If you prefer watching videos, you can watch my video explanation of how my vegetarian blog has pivoted since the pandemic.
It’s been over a year since we have been living through the coronavirus pandemic. I have recently shared a blog post on how the pandemic has impacted my life along with the lessons I have learned.
I also wanted to also share how my vegetarian food blog has changed as a consequence of the pandemic. The pandemic has clearly impacted our relationship with food in a myriad of ways. More specifically, the restaurant industry is notorious for injustices/equity issues mirroring larger institutional injustices, which were highlighted during the pandemic. But at the same time the tenuous threads that the restaurant industry was dependent on were also revealed.
Since so many restaurants had to close and/or change their business model, it didn’t feel right for me to continue doing restaurant reviews. At the same time, I wanted to support these restaurants that had been so negatively impacted by the pandemic through take-out/dining/socially distanced outdoor patio dining, which is what I continued to do. It was a difficult dilemma – supporting restaurants in a safe way while being conscious of all the stories/reports that were coming out about employee mistreatment, racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, etc.
During the pre-pandemic days, my blog consisted of veggie-centric restaurant reviews and vegetarian (mostly vegan) recipes. Since the pandemic transformed how we eat with way more people cooking at home (especially in those early months), I shifted my focus to mainly vegan recipes from restaurant reviews. The pandemic opened the door for some people to indulge in a new hobby: cooking, which may seem intimidating at first, but it can be quite approachable. I am passionate about highlighting that you can make delicious vegetarian food without spending 3 hours in the kitchen!
So how has my blog evolved since the pandemic? See below!
- Focus more on recipes: As I stated earlier, between restaurants closing and the need to cook more, I decided to focus more on recipe creation. As a vegetarian of 15 years, I have plenty of experience making flavorful dinners on busy weeknights. I think one of the biggest obstacles to cooking healthy/vegetarian food is how so many of us are short on time for various reasons. Most of the recipes I share are less than 1.5 hours long and demonstrate how you can make a delightful vegetarian meal without spending your whole night cooking (oh and let’s not even talk about doing the dishes).
- Do more service posts featuring vegan/vegetarian take-out: Since it felt unethical to review restaurants during a freaking pandemic, I wanted to highlight that you can still support your favorite restaurants through take-out and delivery. But more specifically, it’s super important to support restaurants that are offering quality vegetarian/vegan options, so I wanted to share the plant-based spots that are doing take-out and delivery! Additionally, there are plenty of spots that aren’t exclusively plant-based but do have amazing vegetarian and vegan options so it can be helpful for families who aren’t all plant-based.
- Feature restaurants that I have had positive experiences at: While I haven’t been doing “critical” restaurant reviews, I have and still will feature restaurants that I really enjoy going to. I posted a positive review of a relatively newer restaurant in Logan Square (Testaccio)and will continue to feature restaurants that I cherish. This differs from writing reviews on restaurants I felt lukewarm about. Like I said, it just doesn’t feel ethical right now. And maybe it never was?
- Experiment with more video features on Instagram such as cooking stories, IGTV, and reels: Since I had more time to engage with others on social media because I wasn’t time sitting in my car in agony during my work commute, I decided to try some other features of Instagram that I previously avoided. I started doing way more cooking videos in my stories, IGTV videos on the pandemic, and combined my favorite music with food on the new reels feature. I even started doing cooking demos for various organizations that made me realize how much I love teaching people about vegetarian cooking! I was always scared that people were not going to watch my videos but when you’re living through a pandemic, it becomes easier to put yourself out there for rejection. But my stories and videos/reels all received positive feedback fortunately!
All in all, the pandemic pushed me to be more creative with Instagram, my blog, and engage with people in different ways through more recipes and cooking videos. Cooking has always been soothing for me and I am glad I have been able to share more tips and vegetarian/vegan recipes this past year! I hope that more of you were able to heal through your own cooking adventures. I look forward to the other changes and innovations that we can all continue to make throughout these unruly times.