Archive for the ‘food blogs for thought’ Category

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food blog of the month June 2009: Bitten

June 11, 2009

Plenty of weeks go by that I don’t read a word by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, who is the anchor writer on the NYT blog Bitten.

But I love this guy for being able to balance a macho swagger with an inviting, soothing you-can-do-this approach to intimidating cuisine — in his writing and on his TV shows, including Best Recipes in the World and Spain: On the Road Again, often with well-matched chef friend Mario Batali.

I first saw Bittman on PBS’s run of Best Recipes in the World. Love at first sight in this series in which he picked foods and themes and dashed around the world for the best and most interesting approaches.

I bought the recipe book and Osso Bucco is now a cool-weather staple, often served with his Risotto alla Milanese. With a chaser of cholesterol medication, of course.

But while I love and am emboldened by his recipes and food writing, I also enjoy the writing and comments he inspires. Take this post in which Tara Parker-Pope interviews Bitten (okay, it’s technically on her Well blog) about his ridiculously small kitchen. Or this one in which fellow Bitten blogger Suzanne Lenzer writes wistfully about second-hand cookware. The bonus with the latter is the vigorous stream of comments. This blog has a great audience. And yes, I realize I’m complimenting myself also there.

Enjoy and, if you’re inclined, drop a note about your fave food blog.

Denise Duguay

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food blog for thought May 2009: Pioneer Woman Cooks

May 10, 2009
Prairie Woman website
Prairie Woman website

May’s food blog of the month is so much more than a food blog: Pioneer Woman Cooks: Plowing through country life, one calf nut at a time.

Pioneer Woman, the mother site if you will, was started in May 2006. If you want to know about the author, Ree Drummond, you could start reading her hilarious posts about cooking and about the life of a former L.A. city girl who moved to a ranch and loves it. Kinda Green Acres meets Harlequin Romance (as she puts it) with four kids, no Hungarian accent and a husband referred to as “Marlboro Man”.

Here’s something dated March 26, 2009, from the Ask Pioneer Woman section of her site, in which Drummond answers a passel of questions ranging from culinary to curiously personal.

Her Confessions of a Pioneer Woman series called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, about the beginning of her ranch life with “MM”, is lovely and hilarious. There are also pages devoted to her homeschooling, photography and home and garden.

But what about the food?

She’s a regular gal, meaning there will be no snobby assumption of Cordon Bleu credentials, but her “cowboy friendly” food choices are solid.

It’s the attitude I love, flipping from playfully threatening to self-deprecating. In a recent pancake recipe, she promises to help you make from-scratch pancakes that actually taste as good as the from-the-box variety (you can admit it, homemade is virtuous, but flat). But she warns that the slightest deviation from her instructions will be met with a cast-iron frying pan to the head, but then:

“You must trust the Pioneer Woman. Please, for one moment just forget that she really has no idea what she’s doing.”

She has a great post from April called The Lost Tamale, where she starts out by admitting that she forgot to write down the recipes, so basically guesses at her method based on her trademark great food photos. It’s a great chance for her to spell out her motto for the food portion of her Pioneer Woman website: “… the greatest challenge of having a cooking/recipe website: translating my haphazard, freaky cooking into real recipes with precise measurements. It’s not usually how I roll.”

But she melds a good palate with the aforementioned photos and great, fun writing.

Plus she recently gave away five Cuisinart food processors!!!

This is not a site I go to for a quick recipe or meal idea, although I could because it has a handy monthly archive. But I go there to be amused and enlightened. Food just happens to be the top at hand.

Denise Duguay

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food blog for thought April 2009: Alltop

April 10, 2009

Like trying to choose just one favourite food, it’s impossible to pick one favourite food blog. So for the inaugural edition of food blog for thought, I present a blog that’s a taster’s menu of food blogs.

Alltop gathers, ahem, I think the kids would say aggregates, some of the best food blogs I’ve found on my own travels. And the handful of post links per each of the many blogs are poppin’ fresh.

Like 101 Cookbook’s Easter Brunch Recipes. Just what you need this weekend! Or how about the very un-holidayish Honey-buttered Popcorn at Real Food for Real People. And it’s not just recipes. Obsession with Food’s Derrick Schneider chatters on about putting a new bookcase in the kitchen and trying to decide which volumes deserve pride of place and which are there just because Schneider feels they’ve been neglected.

I love Alltop so much I will even forgive it for being so impressed with itself (“Enough to make a foodie die and go to heaven.”), because, well, the truth is a strong defense. In addition to selection, Alltop also neatly lets you get a preview of the blog post when you hold your cursor over the headline. Plus, if

you are willing to register (which I am not, but that’s just me), you can cherry pick from Alltop’s faves and set up your own page, which you can share. There’s a video extolling the virtues of Alltop (and Apple computers) and the other topics it covers. It’s like RSS “aggregation without the aggravation”. A true fondness for catchphrases with these people.

If you’ve got a fave food blog, please share. And I’ll have another one to blather on about on May 11.

— Denise Duguay

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