Independent blogs make up one of the largest groups of online platforms; audiences from all over the world enjoy their unique personalities, eye-catching design, and compelling – often quirky – content.
Graeme Taylor, a native of Paisley, near Glasgow, is the brainchild behind Scots Larder, a popular Scottish food blog.
“I always enjoyed cooking for people – experimenting with my own recipes, and sharing them with friends,” he explains via email. “So putting them online, and writing about Scottish food in general, just seemed like a natural thing for me to do.”
Since its inception in 2011, Taylor’s blog has grown to over 3,000 subscribers.
“The reasons I do it have grown over time as well,” he explains. “Of course, I still like to share my flavours and tell the story of Scottish food. However, I have met a lot of great people through blogging, both writers and producers, and it is partly this interaction that keeps me going today.”
A Chartered Engineer by day, the scribe says that blogging makes for a great after-hours hobby.
“I work full-time so my commitment is somewhat limited. As a result, most of what I do with the blog is recipe development and then writing extra bits when I can. Thus, cooking is my main focus, and the blogging comes after. For some people it is a full-time endeavour. I guess it all depends on what you need from a career. Some people are able to make it a sustainable profession, but for me it is simply a pastime that I enjoy, and one which provides me with more opportunities.
“The joy of blogging is that it can involve whatever you want it to.”
“I have always created my own recipes – for me, one of the great pleasures of food is to see amazing produce and instantly think up recipes to create with it. I wouldn’t say that my photography is amazing – my Instagram feed certainly isn’t the most widely followed – but then again, you can’t photograph flavour. I would like to get better at that, and I would also like to improve my writing skills. It is really a matter of finding the time.”
Taylor must be doing something right; in just a few short years, he has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments.
“One big highlight for me was that I had a five-day pullout in the Scottish Daily Mail newspaper last autumn with about 50 of my own recipes published. That brought me to a wider audience. I was also involved in making a TV show for a Canadian producer, which was a really great experience. Beyond that, the biggest highlights are the people that I have met, and the things I have learned from them.”
While the rewards have been many, blogging is not without its challenges.
“As I mention, the biggest issue is time – between work, family, and my other passion for running, the hours are fairly limited. Also for 5 to 6 months of the year it is dark every evening when I get home, so photography without natural light is difficult. At times, motivation can be an issue as well. It really becomes a question of balancing priorities; of doing what I want and what I can.”
Taylor believes that blogging – and, of course, food blogging – is an important component of the contemporary cultural canon.
“It has certainly opened up a number of opportunities for people, such as myself. You can express interests, share different ideas, and perhaps in some areas, raise an awareness that was not necessarily there before. Has this widened the demographic of the audience to food matters due to younger people reading blogs? Possibly…but I would say that blogging is just one channel for communication.
“One advantage that bloggers have, however, is that there is no editorial control – generally speaking – other than yourself. Therefore, you don’t need to pitch an idea successfully to get it published; you simply need to write it. In this regard, it is possible that many niche cuisines have been given a voice of varying degrees through the medium. I think blogging will continue to play a vital role that way. Time will tell what that role is exactly, and how it evolves alongside other media like video and visual platforms.”
Whatever the case, the coming months will be busy for Taylor.
“I have some more media work lined up, and will continue to source great Scottish produce, develop recipes, and hopefully inspire more people to experiment with, and enjoy, the flavours of my homeland.”