My family spent a wonderful weekend with friends and while we were making pancakes for our large crew Sunday morning, I was reminded of this story.
Originally posted on Momlogic.com April 15, 2010
Mom, baker, blogger ... rabble-rouser? Apparently so.
When Minnesota's Amanda Rettke blogged about the adventurous task of baking rainbow pancakes for her children, the colorful recipe took off and was soon posted around the Web on various cooking sites.
And it's no wonder -- these things are fantastic! But what happened next was a big surprise: Amanda's blog received more than 500,000 hits -- and a ton of negative comments, ranging from "Gross!" to "You shouldn't be allowed to procreate if you're going to feed your kids junk!"
WTF?! Last we checked, this mom Just. Made. Pancakes. Turns out, there is a definite dark side to mommy blogging ... and poor Amanda walked right into the middle of it.
We sat down with Amanda to talk about her life as a mommy blogger ... and whether or not she'll make recipes like the infamous rainbow pancakes ever again!
momlogic: Tell us more about how your pancake blog-entry became so popular.
Amanda Rettke: I made the pancakes in October of 2009, and in February of this year they were featured on Swiss-Miss.com. Then it snowballed, and every food site from Slashfood.com to ohdeedoh.com had the picture up. I even saw them on The Insider!
ml: Can you share some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comments?
AR: Meanest comments? "Food for people with no self-respect." "This is just GROSS!" "This woman should not be allowed to procreate." Nicest comments? Lots of folks mentioned that they were inspired to make these for their own children. Anytime someone tells me they are inspired, I get all sappy and smiley.
ml: What inspired you to make these pancakes?
AR: I was inspired by my kids! I had just made a rainbow cake for some friends, and the kids were obsessed with it! When they woke up that morning, they kept asking for rainbow cake -- to which I said no. But then I said, "How about pancakes?" The kids asked, "Can they be blue and green and red, Mom?!" [And I said,] "Well ... sure! We can make rainbows!"
ml: What is your response to the rainbow-pancake haters?
AR: At first, I was mortified. I had no idea that pancakes would inspire such mean in people! When folks started talking about what a horrible mom I was, I really started to feel lousy. But then I blogged about it in my series Things Successful Bloggers Do, and the feedback was thoughtful and encouraging and supportive! I started to put things back in perspective and understand that who I was as a parent was not represented in a picture of silly pancakes.
ml: Will the negative feedback discourage you from writing about your baking?
AR: No. I write and bake for a very specific audience, and this is people who love to consume massive amounts of sugar and/or give away massive amounts of sugar. I'm kidding. If anything, the feedback about these pancakes motivated me to be more educated! I want to make sure my kids have the best possible diet and are exposed to the proper ways to maintain a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.
ml: What's funny is, you really limit your kids' sugar to begin with!
AR: Yes, I do! I am big on making sure their "core fuel" is healthy. My husband shot a buffalo, and that has been our main source of meat for about two years. As I am sure you know, buffalo is very lean and healthy, and (since my husband shot it) free from the chemicals, additives and hormones that are in the meat bought at the grocery store.
We also make sure the snacks and extras are as organic as possible. Like ketchup -- my kids love ketchup! But if you don't get it natural or organic, the main ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar! Not tomatoes!
For snacks, we do all-natural or organic peanut butter and snack crackers. We also have plum trees in our backyard, so we make our own jelly! My husband is an amazing gardener, so we have a large organic garden that allows us to can veggies and fruits for consumption all year long. I also make them smoothies about five times a week.
Around holidays and birthdays (and anytime they go to Grandma's house), I supplement their diet with probiotics and vitamins. And no, 90 percent of the time they don't eat what I bake. When they are good helpers, though, an occasional mixer spoon does get licked clean.
ml: What's the inspiration for your daily blog, and how does it fit into your daily life as a stay-at-home mom?
AR: My blogs are about baking and being a mommy, so 99 percent of my inspiration comes from loving to eat sweet things and from the experiences as a mom and wife. I live in a small town outside Minneapolis-St. Paul with my husband and three kids and am a stay-at-home mom. I am an avid amateur photographer and baker and love that my kids enjoy hanging out in the kitchen with me!
ml: You're a pretty successful baker, from the looks of it. How many cookies and cakes do you think you baked last year?
AR: Ha! Thank you. I suppose I have made upwards of two thousand cookies this year. I mostly bake for friends and family, but I have also made cookies for church functions, weddings and some Internet orders.
ml: What advice can you give moms who may be receiving negative comments about their blogs, yet really enjoy and believe in what they are writing?
AR: Check the source. If the comment is from an anonymous source just being mean, don't give it too much credibility. If you are writing about your family and your kids, there is no better reliable source than you!
We want to know: What do you think of these pancakes?