11. January 2012
New York City, 2002. In order to compensate for her professional discontentment, 29-year old Julie Powell decides to cook all recipes in the cook book-giant “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child . In just one year, Julie manages to cook all 524 recipes and blog about them on the internet. Her readers are enthralled at the “Juli/Julia Project”. Julie Powell went on to sell her blog as a book and sell the movie rights to a production company in Hollywood.
Julie Powell's story inspired many people to blog about food – especially in the US. Food blogs fueled the Foodie movement – a community of food lovers that have nothing to do with the dining industry in their professional lives. It took some time before the trend reached Germany, and it's only just beginning. One of the most famous food bloggers in Berlin is called Luisa Weiss. Her blog, “The Wednesday Chef” revolves around recipes and ingredients and connects her cooking experiences with personal anecdotes. But even Weiss began her blogging career in New York City, the city where Food Blogs were born, and where she witnessed the first stirrings of the scene.
“The Julie/Julia Project” was one of the first blogs I followed.” After following blogs herself for a number of years, Weiss decided to start her own blog in 2005. “The Wednesday Chef” refers to the food pages that appear in American newspapers every Wednesday. Weiss collected the recipes from these pages for years but never actually cooked them, so the motivation for her blog was to work off the large pile of recipes she had accumulated.
It may be the personal tone in which Weiss describes her cooking experiences that fascinates readers about the blog. This is not an expert giving advice, but an equal sharing their experience. “Sometimes I feel like I'm sitting around a large bonfire with my readers, just talking” says the blogger.
The spark has spread around Weiss' group of friends. One of them is Suzan Taher, also a food blog author. Taher moved to Berlin from London one year ago. Her blog, “Foodieinberlin.com” began as a means to communicate with a new, strange city. Unlike Weiss, Taher regularly visits and reviews restaurants around Berlin.
Taher knows what she's talking about, since she used to manage her own Deli in London. She does calls herself a foodie in her blog. “It's the easiest way for me to describe what it is I'm doing, that I'm just passionate about food and always on the scout for good products and restaurants,” explains Taher.
Unlike Germany, the Foodie movement has been going on for quite a while in the US and UK, so the term has already begun to evoke negative connotations. “In England, the word has almost come to describe something very snobby,” Luisa Weiss, too, is turned off by the description. “I don't want to be seen as a foodie. I care about so much more than just food. And I'm not fussy or trend-fixated with the products I use.”
“I'm not interested in the whole foodie movement. I really just care about cooking, eating and hosting meals,” says Paul Fritze. His blog, Einfach-lecker-essen.com is one of the few German food blogs in Berlin. “I began because I felt like it and because it was so easy to start up a blog,” says Fritze, who works for an Online start-up and only blogs in his free time. “I started out just posting recipes and writing about them, then about restaurants and now it's mostly the people behind the restaurants.” Fritze would regularly meet up with friends for cooking sessions. “At some point, I had the idea of cooking for more people than just us.” The result: a pop-up restaurant, the Rolling Restaurant, that settled temporarily in mobile phone stores or at the Jäger & Sammler restaurant in Schöneberg. But followers of Einfach-lecker needn''t worry. Fritze doesn't intend to switch over to the food industry (or discontinue his blog) anytime soon.