Sunday, 2 January 2011

Of food, comments and nostalgia


Porridge+nostalgia
Image by Artist Xiong

As you might have already noticed, I don't get a whole lot of comments on London Chow. Some say that the number of comments on a site is directly correlated to the number of readers the site has got. If that's true, my entire audience would consists of a grand total of two. And that's the very reason why I get a bit excited whenever I get a comment; the next comment would mean that my audience has increased by a whopping 50%!

Wife has warned me to leave the Little One out of my posts. In fact, I suspect she would very much prefer me not to mention her at all in the posts. I find it difficult to comply really. Firstly, I almost never eat alone. Secondly, it would be odd to just write about the food and ignore the company you're with. After all, the food placed on your table is really just part of the entire dining experience, isn't it?

The best meal that I had was at a porridge stall in Chinatown back home when I was a kid. Every now and then after Dad knocked off work, he would bring Mum and I to that particular stall perched on the side of the road just beside an open drain. By all accounts, it wasn't the most exalting dining experience but I loved it. I remembered balancing on a high stool sipping the piping hot porridge while Dad recounted to Mum about that happened at work that day. I brought Wife there years later and would have brought the Little One as well if not for the fact that the stall is no longer there after a government initiative to clean up the local hawkers' act.

How often do we go back to the same place over and over again trying to capture the nostalgia long gone only to leave disappointed even though the dishes are exactly the same? That's why I do place quite a bit of emphasis on things other than the food itself.

Fine, what's the point of me sharing all that, you might ask. Well, my review on Ottolenghi received its first comment (yes!) sometime back. It was made anonymously. Anonymous commentators are really wildcards, you never know what you're going to get. Unlike some, I do publish all comments (like I said, I don't get alot of that). This particular one found the term Little One "sickly saccharine" and asked what was wrong with the word "baby". I left that one unanswered. I am still thinking of a smart reply. Meanwhile keep the comments coming and here's wishing you a sumptuous year ahead!

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7 comments:

Glotoncito said...

Nice site...have enjoyed your reviews via my RSS for some time now, but never commented previously.

Mentions of your 'Little one' are helpful for those of us who do eat out with younger family members...so please keep doing it!

Most of the food blogging community seems to have migrated to Twitter as their primary platform - where they interact with each other and readers, so this may be another way of increasing/ more accurately assessing your readership...

Kavey said...

I don't mind mentions of dining companions, where it's something that might prove relevant to my dining experience or is an entertaining story.

Relevant could be something the diner felt or experienced or simply, as per the previous comment, a reflection on shared circumstances and how the restaurant might handle them.

Of course, it's not like we're going to be dining with your companions, so there's a balance. In a restaurant review, I'm still more interested in the food and ambience and service than what you were talking about over dinner! ;)

Entertaining is a far wider brief and for me, I rather like reading personal thoughts and memories and life stories. I like posting them too - I just reviewed my year of blogging in a farewell to 2010 post and there were a couple in which I really took free rein to meander down memory lane - one about drunken vodka memories and one about childhood visits to Sweden.

Unless you're looking for a career in food, a book deal, some journalism work, or the like, I'm a firm believer in writing for your own enjoyment!

Krista from Passport Delicious said...

I'm pretty sure the number of comments you get aren't related to the number of readers you have. Here are some of my thoughts on that...

1. If I write up a restaurant, a meaningful comment is going to be when someone else has been to that restaurant. Let's say I have 50 readers. The chances of one of those 50 having been to that restaurant are probably slim. Like less than 5%. So MAYBE I'll get 2 comments. Maybe. This doesn't factor in that most people are inherently lazy.

2. When I left London and wrote my goodbye post, I got 80 (I think) comments out of the blue, many from long-time lurkers who just had never got around to commenting before. Figure that my average post gets 1 to 6 comments and well, 80 is an awful lot.

Regarding the baby comment--that person has obviously not read any Mommy Blogs!!!

Tourists from LA said...

Chow, your site is very nice. It's a wealth of information. People might be nitpicking a bit much when certain posts mention circumstances outside the food itself. Mentioning your family, your activities and information about the area is greatly appretiated and required in many cases to give the review its proper perspective. I lurk and visit your site literally everyday. Please keep up the good work. Thank you for your work and have a great year ahead.

C K said...

@Glotoncito,
Thanks for your first comment! I'm on Twitter as well so do catch up there.

I have come to realise how difficult to get a decent meal when you have a screamer in your arms. Always on the lookout for a decent place. Any recommendation on your end? :)

@Kavey,
All so true. For me, it's also about documenting the restaurants that I've been to. I don't know about you but I do get reminded of them by reading through my own reviews. Heheh..

@Krista,
Thanks for that. Talking about the Mummy Blogs, which Wife is a fan of, the list of words to replace the b word just go on and on.

@Tourist from LA,
Thanks! Have always appreciate your insighful comments. Hope that you have had a good countdown and all the best ahead. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

i know this is a comment on a really really early post, but juts wanted to let you know that your site's the sole thing we turn to whenever we come down to visit in London for good food, it being extremely coherent and reliable. Really appreciate it, and do keep posting!

Cheers

London Chow said...

@Anon,
Thanks for your kind words. Will keep on posting so long that I eat :)

Like I've always maintained... so much food, so little time to write about them...