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    I loved the word squozen too. I also found you thru Todd & Diane (thanks guys). I’m grateful for the pointers. I’m always looking to improve.

  18. Deeba says:

    Oh yes I do ‘use real butter’…nothing like real stuff!! And I love your place. Got here from Closet Cooking & yours writing is fresh, uplifting & inspirational. hat a beautifully written post with an immediately bookmarked salad!! have a great day…Cheers Deeba

  19. jess says:

    lady deathstrike. i loled so hard it hurt me.

  20. mimi says:

    first, gorgeous salad. citrus salads are one of my favorite kinds. but really what got me kickin’ was the emphasis on writing. i have fallen off the blog bandwagon recently and i have my excuses – although none of them at all even close to being good – for why i didn’t post as much, but one of the large ones was because doing the photos was taking too much time. and to think i only started blogging so i could write! somehow the camera made my blog feel like work, instead of love. thanks for the nice reminder.

  21. Manggy says:

    Yum, Lady Deathstrike… Thank you for the images of Kelly Hu with retractable finger-claws now stuck in my brain :) I sort of figured your criteria might make a few people insecure, heh (me included, I guess…). My life is fairly boring these days, which is why I tend to dig deep into past memories. You forgot the other criterion– food that you might want to eat, right? ;)

    (I like to think there’s a fair bit of horror in my posts… Comes with the territory when a 20-something guy is posting.)

    I love citrus in my salad, especially mandarin oranges. I certainly prefer watery over oily, but there’s always that problem with the dressing slipping away and pooling at the bottom of the plate. I haven’t tried using starches to create the necessary coating factor for dressings, maybe I should (plus, it’s healthier, eh?). There just aren’t any recipes I’ve seen for it!

  22. Holly says:

    Thanks for sharing those tips. I have struggled with whether or not I am putting anything good out into the world, what to share, what not to, etc. When I started I felt formal and somewhat restricted in my writing style and over the past months, while I feel like I have become more comfortable, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. The whole thing started for me out of the desperation for contact with others while we were busy being shut-ins for the winter (3 lb 6 oz preemie to protect from RSV season). I still mostly feel insecure about all of it, but I try to put something good out there and hope that it makes someone happy. I always enjoy your sincerity, stories and everything about your blog – even when it isn’t comfortable.

    As for the salad, I wish I was that talented at segmenting oranges because that looks great! Thank you for the no iceberg comment – I still have horrors from iceberg and tomato being THE ONLY “salad” that existed in our house growing up – which means I am still learning to outgrow my salad hatred. Recipes like this help a lot on that path.

  23. Mrs Ergül says:

    With the generous use of oranges, I can tell why this is your go-to salad recipe. I so have to give this a try! But mesclun are expensive here. Pardon me if I resort to using iceberg ;)

    I hope the side effects stop bothering you soon!

  24. Ruthie says:

    That looks deeeeeelicious. I always stick myself in a salad rut and eat the same salad ALL the time (romaine, feta, tomato, maybe cucumbers, and sometimes tuna) because it’s good and…why not? I may have to expand my repertoire.

  25. Mikky says:

    looks soooo refreshing… i’ll try your recipe soon… thanks for sharing… :)

  26. Erik says:

    Your comments are the most concise collection of good blogging advice I’ve seen in one place. Chances are good, if you feel this way, others do to, they just don’t say it. I sometimes wonder if I’m grabbing the attention of my audience since, as another commenter put it, most commenters usually refer to the photos or the recipe, not the content of the writing. Thanks for the food for thought and the thoughts about food.

  27. Una Nena says:

    Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of blogs, but not a blogger myself. Yours is quite nice looking and ditto for your photos. A friend who knows that I enjoy reading blogs sent me a link to yours, but the few posts I have read have struck me as being pretty negative and angry. I think reading your blog on a regular basis would make me feel badly and kind of down.

    Reading through the comments I see that there are a lot of people who agree with your assessments in this entry, but maybe those who don’t are weary of making their opinion known because they fear being lambasted by your sharp words. I think some of your criticism is harsh and, frankly, arrogant. People have different reasons for keeping blogs, and levels of commitment vary, but really, that’s okay. It’s one thing to have high standards which you apply to yourself; it’s quite another to hold others to those same standards, and of course if that is how you go through the world there will be many who disappoint. If you don’t like someone’s blog because it doesn’t meet your standards, just don’t read it.

