Mmm! Good enough to blog

Five delicious must-read food blogs

Rhubarb tart with lemon verbena. Kohlrabi salad. Baby barracuda. Mouth-watering recipes are just a mouse click away thanks to the blogosphere. Once the domain of cooks sequestered in their kitchens with a laptop, a camera and raw ingredients, independent food blogging has gone mainstream, leading to book deals and the 2009 hit movie “Julie & Julia.”

“With food blogging, we get an intimate view of people’s eating lives every day of their lives,” said Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine. “When you see all the interest in the food blogging of individuals who just pop up and follow their passions, mainstream media also joins the fray.”

Indeed, the quick, easy and informal blog format has taken hold on the websites for national publications like The New York Times, Bon Appétit and GQ.

“We’re all food bloggers now,” said Pete Wells, dining editor of The New York Times. “Almost everybody who writes about food now blogs.”

The Times blogroll casts an unofficial seal of approval on independent bloggers such as Clotilde Dusoulier, the Parisian gourmand behind Chocolate and Zucchini, and Luisa Weiss, mastermind of The Wednesday Chef. These women engage their readership with food-related narratives and storytelling techniques, garnering comment counts in the triple digits and cultivating a community of loyal fans.

Although the majority of bloggers write in relative anonymity, independent bloggers can develop huge followings leading to guest columns (like Molly Wizenberg’s “The Cooking Life” for Bon Appétit) and even publishing contracts for a lucky few. Dusoulier has several books in print and Weiss has inked a book deal with Viking Press for a food-infused memoir of her life in Berlin.

Cowin emphasized that success is often predicated on the blogger’s individual approach.

“The level of credibility depends on the level of expertise of the individual,” Cowin pointed out. That said, “The sheer enthusiasm from the food bloggers and their deep interest means that they know a huge amount about the subject, so I think the food bloggers deserve a lot of respect.”

“We exist at this nexus of community and authority,” said Ed Levine of Serious Eats. “Old media bestows information on its readers. We tend to think that our opinion is valuable and should be valued as such, but it’s also not the final opinion.”

Need to Know checked in with Levine, Dusoulier and Weiss, in addition to two more food aficionados who have established unique, creative voices online:

Ed Levine

Ed Levine

Ed Levine
Blog: Serious Eats
Blogging since: 2006
Location: New York
About: Recipes, reviews and how-to techniques, plus an aggregation of posts from popular food blogs like Slice, A Hamburger Today, Serious Eats: New York, and Photograzing

What first inspired you to start your blog and how has it evolved?

“That voice I had developed in books and magazine articles and newspaper features was sort of made-to-order for the web and blogs because I was starting conversations with those stories and those books before people even understood what a food blog was. I thought if we sort of took that conversation writ large and created the biggest food enthusiasts’ cocktail party you’ve ever gone to, that you could expand and sustain the conversation in an online publishing model.”

What was the transition from print to online like for you?

“It was an entirely liberating experience because I will never run out of ideas for things I want to write about … What I brought to Serious Eats was the discipline and the reporting experience and the reporter’s chops that I had developed at the Times and at Gourmet [Ed. RIP] and in writing my books, and the authority that resulted from writing for those publications. I sort of married that with the community aspects of blogging and starting conversations on the Web.”

How do you think blogging will continue to evolve?

“I think what you’re going to see is a blurring of the lines between the food media … My own personal hard drive is filled with ideas for what I would like to do with Serious Eats. It’s going to include other media besides a blog post, beside text and a photo … The blogosphere is not going away. It doesn’t mean that every blog will continue to exist and flourish … but I do think you’re going to see more publishing vehicles with blogs at their center.”

Clotilde DuSoulier

Clotilde Dusoulier
Blog: Chocolate and Zucchini
Blogging since: September 2003
Location: Paris
About: Recipes, reviews and bon mots from Paris

What first inspired you to start your blog and how has it evolved?

“I created Chocolate & Zucchini seven years ago as a place where I could document my culinary pursuits, and share my passion with like-minded cooks. It has quickly become a very important part of my life, and now I couldn’t imagine cooking without the possibility of writing about it and discussing it with my readers.”

Have you found an international food blogging community? Within Europe?

