The internet is brilliant for finding recipes and helping with all kinds of cooking. Videos and step-by-step photos make things ultra clear, and other cooks’ comments and questions often clear up baffling instructions. How great, then, to have all this harnessed in one practically perfect food website: Food 52. Created by Amanda Hesser, the New York Times Food columnist and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and her colleague Merrill Stubbs, Food 52 does online what they do in their lives: i.e. share recipes and tips, and discuss, endlessly, all things food. Just as they hoped, the site has become a community of well-informed contributors. Boy, it goes deep. You could spend hours on Food 52. Sure, you might just be after a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, but it’s hard not to then click on the link for freezer tips, which in turn invites you to explore Braised Moroccan Chicken and so on. The recipes on Food 52 really are good – many are posted by Hesser and Stubbs themselves, and readers are invited to post their best recipes, which are then tested by both the staff at Food52 and the website’s community, and there’s a grading system of sorts too (and a category called Genius Recipes). Anything unclear solicits comments. Alternative ingredients are often suggested as are helpful tweaks. Then there are menu ideas, lots of features, foodie columns on things like feeding kids, or cooking the basics with confidence (How to Know When Fish is Cooked, for example), and so, so, so much more. So yes you can lose hours wandering around the site, but it’s also a brilliantly useful and speedy resource. Last night we were cooking Korean pulled pork (as you do, and more on that another week), and typed in ‘Asian side dishes’ into the search box. A whole load of fabulous recipes, all with photos, suddenly appeared. We did the Asian Garlic Green Beans, which were a big hit. And even if you aren’t interested in cooking, please cast your eye at the category Amanda’s Kids’ Lunch, which shows what Hesser puts in her twins lunch boxes each day. She’s kidding, right?
P.S: for another great food website, check out Weird and Ravenous. It’s much more personal and idiosyncratic than Food 52. A whole different thing in fact. But their video recipes, set to music, are inspired. Great restaurant suggestions in various cities too.