Thanks to food bloggers, anyone, including those intimidated by cooking, can now try to create restaurant-style meals

Kitchen experiments have never been so much fun. International food has never been this accessible. Creating three course meals has never been this easy.

Food bloggers have changed the way we cook, forever.

They are available all day, and night, any time a craving strikes, anywhere in the world — provided you have Internet access. They dedicatedly work on recipes in their often-cramped home kitchens, taking notes and pictures so readers can recreate every meal. Fuelled solely by a blazing desire to share ideas, this community has made every kind of food — from breads and cakes, Lebanese to Sudanese and chicken soup to candy — accessible. Suddenly, it's possible to create a restaurant-style meal in an evening.

Gazpacho? Miso Glazed Black Cod? Vegan Pumpkin Banana Bread Pudding? No problem.

Lactose intolerant? Vegan? Gluten allergy? No problem.

Can't cook? No problem.

Just log on and browse till you find recipe that excites you. Then all you need to do is follow instructions.

Not surprisingly, food bloggers are rapidly becoming the rock stars of the culinary world, with their defiantly plucky attitude to cooking, no matter how complicated.

New York-based Adam D Roberts, who runs the Amateur Gourmet blog (www.amateurgourmet.com), has been so successful he's now got over 350,000 readers a month, in addition to a book — The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop Like a Pro (Almost). When he began in 2004, when he was at Law school, he says “it was something of a fringe movement — a bunch of weirdos taking pictures of their food at dinner.” Now, every popular blogger has a fervent fan club.

“Food bloggers, in a weird way, become like family for many readers,” says Adam. “Their posts pop up as reliably as the phone call from Aunt Harriet on your birthday… Cookbook authors, on the other hand, are more like deities; we keep them high on a shelf and wonder what it'd be like to someday meet them.”

Marc Matsumoto, whose inspiring No Recipies blog (http://www.norecipes.com/) encourages readers to be joyfully creative in the kitchen instead of grimly following rules, talks of how the Internet enables homecooks, who have shared recipes for generations, reach out to a much wider group. He adds: “The explosion of food blogs has given aspiring home chefs unprecedented access to knowledge about all kinds of food, from all over the world” going on to state that this is, in fact, “just one small factor in a global trend towards culinary diversity.”

Reading these blogs is undoubtedly the easiest way to expand your repertoire. “I push my readers towards things they may ordinarily be intimidated by — like fresh pasta with spicy tomato sauce or making jam from scratch — but because I'm coming at it from the perspective of an amateur, it gives them the courage to try it,” says Adam, explaining why people find it easier to follow blogger recipes. (An added bonus? The ability to ask questions immediately. Try writing in to Thomas Keller, on the other hand!)

Janel Ovrut, a nutritionist who works with corporate wellness, shows readers how easy it is to eat delicious healthy meals with her blog (http://www.eatwellwithjanelblog.com/) “Seeing photos of what I cook in my own apartment kitchen, without using odd or fancy ingredients, allows people to see how simple cooking can be,” she says, adding: “I've only taken a few actual cooking classes. I hope this shows my readers that you don't have to have every single ingredient necessary, or the exact measurements of food to still create a delicious meal.”

Of course, it's about more than just food. Great blogs share ideas, create a community and build relationships. “It is a lot of work! But, it doesn't feel like work because I'm coming at things from a really genuine place,” says Adam, explaining why he blogs. “For me to have an outlet where I can share all my enthusiasm and disappointments is a blessing. My goal (is) to inspire people who were intimidated by food and cooking to just give it a try. To encourage people to cook for themselves.”

Keywords: food

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