Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bay Area Food Blogs

And other stuff...

I think I have got to the stage where I am no longer able to keep up with all the new food blogs in the Bay Area, let alone the rest of the world. It's certainly a crowded market out there but I am happy to see so much creativity, good taste, so many views and opinions, so much thoughtfulness, kindness and community. Here are some local blogs I have come across recently that I don't think I have featured before:

Ladle and Whisk
Cucina Nicolina
Chez Denise et Laudalino
California Kitchen

Although I would like to be everything to everyone prove I am Superwoman, I know it just isn't possible. Recently a reader wrote to me about a recipe I had recommended. I had photographed the dish and recommended the book from where the recipe came. The reader wanted me to copy down the recipe and email it to her because she didn't want to spend $20 on the book. I wrote back and explained that I couldn't do that, not only because of copyright issues, but also because I really didn't have the time right now for reasons that weren't any body's business. In order to try and ease the blow, I added that maybe one day I would make the recipe a few more times and adapt it for publishing on my blog. Her prissy, ungrateful reply to me was "Oh, please don't bother..."

Her response upset me. I wrote back to her and explained a few things about bloggers, a few of which I would like to also share with my wider audience:

"Please remember there is a human being on the end of this email line and she should not be made to feel like she should be at the beck and call of everyone who wants something from her. I am not paid to do any of this. I have at least half a dozen enquiries like yours a day and I don't have the time to personally attend to every one of them. That I even took the time to personally answer your enquiry is something you should be able to appreciate. Really, think about it - you expect me to copy a long recipe out of a book ... why should I work for you for free? Please try and be a little bit more considerate of other peoples' feelings in future."

I hoped that she might realise that her actions were uncalled for and apologize to me, but of course, no she didn't. Thankfully, 99% of people don't behave in this manner. All of us, at some time, write emails which we never a receive a reply to and sit there wondering why we have been snubbed. As the number of people who contact me increases exponentially on a weekly basis I have started to become one of those people who doesn't always answer all her emails. My intentions are certainly honest. I *star* the important ones in my Inbox and fully intend to get back to them, but then time runs away with me, I lose track, my brain goes in to meltdown and I fail so many people. It bothers me, it niggles me, I worry that I have offended some people. If you are one of those people, please accept my apologies - I didn't mean to snub you - I am sorry.

OK - now go and have a great holiday weekend, everybody, far away from your Inboxes...

2005 | Powerscourt and Avoca, Ireland

© 2007 Sam Breach at "Becks & Posh", This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact[AT]gmail[DOT]com to report any suspected violations. Thank you.
Bay Area Food Blogs


  • At 27/5/07 10:45, Blogger candyschultz said…

    You will never make everyone happy. It is probably best not to try. Thanks for the links to the blogs.

  • At 27/5/07 12:05, Anonymous Jennifer Jeffrey said…

    Sam, you're as close to Superwoman as any of us is going to get... your detailed posts and gorgeous photos are amazing, and you've done so much for the blogging community, from your blog spotlights to special events. I don't know how you do it all PLUS a full-time job and life.

    Thank you for everything! xox

  • At 27/5/07 13:12, Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said…

    I think you're right that people forget that every time you answer a random email, maybe you're putting off answering one from a beloved friend or relative....

    I get a lot of inquiries about moving to Italy and every time I take the time to answer their questions and give them encouragement, and they disappear after without a thank-you, it hurts as well.


  • At 27/5/07 13:56, Blogger Nicole said…

    I was an editor for a guitar magazine, and our reader mail was the same way. Lots of people asking for help, some of whom were very grateful and some of whom were very ungrateful. I'm sure you know that the vast majority of people are (silently) very grateful and appreciative of your writing, your photos, and most importantly, your insights.

  • At 27/5/07 14:01, Blogger Figs, Olives, Wine said…


    As someone fairly new to the blogosphere, I have been shocked by the bad behavior that anonymity can foster. I have also been floored by the strength of community you and your sites have fostered among food bloggers.

