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Food Blogger Tackles the Issue of Unhealthy School Lunches


She is a school speech pathologist by day and an anonymous food blogger by night, until she recently revealed her identity on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Known as “Mrs. Q” on her food blog Fed Up With Lunch, teacher Sarah Wu was ready (well kind 0f) to reveal herself and her mission to make school lunches healthier. For a year she ordered lunch from her school’s cafeteria and snapped a picture of it.

It all started when she forgot her lunch one day and had to buy one from the cafeteria. She told GMA “It was barely recognizable as food”. She found out the chicken nuggets were only 50 percent chicken, as well as a whole hosts of many other unpleasing tidbits of info about her school’s lunches.

Wu never intended for the blog to get as much attention as it did, but she hit a chord with parents. Not only was she shocked to see what the school was serving (and for some kids this was their only meal of the day) but the parents were shocked as well.

It was in December of 2010 that she ate her last school lunch. I love what she says in her post about going with your gut. She had a crazy impulse to start a blog on something she was passionate about, and now she has her own book, a successful blog and is helping her students inch one step closer to healthier lunches in their school.

Watch her interview on GMA in this video clip below.

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Is there a blog that you’ve been wanting to start but you just needed a little push? Consider this your little push. Go for it! You truly have no idea where it could lead you or what it could do for others.

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ConAgra’s Blogger Campaign Backfires, Bloggers Not Happy


Have you seen the Pizza Hut hidden camera commercials where it shows the surprise on people’s faces when they are told the pasta they are eating is from Pizza Hut and not some fancy Italian restaurant?

Well, it seemed to work okay for Pizza Hut, but ConAgra tried something very similar with a group of food and mom bloggers in NYC and it didn’t go as planned. In fact, the bloggers aren’t one bit happy about the event.

To make a long story short, several bloggers received this email from the PR company Ketchum who were handling the ConAgra blogger campaign:

We would like to invite you to an exclusive underground restaurant, Sotto Terra, with George Duran and Phil Lempert in New York City – only open from August 23-27, 2011. Please see the attached invitation for details – we hope you join us!

Most of the bloggers knew there would be a catch of some sort, but what they didn’t realize is that the four course meal they were promised was actually the Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna by Marie Callender’s, a frozen line from ConAgra. Hidden cameras were placed around the dinner, meant to capture reactions from the bloggers eating the lasagna, as well as the Razzleberry Pie, also from Marie Callender’s.

Stephanie Moritz, senior director of public relations and social media at ConAgra, told The New York Times the plan was to use these hidden camera reactions as promotional videos for YouTube and their website.

Here are a couple of reactions from the bloggers who attended the event:

From MomConfessionals: “Our entire meal was a SHAM! We were unwilling participants in a bait-and-switch for Marie Callender’s new frozen three cheese lasagna and there were cameras watching our reactions.  I’ve got a sense of humor so I was okay with it and I had been enjoying myself up until that point, but I could tell that the rest of the participants were not.  Everyone feigned weak shock and faked approval of the frozen meal.  My guests were eager to leave all of a sudden and refused to sign the release.  I felt awful!” – read the entire post here.

From Chubby Chinese Girl: “THE CATCH FOR ALL THIS!? Well apparently, our main course and dessert, the lasagna and pie came from “Marie Callender’s” FROZEN BOXED MEALS. All George did was a la Semi-homemade style of stacking the lasagna and sprinkling fresh herb, then putting the pie in individual cups and topping it with vanilla ice cream. At least that explains why it wasn’t the amazing dinner I was expecting. I had a good laugh about it. Took a while to sink in, the whole night seemed like such a long and elaborate set up. I was a bit annoyed and truly disappointed/shocked, that George would be part of this at all. Specially the misleading way he talked about “his” favorite way to make lasagna, the ingredients, sharing with family and friends bla bla bla. Oh, and were were all being filmed! (J and I walked out without signing any waver. So I better not see us in any promo video). George said goodbye to us and hoped we weren’t “upset” about this whole thing.” – Read the rest of the post here.

Moritz told the NYT, “It was never our intention to put any bloggers or their guests in an uncomfortable position and for that we are sorry”.

She also said they offered to refund the bloggers for any expenses such as cab fare and babysitting fees. You can read the rest of this very interesting story here.

Do you think ConAgra and the PR agency crossed a line they shouldn’t have or are the bloggers over-reacting? We would love to hear your thoughts on this story.

