Cooking is a science, and a fun and delicious one at that. And like any science, experimentation is key. Julia Child meticulously tested her recipes, which is why they’re still the heart and soul of so many kitchens. Unfortunately, Child is partly to blame for the plethora of food blogs on the Internet. Julia and Julia gave hope to food bloggers everywhere that they too might make a mess of their kitchen (and their marriage) and turn it into a feature film. These blogs present a challenge for competent cooks, who may follow a blog’s recipe to the teaspoon, but end up with polenta that’s as hard as concrete.
Good food bloggers find a recipe, decide to change something and then see if it works. If not, they repeat the process until it does, and then the post their results. Just like a lab report, they outline their cooking methods in detail so that other cooks can predict potential problems.
Bad food bloggers find a recipe, incorrectly or incompletely copy it onto their blog, and make changes that aren’t scientific or practical. Worst of all, when their soufflé collapses mid-making, they post a stolen photo of a perfect soufflé and write that while their effort didn’t turn out perfectly, it was delicious.
Like most university students, I don’t have the money to purchase Jacques Pepin’s cookbook series, but I would like to know how make a French omelet or perfect dinner rolls. Scouring the web for a recipe usually results in hits from several dozen food blogs, but here are some of the ones you should trust:
Smitten Kitchen: With hundreds of tried-and-true recipes from Deb Perelman’s five years of blogging and cooking available on the website, you’re sure to find what you need fast. Perelman is honest about her mistakes, and always tries to find ways to improve her work. Her wry sense of humor and tiny New York City kitchen are easy to relate to for just about any cook.
Living the Sweet Life in Paris: David Lebovitz, former pastry chef of Chez Panisse, shares his expertise in pastries and savory cooking on his website. Having trained in Paris and worked in the U.S., Lebovitz can help you bring the best of the culinary world to your student apartment kitchen.
Real Baking with Rose: Rose Levy-Beranbaum, the legend behind The Cake Bible, has all of her recipes available on her website, and blogs about her latest experimentations. An expert on all things baking, she prizes scales over volume measurement, and it pays off. Best of all, she answers readers’ questions daily. For perfect cookie, cake, pastry, and bread recipes, go to realbakingwithrose.com
The Best Dishes: Former Tribune writer Francesca Ferenzi can sympathize with university students who have small kitchens and budgets, but big culinary dreams. After studying abroad in Italy, Ferenczi knows what good food is, and how to make it on a dime. Ferenzi finds amazing restaurant food and then recreates it herself. Follow her food adventures at frenchietbd.com.
The Front Burner: For all you vegetarians out there, Emily Malone’s blog offers healthy, simple, and delicious recipes. Since Malone is a recent graduate of a prestigious American culinary school, you can be certain the recipes you find here won’t be disappointing. Malone also includes an occasional gratuitous photo of her two adorable dogs.
Ceci n’est pas un food blog: Although not limited to the traditional recipe only format of other food blogs, as the title so clearly insists, former Tribune editor Vincci Tsui provides the occasional recipe along with the blog’s other food and nutrition related posts. A Registered Dietician currently living in Calgary, Tsui often includes information on the nutritional content of the recipes she posts, but doesn’t limit herself to salads and granola. Her recipe for Margarita Cupcakes is especially amazing.