My Best, My Worst and Everything In Between – 8 Years as a Food Blogger.
MY BEST, MY WORST AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN – 8 YEARS AS A FOOD BLOGGER
Since I began my journey as a Food Blogger, my Blogging Anniversaries have come and gone without much celebration or pomp as it usually gets shadowed by new Year Celebrations. As a matter of fact, I started blogging on 2nd January 2012. As some of you may know, there were a couple of reasons I began the blog:
- A place where family and friends could access recipes world over
- To create recipes and jot them somewhere, recipes that I learnt from my dear mum, my mother in law who we fondly call Nunu and my aunt, my kaki to me.
- Having stopped working as a teacher, I had to put my time and energy into something meaningful and what I love and that was cooking.
And so Mayuri’s Jikoni was born. On 2nd January decided on the name (hubby didn’t think its an exciting name for a food blog), learnt how to access Blogger, took an amateurish photo with my iPad and actually took measurements for Beetroot Orange Salad. With no thought given to presentation and a blurry picture, my first post went live. Did I know how to transfer the photo from my iPad to the computer? Not at all and that’s when my son Neel came to my rescue. Chatting with him on Skype, asked him the process.And thus began the journey as a Food Blogger.
My journey and my supporters:
- I had not even heard of the word blog till my cousin, Shreena wrote blog posts on her adventures (she doesn’t write anymore). That’s how I got to know of Blogger. My first ever comment on my first blog post came from Shreena and joy knew bound then.
- My daughter, Namrata has by far been my biggest supporter. Her advise on how to grow and let others know what I’m doing, her introducing me to post on Facebook, how to create Pinterest Boards and how to use Instagram my critique on how to present food and take photos her help and encouragement knows no bound.
- Family and dear friends have been showered me with constant appreciation and support with kind words, sharing my posts and trying out my recipes.
- Dear hubby Ajay, who cannot dive into a meal if its not photographed, my main taster and critique of dishes I prepare. I also admire his patience as I spend hours on my blog and insist on buying props from every place we visit. Invariably, land up buying props for my blog during every trip. He makes sure through expert packaging that it reaches home safely. Recently, he has started taking a keen interest in my photographs too and will point out what doesn’t look good or if photos are not in focus.
WordPress and Stats
Talking about support, on my daughter’s recommendation I moved to from Blogger to my own website on WordPress in November 2017. She was instrumental in the website design and development along with Codeunderscore, a Technology service provider in Bangalore.
What I like about WordPress is that it gives you vital statistics that indicate you’re on the right path. There have been days when I feel that no one notices what I’m doing and hubby assures me that as long as I am happy being a Food Blogger, I shouldn’t worry about response from the wide world. However, I’m really happy to know that till 31st Dec, from Nov 2017 I’ve had 103,645 views and 44,929 visitors have checked out my blog. Wish I had stats for before 2017. Most of my followers are from US, then UK, India, Canada and fifth is Kenya.
My Eight Year Journey
For my 8th Blogging Anniversary, I initially thought of posting my most popular posts, baking a cake, then I thought of making a pretty collage with all my best clicks…yes still using the faithful iPhone. Finally thought of jotting down all about my blogging journey. Coming back to the collage, I decided that my first ever photo for the blog has to be featured, my worst yes, (looking at the click I’d never want to eat that!) and most popular post being Mombasa Mix (need to update clicks asap) and my most clicked on from all the categories is Gujarati Khana. The collage is a reminder of my journey.
Importantly, I have to acknowledge my growth in different areas as a blogger. At the end what is more important than all the likes and comments for my posts is what I’ve learnt and achieved along the way.
2012 went by without much comments and hardly anyone noticing my blog except for family. Slowly things began to change when I googled more bloggers and started leaving comments on their blogs. Slowly some comments from Food Bloggers began to trickle in and for me that was a sense of pride as I felt that finally someone out there is noticing what I do.
Virtual Food Blogger Friends
I joined some groups where back then we shared links according to themes and occasionally hosted them too. I got to know Nayna Kanabar who has two blogs, Simply Food and Citrus Spice and Travels. Through her I got to know Mina Joshi of Give Me Some Spice.
Remembering my daughter’s advice, “Mum make friends with other food bloggers,” in July 2014 I joined the Facebook Group Shhh Secretly Cooking which was Priya Suresh’s(Priya’s Versatile Recipes) baby. My first interaction with a fellow blogger Sandhya Ramakrishnan (My Cooking Journey) discussing ingredients and her guidance was valuable. It was with a Barley Broccoli Roll that I made my entrance into the group of which now I’m an administrator. That monthly group opened up the Food Bloggers World for me and its through this group that I made a few virtual friends.
