Sine it’s been named the country’s third Bloggiest City, much fuss has been made over Pittsburgh’s political blogs. Lost in this sea of local punditry, however, are many food blogs dedicated to another type of kitchen debate.
Filled with magazine-quality photos and recipes, Pittsburgh’s food blogs (those dedicated solely to home cooking, not restaurant reviews), provide an intimacy similar to that felt while cooking with friends after a nip or two of cooking sherry. Unlike food magazines or recipe compendiums that often read like textbooks, these blogs share successes and humbling defeats after tackling thorny recipes reserved for those who own really good knives. Complicated dishes are untangled and tested, empowering even the most insecure cook to stare down the most impenetrable recipe.
Most ’Burgh food blogs offer tips on where to shop locally for ingredients, notably Eating Local in Pittsburgh (eatinglocalinpittsburgh.blogspot.com), Toast (www.lindystoast.com) and Eat (technically.us/eat).
Each blog sizzles with its own personality, be it wry, a la Sarah Miller, of Food and Paper (foodandpaper.blogspot.com); playful like Lauren Bracey, of Burghilicious (www.burghilicious.com); or corny, courtesy of Jesse Sharrard, of Corduroy Orange (corduroyorange.com).
Cookworm (www.cookworm.com) reads like Peg Bracken, the late wise-cracking penner of The I Hate to Cook Book. While their ideologies are worlds apart — Bracken writes, “You never recover from hating to cook, any more than you get over having big feet,” then effuses over a dish called “Swipe Steak” — humor finds its way into each of Cookworm’s pots.
Cookworm tells of a long-ago Internet crush on a guy who called himself CannedFood, due to which she traveled from Pittsburgh to Georgia for a visit that resulted in an almost fatal culinary decision: “That visit was also when I found out that my awkward teen-age crush on CannedFood was pretty much one-sided. Ouch! So, to this day I never eat food from a can because I find it to be a foul and deceptive embodiment of the real thing.” Cookworm then offers a recipe for Black Bean and Pumpkin Stew using canned pumpkin. Life, and good eating, it seems, most go on.
Lisa Campbell’s Pittsburgh Needs Eated (www.pghtasted.blogspot.com) can read like a diary: Just replace a failed-romance entry with an account of an unsuccessful relationship between Campbell and banana cake with espresso-caramel frosting. It begins:
Failure (serves one);
1 cake recipe;
2 garbage bags;
1 glass of water;
15 spatulas …
… and ends with Campbell retreating to her bed.