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Issue 013
Ube Milk Bread courtesy of The Little Epicurean
Ube Milk Bread, courtesy The Little Epicurean

It's Tuesday, and that's cause for excitement and rejoicing...

We are back with another issue of Eats Index!

We hope that 2020 is underway in a positive way for you.

And we hope to brighten your day with some informative and interesting news from the world of food blogging.

Let's get started!

Laptop with photo of robot on it

A.I. AYE YAI YAI

Here’s something worth knowing about...

How many times have you looked in the fridge and said, “Geez, what should I make for dinner?”

How many times is that question asked across the world each night?

We don’t know, but the answer has to be: quite a lot! Indeed, it’s a very normal and common question. For anyone with a family and a fridge!

Well, where normal and common questions arise, businesses try to provide an answer...

Samsung and software company Whisk have partnered to create Food AI, which will ship in Samsung’s new smart fridges. Food AI answers that age-old question of “What should I make for dinner” based on what people currently have on hand.

The Samsung fridges will have cameras in them that can see and evaluate the food inside – and suggest recipes that can be cooked. Pretty amazing!

What this means for food bloggers:   First of all, this is just interesting. It’s truly impressive what computers can be harnessed to do. And if you ever need a conversation starter to fill any lulls, throw this topic out there!

Second, we do see this AI as competition to recipe blogs.That is, people will not go to Google – or go directly to your site – looking for recipes. Instead, they’ll let their fridge suggest what to cook.

At the same time, it’s good to know what the competition is doing!

Third, we believe it may be possible for you to submit your recipes to Food AI. We are researching this — and will update you in a future issue.

Finally, maybe this news can serve as a reminder to encourage your readers to plan ahead. Get your readers really excited about your latest recipe, then motivate them to purchase and assemble the ingredients a day or two ahead — well before it’s dinner time.

It’s no surprise that your blog’s recipes have competition – from restaurants, delivery, prepared food, other recipe sources, etc. It’s worth remembering to put in the work and get people interested and enthusiastic about what you have to share!

Blue Frosting Cupcakes

GO BIG BLUE

We’ve previously shared that 2020 is expected to feature more blue foods. That’s what the taste- and trendmakers are saying. (No less an authority than the New York Times Cooking section is hyping this trend.)

People in the know are saying blue, green, and indigo are all going to be popular colors this year.

Ingredients that add some blueness – and that are therefore going to be trending – include butterfly pea powder tea (we reported on that in Issue 07) and ube, a purple Japanese yam. Indeed, ube itself is being discussed as a trend in its own right. (And check out the beautiful ube milk bread photo at the top of this email, courtesy of The Little Epicurean.

Well, 2020 is here. Are you cooking more blue yet? We haven’t seen the color popping up on many food blogs quite yet. Maybe blue will appear in the summer months, where it can help convey cooling? What do you think?

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QUICK FAVOR POR FAVOR

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Young boy eating from large bowl

KIDS SNACKS NOT KIDDING

As trend watchers, we’ve seen a good number of conversations about kids snacks – and healthy kids snacks in particular. Snacks – and nutritious snacks – are being recognized as more important – almost as mini-meals unto themselves.

What this means for food bloggers:   We are always thinking of ways you can make a name for yourself. We want to present ideas that will help your food blog thrive – and help you stand out from the crowd.

We have not yet seen a recipe blog entirely dedicated to kids snacks. And we have looked!

For that matter, a recipe blog with just kid-friendly dishes may be able to cut through and gain traction.

(We know there are plenty of mommy blogs out there – and many contain recipes, too, but we are talking about a true, dedicated for-kids recipe blog.)

If you’re not in the mood to start a second blog, what about creating a category of kids recipes on your existing site? Another idea would be to offer kids’ variations for your recipes.

For instance, what if one of your readers will be entertaining a few adults this coming weekend – and a few children are coming along as well? How can your reader adjust their dishes to accommodate little eaters too?

As Whitney Houston said, children are the future. Do they figure into your site's plans at all?

Smiling Woman

SOME FUN FOODIE SLANG

The food bloggers we know aren’t just recipe developers – they’re writers, too. They’re often looking for new words to describe their recipes – and to make their posts pop for the audience!

