In keeping with the irresistible urge in December to engage in “end of the year” list-making, I’m sharing the food websites, blogs and smartphone apps that I have used again and again this year. Some of these resources have great recipes, some have useful or provocative information, and some are just plain fun.
My go-to site for new recipes is Smitten Kitchen. The recipes are easy to replicate, the photos are beautiful, and the text is hilarious. I have rave reviews for the butternut squash galette, the shakshuka, and the balsamic braised brussel sprouts with pancetta.
At the opposite end of the information spectrum is Epicurious, created by Condé-Nast as a repository for its cooking publications. I use it when I have a specific question, since recipes can be searched by ingredient and include user reviews. The phone app means I don’t print the recipes I use — I just keep my phone by the stove.
Food52 is a platform for a community of bloggers. There are themed contests, joint cookbooks, how to videos and food news. I like the weekly email with ideas like “take out classics done at home,” and the companion app allows you to post cooking questions.
Edible Boston focuses on local food growers and businesses, and exists as a print magazine, a website, and podcasts. Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy the printed version, which you can find free at many local vendors.
In The Grocery Store
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch provides updated information about what fish populations are abundant and which are caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. The Environmental Working Group’s site The Dirty Dozen (and the companion “Clean Fifteen”) lists pesticide levels in produce and helps to prioritize when to go organic. I consult both of these apps when grocery shopping.
Chefs, scholars, and journalists are all getting into the conversation about the social and economic ramifications of food and agriculture. I have found the best starting points are Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor, Mark Bittman of the New York Times, Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland, Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Ann Cooper, otherwise known as the Renegade Lunch Lady.
And now for the fluff. Food Gawker provides distraction for the rare unscheduled moment. It’s a clearinghouse for online recipes, with a focus on the photography — I love perusing (gawking at) the lovely photos.
Another escapist blog is Living the Sweet Life in Paris, written by an American pastry chef living in France. While some of the posts offer recipes, including my favorite chocolate chip cookies, I find I never get tired of this blog’s observations about food in Paris.
I’d love to hear about your favorite food sites. Happy browsing and happy new year!