“Yes, the food blogging community is very active in Europe as well. Because I only speak English and French, I mostly follow the British and French food blogging communities, but I know the scene is just as vibrant in Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands …”

As a published author, can you talk about the difference between writing a blog and writing your books?

“A blog is strongly linked to the instant: you write about something you’re interested in right now, it gets published very quickly, and you can get feedback within minutes. A book needs to be written in a more timeless manner, it needs to feel current whether it’s read now or in 10 years, so you can’t be writing about that dish you cooked last week: it has to have more significance.”

Luisa Weiss

Luisa Weiss

Luisa Weiss
Blog: The Wednesday Chef
Blogging since: 2005
Location: Originally New York, now Berlin
About: Testing recipes from the dining sections of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times (hence the title), plus a glimpse into the author’s seemingly charm-filled life

What first inspired you to start your blog?

“I was first inspired to start my blog because I needed a challenge. I needed more creativity in my everyday life. Since I’d had this weird obsession with clipping recipes from The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times for years, I had a huge stack of recipes to cook from. But I never did anything with them. I just made the same old salad and spaghetti for dinner every night. Starting the blog was, at first, the way I wanted to work through that pile. It gave me structure and a sense of responsibility.”

How has it evolved?

“At first I just worked my way methodically through recipes. But I couldn’t just write about what I ate clinically. It was inevitable that bits of my life slipped in to those posts. And I saw, in their responses, that my readers really responded to those little slivers of life they saw in the blog. So as time went on and I became more comfortable, the blog went from being a sort of (attempted) tongue-in-cheek face-off between the food sections and became more of a personal cooking journal of sorts, filled with memories and thoughts and impressions of my life over the past five years.”

On blogging:

“Blogging is so immediate for me – I cook something, I have an idea, I sit down at my desk, upload photos, that idea is a trigger for another idea and 30 minutes later I have my post. The feedback is immediate and there’s an ease and simplicity to it all that is so appealing.”

Jeannette Ordas

Jeannette Ordas

Jeannette Ordas
Blog: Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Blogging since: 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada
About: Original and adapted recipes with an emphasis on fresh food and affordable ingredients, with a dash of commentary mixed in

Why do you think people are drawn in to your blog?

“I think I make very approachable food. Nothing is too fancy and I don’t have complicated instructions or ingredients. I also write in a personal kind of way – nothing too clinical, so people don’t just get my recipes but they get to know a bit of the person behind the blog too.”

What’s the food blogging community like?

“I’ve found the community to be super supportive and friendly. When I’ve traveled to new cities, people are always eager to share their favorite food haunts and I’ve met up with a lot of bloggers and have even stayed in their homes. You get to know a person through their blog so when you meet with them in real life it’s not much different.

Do you follow other bloggers?

“I get inspired from other bloggers all the time…it’s like having the world’s most perfect cookbook at my fingers!”

Kajal Tejsinghani

Kajal Tejsinghani

Kajal Tejsinghani
Blog: Aapplemint
Blogging since: 2007
Location: Originally Ghana, now Mumbai
About: Original recipes and updated takes on an eclectic mix of favorites with a regional flavor

What do you think makes a food blog successful?

“A good recipe, not too difficult, great pictures … [People] just want to see good food, know how to make it, and yes, a little bit of info is always welcome.”

How important are the photographs?

“I’d have to say very important. You see one eats with his eyes first, then with his mouth. Your visual treat has to entice the reader.”

What sort of feedback do you get?

“I get lovely mail from fans/readers from all across the world who thank me for sharing a good recipe. I even get mail from people asking me to cater their weddings, make cakes for baby showers, and supply sweets for Ramadan.”

 
SUGGESTED STORIES
  • thumb
    Memorial Day every day
    Beyond the backyard BBQ: Honor and aid those who have served.
  • Fast and too furious?
    Can accuracy and the demand for instant information coexist in the media?
  • thumb
      Steinbeck's Salinas Valley
    John Steinbeck's hometown came to worldwide notice through the Grapes of Wrath. Not all city fathers were pleased by the portrait. Explore what has changed and what remains the same in Salinas.

Comments

  • TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

    You should check out my food related blog: http://thechocolatecult.blogspot.com/

  • Tricia

    How on earth did you miss The Pioneer Woman Cooks and her blog that has developed almost a cult following nationwide? (Just try to get into one of her book signings. Be prepared to be there hours in advance just to get a wristband, and be prepared to sit on the floor for a couple/three hours so you’ll get a good seat, and be prepared to be there until the wee hours working your way through the line.) Where have you been?

