Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A little something to tide you over...

This blog will be quiet for the next week or so, as Todd and I are off tomorrow on yet another adventure, this time a proper, full-length vacation to Italy! I’m the only one in my immediate family who’s never been; I was supposed to go when I was 16, but the still-new war in Iraq and fear of terrorists made my school cancel the trip (I’ve never really forgiven them for that), so this one’s been a long time coming. Needless to say I am quite excited, but in the spirit of a real vacation I will not be bringing my laptop, so I will have to wait to post anything til we return next week. I’ll do my best to remember to take pictures and diligent notes! Until then, here’s something to tide you over: a compilation of some of my favorite food blogs I follow. These people are more than just foodies, they are truly great writers, and have provided enormous inspiration for more own writing. After reading through years worth of posts from their archives, though I have never met any of them, they feel like good friends to me:

Smitten Kitchen: One of the first food blogs I stumbled across, Deb writes about cooking from a little apartment kitchen in New York, now while also wrangling a toddler. She’s extremely funny and her food looks great. I like that she includes lots of details and notes in the recipes about what worked well and what didn’t, things she changed or would change next time. For beginner cooks like me, this is the beauty of food blogs: recipes in books and magazines can be fantastic, but they can also be flawed, and are almost always somewhat impersonal. Reading the recipes on Deb’s blog feels like reading something a friend would have written down for you after trying it out themselves.

The Wednesday Chef: Written by the lovely Luisa, whose multicultural upbringing (childhood spent in Berlin with an American father and Italian mother) informs her writing and provides her with a unique perspective on food and life in general. A girl after my own heart, she used to live in New York City and has now moved back to her childhood home of Berlin; like me, she loves the place she now calls home, but has never really let go of New York. Can anyone?  She also has a side blog focused on restaurants and other eateries to try (or not) around Berlin, which may end up being useful for Todd and I in the near future.

Orangette: I didn’t realize this when I first started reading her blog, but Molly actually lives in Todd’s old neighborhood of Ballard, Seattle, and her husband Brandon runs a restaurant (Delancey, a pizza joint that has garnered much praise; Brandon is a transplanted New Yorker, so this just makes sense to me) just a few blocks away from Todd’s parent’s house. I wish I’d known that over Christmas; we’ll definitely have to fit in a visit on our next trip to Seattle. Molly’s blog essays are wonderful, heartwarming (and sometimes heart-wrenching) and courageous, as is her book, A Homemade Life, which draws upon much material from her blog and which I read standing up in Borders over the course of about three days. I particularly love the story of how Molly met her husband (it was through the blog!), and be prepared to tear up when she writes about her late father.

Chocolate & Zucchini: Clotilde writes about cooking and eating in Paris. Young, cool and absolutely adorable, she offers tantalizing glimpses into French food and culture, as well as life - markets, restaurants, etc. - in and around her neighborhood of Montmartre (often in better English than a lot of Americans I know can write). Her dinner parties, late-night meals out and leisurely Sunday lunches with friends and family make me want to hop on a flight to Paris immediately to join her.

Gluten-Free Girl: Another Seattle-based blogger (Melissa of Traveler’s Lunchbox, another blog I follow, used to live there as well; is there something in the air there?), Shauna uses this site to chronicle her journey in food after being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005. This means she can’t eat any gluten, which doesn’t just eliminate the obvious suspects like bread and pasta, but a whole host of other foods as well, especially processed foods. Rather than see this as a limitation, however, Shauna dives into the gluten-free life as an adventure, delighting in researching and experimenting with gluten-free alternatives, cooking up a storm and having a blast the whole time. Her personality – bubbly, warm, full of humor and love of life – is so infectious you can’t help but leave her blog cheerful and smiling.

101 Cookbooks: This is one of the big ones, going since 2003, before blogging became the “cool” thing to do. San Francisco-based, Heidi focuses on healthy, whole, natural foods, but in a way that is not at all preachy; she is entirely genuine in her enthusiasm for eating locally and organically whenever possible, and her food reflects this – the recipes look awesome, never mind whether or not they are good for you. And as an added bonus, Heidi is a vegetarian, so I never have to worry about adjusting any of her recipes if I want to make them myself. And I definitely do, and you will too, carnivore or not.

The Amateur Gourmet: Last but certainly not least, Adam’s blog is probably one of the most well-known food blogs out there, chronicling his adventures both learning how to cook great food at home and, what is probably most fun for me, dining out in New York City, where he lives now. Adam’s blog features much hilarity (including music videos and comic strips), interspersed with some serious and well-written essays on the intersection of food, politics, health and more; he also regularly has celebrity guest features and makes a lot of other appearances all over the Internet and beyond. It was great reading through his archives and watching his appreciation for good food and his skills at making it grow: he’s definitely no longer an amateur in my opinion.

There, that should be enough to hold you over for a while. These are not the only bloggers I follow by any means; check out the list here on the site for a few more worthy reads. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to do something creative – whether in the kitchen or out - as well!

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