Like most people who go gluten-free, I started researching my food options online, which is where I discovered Shauna Ahern. I poured through her memoir, “Gluten-Free Girl,” and immediately connected to the Shauna I met on the pages: the one who grew up in suburban California, reading the backs of cereal boxes and snacking on the treats of childhood, Wonder Bread, Doritos and the like. So I wondered, would the real Shauna be the same person I discovered in her book?
Shauna Ahern, founder of Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef, was as honest and raw and real in person as she is in her books and her blog. She was friendly and open, equally eager to talk to strangers and to become part of the crowd. I even changed my flight to ensure I could hear her speak.
Unfortunately, Evernote sync (which I’m writing on now, because, I guess, some people never learn) lost the first hour of my notes. I was lucky enough to have a few other bloggers send me their notes, including Chinese Grandma – which speaks to one of Shauna’s points: if you’re not blogging to create community, then what are you trying to do?
Shauna started her blog in 2005, “the Wild West,” as she says. All of her life she watned to be a professional writer (sounds familiar!). And she’s always loved food.
Which is why she didn’t let a little thing like gluten stand in her way. In fact, she said, “Once I took gluten out of my diet I discovered that a little restriction breeds creativity.”
She also takes a creative approach to blogging. Unlike other bloggers who focus on SEO, Shauna says she doesn’t do anything for SEO. Going further, she shared that creating recipes for SEO is “absurd” because the rules are constantly changing.
Here are a few other recipe writing tips from Shaua:
- Create the recipes you want to make, not what’s popular
- List your ingredients in the order in which they’re used in the recipe
- In terms of “creating” a recipe, changing a single ingredient isn’t creating from scratch – be sure to attribute your recipe to the original source
- Give credit, no recipe exists alone
- A recipe is a reflection of who you are
- Don’t write your recipe from memory
- Approach recipe writing as a craft
As a writer, I understand, and even need, the isolation that comes with writing. And that’s why I’m thankful for the community and friendship of blogging.
Disclosure: This post is part of a series of posts on my experience at IFBC which I attended on a reduced blogger rate that requires three posts about the conference.
Thanks, Lisa – I have not been a huge fan of Shauna, for a variety of reasons, but your post made me re-consider this. These are terrific suggestions for beginning to seasoned food bloggers.
Lisa Dearen says
Thanks – she was really a joy to meet in person!