adventures in craft beer and real food

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A frank discussion about Pint and Fork

In case you haven't noticed, Pint and Fork has been on hiatus for the past two months. I've spent that time reflecting on what I'm trying to achieve by writing this blog, and what direction this blog should follow in the future.

See, it's like this. You can get food and beer writing from a lot of places. But I've always attempted to infuse a subtle perspective drawn from my experiences into this blog that gives it terroir. Right now, I live in Madison, Wisconsin and many of my posts have been germane to the local food, beer, and the politics of each. But as the focus of Pint and Fork has become increasingly specific, its readership I fear has become smaller.

Which is fine with me on the whole. As Dario Cecchichi is quoted as saying in Bill Buford's book "Heat", I'm not interested in "bizzzness."

I'm not interested in showing how "refined" my palate is by writing, say, restaurant reviews in which I find fault with everything and write about it in the most mocking ways. Such reviews, while fun to read perhaps, lower the bottom line of food blogging as a whole. Writing mean things about people is not what I'm about. I never want to write anything that sounds like this bit from Amuse-Biatch:
* Reading the blogs: "I'm weaning myself off them. They're vicious. They attack me, my wife, my dog. These people don't seem to have anything better to do."

[Um, first of all, we do have better things to do (and we do them); it's just that we enjoy doing this (like Hung, we lack both "heart" and "soul"). Secondly, we never attacked your dog; we believe in intraspecies honor. Look, Brian, possum, we'll level with you. You're a very cute guy (especially once you shaved that asinine soul patch), but it's not our fault that you had a penchant for bullshit, airy-fairy dish names, ugly man-jewelry and stupid hats (we're not positive, but we think even the International Male catalogue has banned thumb rings and leather wristbands). You might, as you claim, be loved by the Gays, but possum, we's a tough crowd, and tough crowd equals tough love. Also, it's not our fault that your wife put specific information that presumably implicates you on a public MySpace page for all the world to see. On the positive side, we applaud and congratulate you for not saying that you were weaning yourself "off of" blogs. Good grammar is a wonderful thing to behold. See? We're not all bad.]

Just as I'm not interested in being another tabloid blog, I also have no desire to be the CNN of the food blogging world. Pint and Fork isn't "first on the scene" journalism, nor is it going to report on gossip. I'm not the blogger that shows up on restaurants on their first night in operation or reviews a beer after a single bottle. I've been working on an ethics policy and I'll post it when it's ready. In the mean time, let it suffice it to say that a fair amount of effort goes into fair representation of facts. Pint and Fork is slow and deliberate. It is the opinion page of the newspaper and not the front page.

It's tempting to sell out these principles to boost my blog's popularity, but I believe that there's an audience out there that isn't interested in that kind of blogging and who prefers the perspective that I can bring to the table. So to speak.

I hope I'm right.

I'm inspired by Alder from Vinography who continues to be one of the strongest voices in the wine blogging community. He has gotten there not by being flashy, mean, or spurious, but by being thorough, consistent, and a fine writer. Alder stays on topic and he does it well.

That said, I have some exciting plans for this blog to dish up when the time is right. In the meantime, I hope to return to a regular weekly posting schedule.

For all of my readers, welcome back!