Tag Archives: The Georgia Straight

The Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC)

See the orginal article here.

Cooking up a batch of food blogs to fatten up your on-line reading

By Nick Smith

Publish Date: 10-Mar-2005

There are some unalterable laws of the universe dictating that certain things be kept separate from one another: toddlers and cassette tapes; cigarette lighters and long bangs; food and computers.

So, when I noticed that the Web Log Awards, aka “the bloggiesˮ, had created the new category of “best food blogˮ for this, its fifth year, I was no more perplexed than if I had overheard a group of slugs discussing their favourite brand of salt.

“Food blogˮ? This was an oxymoron to be investigated. Fork in hand, I set out, beginning with bloggie nominee the Food Section (www.thefoodsection .com/). The Food Section might be heavy on its NYC locale, but it is packed with lots besides; a recent post discussed a Japanese beer made with red-sake rice, then included a link to an article about baking with whole fruit: seeds, skin, and all.

Further down the list of links (50? 80? I couldn’t count), there’s one to the Accidental Hedonist (www.accidentalhedonist.com/), which includes the history of pistachios, beginning with a Babylonian king and ending with the reason that Americans dye them red (to mask blemishes). The tone of the writing is cocky, but the content demonstrates an appreciation for its subject that easily equals that of any glossy food magazine. Kate Hopkins, the titular hedonist, sponsors the Food Blog Awards within this site. The prizes, about US$20 each, make it clear that this is no corporate-backed venture. That she can set up five nominees within each of the 16 categories while maintaining the kind of control a chef has over his ingredients is truly impressive. I suppose what makes this and other food blogs such interesting reading is that the author is making little or no money, and thus has allegiances to no one but her readers. The comments that readers leave in response to her postings coalesce into a dialogue.

Hopkins also posts great links to sites such as Too Many Chefs (www.toomanychefs.com/), a retro-looking blog authored by committee that recently featured vegetarian Mexican sushi, and Eating China (www.eatingchina.com/), which discusses, among other topics, why the Chinese love pork.

Chocolate and Zucchini (www.chocolateandzuc chini.com/) likely gets the most traffic of any food blog, judging by the number of comments made in response to each posting. Clotilde Dusoulier, an English-speaking Parisian, is about as close as one can get to celebrity status in the world of food blogs. Her many readers lavish praise as they comment on topics like her discovery of spirulina gomasio and ask for the HTML code of the font she uses. (This can happen in the same posting.) Her forums are frequented by American, Dutch, Japanese, Australian, and other food enthusiasts who debate, among other subjects, the best uses for microwaves.

She also links to the Food Porn Watch (food pornwatch.arrr.net/) and the Food Whore (the foodwhore.com/), which sound interesting but are not as exciting as Chez Pim (chezpim.typepad .com/). Bangkok-raised, California-dwelling Pim frequently posts from wifi-equipped hotels and comments on places to eat in Paris, London, New York, and Bangkok in a witty and endearing style.

EGullet (egullet.org/) is not technically a blog, but it is a rich resource not to be ignored. EGullet offers virtual cooking seminars led by top chefs in areas as diverse as braising and tofu-making. Students in these classes are required to take part in the “labsˮ before posting themselves, but nonparticipants are encouraged to lurk. Many post photos of their culinary creations, enlisting feedback from instructors and students alike. Membership to this site is free, as is participation in all courses, with options to donate to the society.

One of my favourite areas of eGullet is the Vancouver thread of the Restaurants, Cuisine and Travel Forum, where members discuss where to get the best crusty loaf in town (Transilvanian Peasant Bread on West Broadway) and where their favourite chefs are now.

EGullet also sponsors writing contests. A recent one required entrants to begin a story with “You can tell more about a man by looking into his fridge than by looking into his eyes.ˮ I didn’t spot any future Booker nominees, but the variations on this theme were amusing nonetheless. Even more amusing were submissions for humorous fusion dishes, such as the Chinese/German “Sweet and Sauerkrautˮ and the British/Vietnamese “Phi Phi Pho Phumˮ.

The danger of food blogging is its addictive nature: it is so easy to just keep hopping from link to link. Then there are the crumbs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.