As handy as they are, cookbooks can be frustrating. Most lack pictures of every recipe, much less each step of the cooking process, and it can be difficult to know if youre properly slicing or dicing. Honing personal skills and learning from mistakes is an important part of becoming a more experienced cook, but sometimes you just wish that the minutiae of complicated recipes could be presented right there in the recipe.
Enter food blogs. Food blogs are written by women and men from all different backgrounds with a range of culinary experience. The internet makes it possible to read about a new recipe tested by a young woman who has just decided to teach herself to cook, and those of us who are also new to cooking can sympathize with her experiences and learn from her mistakes. The more adventurous of us also have access to recipes and guides from internet-savvy professional chefs and others who have been trained in the culinary arts, and, without buying expensive gourmet cookbooks, we can try complicated recipes with the aid of pictures and detailed step-by-step instructions on the blog, either or both of which have a tendency to exist in abundance on many food blog entries.
Most who use the Internet to help find new dishes know of sites such as All Recipes (www.allrecipes.com) and Epicurious (www.epicurious.com) as places online to find recipes. But sites such as TasteSpotting (www.tastespotting.com) and Foodgawker (www.foodgawker.com) are revolutionizing the way that we can discover new recipes. These websites have pictures from food blogs displayed in an eye-pleasing formation of rows and columns, and each picture has a caption beneath it and links to the original blog post from which it came. When you see something that looks particularly beautiful, intriguing, or tasty, you click and are led right to a post that will help you make your own version of the dish. And these sites do not discriminate against the ordinary; cookies and cupcakes get as much consideration as macaroons and soufflés.
Food bloggers write about not only recipes but techniques, and some of these techniques might not be accessible to the average Western New Yorker otherwise. Pad Thai is a popular and delicious dish, and on her blog Chez Pim (www.chezpim.com), Pim, who is originally from Bangkok, intricately describes the way to make authentic Pad Thai. This is a technique that might not readily be available to the ordinary American, especially in English, but through blogs we can learn how to reproduce food from other cultures, as well as from our own.
So the next time youre itching to cook or bake something new, forget the cookbook and search online. The vast culinary world of food blogs awaits you.