Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Best Food and Cooking Websites

The internet has certainly changed the home-cooking world with its thousands of readily available online recipes and "how-to" instructions. The challenge is weaning the good from the bad. We don't need 100 pancake recipes, just a couple good ones. I look at a lot of food and cooking sites and keep a list of the ones I really like. All my favorites have these things in common:
  1. The website owner is involved in the product, whether it's coffee, bread or anything else.
  2. The website is a part of the overall business, is "for profit," but not one continual Google ad.
  3. The website is never a compilation done by keyword collection.
  4. The end product, be it information or a food item, is very good to great.
Here's the start, I'll add to this post as I have time, but also, please send me your favorites to review. I am not so much looking for individual recipes unless it is extraordinarily good one, but I do want suggestions for good websites on good food, wine, cooking, baking, utensils, coffee, restaurants, "how-to's," et cetera.

Here's a start for my "Best Food and Cooking Websites:"

1. King Arthur Flour:
I'm not a baker but I love bread and I like to visit bakeries and talk to bakers. The King Arthur Company goes back to 1790. Not all flours are created equal and every baker has his favorites. The site is running a special recipe for the world's best pancakes.

2. Cook's Illustrated:
I think all around they have helped me in the kitchen more than anyone. They explain things well and give the reasons why ingredients act the way they do. They are intensive recipe followers, which I'm not so good at, but they do know what they are doing.

3. Recipe Matcher:
This site is different and very cool. Have some leftover cheddar cheese, chicken breasts and celery? Punch in the ingredients and it will match the words with recipes. Not a bad idea. Works on alcoholic beverages as well.

4. Artisan Bakers:
These guys are award winning bakers who love the craft. The website has pages with baking bread terminology, retail locations, technique as well as helpful pictures. Good site.

5. Coffee Research:
One of the premier coffee websites that isn't all about selling you the latest drip coffee maker. Plenty of good information from coffee harvesting to brewing and roasting. Couldn't ask for a better website.

6. New York Times:
I think the NY Times Food Section is not only the best in the country for newspapers but as good as any magazine on food, if not better. Yes, they highlight New York metro restaurants when they do reviews, but that is a small part of the section, the rest of it is up to date news, recipes and commentary on everything food related. I love it and would give it up last of all of them. My favorite column is the Minimalist, by Mark Bittman. He has his own on-site blog. Mr. Bittman also wrote, How to Cook Everything, considered by many to be a "must have cookbook."

7. The Science of Cooking:
I like the science of cooking, what happens when you apply heat to proteins, and that sort of thing. I don't like recipes. This has a lot of the former and little of the latter. Such as: Too much salt in the soup? What can I do?

8. Deviled Eggs:
A good site, good pictures and I love deviled eggs.

9. Sensible Recipes with Good Pictures:
I dislike the sites that have thousands of recipes and no one that tells which ones are good. This site has recipes for actually used by someone who knows good food.

10. The Splendid Table:
Here's a lady that knows and likes good food and is able to talk about it. Her website has many good references for the food enthusiast and her PBS radio show has talk, guests, and cooking suggestions. Host: Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

11. Sara Moulton:
Sara Moulton is the real McCoy. Cooking shows today have moved from the ethnic theme to the "lifestyle" theme, that is, the hook is something like "30 minute meals" or "Dives and Diners." Sara Moulton just knows food and cooking. She is a professional chef, she doesn't try to impress anybody with anything, and she's the kind of woman you like to be around. I like her TV shows and her books.

12. Good Eats and Food Network.
I am a little reluctant to add a Food Network host because most everyone who is following food trends knows about it already and also because they throw a lot of spaghetti at the walls of viewership and hope something sticks, and some of what they throw out there is bad. That being said Alton Brown and the Good Eats show is educational, amusing and helpful for the average cook. And some of his "simple" recipes, such as, pancakes, popcorn and potato chips are hard to beat.

13. Sweet Maria's Coffee.
I recommend websites because I use them. Sweet Maria's is one exception. I mention it because I have heard that their coffee roasted in your home the best you can get.

More to come, please send your suggestions. Thanks.

1 comment:

Dena said...

David Lebovitz's blog is great - he talks a lot about food habits in Paris and puts a lot of dessert treats out there. Each of his posts are well thought out before they are published and he takes quality shots of his work.