    There's nothing that can take away the shock of rude words directed at you (especially written words), but I am really glad you posted about the issue. Did you see the recent NY Times piece on the etiquette enforced by blogher? I know you're a member there, but just in case you didn't read "A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs," here's the link:

    Warmest Wishes,

  • At 27/5/07 14:37, Blogger ChrisB said…

    sam this mama bear feels very indignant on your behalf; how dare someone treat you like that I hope she reads this. You have a lot of loyal readers so don't let the ignorant ones bother you; you don't need them anyway.
    Now there is another side that I have encountered; I have left (nice) comments and find that they don't get published. OK I know it's up to the individual but that actually is very off putting; maybe I'd better read the 'etiquette' and learn what and what not to do. xx

  • At 27/5/07 18:59, Blogger Cate said…

    The old 80/20 rule ... 20% of the people make 80% of the problems. Unfortunately, you only need one person here and there to spoil something, even if only temporarily; it always gives me pause. I totally hear where you're coming from, Sam.

  • At 27/5/07 19:37, Anonymous Tana said…

    I think you should change the name of your blog to "Becks and Call" and work for free for everyone.

    No, what I really think is that what Ms. Jennifer Jeffrey said is true: you give more than any single food blogger I know to the community (and not just our food blogging community).

    Please tell Ms. Prissy: bite me. Al dente!

    : D

  • At 27/5/07 20:38, Anonymous kudzu said…

    Sam -- As a veteran in the food writers' world, let me tell you it gets stranger abd stranger. I once had a reader call me on Christmas day to ask me about a recipe (you can see how vulnerable we were at that time!)....Let this intrusion/insult remain where it deserves to be and recognize the fact that you're a true professional whose personal touches are appreciated when they are extended to those who deserve them.

  • At 27/5/07 21:53, Blogger Alice Q said…

    People can be astonishingly rude, I really do think it has to do with the anonymity - people are happy to take advantage of someone if they think there's no consequence. I'm glad you finally spoke up, maybe it will help some people wake up to the reality that you are not at their "Becks and Call" - ha ha.

  • At 27/5/07 22:12, Anonymous Vicky said…

    I appreciate you Sam, no matter what :)

  • At 28/5/07 00:44, Blogger Beccy said…

    Well said Sam.

  • At 28/5/07 02:04, Anonymous Nicky said…

    Sam, I can only second what the others just said, I don't know anybody out there who has shown as much enthusiasm to support the foodblogging community in every respect. The fact, that you have a stressful day job makes all this even more exceptional.
    Yet, you should try to not let the flippant or even rude behaviour get to you. We get our fair share of similar inquiries and while I tried to show best behavior in the beginning, I stopped responding to each end every mail around last Autumn. It helped to remind myself, why I started blogging - for fun, not because I was looking for another duty. But if an email is written in a very personal style, I still can't help but answer it right away...
    Btw, even long-time bloggers sometimes "don't live by the rules". We once got an inquiry by a rather famous fellow foodblogger, to which I responded with a quite comprehensive email of travel tips, but never heard back. Weeks later I sent a follow-up email simply asking if she had received the email and she answered very shortly, then I never heard back if she actually enjoyed her trip or used any of the information I sent. Lesson learned, never expect anything ;)

  • At 28/5/07 03:06, Anonymous Ms. Glaze said…

    Forunately or unfortuantely, people feel they know you and can demand things of you because you are an intergral part of their lives. Sometimes it's wonderful and it makes the world a smaller community, and sometimes you just gotta say, "Dit a la main!" (talk to the hand!).

    As a blogger, I always find it a little funny/strange/bizarre that people feel they know me well enough to email me for a range of different requirements – could I please do a video on gutting fish immediately? Where should they look for an apartment in Paris and would I be willing to check it out for them? Should they attend Le Cordon Bleu or CIA? Could I send a recipe for onion confiture within the next hour?

    Gros, Gros Bisous,
    Ms. Glaze

  • At 28/5/07 05:29, Anonymous French Laundry at Home said…

    That same woman wrote to me, wanting a recipe out of Thomas Keller's book. I told her to buzz off (politely) and got a "you didn't help, it's too late now" email from her. She claimed to be some grandma in Oregon who didn't have her French Laundry Cookbook with her and wanted to make dinner that night. That kind of tipped me off that she's a big fat fraud.

