Zeb Bakes Lectures (in which the real me says it how it is)

 Food Blogging doesn’t make you Fat

What makes you fat is what you eat and how much of it you eat, whether you exercise, your genetic inheritance, your lifestyle, whether you smoke, whether you drink, your age, your biochemistry, your mental state, your state of health and your sedentary nature. Sitting in front of a computer or a screen is no exercise. Now you are all clever, smart people, and you are literate or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

There is a paradox at the heart of this food blogging lark and it hinges on the uneasy relationship that many people have in the developed wealthy countries of this world with food. It is mixed up with how they see their lives, issues to do with control, with social history, how their country has developed, how food production has altered beyond belief, the way food has been reified, commodifed and now is both a joy and a torment for many people.

I am always concerned when people comment about their fears and worries which appear to surface just by reading a post about cake or a mention of butter or the like. That may surprise you, after all, you are just expressing your opinion. As Celia says, you can’t pick your audience, well no I can’t, but I think I can ask that you read what I write and respond to that, rather than offload your worries on to me.

I get confused. Am I supposed to stop writing about cakes and bread?

Would you rather I wrote only about thin vegetable soups and running and protein shakes? This isn’t a diet blog, nor a nutrition blog, it’s just a very ordinary sort of rambling, slightly disorganized set of posts, it reflects my pretty disorganized floppy life.

If you read the About Page you would know why I started doing it. I don’t lie, I don’t present myself to you as anything other than what I am.

So in case you haven’t figured this out yet:-

I am a slightly bossy, well meaning ex-lecturer whose chief reward in blogging is to think that you are either amused, maybe find an answer or another way of doing something that interests you and occasionally maybe are empowered to make your own bread or something like that. That’s it.

I am not trying to make a name for myself in the food world, as some people seem to think this is my motivation. I am not going to write a book as far as I know. I am not interested in fame and I teeter constantly on the edge of giving this up. Any and all of you who blog know how long this takes to do. Not just the writing of the posts but the careful answering of comments, the off scene emails to help people who ask for help with something they think I can help with. It takes a lot of time.

I am big on being polite and I am big on not pushing myself on other people. But here on this blog I can say and do as I want, because it is mine. So in short, if you read this and just reading it makes you feel fat, then do yourself a favour and just don’t read it anymore. I don’t read blogs if the blogger’s views bother me. Why would I ? You will feel better if you do something else with your time.

30 thoughts on “Zeb Bakes Lectures (in which the real me says it how it is)

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I love you and your blog to bits, and I wouldn’t want you to change a thing about it. Please don’t let other people’s comments put you off, because what you have to say is always interesting, considered and, to me at least, very wise. Not to mention thoroughly enjoyable and usually inspiring.

    As you know, I’m a big believer in personal responsibility – my blog is a diary for me which I’m happy to share with others. I try not to tell others what to do – all I offer is a window into our lives and the adventure of the day.

    I hope you’ll always find the motivation to keep blogging, if for no other reason because I know you have no other agenda other than a desire to share, enlighten, communicate and bring a little happiness to others. And you do all those things brilliantly! :)

    Much love.. xxx

  2. Jeannette

    I don’t always comment on your individual posts but I read every one of them and would really miss your views if they weren’t there for me to share. I feel as though I have made a friend even though we will probably never meet! I hope you continue blogging but that is your decision, it must take up a lot of time,only you know if it is worth it.

  3. Lynne

    I saw a Twitter this week that your post above reminded me of..a chef had posted a menu for a dinner and someone commented that it looked a bit dull…so the chef replied “don’t come then”

    …If reading about baking makes you feel fat, and you don’t want to feel fat then, as you say, don’t read it…or, better still, read it if you want but don’t wine about it…

    I do hope you don’t give up…I have learnt a lot from your posts, and I just know I can only bake sourdough because of what you taught me…..

  4. Nip it in the bud

    I feel fat every day that I read your blog but that’s due to my bun in the oven not yours {grin}

    I also find it bizarre when people write a negative comment on a post they don’t like rather than just walking away. Do you remember that fab ‘A-Z in August’ we both took part in? I recall Suzy the originator being lambasted by one commenter who said they were only interested in her gardening posts and she should just stick to that (the cheek – it turned our Suzy’s A-Z was a tactic for posting every day while she went on a road trip and she wrote them all in advance – how dedicated is that)

  5. Andrew

    I have always found that people who moan aren’t getting much out of life. Better to spend time and energy on those, like you who are getting everything out of life.