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Food Blogger Finds Support from Her Online Friends


The online world is weird if you really stop to think about it. You can become very close to someone without ever having met them in person. There are certain blogging communities that are very close and one in particular is rallying around one of their own.

I’m talking about the food bloggers, the foodies, the gals and guys who tempt us with tasty recipes and jaw dropping photos of their dishes.

Jennie, from In Jennie’s Kitchen, suddenly lost her husband at the beginning of August. He was on a bike ride and died of a heart attack. Just like that and he was gone. She recently wrote a post entitled “For Mikey” and it was about his favorite peanut butter pie.

She wrote:

As I spend Friday reflecting on the love and life that was gone in an instant, I’d like to invite all of you to celebrate his life too. Mikey loved peanut butter cream pie. I haven’t made it in a while, and I’ve had it on my to-do list for a while now.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

So what did her online friends and the blogging community do? They made peanut butter pies.

Ethan from TasteBetterwithFriends made Mikey’s peanut butter pie and gave it to a women’s shelter.

He wrote:

“I knew I was going to make this pie, but I felt like this was finally the time to give and share. Maybe, just maybe a group of people could bite into the decadent peanut butter and cream cheese frosting with a cookie, peanut, chocolate crust and forget their own pain for at least as long as it takes them to lick their plate clean.

I gave Mikey’s Pie to a women’s shelter.”

I absolutely love how the food blogging community is rallying around Jennie. There is currently a support fund for Jennie and her daughters that you can get involved in.

Do you have any stories of the blogging community supporting each other? We would love to hear them. And Jennie, I am making Mikey’s pie for someone I love and I’ll do as you said – hug them like there’s no tomorrow. Our thoughts are with you as you go through this time of healing.

Forkly iPhone App Helps You Find Food and Drink You’ll Love


A new iPhone app has joined the quickly-becoming-crowded space of food apps. It’s called Forkly and it helps you find food and drink you’ll love. Not only does it help you find new restaurants you might like, but once you’re at the restaurant, it will recommend dishes to try as well based on your own personal tastes.

Brady Becker and Martin May, founders of Brightkite, developed the new app. Forkly has actually been talked about for a year, but it’s finally here and made it’s quiet entrance into the world of apps last night.

Some are comparing this new app to another one called Foodspotting, but they say it focuses more on ratings than the actual pictures of the food, like Foodspotting does. After users note how they feel about a certain dish – like, love, okay or not for me  – Forkly creates a taste graph for each individual user, which helps in letting you know about other dishes you might enjoy.

There are many more features to this app for restaurants and bars, brands and even the media and bloggers. For bloggers in particular, you can share your tastes on Facebook and Twitter while you’re out and about. You can also embed tastes into your blog, as well as earn points when people like the tastes you post.

I can see this easily integrating into a personal, food, or travel blog really well.

Check out more of the features here and download the app at the Apple store here.

So tell us foodie and travel bloggers – how can you see yourself using this app on your blog?

ZipList Partners with Popular Southern Food Bloggers


ZipList, the leader in online and mobile grocery list and recipe box management, has partnered with four popular Southern Food Bloggers. The four bloggers have integrated fully-branded recipe boxes and grocery shopping lists into their websites.

Here’s a brief description of ZipList:

ZipList is a free online service that makes managing your grocery shopping list easier than ever. With ZipList, you can create a shopping list which is always available to you online. You can add to or delete items from your list via the web, mobile phones, text messages, email or instant messaging. You can share your list with family members or friends so they can add or delete items as well — and they can even help you shop.

ZipList also has a universal recipe box, so you can save all your food recipes in a single place — whether they are your own or compiled from other online recipe web sites.

The four Southern Food Bloggers who have teamed up with ZipList are:

As you browse each site (which I did and it made this Southern girl very, very hungry) you’ll see the different ways they have integrated it on their blogs. Deep South has theirs a little more prominent with a link to ZipList on the sidebar. On the others, you can find it under their tabs labeled “Recipes” or “Recipe Box”.

Geoff Allen, Founder and CEO, ZipList, Inc. says “By adding fully-branded, seamless experiences to these Southern food blogs we’re helping their readers engage and act on the tasty comfort foods and Cajun creations they publish online. Our partners do a fantastic job of inspiring their readers and ZipList’s partner tools make it as easy as possible to take action on their wonderful content.”

Engaging your readers is the difference between a successful blog and a not-so-successful one. Congratulations to the four food bloggers who were chosen!

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