Author Louisa Edwards not only writes about hot chefs—she is one, too! We asked her to share some of her favorite recipe sites while she anticipates the release of the final book in her Recipe for Love series, Some Like It Hot. Thanks, Louisa!
I love my cookbook collection. No, really—if my house caught fire, the first thing I’d run to save would be the shelf filled with classics by Julia Child and James Beard, new collections by Gourmet and Cooks Illustrated, and gorgeous hardcovers featuring the recipes of today’s hot chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert. I spend hours flipping through the glossy pages of recipes and anecdotes, soaking in tips and techniques, dog-earing the most tantalizing recipes for some later date. But when I have a dinner party to plan? I do exactly what most home cooks these days do—I fire up my computer.
The internet is clogged with sites that make cooking easier than ever before. You can search for recipes that feature certain ingredients, filter with classifications like “vegetarian” or “low-fat,” and easily compare recipes for a certain dish across a variety of sources. But the very thing that makes cooking sites so much fun—the huge, sprawling number of available information—can also make them hard to navigate.
Some sites are better than others, and over time (and a lot of kitchen trial and error) I’ve come to trust a handful over all the rest. I’ll share my list, and if you want to put your favorite food site in the comments, I’d love to check it out!
If you’ve ever searched for a recipe, it’s likely that you’ve come across this big, wonderful site. Run by Conde Nast, Epicurious pulls most of its recipes from the annals of magazines like Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Self. With a slick, fast search engine and a lot of useful filters, Epicurious makes it easy to explore the possibilities.
Queenie Takes Manhattan
There are a lot of food bloggers out there, but Queenie is one of the best. I could be biased—she was one of my bridesmaids!—but her beautifully curated blog captures the spirit of an adventurous home cook who has a passion for seasonal, local ingredients. As a single girl in a Manhattan apartment, a lot of her recipes are geared toward cooking for one, and creative uses of leftovers. Bonus: her food photographs always make me drool!
This thriving online community of home cooks is led by the smart, inventive Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, who first collaborated on the great new edition of the New York Times Cookbook. They do cool stuff like running contests for the best recipe using Brussels sprouts, or your best homemade pizza; they feature a weekly “genius recipe” from an expert; they make recommendations about cool kitchen products. It’s an all-around fun site, and a great place to hang out with other cooks, exchange ideas, and ask questions.
This is actually a free daily email newsletter you can sign up for that is billed as being for “adventurous readers everywhere.” Since I signed up, they’ve alerted me to some awesome artisanal products, cool culinary-themed travel ideas, and introduced me to their awesome series of cooking videos featuring sous chefs—the young (often good-looking!) chefs behind the famous chefs at well-known restaurants. Definitely worth a peek!
My Drunk Kitchen
This is my newest obsession. Okay, it’s not strictly a recipe site—but Hannah Hart and her hilarious series of web videos have provided me with more laughs than almost anything else this year. I’m serious, if you take nothing else away from this post, check her out. It’s exactly what it sounds like—videos of a young woman cooking while drinking. You are guaranteed a giggle! And you might even get a good idea or two out of it. Beer in macaroni and cheese! Sounds good to me…
Louisa Edwards grew up in Virginia before moving to Manhattan to work with some of the biggest names in book publishing. She later moved to Ohio, where she worked as a restaurant reviewer. She decided to bring her love of romance and cooking together by writing the Recipe for Love and Rising Star Chef series.