    Your blog is a joy and an inspiration…if only I had time to read it all.


  6. heidi

    Oh Joanna- I do love you dearly! ( And quote you often!)
    You have spoken right to the point, given me a chuckle, and hopefully gotten the load off your own chest? Commenters and readers are expressing their own views- and more often than not- problems- which have very little to do with you. But isn’t that always the way with people? I very rarely can keep a line of conversation going without someone hijacking it to follow their agenda. Most people can’t say anything without complaining or whining.
    Please don’t quit- I would miss you. I appreciate your wit and charm and didactic ways- I love your research and point of view. And I consider you my friend.
    At least you get comments- I find myself ignored most of the time- and that’s alright- because I like to keep some sort of track of what I’m doing and blogging helps me to see where I’ve been and track where I might be heading.
    I like your point of view- THANK YOU for sharing! :)

  7. Suelle

    I don’t comment on your posts as much as I’d like to, because I’m not a bread baker, but I do find them all interesting, and enjoy reading them. I don’t always read all the comments, either, if it’s not a topic on which I feel able to pass comment, so I’m not sure what sort of negativity you’re referring to.

    Some disagreement between blog writers is inevitable, and, while I don’t think people should be rude or insulting, I wouldn’t expect people to agree with me all the time. I do agree with you though, that blog readers shouldn’t just read baking blogs so that they can complain about feeling fat! LOL!

  8. Anne

    Hi Joanna,
    I’ll just write to say that I enjoy reading your blog and hope you carry on just the same. Anne

  9. ceciliag

    Oh I do understand, and i do hope that I have not said anything flippant in my comments that is misunderstood. I am terrible at that.
    Oh and I am not fat!! ha ha ha. I am so glad you had a rant. I love the rants. I love your fire. You get to let a bit of yourself out and bang on things with a stick. And you have set us right here. You are right. Our comments have impact and we need to make sure they are NOT personal, poor me, I am so fat, weepies!!
    I have a starter in the fridge and bread rising beside my woodstove because of you and your lovely blog and amazing help through the email.
    So thank you.. love celi

  10. Debra Kolkka

    I am chubby because I love food, and it is because I love food that I love your blog. I love butter and I love cake and I love bread with lashings of butter. I find your posts witty and fun. I hope I have never left a comment that would bother you or be critical.
    Keep on blogging!!!

  11. hotlyspiced

    Oh, I wasn’t aware you were receiving so many negative comments Joanne. I’ve had some comments that are like a slap up the side of the head but they’re always from Mr Anonymous and that takes away their credibility. What’s great about blogging is that the blogger can write whatever they like and if the reader doesn’t like the content they don’t have to keep reading.

  12. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna I’ve just eaten sourdough toast with my favourite lime marmalade on it, crumbs flying off onto the screen and fingers still sticky as I tap away at the keyboard. What’s that got to do with your post?
    Plenty, sometimes I just have to comment immediately. Your blog, your posts, your comments- all are loved. Every little scrap of it!

  13. Bob Colman

    Well, I LOVE your blog and would be most upset if you stopped, particularly if some moron was the cause. Personal responsibility is what it’s all about as I’ve lectured my children, now all just out of their teens, over the years. People can be very disappointing I’m afraid and sometimes it’s difficult not to take it personally however your thoughts brighten up my day and I would miss you a lot so DONT STOP!

  14. Rose

    Hi Zeb Bakes/Joanna,

    I’m a brand new follower, like two days ago, who has been trawling through and loving your archives. This is my first comment: please keep going! BTW, I came via the lovely Celia’s blog.

    As an aside, I have a shoodle — a shiitzu poodle cross — whom we call Big Bill, he thinks he’s about the same size as Zeb. We don’t disabuse him of this notion. ;)

    New Rose

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi New Rose, what a grim post of mine to come in on but thank you anyway! Big Bill sounds delightful, I bet he’s braver than Zeb, all the shitzu’s I have met are feisty little souls :)

  15. Joanna Post author

    I could go through and answer each and every one of you but I have kind of said what I wanted to say and you have interpreted it in your own individual ways which is as it should be. Sorry to burden you with my outbursts, I will try not to do it again in the near future.

  16. Ann Hall

    Joanna, please don’t even think of giving up your delightful and helpful blog. I don’t very often comment but read all of your posts – always have a look at yours and Celia’s first thing to see if there is anything new. I appreciate that blogging must be very time consuming and thank you very much for your hard work and sharing your expertise. Love hearing about Zeb too!
    If reading about baking makes you feel fat – surely the answer is just to stop reading.