    I could go on, but I don’t think it’s worth it because my intention is not to attack, but merely to offer another perspective since the comments seem a little one-sided. I wish you well with your blog, and I hope that your feeling better and that your health is on the mend. Of course, I will be taking my own advice, and just not reading your blog.

  28. Rebecca (Foodie With Family) says:

    I agree… and fervently hope that I don’t cross the line into boring :-)

    That salad looks like phantasmagorical. I think it would be my default salad, too, if I’d ever had it before. Another to add to the ‘must make’ list. Man, that list is getting long.

  29. Rosa says:

    You are right! As a matter of fact, your blog is perfect! I love everything about it!

    That salad looks terribly good!



  30. Chuck says:

    Once a month posting… uh oh, I’m guilty of that, but you inspired me to write another post this month, that makes two… woo hoo!

    Anyway, I agree with your criteria for an interesting blog. My formula is good photos, good recipe and a good story. When I was posting more frequently, I struggled with how much personal information to share. Are people really interested in what I’m doing or do they come solely for the food/recipe?

    Clearly, your blog has a great balance between personal life and food. I feel like I know you from reading your posts, which keeps me coming back for more.

    @Susan at Stickygooeycreamychewy, the salad really does “look delicious”… I hear what you’re saying!

  31. Holly says:

    I LOVE when my favorite bloggers make up words! :o) “squozen” I swear to you, I had a *moment* and typed it into If you’re curious, this is what it said, “No results found for squozen.
    Did you mean squeezing (in dictionary) or Suizen (in encyclopedia)?” Ha! Cracked me up that they at least kinda knew what you meant!!!!

    This salad looks yummy and I think I shall try it this week for company that is coming. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Lynn says:

    Great post. I thought the content was well-written and thought-provoking, the pictures gorgeous, and and the recipe looks good enough to satisfy any “something fresh, please” craving.

    I feel badly when I don’t get to post as often as I’d like. Real life intrudes. Although I love my blog, it is a non-income producing activity and my family has to be a higher priority.

  33. jenyu says:

    Lan – thanks!

    Kitt – you’re sweet. I’m glad I found you back!

    Cate – ha ha :) I’ve never tried it with iceberg. I just can’t imagine it – heeee!

    Collette – you’ll have to carry a bowl around with you and bring lots of clean forks ;)

    Tartelette – oh, your salad sounds wonderful.

    Bridget – good thing you can scroll down past all of that writing that you hate to read!

    Tablebread – thanks, love!

    Browniegirl – that sounds like a terrific salad. Thanks and have a great weekend too!

    Cindy – *smirk* I like your blog because you make me laugh and because your *content* resonates with me.

    Peabody – oh, PMS.. that’s a funny one ;) Quality in blogs is pretty obvious from the start. I’ll never understand people who just want readership. I take the zen approach which is to not care and see what happens!

    Anne – White people in asian restaurants? It’s always interesting to see what they order. There are dishes that many Asians consider “Americanized” and then there are dishes that are more “authentic”. Look around at what others are ordering and ask the waiter what certain dishes are. Tell them what you like (fish, beef, vegetarian, noodles, tofu) and ask what their specialties are. Or bring a foodie Asian along to help you order :)

    Susan – I find daily blogging to be difficult if I want to actually *do* anything :) I consider comments to be icing on the cake. I blog because I love to document and archive. I blog for me. If folks don’t read it, don’t visit me, that’s fine. I honestly don’t try to compete with other blogs or “keep up”. I do what I am comfortable with. I sincerely hope that you are not blogging to please others, because I think if you blog to make yourself happy, you will inevitably make others (like me) happy :) I’m not any more qualified to tell people how to blog than you are, my dear. I just have no problems telling people what *I* look for in a blog. Folks don’t have to agree. It’s just my take on it and I think we’re all moving through this together. xxoo

    Mollie – Don’t be paranoid!! It’s just me spouting my opinions, but it isn’t a directive to others on how to blog, just what I am looking for :)

    Lori – Don’t be thinking you suck, hon! I’m just stating what I look for in those exceptional blogs. What you should be doing is what you LIKE to do. If you’re happy with your blog, others will undoubtedly be too. Do it for you, babe. Not for anyone else. xxoo

    Margie – If you write a blog, it should be what you want it to be. A lot of people seem to think they have to measure up to some crazy criteria to be “popular”. I don’t play the popularity game and I never have. I have learned over time to be *me* and do my own thing, and when I am happy with who I am and what I do, others seem to be happy and at ease with me too. It’s all very zen. I don’t worry about scrutiny (to those, I just say piss off and write your own frakking blog) because this is for me – for my sanity, for me to share with friends and foodies alike. My criteria are for the “ideal” blog, but I read plenty that aren’t ideal, and I love those too!

