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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 6/10/2014

COMMENTARY

There’s 
more to like on Facebook

BY MARY BILYEU
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

Have you liked The Toledo Blade Food Page on Facebook yet?

If not, then consider this an invitation ... but one with no gift required.

I try to post an odd and eccentric little assortment of items on the Facebook page. I offer that day‘s Dinner Tonight recipe, articles from my colleagues about gardens or other food-related topics, and promotions of local events (from the farmers’ markets to fundraisers). I share quotes, cute cartoons, and pictures of whatever cookbooks or food samples have been sent to me for review so that you can learn about these new items, too.

Virtually everything I eat or cook gets photographed, so of course I show those off. If a dish looks good, you may go to the restaurant and enjoy it yourself; I hope I‘ve helped to promote a local business. And you may call me a tease, but if I show you something wonderful that I’ve made, you‘ll be enticed to look up the recipe when it’s printed. Shall we call it an investment in job security?

I share photos of classes I take (learning to prepare Greek stuffed grape leaves), as well as projects I’m involved with (making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or soup, or delivering Mobile Meals, to help feed those in need). You might want to do these, too, once you learn about the opportunities.

And in an utterly random moment, I even once put up a photo I‘d seen of a bunny wearing a pancake as a hat. It‘s a difficult look to pull off. A dog would try to eat the pancake, and a cat would be plotting revenge for the humiliation. But the bunny was a supermodel, combining cuteness with nonchalance. He was quite debonair.

I used to post the Jam du Jour, songs with some tangential relationship to food (song title, a lyric, band name, etc.). I still do so occasionally, but realized that very rarely would anyone comment upon the tunes. This was something to like, but not something to engage with.

And so, now we have the Silly Question of the Day every Saturday morning. I ask about profoundly important matters, wondering whether you like brownies with or without nuts, what kind of potato salad you prefer, which one food that the picky eater in your life refuses to touch makes you the most frustrated, or what was the worst thing you ever ate. Everyone chimes in with preferences, stories, memories, laughter.

I like to think we’re building a community, building friendships. Even if we don‘t all get to share a meal together, those of us on the Facebook page are still bonding over food.

Those who, like me, have their brains swirling with food notions all day long can stop by the Facebook page and spend a few moments engaging with like-minded people. Their family members and friends are tired of the obsession with recipes, party plans, and dinner suggestions during the morning coffee ritual. Fans of the page have also asked me questions, shown off pictures of their own creations (such as a beautiful rainbow-striped loaf of bread), and told me about family cookbooks. They know that I“m interested, that these things really matter to me and to others in the group.

Hi. I‘m Mary, and I’m an enabler of fellow food fanatics.

When I write for the paper, it‘s one-sided. You’re always invited to comment on an article, to send me an email in response, or to chat with me in person. But still, I essentially deliver a monologue.

But when I post on the Facebook page, I’m encouraging communication. We can all chime in. You can respond immediately, we can converse, and others can join in the conversation. It‘s interactive.

My friend Teresa Stebbins once wrote, “Thanks for the time you put into the FB page. It’s such a fun venue. I like reading everyone’s comments and being a part of that.” You should be a part of it, too. Just go to this site and like the page: facebook.com/thebladefoodpage.

So, grab a snack and join the party.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at 
mbilyeu@theblade.com
 or 419-724-6155 or on Twitter @foodfloozie.



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