  • Leslie

    May I recommend my own? http://NOLA-Eats.com, a New Orleans-based blog covering local food, dining and events. We also provide some of the only regular vegetarian coverage in this fried seafood city. Other New Orleans-based food blogs I enjoy are http://nojuju.blogspot.com and http://scoopadventures.com

  • Beau

    I have one I created this year to provide simple gourmet recipies for those who enjoy camping or just enjoying the outdoors. You can find it at http://www.theoverlandgourmet.com.

  • Maria

    I agree with the Wednesday Chef. I tried keep my blog strictly about food, but then again, food and my personal life are so closely intertwined that it became difficult to maintain that boundary.

    http://capitalchef.blogspot.com/

  • Mike

    No Food 52? No David Lebovitz? This is not a very authoritative list.

  • Susan

    I’m with Tricia–The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog is everyday reading for me. Refocus on what real people are reading.

  • Andrea

    Agree that the blogger’s bio is so important. That’s one reason I read food mayhem (www.foodmayhem.com) as my favorite food blog. The writer is a trained chef making food i can cook and looks perfectly professional plus the pictures look divine!

  • Bernardette

    where is http://www.101cookbooks.com??? that is my go-to for delicious, healthy, creative cooking.

  • Bobbie

    Um…I’m a real person, and I happen to read both The Wednesday Chef and Chocolate and Zucchini. No one claimed this was an exhaustive list of food blogs. I’m glad to hear about other good ones, and of course everyone has their favorites — but how about being more open-minded and receptive to new ideas, instead of trashing the article for leaving out your personal favorite?

  • Edgar

    Huge fan of the Wednesday Chef. And excited to check the others from the article. Those in the comments section not some much.

  • Lyn

    And as an addendum to Bobbie’s comment, how about NOT plugging in your blog in the comments section?

  • yaya

    i’m with bobbie and lyn. i enjoyed the article, and will definitely check out the blogs mentioned. i will most certainly NOT be reading the blogs of the posters here (though i make take a peek at some of other posters’ favorites…)

  • Sincha

    With all due respect, this list demonstrates a staggering lack of knowledge of the blogosphere. For example, Serious Eats isn’t just run by one guy, it’s a real business, a competitor to Chowhound. And, secondly, all you’ve done is check out which bloggers have been somehow “accepted into” the real media by virtue (and again no disrespect to the bloggers chosen) of being largely saccharine. The great thing about the best blogs is that they are opinionated, funny, irreverent and demonstrate diversity in a way that mainstream media cannot. Please spend some time doing real research before publishing your next such top five list, instead of just checking Alltop and picking their top five.

  • abss

    Bore…Yawn. I feel like this list (w/ the exception of one or 2 of them) is just another way to “showcase” blogs that have been around for awhile and are only deemed “worthy of a top-5/10/30-blog-list” list because they “garner comment counts in the triple digits” and whatnot. Can’t we look beyond that? Can’t we look at quality content and cultural/food diversity that represents a fresh voice or is “below the radar”. No offense to Molly or Wednesday Chef, but they are like the valedictorian at your school who not only gets the best grades but wins all the end-of-the-year awards and gets the best part in the play year after year…sometimes only b/c they are just well-known for being deemed “THE BEST”. I’m kind of sick of seeing them everywhere. They are good writers w/ good contenT, but there are SO many more food bloggers that deserve some attention besides the same-old-same-old.

    I think if you reached out to some of the smaller, lesser-known food bloggers to ask their opinion (instead of grabbing ideas from other, older articles on this same subject, asked around your office for ideas or just went to Alltop or some other ranking food-blog list), I think you would’ve been pleasantly surprised to really, truly discover a different “Top 5″ that would’ve really opened up new readers eyes to NEW blogs to check out.

    Serious Eats? Are you SERIOUS?

    I expected so much more from you, PBS. For a second I thought I was on the Food Network website.

  • KBR

    Wow, what a fascinating look at 2007 this has been! YAWN. Can the entire internet now please move on from food blogging?

  • http://hmongfood.info hmong food

    Keep up the good work. Helpful info on your post and interesting too.