    GSG – thanks!

    Lisa – Thanks. We are all looking to improve, but just be sure it’s on your own terms. Don’t be blogging for someone else – blog for you :) xxoo

    Deeba – thank you, you’re so sweet!

    Jess – ha ha ;) Hope you have recovered.

    Mimi – do it for yourself and do it because you love it! That matters most for the blogger. hugs.

    Mark – har har!!! Oh, I really didn’t mean for people to go revamping their blogs and blogging habits because of my l’il ole list! That’s my criteria for really good blogs. I’m not sure my blog even fits that list. I read plenty that don’t meet all of those criteria because some are just awesome based on ONE of those! You know I read you regularly (and if I miss one, it’s because of health or technical issues). I ought to be careful when tinkering with your feelings. You tend to be a tad insecure and I really don’t want you to be. You should have confidence. I have confidence in you. xxoo

    Holly – just do what makes YOU happy, love. Just do what makes you feel better. If you want to vent or just share your experiences about your baby, then put it down. I think when we try to hard to cater to an audience, it becomes obvious and awkward. Be natural and do it for you. Blogging is therapeutic for me. xxoo

    Mrs. E – thank you, sweetie! xxoo

    Ruthie – I like YOUR salad!!!

    Mikky – great!

    Erik – yes, I think there are definitely commenters who don’t read the whole post. That doesn’t bother me. No one is forcing anyone to read anything here. If folks want to read – great. If they just want to browse – fine. Like I’ve told everyone else – I blog for me, for a release, for my own therapy. It’s just a major bonus that others follow along and we can have a dialogue. I would still blog if I only had one reader :)

    Una Nena – “Of course, I will be taking my own advice, and just not reading your blog.”
    Thank Frakking Goodness.

    Rebecca – you just do your thing and don’t worry about boring or no. From a reader’s standpoint, those were my criteria. From a blogger’s standpoint – you should write for YOU. When you start writing for an audience and censoring yourself, the blogging is no good anymore. I do my best writing when I write to no one in particular.

    Rosa – you are too sweet! It’s far from perfect, but I certainly love that I have met so many wonderful people through it! Like YOU :)

    Chuck – hello my busy FoodGawker! I can’t believe how much you have put your heart and soul into that site. It is AWESOME – THE BEST! I will always read your blog (SND). You are my friend! I think it’s a tough call on how much personal info to toss out there. I hear ya. I wasn’t sure what to write when it came to my treatment, but I think in the end, it was mainly good for me to just get my thoughts out there and to hell with what anyone else thought. Just what I’ve been telling everyone here – I blog for me, and the rest falls into place. xxoo

    Holly – that’s a fun word, no? :) thanks!

    Lynn – a blog is just a blog, hon. Real life is what we’re blogging about. You won’t have anything to blog about if you just blog and don’t live your life :) Blog for you. xxoo

  34. Chez US says:

    Well said. I couldn’t agree more!

  35. pea & pear says:

    Seems I popped by at a controversial time :) The thing I love about blogs in general is this web that leads us from a to b. Having read this entry I can not remember how I got here but am intrigued enough to come back. Ilnterest is the key for me, and this has certainly spiked my interest. I can’t wait to get started on reading your blog… already I can tell you reach your own high standards. Congratulations on your integrity…
    ps salad looks delicious :)

  36. Patricia Scarpin says:

    My goodness, I had such a lousy lunch, Jen!! And you are such a teaser with this colorful, beautiful and fresh salad. My kind of meal.

    As for the blogging part, it has made me feel like I belong (yes, I did read “The Hairy Ape”). I love it and would miss it greatly if I had to stop.

  37. Woolly says:

    I’ve been gone for awhile… but I’m back….


    keep doing your own thing….

  38. KatieC says:

    Would you rather be referred to as “Buttah?” I think URB is also a possibility. I mean, we could just call you by your name, but somehow that seems so, well, pedestrian, don’t you htink?

    I’ve never seen such a lovely orange cutting. I usually start the skin by piercing it with my frint teeth, then proceed to get my paws all stick from the juice and am eventually left with a misshapen, juiceless fruit.

    I’m going to try it your way from now on.

