No, this is not one of those locovore posts where I tell you to eat only within a hundred miles and go visit a slaughterhouse and then go look at your meat in a different way. There’s already a lot of that sentiment out there, and with good reason, so I doubt you need to hear that message from me. If you really want to know more about the local and organic stances on food, I suggest you visit the WorldChanging articles on food, which will inform you far more than I can.
Instead, this post (which I realize is not on a Friday, again, so yeah) is about where I read about food. You should I know that I read about food all the time. All day, even. In fact, as you read these words, I am staring lustfully at pictures of scones swathed in spiced fig butter. Or beans braised in beer. Or chocolate and coconut pots de creme. Or steak in pink peppercorn sauce. Or curls of pale cheese over steaming soup. Or sushi, jewel-like and glistening. I’m always looking at food. More than that, I’m always imagining food. I read menus for restaurants I know I’ll never visit. I read recipes I know I’ll never make. I sometimes start thinking about the meal I’m going to eat that night from the moment I wake up in the morning. (I frequently delay eating on days like those, just to avoid the inevitable disappointment that happens when the thing on my plate and the thing in my mind don’t match up.)
Usually, when I’m thinking about food, I’m looking at these sites:
- 101 Coobkooks Heidi Swanson taught me how to make vegetables. Period. There are so many ingredients that I’m no longer afraid to use, as a result of her influence. Omnivores, find a vegetarian blog that you can love as much as I love this one. Whole areas of the produce and grain aisles will open up for you.
- Just Bento I don’t pack bento regularly, but when I do, I try to adhere to Makiko Itoh’s principles.
- Just Hungry Maki also taught me how to wash and cook brown rice, among other things. She’s also a Japanese woman living in Western Europe, and as a result has both a broad palate and a “do it right the first time” approach to her process. This might be because the foods that dominate her blogs, from fondue to furikake, are rooted in older techniques compared to North America’s relatively short culinary history.
- Maangchi I never really watched cooking videos online before finding Maangchi’s site. But now it seems inevitable that I would have started there, because my appreciation for Korean food has germinated and grown lush since moving to Toronto, and when I like something I have to learn how to do it by myself, for myself. More to the point, I eat Korean food regularly, and I like knowing what’s in it. None of the mystery has been ruined. In fact, my respect for the dishes has only increased. And sometimes, especially with unfamiliar ingredients, you need to watch the work happening before you attempt it on your own. However, the main change I’ve noticed in my cooking since watching Maangchi’s videos is my comfort with knifework. I chop a lot faster, now. (Yes, this has resulted in an injury. But only one.)
- Closet Cooking Kevin Lynch keeps his entries short and sweet, but the food is always awesome. Often, he’s inspired by his fellow bloggers. We’re very lucky for that, otherwise we would not have some staple dishes around here, like his cauliflower and cheddar soup with dill (to which I now add sweet potato and apple).
- Tess’ Japanese Kitchen I really admire Tess’ resolve. She’s cooking her way through a monster of a Japanese cooking text, and she’s incredibly faithful to using the intended ingredients, no substitutions. I also like the way she’s arranged the website, a factor which becomes more important the more food blogs you read.
- Gluten Free Girl & The Chef One of my friends cannot eat wheat. Although there are plenty of gluten-free products I can reach for when I want to make her a pasta salad or a batch of cupcakes, what I like best about Shauna’s blog is the writing itself and the way it shortcuts all the shortcuts and focuses on the joy of eating. The blog is not about finding substitutions for gluten, but about enjoying the foods one can eat and doing everything possible to further that satisfaction.
There, now you’ve had a glimpse into yet another of my neuroses. Eat up.