corn, summer squash + zucchini fritters + a mini-rant on blogger trust

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This week I experienced the sort of rage that keeps you up pacing at night. The kind of rage where you pound out tweet after tweet, because you have to let the world know about your disappointment. I have to talk to you about blogger responsibility, trust and how a betrayal of that trust can be devastating.

And yes, we’ll get to these fritters.

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through one of my favorite design and home decor sites. Vising this space is akin to getting lost in a great, old book–the pictures are coffee-table worthy, evocative and inspiring; when reading the posts, you feel as if your smarter best girlfriend is telling you about all the things you need in order to outfit your home. So when I discovered a series of photographs of an artist, which was available for purchase on Artfully Walls, I was JUBILANT. I even went so far as to do thing I rarely do: post a rave on my website even before the print arrived on my doorstep, because I made the critical error of trusting someone with whom I don’t have a personal connection, so much so that I allowed it to blind my judgment. Part of me is angry with myself for linking to Artfully Walls on this space before I received my item–something I will NEVER, EVER do again.

When I received the print, for which I’d pay $70, it was packaged in a file folder, without cardboard, and as a result, the “print” was bent and folded in places. The actual print itself was a piece of Xerox paper, of which the actual photo took out 40% of the page, while the remainder of the print-out was dedicated to Artfully Walls branding, and a Limited Edition seal, which marred the actual photo. Not only was the print on flimsy stock paper {I can’t even call this stock paper without laughing}, but I essentially spent $70 on a piece of paper I couldn’t frame and hang proudly on my wall. Heartbreaking, considering the photographer is exceptionally talented. I’ve purchased dozens of prints over the years; I have a watch. I KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS. And the time on Artfully Walls is 24-hours of WACKNESS.

Perhaps I’m still reeling from wasting $70, however, I’m starting to realize that I can’t trust bloggers whom I don’t know personally. Having worked in an agency that curried the favor of influencers with trips, product, and $, and then seeing a slew of bloggers who write sponsored post after sponsored post gushing about the things they’re paid to love, or promoting a friend’s product in an effort to do them a solid–I’ve become skeptical, suspicious.

Even the bloggers we love have the capability of being bought, influenced. They are capable of making grave errors in judgment.

I won’t disclose where I originally heard about Artfully Walls, as I’ve traded some comments with the blogger who seemed genuinely disappointed and upset on my behalf, however, I firmly believe that if you’re going to post a link to buy something, you need to stand behind what you post. Because if I trust you enough to buy the thing of which you’re promoting, trust is abandoned once that purchase is anything less than extraordinary.

How does this relate to fritters, you ask? Over a year ago I penned reviews for Medium, and I was privileged enough to receive cookbooks to review on the platform. I’ve since given up writing on all spaces, save this one, however, a kind publicist sent me Vibrant Food for editorial consideration. I love this book. So much so that I ordered it for a friend when it went on sale this week. I can’t WAIT until I give her a wrapped gift this weekend! I know what I’m about to say is controversial, but I don’t want to talk about anything on this space unless I’ve purchased the product with my own money and I can vouch for its awesomeness.

Because nothing hurts more than someone who visits your space and says: YOU SUCK.

But believe me when I say that Kimberley Hasselbrink’s book is nothing short of extraordinary. So much so, that I’ve made seven recipes out of the book, all successful, and I feel even better about recommending the book because I’ve purchased a copy. I’ve also showed this to a few friends — from novice cooks to those who have food allergies — and I can’t get over the wide-eyes and gaped mouths because not only are the photographs bold and beautiful, but the recipes are ones you want to immediately make. I’m posting one final recipe from the book because, quite frankly, you need to buy it. If there is one cookbook you need to buy this season, this is IT.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Vibrant Food {Know that I plan to purchase a few more copies as holiday gifts!}
2 small ears of corn, husks and silk removed
1/2 cup grated zucchini {or green squash}
1/2 cup grated yellow squash
1/2 to 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced.
5 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS
Using a sharp knife, slowly slice the kernels off the corn on the cob. Add the zucchini, squash, jalapeño, green onion, basil, cilantro, and salt. Add the egg and mix until evenly combined. Add 1/4 cup of flour, mixing again until combined. My batter was on the wet side, so I added a tbsp at a time from the remaining 1/4 cup of reserve flour until the mixture was moist. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and using a 1/4 cup measure, drop 3-4 fritters into the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes a side until the edges are brown, and flip to cook for another 4 minutes. Place the fritters on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat twice more with remaining batter, using an additional tbsp of oil between each fry.