How many times have you thought to yourself, “what’s another word for delicious?”

Also, new food words are just fun – they’re new tools to play with!

Eatie — is a term coined by one of our favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan. A self-described “not thin” person, Jim has a long-standing and widely acknowledged love of food.

Jim uses the term “eatie” to describe people like himself who – unlike foodies – don’t know a lot about food, they just know they really enjoy eating it.

Whereas a foodie may seek out new, exotic recipes and try cooking unusual dishes, an eatie just loves good food!

Are you more foodie or eatie? For that matter, are your recipes aimed more at foodies or eaties?

Scrummy — You can probably figure out what this one means. Scrummy is short for scrumptious. The word has a nice, British ring to it. “Who wants to pop over for a scrummy brunch? My wife’s pulling the scones out of the oven now…”

Also a positive: we feel you can’t use the word scrummy and simultaneously take yourself too seriously.

Marvin — Also British in origin, this one apparently comes from the phrase “Starvin’ like Marvin.” When someone says they’re Marvin, it means they are really quite hungry.

For example: “Here’s a hearty casserole that’s sure to satisfy your family the next time they’re Marvin.”

We’re always on the look-out for new, cool food terms. We’d appreciate it if you’d report some into us. What are some of your favorites?

Heinz Honeyracha Sauce
Courtesy of Heinz

HEINZ HONEYRACHA

Sriracha became a craze in the past couple years. Its popularity is certainly continuing.

You already know – so we don’t have to explain – that sriracha is a spicy and sweet chili sauce, hailing from South East Asia.

Maybe we’re overly cynical here, but you know a flavor is popular when it appears as a flavor of potato chips. Are we right?

The Heinz company – famous for their ketchup – will be coming out soon with a new sauce, titled Honeyracha. As you may have guessed, Honeyracha will taste both sweet and spicy.

Heinz is definitely all in for this new condiment. They’ll air a commercial during the Super Bowl to drum up excitement for it.

What this means for food bloggers:   When Honeyracha hits store shelves, consumers would certainly benefit from ideas on how to use it – and recipes that put it to good use. Furthermore, Heinz’s new condiment is certainly evidence of people’s tastes these days. There are already a number of “honey sriracha” recipes available on the web, but there is still opportunity in the space.

For instance, we searched Google for something we think would be delicious: “honey sriracha soup.” We found no results! How about a honey sriracha bagel? Would you be totally opposed to a honey sriracha lasagna? We’re not putting a lot of effort into these brainstorms; instead, we’re trying to show that there is certainly a chance for food bloggers to jump in and benefit from some sweet and spicy ideas!

Pies at Petaluma Pie Company
Mini-pies at the Petaluma Pie Company

THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR MINI!

Anything that is good can be made . . . smaller?

This is not necessarily an emerging trend, but rather something that we’ve observed and that can be a helpful reminder to you: when in doubt, go smaller!

There is something fun and inherently interesting about smaller foods – or foods that are smaller than expected.

We’re not talking about tiny or miniature food. That’s totally different – and not really related to food blogging. Miniature food does not work for family dinners or for entertaining!

On a recent trip to Sonoma, some of the Eats Index staff happened upon a small cafe, the Petaluma Pie Company. The Pie Company sells full-sized pies and – if you are looking just for a one-time dessert for yourself – a mini-pie option. We thought this was way more fun and memorable than their selling slices of a larger pie.

And it’s a reminder to us all: sometimes smaller makes for more fun and interest. If you’re ever stuck for a new recipe to create, how about putting a “small spin” on a dish?

What this means for food bloggers:   Many good things have already been made small by inventive chefs and bloggers. But we feel there is still more to explore along the little frontier.

Just some quick ideas from us: One popcorn shrimp served in a very small bowl of popcorn (as an appetizer.) For dessert, a bowl with mini, bite-sized scoops of ice cream, five different flavors. A shot of tepache to start off a Mexican meal. Mini souffles. Bite-sized empanadas, tacos, or enchiladas. Surely some of these have been done before – but surely you are creative, and can put your own tiny take on recipes.

Take a mini-moment to let us know what you think about this idea!


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