Every home cook needs a little help from time to time, whether it’s a great recipe or a demonstration of an unfamiliar cooking technique.
I rely on lots of resources to help me put dinner on the table. And the internet, smart phones and now tablets have changed the way I plan my meals. I love that I can quickly check the upcoming sales flier for my grocery store when I stumble across a great recipe, or surreptitiously look up recipes from my phone in the produce aisle when I find a great sale at the grocery store. And these days, I’m just as likely to use my propped-up Motorola Xoom (provided by Verizon Wireless) as I am to crack a traditional cookbook. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on print, though: magazines and cookbooks still play an important part in my kitchen!
While I’m constantly adding new sites and publications to my repertoire, here are five that see the most action right now:
Since I’m a bit of a Food Network TV junkie, I like being able to select recipes based on the personalities behind them. I know that if I’m in the mood for something like butter fried in oil, I should look for a Paula Deen recipe, if I want something smokey and spicy, I should go with a Bobby Flay dish, or if I want a yummy recipe paired with seriously detail-oriented food education, I should go no further than Alton Brown.
Eating Well Magazine
This gorgeous publication combines health and wellness stories with yummy, nutritious recipes, showing that you don’t have to give up taste to eat well. It also features cool stories about unique restaurants and food culture. It’s not easy to find on the newsstand, so it’s worth a subscription.
I’ve tried quite a few online recipe sites, and AllRecipes seems to deliver the most consistently great meals. Since it’s backed by a thriving, food-loving community, the reviews are plentiful and can be a great source for alternate ingredients and techniques, though sometimes I have to roll my eyes at comments like “This recipe stinks! I substituted the cream for milk, left out the onion, added chili powder, eliminated the salt and garlic, and didn’t like it at all!”
The Joy of Cooking
I’ve had my (now much smudged and stained) copy since I got married in 1997, and even though more colorful cookbooks have come my way over the years, I always find myself returning to The Joy of Cooking for its sheer thoroughness and attention to detail. I’ve never had a cooking-related question that wasn’t answered somewhere in its pages, and it’s taught me a ton about technique and handling ingredients.
As somebody who can’t bear to waste food, I’ve returned again and again to Twitter and Facebook to ask my friends, “Hey, think I can still eat this chicken that I cooked on Tuesday?” Somewhere along the line a helpful soul directed me toward StillTasty.com, a resource that helps you decide whether that food is still well within the safety zone or pushing the limits. I still use common sense, but knowing the general guidelines helps me be a better (and safer) judge.
What resources – books, apps, sites or shows – help you most in the kitchen?