Writing this food blog has given me the perfect excuse to spend intemperate amounts of time reading about food, eating it and indulging my curiosity about where it came from by asking inquisitive and prying questions of producers, chefs, marketers and growers. Burying my nose in cookbooks for hours at a time, sometimes resulting in a lack of time to actually cook a family meal has become an occasional blogging occupational necessity. Blogging has also gone some way towards validating the hours I happily spend trawling around in markets, food shops, kitchenware stores and book shops. And it has made me fat (ter). It appears that the hours I spend online wandering from one delicious food site or blog to the next have had some unanticipated affect on my mid-section and lower torso, causing them to expand and lose tone and strength. It took some time for me to realise this had happened and, as we all know, once this kind of damage has occurred it is an extremely testing matter to reverse it.
Clearly, this is not my fault and I feel it is time to lay the blame squarely where it belongs. I want to make use of this post to name and shame some of the exceptionally engaging and informative blog sites who have grasped my attention and contributed to the downfall of my girlish figure! There are so many blogs that I visit and read that it would be impractical to list them all. I have whittled it down to five that I really enjoy, but there are plenty of others out there in the ether who bear their share of responsibility for my waistline, too!
Syrians are particularly noted for their cuisine and Damascus is one place in which I would just love to spend some time eating. Until I can manage that, this London based, Syrian expat surgeon’s blog has plenty to keep my interest. His recipes are accessible and delicious and I love the glimpses of the Syrian lifestyle he shares.
David Lebovitz is an American expat living in Paris and, in his previous life, he spent 13 years as a pastry chef at Alice Waters famous Californian restaurant, Chez Panisse. His is one of the more popular blogs and he has published several books on desserts and chocolate – hence my interest. His writing is witty and informative, his glimpses of Parisian life are often amusing and his recipes – especially his chocolate ones – are usually just to die for.
Catering to my love of Middle Eastern food, this blog is written by Lebanese-born and bred but Sydney-based ((hmm – I’ve just noticed a theme) Fouad Kassab. Fouad supplies great recipes, beautiful photo’s and wonderful stories of a Lebanese childhood – a delight to read and an inspiration for my cooking.
The Sydney author, Celia, uses this blog to document what she refers to as her quest for “quasi-sustainability” on the domestic front. It seems to me that she must be something of an over-achiever, but I am very grateful for this quality in her. She is an endless source of practical, accessible recipes for anything from chocolate chip cookies and sour-dough bread, to making your own vanilla essence or homemade pectin for jam setting. I regularly trot into the kitchen after being inspired by her, although I still haven’t found the bottle of vodka I had stuffed with vanilla beans before Xmas. Of course, my innocent teenagers swear they have no information at all about it.
This last one is not a cooking or recipe blog, but is an often very clear-sighted look at current food issues. Marion Nestle is an Professor at new York University and the author of several books on food politics.