Its through Shhh Secretly Cooking that Renu and I have become friends and hoping that one day we will be able to meet. Till then chatting on Messenger will have to suffice. The world is pretty small, who would have thought that I’d meet Preethi from Singapore in Bangalore?
Meeting in Person
Virtual friends became real friends when I met Rafeeda(The Big Sweet Tooth) and Huma Kalim( Gheza E Shiriin) in Dubai in April 2016. In fact even before I met Huma, she had asked me to write a guest post on Ramadan speciality in Kenya. I was so delighted that a fellow blogger had asked me to write a post for her blog, and proudly I introduced Kibibi a Swahili Dessert. Furthermore, 2018 was the year I met the most bloggers, Jan 2018 I met Amrita Iyer, Vidya Narayan and Aruna Panangipally in Mumbai. January 2018 met Sujata Shukla, Priya Iyer and Priya Mahesh in Bangalore. September 2018 was when I met Shobha Keshwani for the first time along with Vidya and Aruna.
Recently that is on 28th December 2019 met Jolly Makkar and Preethi Prasad for the first time along with Sujata Shukla.
My baking passion got honed when I joined the Group We Knead to Bake in June 2014. My first bread for the group, Komaj was a revelation that turmeric can safely be used in breads! Remained a member till the group closed down in early 2017.
To learn more about baking, I came across the group Bread Bakers through Priya Suresh and joined in July 2015 and made Mango Kolache to fit the theme. Till I left the group in 2018 as traveling prevented me from participating regularly, I learnt a lot about bread baking from this wonderful group. Hope one day will be able to rejoin it.
While browsing on Facebook, I came across a recipe for Nankhatai by Jolly Makkar, another Food Blogger and immediately asked her what was required to join the group. Through her introduction I joined one of the most happening, friendly and vibrant group of which till date I’m a member of. The theme when I joined was Fusion Thandai Recipes. Did I even understand the word fusion? Not really, but with the guidance from the members posted Thandai Kulfi. Looking back could have done better as the members were a talented lot. Incidentally, found out that one of the member’s Rupal Patel, is my distant cousin. Talk about a tiny world. Members have come and gone and each one has taught me something regarding blogging and also about life, about focus and achieving what wants to. Pushpita runs a successful pickle and preserve business from home, Alka’s focus on Odia Food got her noticed by Bombay Canteen when a few weeks back they had a week long Odia Food Festival. Krithika makes some awesome jewelry at home. Rupal decided to help out at the family business and Waagmi has taken her photography skills to a new height. Sujata Shukla is busy writing a book, Saswati bakes and makes beautiful cakes.
- If it were not for the weekly innovative themes, I’d probably not have thought of recipes out of the box or tried out some traditional ones.
- With each passing post, I’d wait every Monday for members to share their posts not only for the recipes but also to learn about food presentation and photography. Over time learnt by watching and experimenting to find what works for me the best. So as not to have hazy photos, I started reading on line about basic photography which has been very useful to me.
- Made some really good friends alone the way. Some have left the group but I still like to keep in touch with them.
- This group comes up with an inexhaustible list of themes which has kept me blogging even when I travel, otherwise my blog would have been dead.
Realities of A Food Blogger:
- No, sorry I don’t know how to cook all the dishes in the world, that’s a reality my friends.
- I do have days when I don’t want to enter the kitchen and would prefer take away…after all I’m human.
- All the dishes I try not necessarily turn out good, I’ve had my fair share of disasters.
- At a click of a finger, I’m not able to lay out a huge spread on the table, like anyone else I need to plan the menu, shop for ingredients and cook.
- I don’t blog because I have nothing better to do. Cooking, writing the recipe with ingredients, measurements and method, taking photos, cleaning up, writing, posting all take time.
- For all those who wonder what I do at home, well go on make a cup of tea, curl up on the sofa and check out my blog.
Future Plans As A Food Blogger
- Have I ventured out to videos? Not yet but the plan is there.
- A book… ever food bloggers dream and mine too.
- Learn how to use a DSLR.
- Complete all my Travel Posts that are long pending.
In Conclusion, hoping that all of you my friends and family will keep showering me with love and support. Thank you all so much.