Serve the fritters warm. DELICIOUS!

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14 thoughts on “corn, summer squash + zucchini fritters + a mini-rant on blogger trust

  1. yay!! i’ve been anxiously awaiting this recipe ever since you Instagrammed it. Just pinned it and can’t wait to make it.

    Also, BTW, this is one of my favorite posts you’ve ever done. I totally agree about blogger trust. I know people have mixed feelings about freebies and sponsored posts. I happen to feel these things are usually ok as long as the sponsorship is disclosed, they are “on-brand” for the blogger, and–and this is key–the blogger HAS PERSONALLY TRIED THE PRODUCT AND ACTUALLY DOES TRULY LOVE IT. Sometimes it is so, so obvious (and should be embarrassing for the blogger) when this is clearly not the case. But sometimes it’s not apparent until the reader follows through on that trust as you did, buys the product, and then is totally let down. If the blogger doesn’t truly know and love the product they’re pushing, that one-time sweet payment just isn’t worth it in the end.

    Great post, Felicia! :)

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa! First off, these fritters were bananas. They were creamy and crunchy all at once, and the jalapeno just clinches the flavor. I know you and the fam will love it.

      I don’t mind sponsored posts or collaborations with brands, as you’ve mentioned above, when they truly feel authentic, and when I’m told by the blogger that they’ve tried the product and their integrity backs up everything they’ve posted. For example, before I met Grace Atwood of Stripes and Sequins, I tried most of the items she’d posted with great success, which is one of the reasons I sought out her friendship, as she writes from a place of honesty. I dare say that most bloggers fail to follow suit because they’re blinded by the blogging as a job, and with that comes some tough choices when your sole source of income comes from the brands and advertisers with whom you collaborate.

      In the end, to gain my trust I need to believe that you’ve tried every single thing you’ve posted on your site. For me, trust is elevated when you’ve actually purchased the item because there’s risk associated with departing with your discretionary income, more so than the risk of “kind of liking something,” because you got it for free.

      I can go ON and ON about this. I’m just so angry that I spent $70 on a printout of a photo, but thankfully encountering books like Kimberley’s really made my day.

      xo

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  2. Sorry the product didn’t end up how you’d expect – I hate that sort of thing (obviously). Also, I can almost feel your disappointment :(. However, these are wonderful looking fritters, so must have cheered you up to a certain degree :)

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  3. Hmmm…just this week a good friend advised me to remember not to truly trust those around us until they’ve proven themselves. It seemed a bit harsh, but it just might be true.

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  4. Hi Felicia! Can’t you return your piece of paper or do they have a ridiculous “no return policy” too?
    FYI – Tried and true … I have purchased a few Andrew Wyeth prints from Fulcrumgallery.com, both framed and unframed (which are shipped rolled in tubes). I’ve never been disappointed with the quality/weight of the print paper; granted they’re not originals but who can afford that? :)

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  5. These fritters look like pure heaven. I gotta try this!

    Thank you for the kind words about my site. Reader trust is so, so so important and it is something you can lose so easily with just one post. II’m really happy that you’ve found + loved products from my blog.

    happy weekend!!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh that stinks Felicia! Really. And like Grace said above, it only takes one time for you to the distrust any future product plugs (whether sponsored or not).
    I hope this doesn’t come across as wrong, but I’ve found that I tend to trust bloggers who did this as a side project more than those who do this as a living. I just feel like the ones who don’t depend on it are more apt to only recommend products they actually use. I know that’s not 100% true, but I get that general feeling.

    These fritters look completely yummy. I really might give these a go- I’m looking for ways to eat more vegetables…the never-ending journey for me.

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