  • At 28/5/07 06:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Sam,
    I have been reading your blog nearly every day (a testament to your posting-frequency!) for more than two years. I have never left a comment - it's just not something I do. But today I feel as though I owe you one. You have provided much reading and viewing pleasure over these many months and I want you to know that for every one careless, ungrateful boob there are many quiet, very appreciative readers who, if they are anything like me, very much enjoy and cherish your blog.

    Thank you, Sam.

    A friend in Toronto, Canada.

  • At 28/5/07 08:23, Blogger Sam said…

    You are all most kind - thank you all so much.

    I do have a vacation setting permanently on my email that tries to discourage rude reader behaviour and I have to admit that things have been far less stressful since I set it up that way, but there are always one or two (or 20% as Cate says) who spoil it. If anyone is ineterested, below is my auto reply to anyone who emails my blog. If anyone can think of any improvements or wants to use something similar for their own use, please feel free to borrow:

    "This is an automated message, please read carefully.

    My blog, "Becks & Posh", is a labour of love, a non-commercial, non-money-making, non-advertising personal expression of what I chance to discover, love and am eager to share about food, wine, restuarants, recipes, and other (sometimes tenuously) food-related musings in the Bay Area and beyond.

    I write my blog in my precious spare time. I have a taxing, full time job which keeps me away from home, my man, food, friends and, of course, my blog for up to 11 hours a day so the amount of time I have to spend writing posts and dealing with all the enquiries it attracts is extremely limited.

    Since the popularity of my blog has grown and grown I am receiving more and more emails of enquiry and it is now getting to the stage where I am just unable to cope with responding to every one personally as I have diligently and politely tried to do in the past.

    With all due apologies for having to take this step, but for the sake of my own sanity, from hereon in I am simply going to have to be unresponsive to some of the emails I receive, especially solicitations. I will attempt to explain the reasons for this in the following paragraphs. Please read on if you would like to understand why you might not actually hear back from me. This email address will only be checked only sparingly.

    Reasons You Might Not Hear Back from me after sending me a mail on subjects which may include but are not limited to the following::

    1) I do not advertise your product or anything else for free on my blog.

    2) I do not advertise your product or anything else for money on my blog.

    3) I do not currently actively promote events/other blogs/tv shows/websites/products/books/etc, etc on my blog. In other words I do not promote by request.

    4) I do not swap reciprocal links with other blogs, websites or commercial concerns.

    5) I am not interested in any money-making schemes - my blog is non-commercial. It is not currently my intention for my blog to make any money at all.

    6) Thank you for your kind offer, but I am a rare food blogger in that I do not currently accept products for review. I am honoured that you should find my blog worthy of such consideration, but please excuse me for taking a pass. Some of the things you tempt me with sound so good, but I have to consider: 'would I spend my own money on that'.? If the answer is yes, then I will, and I'll probably end up buying and writing about your product anyway, as long as it lives up to its promise.

    7) If you write to me and ask me a general question which I make the time to reply to, please say thank you. I am not paid to do this, it is a labour of love. If you ask me a question and I reply but you do not bother to thank me for my time, you run the risk of having your email address publicly named and shamed on my blog. I am a human being sitting at the end of this email address, not a machine. Thank you for your understanding.

    8) With all due apologies, I have become a little tired of memes and rarely join in with them these days. Thanks for asking me anyway. Unless I find a particularly inspiring or topical meme, I probably won't oblige, though, I hope you understand, after 3+ years of memes, they can get a little tired after a while.

    9) I do not have time to help you with your new web2.0 blog promotion website/directory/portal for blogs etc. You may think you are the only person trying to do this, but believe me, several people a day ask me to get involved in such scheme. Sorry - there are just too many of you and I don't have time to look into them all.

    10) Want help with food blogging? I'd love to help you - but there are hundreds of other people out there who want help too. So I started a community called 'Food Blog S'cool' where dozens of bloggers come together to help each other out. Please sign up for Food Blog S'cool if you have a food blogging question. Here is the URL:

    To get a better understanding of what Becks & Posh is about, you can read about all of these things in more detail, with further explanations, on my 'about' page:

    thank you for your kind understanding,
    and thank you for contacting Becks & Posh"

  • At 28/5/07 08:59, Anonymous maki said…

    I think this is a situation many bloggers face... and you can't get it affect you. I've revised my about page, and my contact page, to try to ward off the nutters but it doesn't solve everything.

