Beyond the Plate: Top Food Blogs from Around the World
By any measure food blogging has given voice to the home cook. As its ranks continue to grow it is proof positive that we humans are the cooking animal. We are also the storytelling animal. This is the space where anyone can share their food stories and recipes while building global communities that know no borders. Anyone who doubts that food is what unites us hasn’t spent any time browsing the web.
But with thousands of food blogs to choose from, how can we know which ones to follow? Beyond the Plate is a good place to start. This is a curated book of 30 of the world’s up and coming food bloggers according to Daniela Galarza (national news editor for the site Eater). Think of it as a guide to food bloggers you may not yet have discovered.
Reading through the 30 unique entries, each of which has contributed a couple of recipes, there are a few distinct themes to this beautifully photographed book. First and foremost, the best food blogs (according to this book) are ones with eye-catching, beautiful photography. It is almost as if the recipes or the stories are secondary.
Here, it is worth pausing for a moment to remember that Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking featured not a single photograph—and she had the benefit of having a husband who was a professional photographer.
So in our hyper-visual, Instagram, Pinterest world, food photos are king. Food as art has never been more prominent.
Secondly, perusing the recipe entries in Beyond the Plate reveals that vegetarian food has taken center stage (although desserts are also well represented—it seems that while we eschew meat, we still have a sweet tooth).
But the real story is the diversity of the food blogging universe. From Finland to New Zealand and Slovenia to San Francisco the world is full of passionate home cooks who are eager to share their recipes.
What they all have in common (besides of course their ability to take good photos) is their reliance on local, seasonal ingredients. And to underscore how homogenized we have become as cooks, many of the featured recipes have nothing to do with the country in which they are cooked. Emma Galloway (My Darling Lemon Thyme) who resides in New Zealand shares two recipes that are inspired by Mexico and India. Mandy Lee (Lady and Pups) lives in Hong Kong yet her Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich looks like it could have easily come from a kitchen in Atlanta, Georgia (the Sriracha sauce notwithstanding).
While Beyond the Plate is less useful as a cookbook (in that it is not organized into a cohesive, soups, starters, mains, and desserts format) it is an inspirational book for any aspiring food blogger or just someone who enjoys discovering new food voices with delicious recipes (and photos of course).