Wednesday, January 25, 2012

10 food blogs everyone should read

I still read cookbooks, but find myself spending more time reading food blogs. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I read blogs. A lot of blogs, mostly about food, gardening and home-y subjects, never about politics. In the past 10 months, I've stumbled through nearly 10,000 blog pages on StumbleUpon, liking and sharing pictures and stories that speak to me. I also check in on Open Salon regularly to see what 's new from my favorite writers. So I consider myself something of a connoisseur when it comes to blogs. Blogs are such a personal medium, I find myself describing my favorite blogs like I would describe an ideal friend - funny, real, colorful, proofreads their work, photographs well. (I never said I didn't have my own quirks.)

 With these criteria in mind, I thought I'd share some of my favorite blogs and bloggers. These ladies and gents don't all get the big numbers and book contracts, but they should, and maybe someday they will. They consistently produce quality stories, each flavored with their own personalities and backgrounds. Please check them out - it won't cost you a cent. And if you're a stumbler and a sharer on Facebook and Twitter, give them a little link love.

I'll start with some friends from Open Salon now posting on their own blogs. Open Salon is a gathering spot for hobby and professional writers. (That’s right, Julie Powell of “Julie and Julia” posted her blog on Open Salon. It seems we all came to Open to be the next Julie Powell.)

1.      Linda Shiue of SpiceboxTravels is a San Francisco physician by day and food writer in her spare time. I’m not sure when she sleeps.  Her stories are for armchair travelers and foodies alike. I have many favorites from Linda’s stories, and a good place to start is her post on the curry tattoo of Trinidad. Her recipes are spot-on – the pineapple shortbread recipe is now on my annual must-bake list. Twitter @spiceboxtravels

2.      Like Linda, Felicia Lee of Burnt Out Baker has had an interesting life. Raised in California and now living in Gainesville, Florida, she’s an academic, trained pastry chef, and birder. She has a sly sense of humor and a lively writing style. For a sample post, I’m rather fond of Felicia's  pig’s ear creations , one of her delightful fish-out-of-water posts now that she's living in the Deep South. Twitter @burntoutbaker

3.      Also from California, Grace Hwang Lynch writes compellingly about issues of cultural and racial identity at Hapa Mama (she's also the Race and Ethnicity editor for BlogHer), and  she lets a few delightful food posts slip in. I knew I liked Grace when she wrote about her love of hot dog kimbap. She recently completed a challenge blog – a year without shopping. Twitter @hapamamagrace

4.      Bellwether Vance, the pen name of a good ol’ girl from the Gulf Coast of Florida, is one of the funniest writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She has a knack for reaching beyond the punch line, though, and kicking you in your gut, or giving you a few words to chew on throughout the day. Bell (as her fans call her) promises to have an independent blog debuting soon, but for now, her stories are on Open Salon. She likes to sing country music to her dogs, and they sing along, too. She’s also written the definitive piece on pimento cheese. After you talk about wearing a bridesmaid’s dress with a “butt-bow the size of a prized carp” there’s really not much else that needs to be said. I will confess to borrowing a few of Bell’s recipes and they are keepers – her blackberry doobie, minner cheese and kumquat pie are regulars in my kitchen. 

Here are three favorite bloggers that I discovered close to home:

5.      Lynn Coulter is a dear friend and accomplished author, with three books to her credit – one on gardening, and two memoirs of her Christian journey. She sometimes writes about food, but her passion is for gardening. Other topics include living in the South, reading books, and being raised by a dog, Miss Paws. I’m a wannabe gardener, and I’m looking forward to her new series on favorite seed catalogs. Her words are a respite from the real world, as comforting as a cup of chamomile tea. Twitter @lynn_coulter

6.      The Teacher Cooks is a blog by my friend Wanda Lupo, a high school home economics teacher concerned about teaching young people how to make good food choices and learn self-sufficiency in the kitchen. Her classroom posts are fascinating – with the students’ work and comments posted alongside the recipes – they’re learning to blog as they’re learning to cook. Check out this post on making mayonnaise rolls. Twitter @theateachercooks
7.    Thoughtful Consumption by Susan Loper is a tremendous resource for anyone with a CSA subscription or a nearby farmer’s market. During the season, she posts weekly updates about the produce in her box and offers tips on cleaning and storing the vegetables. Susan has a whimsical sense of humor as seen in her whimsical “fun with Squash and Pumpkin” posts.

And a few more from various places.

8.      Christina of Dessert for Two is a half-pint baking goddess. Really. She’s actually a very sweet girl from Texas who currently makes her home in California. She may not be tall in stature, but she’s got a personality as big as her home state. Her gimmick is a good one – scaled-down dessert recipes – for example, a cut-out cookie recipe that makes a dozen cookies; biscuits for just two; white mocha cupcakes. And you really have to love a blogger who introduces herself “Hi, I’m Christina and I’m here to help you gain 10 pounds.” Twitter @dessertfortwo

9.   The Peche. Chris and Karen of The Peche moved from New York to the Peach State in 2011, and their stories of late will break your heart. Homesickness, aging parent issues, bad Christmas tree karma. Chris is the writer and Karen is the photographer, and they keep it real. They are baby wranglers, with three kids under the age of four. For every story that makes you cry, there’s another that makes you laugh. The recipes are sophisticated fare – a recent piece on pecorino and pear ravioli had me at least thinking about pulling out the pasta machine. Twitter @thepeche

10.  Bunkycooks. First of all, writer/photographer/chief cook and bottle washer Gwen is one of the nicest and most generous bloggers I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet. Gwen writes fun and detailed travel pieces, always with an eye to what the cook can bring home and create in his or her own kitchen. I’ve had my eye on this Clementine and spiced rum bundt cake for quite awhile and I think it’s time to bake it this weekend. Twitter @bunkycooks

These are just a few of my favorite food blogs. I could easily add another dozen. Please let me know in the comments about the blogs that you try to read regularly.


bunkycooks said...

Hi Lucy,

Thank you for including me in your list. I am honored to be in such great company.

I hope we get to see each other sometime soon. We will have to make it happen.


linda @spiceboxtravels said...

You are too kind, Lucy! Thanks so much! I will be checking out some of your recommendations that are new to me.

Bellwether Vance said...

Well, you know your blog is one of my favorite food blogs -- if not my favorite, because yours has a Southern feel. I so thank you for the kind words. They are encouraging and nourishing!

DessertForTwo said...

Hi Miss Lucy! Thank you so much for the kind words!! You're a doll :)

Happy Monday :)