Monday, March 30, 2009

Mega bites, Times of India Crest, May 1, 2010

If food bloggers had a deity, it would have many hands. After all they're supreme multi-taskers. Consider that most food blogs are one-man wonders driven by a solitary individual who eats, buys, cooks, pays, shoots (photos mostly, but sometimes even game), edits and writes (in addition to holding down a real job and living a real life) to deliver that regular post and you will agree that it is an endeavour driven by passion and dedication. Here's a grazing platter of delicious food blogs.

Finely chopped 

As far as foodie folklore in India is concerned, two communities that would always feature in any story worth telling would be Bengalis and Parsis. So you can only imagine the kind of blog Finely Chopped is when you realise that the writer, Kalyan, is a proud Bengali (is there any other kind?) proudly married to a "bawi". The result is an idiosyncratic, often khichdi/dhansak food writing that leaves you hungering for more. Adding to this hodgepodge are worthy attempts at food fiction and a string of wry reviews.

Hooked on heat

Indian food is perhaps one of the hardest to showcase. That's why Ontario-based food blogger-turned-food writer Meena Agarwal's Hooked on Heat is extra special. She's a passionate, self taught foodie who shares an astounding repertoire of south Asian and Middle Eastern foods that are all "tried and tested on Hubby Dear". She infuses new flavour into relatively unglamorous regulars like pindi chana, chana dal and spinach and potatoes even as she simplifies classics like satays and stir fries. I have long been hooked to her honest voice and clear instructions that simplify a pepper lamb or mango chicken with red peppers and yet sex them up in the most delicious manner.

Poetry of food

This New York-based online food magazine has an astounding wealth of food, high quality writing and incredible photography. POF follows food in the ordinary lives of its contributors handpicked for their passion about foods in their respective regions of the world. These culinary bards wax eloquent about the alien, the familiar and everything in between. Take Lady Fat, who strolls around her favourite Parisian market, the Edgar Quintet, observing: "Whole rabbits and hares, hang with limbs of wild boar and game birds in full feather, from the colourful awnings. " Sample wine expert, Jim White a. k. a Napaman's liberating dismissal of the tyrannous rules of pairing red and white wines with foods. "Simple wine with complex food, complex wine with simple food, " he advises.

The purple foodie
The Purple Foodie belongs to a purple colour-loving Shaheen Peerbhai who works with a bakery. There are no simpering excuses of 'secret recipes' here. Knowledge and discoveries are generously shared, like a post in which she substitutes yeast for baking powder and comes up with "an amazing, light, lavash-like cracker in a lot less time than lavash". All her posts are garnished with striking visuals. Sample her post on apple muffins: out of focus chrysanthemums add a blurb of magenta next to bright green apples lined up near scrumptious apple cinnamon streusel muffins;all are offset by a blue tablecloth and a book in shades of yellow, parrot green and pink.

Smitten kitchen

There is a reason I have been smitten with this one for years and if you have not heard about it you have missed out. eb the writer, cook, photographer and occasional dishwasher in her own words "is the kind of person you might innocently ask what the difference is between summer and winter squash and she'll go on for about twenty minutes before coming up for air to a cleared room and you soundly snoring. " It's taken some time, but she's finally realised that there are people out there that might forgive her for such ingredient-obsessed blathering and possibly, even come back for more. Excellent recipes encompassing all kinds of cuisines, her pick of dishes avoids excessively fussy foods and/or pretentious ingredients. She does not do "truffle oil, Himalayan pink salt at $10 per quarter-ounce or single-origin chocolate" for she believes that one does not need fancy ingredients to cook fantastically. Check her out, even if you hadn't been planning to cook something, you will come away dying to after staring at her vibrant food photography.

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