The food blogs that you need to be reading
Will you look at the strawberries! Image courtesy of www.islandmenu.com.au.
I’d love to see statistics on the matter but you’d have to think that, of all the blogs in the world, a whole lot of them would have to be about food. I subscribe to dozens in my feed reader (and can never keep up with them), from those produced by august bodies such as The New York Times and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., to those created by foragers and food lovers in their spare time. Once upon a time I blogged privately too — the neglected remains of mine can be found here for what it’s worth — and I know the commitment of time, energy and ideas a blog entails. Even more respect then, to the people who produce the blogs below, just a few of my favourites, in no particular order:
Whole Larder Love: With a small backyard in Ballarat, a mighty skill with a camera and a lovely sense of humour, bearded food adventurer Rohan Anderson’s online creation is ever inspiring, bewitching even. There’s a book on the way plus a few ABC Online videos to enjoy. Love the look of this smoked eel and asparagus tagliatelle.
Edible Geography: A bit of an oddity; I can’t quite work it out, but fascinating nevertheless. This is where you’ll find stuff about Prince Charles’s leftover bread and butter pudding; the history and techniques of napkin folding; and the “dark arts” — “an emergent set of gross food practices”. A recipe-free zone.
Image from www.islandmenu.com.au.
Island Menu: Tasmanian friends Samuel Shelley and Catherine Miller conspire to seduce Mainlanders across Bass Strait with their blog, which leaps off the screen thanks to professional photographer Shelley’s stunning shots. Love his bluefin tuna fishing ones and his sign-off: “P.S. Sorry about the lack of fishing photos – I kind of forgot to take many plus it is a bit hard when you have a 20kg fish flapping around bleeding all over the deck.”
Roost: A very pretty thing out of Birmingham, Alabama, produced by the very slender photographer and stylist Caitlin Van Horn. Devoted to dishes without grains, gluten, starch, refined sugars and lactose. Love her watermelon mojito pops. Caitlin’s home is pretty cool too.
101 Cookbooks: One of the first blogs I ever discovered and still one of the best. In what might give hope to ambitious bloggers everywhere, creator Heidi Swanson has since written two cookbooks about “natural foods” — her latest made appearances in bestseller lists. Think recipes like green rice with smoked paprika, parmesan cheese spread, avocado asparagus tartine, ginger grapefruit curd and sesame almond brown rice balls.
What Katie Ate: A beautiful-looking thing, again from a stylist/photographer. Sydney-based Katie Quinn Davies is another with a book deal and a packed work schedule thanks to the exposure her blog has given her. What Katie Ate includes shots from magazine jobs (a lot from Real Living), plus those from her home cooking — more of the former and less of the latter as she has become seriously in demand.
Gourmet Farmer: I first met Matthew Evans when he was a hungry freelance writer in Melbourne and I was his editor. (God, too many years ago!) Matthew’s extraordinary drive and work ethic (and talent) has put him in some amazing roles — he was The Sydney Morning Herald’s restaurant reviewer and Good Food Guide editor for some years, has written some excellent cookbooks, and for a few years has lived in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, teaching himself to be a farmer. You’ve probably seen him on SBS knee deep in mud, delivering pigs to the abattoir, killing chooks … get the picture? This is the chronicle of some of his days down on Puggle Farm.
Food and Think: From the Smithsonian Institution, this includes everything from interviews with Mark Kurlansky (author of Salt and the new history of Clarence Birdseye, the creator of frozen food) to “mythology and the raw milk movement”. Post headings such as “Was America Named for a Pickle Dealer?” show that it’s not all po-faced esoterica.
Grab Your Fork: For years, the indomitable Sydneysider Helen Yee has been documenting the sort of restaurants that most food writers ignore: the Afghani restaurant in Five Dock serving ashaak dumplings; the Auburn cafe serving the Turkish icecream dondurma; a Lidcombe restaurant serving up food from the Philippines and a karaoke machine. She also writes a column for Time Out Sydney.