Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CHG Year 2: A Feedback Request

It’s been a year since Cheap Healthy Good officially launched, and sweet readers, I have a question: how can this blog be better?

See, we’ll be making a bunch of changes around here in the coming months, and your views, wants, needs, desires, and smartass comments about kale are most definitely needed. So, if you have a second, I’d love to read your opinions on the following:

What topics would you like to see covered?

Which articles do you never, ever want to see again?

Are there foods you want more of?

What kind of links do you prefer?

What design improvements would you make?

If there’s a single change you could make to CHG, and decreasing the frequency of Office references isn’t an option, what would it be?

I really value your input, and will to do my best to meet your needs while still maintaining the blog’s tone, style, and mission. Speaking of, on my end, I promise the following:

A new design. While Blogger’s been dang skippy for hosting purposes, there’s a real-live website in the works, with an actual logo and nifty little tabs. Oh! And fresh colors, too. Because I am the girliest girl to ever girl the girl, choosing those will be my favorite part.

Better pictures. It’s true! No longer will you ask yourself, “Is that a plum or a rock?” or “Was she being strangled by the mob when she took that photo?” Moving forward, I hereby pledge to read my camera’s manual, so CHG recipes don’t appear to have been prepared in the Bat Cave. Barring that, I will at least try different angles.

A focus on food. There are so many tangential issues related to cheap, healthy cooking that the blog’s kind of gotten away from its central theme a bit. In the future, Wednesday articles will have more of a culinary bent, though there’ll still be the occasional 50 MOST AWESOME QUOTES ABOUT KUMQUATS post.

More feedback. My commenting blows. I know it. Henceforth, I’ll respond to readers in a timely, well thought-out fashion with the unassailable wit, wisdom, and fart jokes my parents have semi-proudly come to expect from their grown children.

And that’s it. Bring it on, everybody!

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Dan said...

I'd like to see recipes available in printer-friendly versions.

Darcy Casselman said...

Here's something I've been struggling with. Maybe this is something you guys can look into.

It seems to me that there's a skill involved in cooking that goes beyond just following recipes. In fact, I'm pretty sure recipes are kind of a new thing, historically speaking.

It has something to do with making do with what you have, rather than rushing off to the grocery store for every little thing. It's something about knowing how to get good results from a variety of different foods. It's a little bit about how to know what you can and can't substitute. I don't have the full picture here; this isn't something I've ever been able to get out of a cookbook.

It seems to me that this skill, whatever it is, is the key to eating healthily and frugally. But I'm at a bit of a loss at how to even start along that path. It used to be, I'm sure, that people got this information passed to them from their mothers and grandmothers. I don't know about most folks, but while my mom's a decent cook, both she and my grandmother relied an awful lot on pre-packaged dinners, mixes and sauces. For myself, I'd rather stay away from all that salt, HFCS and preservatives.

Is there any hope? I like reading about your cooking adventures and I've subscribed to blogs like yours in the hope of maybe gleaning some of what I'm missing while skimming RSS feeds at work. Maybe while you're coming up with more great stories for the next year, you could spare a thought to my sad plight.

Best of luck! Keep up the good work.

Liz C said...

Darcy: IKWYM. I've struggled with the same issue. Check out Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything'. It's a good place to start building your repertoire.

Keeping the basics in your pantry and developing a 'play list' of things to make from them seems to me to be the key.

cherie said...

Darcy you need to just experiment - it takes time and experience - I now am well known for a pasta salad recipe that I have never eaten LOL - so it's not like I'm combining things I like [eww] [btw pasta, feta, oil packed sun dried tomatoes and halved olives plus olive oil - came up with it on a whim looking for something that wouldn't spoil at a hot block party - so no mayo [shh] based salads]

As to the real comments - I think the blog is great - I agree that sometimes you get a little down the road topic-wise but I don't think that's a bad thing - people who like food like to think about all different aspects kwim?

I can't fathom the mayonnaise aversion but I'm willing to read on anyway - inserting bits of creamy white goodness where I feel necessary ;p

I personally feel that the real key, which is something you've discussed, to eating cheap, healthy and good is to stick to some basic pantry items and to add on when it's financially feasible - say in season items or a fruits of a fabulous sale

I think it might be helpful to some readers to go back to basics on occassion - even as a monthly thing - something cheap, healthy and good to add to their repetoire that is always cheap, healthy and good - there are some standards we all have in that regard . . . it would help those starting out to have a few go-to recipies to begin

Jenny said...

Kris, I love your blog and look forward to seeing new recipes every week. I have tried about 7 or 8 of them and loved them all. I think we are palette twins or something. One thing I would like to see more of are lower-carb recipes. I skip over things like mashed potatos, pancakes, and popovers because I try to keep carbs to a minimum. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, keep up the good work. I like the links you put on here also. Joy from Perth, Western Australia.

Lazy Rani said...

i love the vegetarian posts. and would love to see more! also really like the recipes that can be made fast. cheap, healthy, good, FAST! i wish that was a day of the week unto itself!

i'd love if the mega links never again linked to something that's super duper easy to find on my own like a martha stewart recipe.

also, thanks for working with me on making mayo go away!


Kris said...

Hey you guys - thanks for writing and for the lovely words. So far, I'm hearing you'd like quicker, easily-printable recipes made with stuff around the house (rather than crazy ingredients). Also, it seems like a post or two on cooking without recipes/from scratch would be helpful, too. Excellent.

And Rani, I've been thinking about eliminating that "Untried Recipe" block. Good call.

Anonymous said...

I actually like the untried recipe block. I've tried several of them, and they were great!

One thing I would like is sticking to more seasonal ingredients. Some of the recent recipes sound yummy, but only something I would try in 4 or 5 months.

That's my input, not complaining though, I really like this site!

Anonymous said...

Just keep the Office quotes coming all night long and I'll be satisfied....that's what she said.

Love the blog btw.

Betsy said...

I love your blog and read it when I get a chance! I like your organization and that you have a day of the week for different things.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog and I seriously love it.

Kelly said...

Second the printable recipes - when I'm trying to print them at work (which is set to something wonky where all the frames print separately and only the first page's worth of text shows up), I have to copy them into a text editor.

I seriously love the blog, by the way. :)

Clea said...

I love your blog. I found it by googling "cheap, healthy" and have been reading posts by category ever since to catch up! I'd love to see more breakfast foods, and maybe sandwich ideas.

Darcy, I think this blog featured a "20 recipes from pantry staples" entry or something like that before. I know I wouldn't want to rely on my grandma's recipes (which would be based on butter and pasta, and not much else), so I stock up on beans, whole grain stuff, basic baking supplies, canned tomatoes...that kind of stuff. Then I try to think what would taste good together, and usually it does. Often, I only need a few more ingredients, and I look up recipes for the leftovers of those then. Trust your instincts!

Calidaho said...

Love the blog! I can't remember if I found you in an article that linked to your Simpson's bit or if I googled cheap and healthy recipes.

You might discuss other cooking related things like procuring cooking utensils--found anything you can't live without that is amazingly cheap? Or, are there products you think need to be expensive (Wustof anyone?) but you have found great cheap versions?

While I enjoy reading about your adventures in New York, I wish you had a California correspondent who has scouted out all the finds around here. What am I complaining about? We have fresh, local produce in season year round!

Anywho, love ya. Wanna be my best friend?