A Cookbook Borne From a Blog

A “Best of Food Blogs” Cookbook. As a food blogger, it was imperative that I get this one.

Foodista.com dubs itself as “the online cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit.” Think: Wikipedia, the food version. The goal: to build the world’s largest high-quality online cooking encyclopedia offering everything from recipes to cooking techniques. An offshoot of the Foodista.com website is The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook, edited by the site’s founders, Sheri L. Wetherell, Barnaby Dorfman, and Colin M. Saunders. Foodista.com bloggers were invited to submit their favorite recipe blog posts to compete for inclusion in the cookbook. The result is a showcase of the 100 winning entries selected by the Foodista.com editors and the online community, entries described in the book’s introduction as “… intimate snapshots of a diversity of lives and kitchens. This unabashed writing and cooking from heart and soul is a truly new art form built on a rapidly evolving platform of technologies.”

This is quite the straightforward cookbook with a rather unremarkable table of contents preceding the main sections. Each entry has the recipe name naturally, with a sidebar featuring the blogger’s name, their country of origin, their blog name, and oddly enough, the URL of the recipe. In addition, a brief note introducing the blogger antecedes a lengthier headnote, almost a condensed blog post of sorts, detailing the recipe. Each recipe also has an accompanying color photo – that, like every blogger, varies in photographic aptitude.

For a food blog junkie like myself, I’ve never heard of several of these food blogs – Amateur Gourmand, Chik N’ Pastry, Girlichef, Fancy Pants Foodie, The Dog’s Breakfast (!) – from countries as far-flung as the UAE; Chennai, India; Savoie, France; Riga, Latvia; and Rio Grande, Brazil – using ingredients as enigmatic as geoduck and lovage. The blogs are as varied as their owners, with some of these blogs focusing on special food interests like gluten-free recipes, organic only, even one detailing the tales of a 21st century forager.

Thus, there are recipes as frilly as chanterelle Mushrooms with Blue Cheese Pie, to Lotus Root Chips with Toasted Nori-Sesame Salt to Jade Buddha Salmon Tartare. Thankfully, there’s simpler fare to be found in the Asian-Braised Lamb Shanks, Carne Brasato alle Cipolle (a type of Italian pot roast), and the inspiring Mentaiko Kimchi Udon, a noodle soup garnished with Japanese cod roe. Due to the bloggers’ interests and their location on the globe, there are some truly stomach-turning dishes, the likes of Baked Papaya and Mango-Avocado Ice Cream. All tropical ingredients yes, and all common to me, but not in these iterations. The Desserts chapter offers relief in the form of Chestnut Mousse Mont Blanc, Favorite Moist Chocolate Cake and the emboldening The Color Purple Yam Dessert.

A brief blog roll in back offers more insights as well as a section on Metric Conversions and Equivalents. This is a book only for the adventurous cook who doesn’t mind hunting for ingredients or for food blog junkies like myself whose edible interests are truly eclectic. The diversity otherwise, might only succeed in frustrating you.

Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices
Edited by Sheri L. Wetherell, Barnaby Dorfman, and Colin M. Saunders
Paperback: 216 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (October 2010)
Available at Fully Booked.

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