  • ERK

    Thanks! i learned about a few new blogs i havent heard of before. for food blog addicts like me, i visit http://www.foodbuzz.com and http://www.foodblogs.com every day — most of my favorites are there and there are always new food blogs i never heard of also.

  • Paul

    All good and all to be added to the list of blogs about food that I follow. The food blogging community is vibrant and alive today, and will be well into the future. These folks are just a few who have grabbed the imaginations of the readers. You have done a great service by including them in your post. They will now gain many new readers from this. Thanks.

    Paul

    http://phpalumbo.com

  • Paul

    All good and all to be added to the list of blogs about food that I follow. The food blogging community is vibrant and alive today, and will be well into the future. These folks are just a few who have grabbed the imaginations of the readers. You have done a great service by including them in your post. They will now gain many new readers from this. Thanks.

    Paul

    http://phpalumbo.com

  • Paul

    I kind of agree with you although these five are great. I am a particular fan of Smitten’s Kitchen, and there are so many others. Good response though.

    Paul

    http://phpalumbo.com

  • Paul

    I kind of agree with you although these five are great. I am a particular fan of Smitten’s Kitchen, and there are so many others. Good response though.

    Paul

    http://phpalumbo.com

  • glen

    These are 5 excellent food blogs. Seems like everyone is posting their favorite in the comments. My favorite is one mostly on nutritional value rather than cooking – http://www.highpotassiumfoods.org/

  • http://belly-fat-loser.com/easyhealthymeals/ Steve Healthy Meals

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention Ree Drumond over at Pioneer Woman Cooks
    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/

    She always has some great insight into the (at times mysterious) ways of the kitchen.

    I have plenty of food related articles and recipes at my Belly Fat Loser blog
    http://belly-fat-loser.com and http://belly-fat-loser.com/easyhealthyeating

  • mrsosa
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F3GVWPP4XNCFOJFFWCSMX2TWTU Jonathan

    Chef Jobs,

    How do bloggers gain this type of status. I see most of them have been doing it for several years. I to have a food site. http://www.foodchef.net a culinary site for everything food, chef jobs, recipes, food events and much more.

  • http://www.healthysnackrecipes.org Donna Snacker

     I am curious on the chocolate and Zuchini recipe.For healthy snack recipes visit http://www.healthysnackrecipes.org

  • http://www.shoe-heaven.com/christian-louboutin-sneakers-c-6.htm Christian Louboutin Sneakers
  • Anonymous
  • http://welders-mig.com/ campbell hausfeld mig welder

    Hi, that is a great posting i think. i actually appreciate along with you i are interested in learning more aobut this post. Thanks. :)

  • Surajuddala

    Hello,
    The fast and convenient online store offering your favorite British Food right here in the USA. We invite you to browse through our store where you can find a wide range of British food favorites including English teas, Cadbury chocolate, Mcvities and Heinz to name a few. Order today, we offer the cheapest British Food prices online and guarantee a fast and friendly service.

     

  • Heatherltallman/basilmomma

    Hello! I was wondering if someone from PBS could contact me at heatherltallman@gmail.com about my food blog!! Thanks!!  http://www.basilmomma.com

  • http://www.ganeshagro.com/products/oil-seeds/natural-sesame/ Sesame seeds

    Nice list. Thanks for sharing this delicious blogs with us. They all will help in cooking. Keep updating us in future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dhananjay-Sharma/100003191470023 Dhananjay Sharma

    What do you think makes a food blog successful?

    “A good recipe, not too difficult, great pictures … [People] just
    want to see good food, know how to make it, and yes, a little bit of
    info is always welcome.”
    i like it!

  • http://www.ravishme.net/ rapetube

    This is a good list of excellent bloggers thanks for asking the questions it was good to get their insight!

  • Julie_gallaher

    This is a great blog!

  • Wholesale Nuts

    Philippine pili nuts from the Bicol region in the Philippines is a great Filipino or Philippines food orsnack. Pili nuts are very healthy and nutritious indeed, being a source of energy, potassium and iron.They also have protein, dietary fiber / fibre, and calcium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I know they have no cholesterol, no trans fat, and the unsalted ones have no sodium. What is great about the pili nut snack or treat is that they are so crisp, rich, and delicious.