As I wrote yesterday , when I started Just Hungry I had no plans at all about the theme of the site, other than it would be about food. I think that you could get away with that back then, when the number of actual food blogs was probably still in the low hundreds.
The focus of this site has evolved in a rather meandering way, and it is now mainly about Japanese home cooking, healthy eating, and the occasional food related travel report. This was as much guided by what site readers seemed to want to read here, as much was what I wanted to write about. In my regular eating life, I don’t just cook and eat Japanese food, and I confess I don’t always eat healthily either! But in general, I’ve found that when I stray from my main themes too much, reader numbers tend to go down. Since I do enjoy writing about the themes that people seem to like reading, that’s really fine with me.
Nowadays there are probably thousands of blogs dedicated to food, and if you are starting a new food blog and want to built up a reader base, you probably want to focus on something specific that would garner attention. Indeed I think the reason why Just Bento has grown much faster than Just Hungry did in its early years is that the focus is much narrower. (The traffic numbers for Just Hungry are still nearly 2 times that of Just Bento on average, but Just Bento has more RSS feed readers already.) Two of the most successful food blogs out there that I admire greatly and were in existence when Just Hungry started out, Simply Recipes  and Chocolate & Zucchini , have always been quite focused, which I think accounts for their popularity to a great extent.
Still, I am quite happy to have Just Hungry remain quite general in its focus, because it gives me the freedom to go off on a tangent if I want to. It’s an outlet for me as much as anything else. For instance, I stopped doing detailed episode recaps of Top Chef after seasons 1 and 2 , when I realized that the recap posts were attracting the wrong kind of attention (as in, a disproportionate share of trolls). I was quite put off talking much about food-related TV shows after that. But when I found a show I really enjoyed recently on BBC, Supersize Me , I felt like doing detailed recaps again and quite enjoyed them - and this time, perhaps because it was about food history, not a reality show, they didn’t attract trolldom! And while I may write mostly about Japanese food or good-for-you food, I can occasionally bust out and write about something loaded with, say, butter and bacon. (I’m thinking bacon-chocolate-chip-cookies, what do you think?) That’s the beauty of having your very own stage, or blog, to shout from.
And now, today’s giveaway!
Please check the giveaway rules in the first post . Do try to remember to keep it to one comment per item/entry, thanks! (I’ve noticed that sometimes people seem to get impatient and post the same comment twice. I use a spam-preventing tool called Mollom, which sometimes can cause a short delay between the time your comment is entered and the time it appears. So please wait a bit before submitting another comment.) Remember: You need to give me your email address (in the email entry area) where I can contact you if you win, your name (or nickname), and your location (country).
Today’s giveaway is my favorite cookbook by far in English, The Way To Cook  by Julia Child. It’s the one I turn to for recipes that work. As you might expect from the great lady Julia Child, it has lots of standard French recipes, but it also has a lot of great American classics like Boston Baked Beans, New England Boiled Dinner, and more. Published in 1989, it is timeless and classic, with beautiful photographs and clear, easy to follow recipes. (I wrote about my love for this book two years ago , and my feelings about it now are exactly the same.) It’s sure to become a much-loved book in your kitchen too.
Please note this book has standard U.S. measurements in cups, ounces and so on.
DEADLINE: Your comment/entry must be posted before Midnight Greenwich Mean Time on Saturday, December 6th. (You can find out the current GMT by typing in ‘What time is it GMT’ in Google. by the way.)
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week. Check out the front page  for the open giveaways you can still enter!