Wednesday, February 14, 2007

hungry bloggers: some favorites

Today, my food writing colleagues in the International Association of Culinary Professionals and I will chat in a teleforum called "You Started a Blog in Five Minutes...Now What?" and find out what's on the minds of food bloggers, current and future. Here are some of my favorite food blogs and what they do to keep me -- and other readers -- hooked:

- Hal McGee's News for Curious Cooks blog takes what might seem a narrow focus -- scientific research about food -- and makes it easy to apply and understand in your own kitchen, as in this recent post about researchers salting tomatoes while they grow to enhance the flavor. Hal doesn't just report on the research, but adds his own training in science and cooking to the mix, and makes science look easy.

- Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Real Baking with Rose" not only displays knowledge, but her own mistakes -- in this post, her first-ever failed genoise -- with a sense of humor. If you know what a stickler she is for measurement and detailed directions, you can appreciate the humor in her conclusion, after failing and then trying the recipe again: "So the lesson is clear: Don't be fearful; and follow the instructions in the Cake Bible, especially if you wrote it." Berenbaum uses lots of photos in her posts, a must if your food blog demonstrates techniques, and includes a sidebar link to "book errata," using a blog effectively to correct her cookbooks.

- The 28 Cooks blogger, "vegiquarian" Christiane Britton, built her readership and community with other food bloggers by inviting them to let readers "behind the apron" by posting photos of themselves in their kitchens on their own blogs, then sending her a link. She compiled all the "behind the apron" shots here.

- Foodie Farm Girl's "Farm Girl Fare" mixes recipes with photos (one per day) and tales of farm life -- she moved from California to Missouri to tackle farm life head-on. Here, she posts about a bread recipe she now refers to as "Braindead Bread," because it's so easy to make. Her blog creates a running storyline, an essential feature many blogs miss, and gives the reader a reason to imagine returning. WellFed.net named this "best food blog - rural" for 2006 and you can find links to other winners here.

2 comments:

Alanna said...

I'm listening to your IACP call right now and want to emphasize one very important feature of blogging that isn't being covered: community.

It's also not portrayed in your own blogs - few comments, few links to/from other blogs, little/no interaction with the wide and warm and welcoming community of food bloggers from all across the world -- though it fundamental to at least three of the four blogs you link to in this post.

There's also a huge difference between blogging for 'fun' and blogging for business. Nearly all food blogs are personal blogs (even when very professional with income attached and occasionally with unintended consequences such as published cookbooks, recipe development contracts, etc.) and there is a real art to blogging for business reasons.

Many thanks for the education today.

Denise Graveline said...

Alanna, thanks for your comment. I encourage you to explore this and my food blog further, because I frequently blog about other bloggers -- I don't limit that community-building to links in the sidebar, but often like to encourage my readers to go to blogs I find exemplary. As you note so well, community-building is a big feature of personal blogs. This blog will show fewer of the food-related links and posts than "Vegetables for Breakfast" because it's not a central topic to this business. I'm glad, nonetheless, that you found the call useful.