As I’m getting ready to cook Thanksgiving for my family this year, I’ve (like all of you, I’m sure) gotten to swapping menu ideas and dish inspiration among friends, coworkers and some acquaintances over social media. The best thing about doing this, for me, is not necessarily hearing about everyone’s unique spin on roasted squash, but lies instead in seeing how much about a person’s personality and cooking style is revealed through their go-to sources. I have a friend that swears by everything Food Network, a pal who sticks strictly to recipes written down on index cards by her grandmother, a boss who consistently sends me clips from Epicurious and All Recipes, and then of course within my family, there are just mom’s go-to traditions: a broccoli souffle my mom learned from a lady at church made with Kraft Singles and a sausage stuffing recipe that I believe originated in the pages of Cooking Light.
And so, of course, this is all just a clever ploy to show my favorite writers, blogs and websites some love. I usually like to fiddle with recipes until I find “my version,” but these are the people and publications that I trust when I’m trying something totally outside of my comfort zone, in need a starting point. That said, they also offer expert advice, tips I don’t hear on the average cooking show, and just a reliable brands/personalities that I resonate with! Hopefully you find something new to bookmark!
I’ve referenced this expat’s blog before as inspiration for a lot of my baking. The pastry chef turned writer/author covers a whole host of topics and recipes (I particularly love his first-hand accounts of living as an American in Paris, but also love how often he features Middle Eastern delicacies and ingredients), but desserts are his sweet spot. Plus, he’s a gas on Twitter.
The lady’s a goddess, the auntie you always wish you had, and absolutely worth following if you don’t already, but I especially love her site around the holidays. David Lebovitz may offer amazing recipes for cakes, pies, etc., but when it comes to cookies, Dorie’s are the top, the Tower of Pisa, the Mona Lisa, you name it. Sweet and salty in just the right way, I especially love World Peace Cookies–take it from me (and make sure you eat ‘em straight out of the oven!).
Elise Bauer has been one of my favorite recipe-writers since about 2007. Her blog, which has been around since 2003, is really what a great blog should be. Deft storytelling leads seamlessly into beautiful, never overly-complicated recipes. Nowadays for me, the site serves as more of an encyclopedia than anything else. There are a few of her recipes that I have memorized (like her pate brisee), and Simply Recipes is always my first stop when I’m trying out a new ingredient or if I want to replicate a classic dish I’ve never tried before. Oh, and her Mexican food is particularly awesome.
I prefer this cooking/lifetsyle site to most longstanding food publications. Articles on The Kitchn are magazine-y in many ways (gift guides, 10 tips for the perfect turkey on Thanksgiving), but rather than delivering the same old “tips and tricks,” I actually get inspired, and consistently. Stories like “Don’t Freak Out About the Gravy Boat: You Probably Already Have One of Those” and “How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust” seem to answer my seasonal cooking questions the instant I think of them. They’re also great to follow on Facebook.
Another one of my favorite lifestyle sites, with just my kind of humor, Food52 is the kind of site I end up browsing and getting lost in when Sunday afternoon is just dragging on. I especially love the site now that they’ve launched Provisions, their online retail space. Provisions is like walking into the Container Store or a really cool paper store… you don’t need anything, but you want all of it; you want to live the kind of life that requires the perfect closet organizer, a deluxe stationary set or, in this case, a hammered copper Moscow Mule mug.
I mean, I’m sure you all know Mark Bittman by now, but I’m on his website/reading his column constantly, so my list wouldn’t be complete without him. Bittman will make anything approachable, will give you 6,000 ways to cook one ingredient that’s in season (CSA folks rejoice), plus I like the way he always takes too long to cook things on the Today Show and when Matt Lauer tries to rush him he’s kind of like, “eeh, it is what it is.”
Side Note: It’s also worth touching on those celebrity chefs I’m obsessed with, who can do no wrong in my eyes, whose shows I will watch forever and ever amen, and of whose restaurants I will never tire. Ina Garten, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Daniel Boulud, David Chang, Gordon Ramsay, Lidia Bastianich.