Most of you, I imagine, know enough to look for recipes at Epicurious, restaurant reviews at Chowhound and notes on culinary technique at Bittman’s spot at the NYT. So rather than write up the big names, I’m going to showcase a few smaller foodie blogs that highlight my particular food soft spots in the first of a series of posts on things I read and that you might want to take a look at.
Getting foodie-theoretical. I probably first started to seriously think about food (in terms other than "I'll eat that!") in 2000, when I went back to live with my parents for a few months while my mother was recovering from a complicated surgery. My main task at the time was to put together meals for my folks that accommodated their dietary restrictions and my taste buds. And since I had nothing else on my plate all day, I spent a good amount of time raiding the cookbook section of the local libraries. As a historian, I was drawn to the works that included bits on the development of different cuisines according to region, tradition and available technologies. Suddenly, food was getting more interesting. A few years later, I was reading books like John Thorne’s Pot on the Fire, Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and over-priced culinary journals like Gastronomica. All this got me to thinking about the principles behind a good plate of food. Because of this probably overly high-minded approach to meals, I am rather fond of Cookthink’s blog, which focuses on categories of food and techniques, highlighting seasonal recipes and chefs with particular specialties. It doesn’t hurt that they have pretty pictures too. If you are a cook prone to a little experimentation in the kitchen, I'll wager that it will be worth your while to click over there.
Getting foodie-historical. If you are even vaguely interested in how different folks ate different stuff in different places and different times, go read the blog Cooked Books kept by NYPL librarian Rebecca Federman. Great stuff on history and writing about tasty things. I've talked about it before.
Comfort cravings. Panch Phoron (AKA, A Bengali Girl in the US) refers to the five-spice blend common in Bengali cuisine, the focus of choice for blogger Bangali Meye (Bengali Girl). For the most part, BM writes up typical dishes, though she occasionally puts a specific twist on a classic dish or instructs us on how to put together a Bengali-style Chinese meal. But really, the forte is recreating all the food that Bengalis grew up with and regularly crave. Perfect if you're trying to recreate something that your mother made or if you're trying to impress a Bengali friend (or anyone for that matter, I suppose).
Somewhat Slavic-esque savoring. Nami-Nami by Estonian foodie Pille isn’t exclusively Eastern European flavored, but offerings from the region are a consistent theme of the blog, as well as wonderful photography (see shot above, borrowed from here) and the impassioned pursuit of deliciousness. Yulinka Cooks is more Russia-oriented and particularly useful for the American-based cook as Yulinka offers helpful substitutions and DIY solutions when it comes to hard-to-find ingredients. Try out a few of her recipes and I bet you’ll go back for more.
Anyone else have any suggestions?
Ed. Note: While I'm in the northern country away from hot water, electricity and the internet, I'm auto-publishing a series of posts on things I read to sate my regular readers.
There's also a new poll feature up above to the right asking readers about what they like around here. Go re-live the wonders of MTBE 2008, then let your voice be heard about what you most enjoy at MTBE and help shape its future in 2009. Assuming I ever get back from the Canuckistani borderlands...