    The funny thing that happens occasionally is that someone writes thinking that I am a direct contact to a Famous Chef...or weirder, that I AM a Famous Chef. I recently got a very long and personal message via my contact form assuming that I was Jamie Oliver. I really can't imagine why since I've barely even mentioned him...maybe twice or so in the last 3 1/2 years I've had my blog! I was tempted to reply but I thought...meh, why bother.

    I've even thought about starting up some sort of blog for 'strange emails bloggers receive' :)

  • At 28/5/07 09:06, Blogger sfmike said…

    Dear sam: There's a reason that no email address is attached with my "Civic Center" blog. If somebody really needs to get my attention, they can write something in the "comments" and if they know me, they can just pick up the phone (I'm in the phone book for criminy's sake). By the way, what are YOU doing for Memorial Day? Anything fun? And is Fred still working his brains out?

  • At 28/5/07 10:29, Blogger Little Foodie said…

    Some people are just shockingly rude, ignorant and arrogant! No person can be all things to all people. Certainly people like that are not worth wasted emotion! I'd probably have wrote and told her to go forth and mutliply several times. I think you can safely say that it's a very small percentage of people who wouldn't appreciate all that you do (food blogging or otherwise). I was gobsmacked that you included me in your English food round up as I was/am very new but you did and that was really touching. Thank you again. Amanda

  • At 28/5/07 10:53, Blogger maureen said…

    Sam, you have put into words something I've been trying to get across for awhile. Thanks. I love your blog, and though I don't comment I am reading. You only have time for what you have time for -- for what you really want to do. Emails are not in my list of things I really want to do. I honor your impulse to write this post - too bad not everyone who reads your blog will get it.

    I myself am grateful you share your life (and food and recipes and food photos) with your blog readers. We couldn't/shouldn't ask for more. That's already a huge task - and a labor of love. I hope you keep loving it.

  • At 28/5/07 12:33, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    How apropos! We were talking about this just yesterday, after you'd gone. I'm glad I can see here how you would have added to that discussion.

    All I can say is that I relate. I have also been composing a similar email response because some days these emails bother me to the point of no return.

    All here have said this over and over, but I would like to say as well how much your blogging and community activism are very much appreciated.

    I think that a lot of people don't understand blogging at all and think we are indeed waiting at the other end of the computer 24 hours a day to provide a service.

    Good for you for being brave enough to talk on this. Are we allowed to use parts of your letter for our own use?

    I hope your holiday weekend is going as swimmingly as it can.

  • At 28/5/07 19:04, Blogger kara said…

    I agree with you completely. But I can't help but wonder about something. . .obviously, as you only posted that one tiny part of her reply email ("please, don't bother. . .") so I have no idea what the tone of the rest of it was. But is it possible that she was sincerely saying, "Oh, I didn't mean to ask you to go to all the trouble of making the recipe several more times--please, don't bother."? Just wondering if her words might have been taken as prim and sarcastic when they were meant sincerely. But again, you were the one who read the rest of the email, so I'm sure you'd have understood if that was the case.

  • At 28/5/07 19:31, Blogger Elle said…

    Right on! Just writing your blog is a gift to those who read it.

  • At 29/5/07 15:47, Blogger foodette said…

    I just started blogging myself, and I really cannot believe that someone would expect you to do that! The audacity! Anyway, she was rude, and while the Internet can open us up to some amazing things, it can also open us up to some of the rudest, most crass people. Many of these people are cowards who would never behave this way in real life, but allow their true colors to come out from behind the safety of a keyboard.

    I'm glad you don't let it jade you to the rest of us nice folk :)

    Thanks for all of your great posts!

  • At 29/5/07 16:13, Blogger A Few Reservations said…

    Well said.

  • At 30/5/07 09:12, Blogger nicole said…

    Thanks for the mention :) I'm amazed you're able to respond to just a few emails, let alone most. I have been so bad at replying to emails lately, which always happens when work gets hectic. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that! Hope you had fab weekend-

  • At 31/5/07 18:01, Blogger Denise said…


    Thank you for mentioning our blog! And for your bits of advise ..... I totally agree and have been feeling the pain of keeping up as well, while it is very fun & addictive to a degree, it is hard work! Love your stuff and your inspirations! Thanks again!!!!

    ~ Denise


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