  17. Sincerely, Emily

    I have enjoyed reading your posts. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your posts. I keep coming back because I want to, not one is forcing me to sit and read your posts. I love your detail, I love your explanations, it is fascinating to me. If you are here, I will continue to come. No fear of butter by the pound or sugar by the kilo, bring it on. Thank you for everything you share. Sincerely, Emily

  18. ninopane

    Dear Joanna
    As you rightly say this is your space and we who are lucky enough to enjoy your excellent blog need to respect that. We should be thankful for the fact that you take the time and effort to write this and we would all be poorer without it!

    Love, light and happiness.


  19. C

    I think you make very valid and relevant points. I’m thinking now about the comments I make not just on your blog but on others. I quite often wonder why I’m doing my blog and what is keeping me going. Until I figure out what does keep me doing it I’ll carry on, and then perhaps some time I’ll stop if I work out that I don’t want to do it.

    I love your blog though, your musings on life and bread and the garden and just the world at large. You do inspire me to bake (and I am not simply saying this for effect) and I love to read about your adventures. Echoing everyone above, I would love it if you continue and until you stop I’ll be following you every step of the way!

  20. Kenneth Bird

    Dear Joanna

    Last year a period of bad health meant that I stopped baking. You kindly emailed me asking how things were going – you had previously given me help via email. I never got round to replying because that was the way of things at the time but now I just can’t let this blog post pass.

    I really enjoy Zeb Bakes. I learn from it and am entertained by it. I don’t read every post but I read most. I often don’t read the comments because of time limitations so I was shocked to read your post. There will always be the bullies, the blame shifters, the do-downers. Fortunately you are not one of those. Your giving and sharing shines out and is an inspiration. If you are able to do so please keep on blogging, no Zeb Bakes would indeed be a sad, sad loss.

  21. Joanna Post author

    Thank you one and all for your kind comments. I need to practise being more understanding and more tolerant. As I said in an email recently I am a big grown up person, and should be able to deal with stuff better than I do sometimes. Blogs are funny things, quasi journalistic, I guess because they are published, open to anyone to read, but, unlike a newspaper, very personal. They are different from forums and message boards, Facebook or Twitter, all of which rumble on whether one individual is active there or not. Blogs are personal and different bloggers deal with issues in different ways. Some simply don’t allow comments and have no contact forms. The stuff that prompted this post has come via the contact form, which you don’t see of course. Some bloggers don’t reply to all comments, especially those who get loads. Some write long and elaborate codes of behaviour, defining what they will and will not have on their blogs. I have never wanted to do that, I still don’t. This is a small blog, with a small readership, I am happy for it to stay that way too.

    After a little thought and a chat with Celia….

    I have removed the contact form this morning as anything that anyone wants to say can easily be put in a comment anyway. My comment policy is as follows. I reserve the right to remove any comments without explanation, though to date I have never had to do so. I moderate people’s first comment i.e. I read it, see if you are ‘real’ and not spam and then after that you are welcome to comment without being moderated. If you put a hyperlink in your comment it will be held until I have checked that the link works. I have turned off comments on posts older than 180 days, so if you have a question about an earlier post. If you have commented previously and change email address then the WordPress software treats you as if you are a ‘new’ commenter and once again holds your comments. I get on average between 30 – 60 spam comments a day, 99.99% of which are held in a folder by Akismet, very occasionally a nice human being gets caught up in there by mistake. I scan them all and will rescue you if you are in there.

  22. Jean

    I wasn’t aware of some bad vibes from whomever for your blog, Zeb.

    Honest, I did casually ask a prolific food blogger who tends to eat and review alot different Asian restaurants….

    The guy (it’s a food blogging team of hubby and wife) admitted he used to bike but for various reasons was gaining abit or whatever. His wife looks fine from recent photos.

    I am acutely aware that for Asian restaurants if one eats several times per wk. in these places, it wouldn’t take much to pack on weight. Unless one undertook a regular exercise activity. So that’s why I asked…since restaurant food certainly is not under as much control as the baker/cook at home.

    Which brings me to my next point…difference with you is that you are in control of whatever you want to make and eat. Maybe that’s what people may be forgetting.

    Hope you continue to find your creative impulse in the things you bake and ….blog. :D

  23. Barbara

    I have been out of the email world for a while and not seen your recent blogs until now.
    But you know that i love them. Keep on, please!


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