    And as for regularity, well, I’d better get on the program before I lose you!

  39. Nate says:

    I feel, like Susan, that a lot of times people come through our site looking for pics and not really sticking around for the content. Perhaps that is my fault for not being good enough, content and writing-wise, to merit a bookmark or subscription. It’s true – making yummy-looking images comes easier for me than crafting yummy-sounding text.

    What do you think will increase reader loyalty? More text and less pictures, or more pictures and less text?

  40. jenyu says:

    Chez Us – thanks!

    Pea & Pear – well welcome and thanks for your kind words :)

    Patricia – hear hear! I agree with you on that!

    Woolly – glad to have you back, dear! thanks for letting us know you’re still here!

    KatieC – oh, that’s not a bad way to eat an orange, you know! I just think it makes it hard to share that orange in let’s say… a salad! You won’t lose me – you’re my friend :)

    Nate – Oh that’s tough, hon. You can’t make people read if they are just skimming for food porn or don’t have the time to read. Not much you can do about that. I guess it depends on what your goal is. I think increased reader loyalty comes from offering something that the reader wants, whether it is good pictures, good stories, good recipes… I’ll tell you one thing, nothing brings out the comments like a give-away ;) Best of luck!

  41. bee says:

    lemme tell you why i love your blog. it reveals a real personality, rather than the “i went to the market and clicked some flowers, ohhh and also baked a cake”. i like to read blogs by opinionated people, not “nice”, boring ones.

  42. Anita says:

    Jen, I love hearing your viewpoints on everything, food or otherwise, because you’re so honest and real…and your words resonate with me (hey, now you know why I keep coming back to your blog…or is it because of the gorgeous photos…or the fab recipes…too hard to choose!:) )

    I totally agree with your blog criteria. The number of food blogs, let alone blogs in general, these days is totally overwhelming and as much as I’d like to friend and follow everyone who links to my blog or shares my interests, it’s just not possible. There’s got to be some sort of filter, even if it’s not PC to say, “well, your blog just isn’t that…great.”

    I think the most important thing that makes a blog stand out for me is the blogger’s personality and how it comes through. There are probably literally thousands of blogs out there that just have photos of food and recipes. Why would I want to visit those blogs when I can just buy a cookbook? The blogs that have become must-reads for me are ones where I feel I’m getting to know the blogger, where she shares stories, insights, opinions, anything that makes me feel like I’m listening to a real person, who could be my friend (ok, I’m sure your scary internet stalker radar is going off now!) I really admire those bloggers that can achieve that rapport with their audience – you included!

    I still have my own blogging issues, like how I’d like to blog more frequently, take better photos, etc. But at the same time, I’m blogging because I love it, and I hope that’s what comes through in my blog! I look back at some of my early posts and think, “Whoa, those are some bad photos”, and then I look at some of my more recent ones and think, “Hey, I think I got better!” I think that’s the best reward of blogging: your own personal satisfaction, not how popular your blog is or how many visitors you get. It’s your own creation, and if you did it honestly and well, it’ll be _you_.

  43. White On Rice Couple says:

    What a well said set of criteria Jen. I totally agree with you and you had me rolling on the metamucil metaphor. Hahhhh!! hahhh! hahhh! Sorry, I just wasn’t expecting that analogy . But it’s so true.

    Your blog as all the elements that make a blog great. That’s why we all come back to you. I think I wanna be the first to start a Jen Yu blog fan club. I’ll create a t-shirt that says….”I read Jen Yu & I Use Real Butter” ! I’ll go looking for some t-shirts next week!

    I haven’t had fresh oranges in a salad in such a long time. Your’s definitely have me craving something bright and fresh!

  44. jenyu says:

    Bee – I love that you’re such a rebel. You always make me laugh and think!

    Anita – I too am always drawn to blogs with great personalities behind them. It really comes through in the content – creativity, wit, playfulness, dedication… Most important of all is the sincerity. I completely agree with you on authenticity of the person reflected in the blog. Almost like online dating *snicker* :)

    WoRC – no wait! I want to print coffee mugs that say “I’m all over Todd and Diane like White on Rice!” ha ha ha :) Love you guys. xxoo

  45. Stani says:

    This salad is fantastic. We added some grilled chicken (marinated in balsamic vinegar, agave syrup, ginger, and miso), a bit of blue cheese and some raisins. Delicious!!!

  46. jenyu says:

    Stani – yum, that sounds lovely. Don’t you love how versatile salads are?!

  47. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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