Tumblr is a blogging platform that bridges the gap between social networks like Twitter or Facebook, and a Word Press or Blogspot blog. It has yet to be utilized for a Presidential campaign or propagate any false celebrity death rumors, but the short-form, photo-heavy blogging style Tumblr promotes has made it a perfect place for people to write about food on the Internet--and that's enough for us to think its pretty rad. Following is a list of the best food-related Tumblrs out there, which run the gamut from food porn to food anthropology, from apartment kitchen cooking shows to, of course, Tom Selleck.
A twist on the cooking everything in one cookbook genre of food blogs, this photo-heavy Tumblr documents one girl's attempt to eat her way through two 1001 Things to Eat Before You Die books. Of course drinking a cappuccino from just any coffee joint isn't the same as experiencing the wood fire roasted coffee blends and proprietary espresso extraction and milk-foaming procedures practiced at Rome's Sant'Eustachio--something every coffee lover really should try before they die--but it's an interesting food-eating venture nonetheless.
Tumblr's fuck yeah meme runs through a massive array of very specific obsessions, mainly celebrated with simple image posts. From actors to animals to outdated fashions (fuckyeahfannypacks?), just about every obscure like or interest has someone proclaiming their love for it with a fuck yeah and a gloat of photographs. Plenty of food tumblrs fall into this meme, but one that is best suited for the LA foodie crowd has to be FUCK YEAH PHỞ, an herb, broth and noodle-laden collection Viet food porn.
A wide-ranging Tumblr of food-related content, covering everything from recipes to food politics to the importance of mastication, Food Culturalists is a Big Picture blog. As Kevin Jahn--who collaborates with Katie Inglis on the Tumblr--imagines in their first post about a future interview with Terry Gross (tumblr-to-book deals are the new blog-to-book deals, apparently), being a Food Culturalist is about "look[ing] at how people use food to create meaningful experiences and how the use of food as catalysts for many different types of activities and behavior and how the USE of food can really define a culture. A lot of people can identify different types of food, you say 'mexican, italian, new american' but what does that mean?"
The URL says it all, really. This is the blog of culinary bad ideas, of instances where the cooking adage that more bacon is always better is seriously put to the test--hungry for a bacon mug full of melted cheddar cheese, porkaholics? Just looking at this website may increase your cholesterol level.
Korean Schooled doesn't much conform to the Tumblr platform's standard style--short, photo-heavy posts--but the more standard blogging approach of this Korean American learning to cook her country's cuisine makes for good reading. And with detailed recipes for dishes like gogi jun, there are plenty of cooking projects one could follow Korean Schooled's lead on at home.
Former Gawker editor and author Emily Gould's "Cooking the Books" show features author interviews with a variety of publishing heavyweights--from hipster literary superstar Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask, to Julie Powell--talking about their latest releases and doing a bit of kitchen work for the camera. Cooking-wise, the recipes are sometimes thematic--vegan cupcakes with a punk-inspired frosting for Marisa Meltzer's book on '90s grrl music culture, Girl Power--or chosen simple for their culinary merit, like the steamed buns and pork belly cooked by Sam Lipsyte and his wife and fellow author Ceridwen Morris, from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. One of the best moments comes from the Julie Powell episode, when Powell reaches into a hot cast iron skillet to flip a simply seasoned and breaded pork liver with her bare fingers--she's so completely not Amy Adams and we can't but help to like her for it.
Run by Sarah McSimmons, winner of Food & Wine's Home Cook Superstar contest, this Tumblr is wholly geared towards home cooking. Recipes are abundant on this Tumblr, but its inclusion on this list--and its high ranking--is thanks to one post in particular: a sort of guide to tackling David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. Ever since Julie Powell started cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, many a blog about cooking through a complicated collection of recipes cover-to-cover has popped up. But who really uses these cookbooks that way? When recipes require making a stock, making a sauce, making a pasta by hand, making a pickle, cooking a meat sous vide or braising it for hours longer than most home cooks would care to wait, don't most people just look at the recipe as a starting point, creating abbreviated versions to eat at home? By cross-referencing all of Chang's recipes and making a master prep list and Asian market shopping list, McSimmons has made Chang's often complicated recipes wholly approachable, which means those infamous steamed pork belly buns could actually happen in your LA kitchen.
3. Salt and Fat
Two 'net industry workers--Neven the designer, Jim the web developer--are the obsessed and quite skilled home chefs behind Salt and Fat. Essentially a recipe blog, Salt and Fat covers everything from roast chicken (everyone has their own roasting methods, of course) to simple preserved foods--like lemons, blood orange marmalade and balsamic-brined pickled eggs--and canned-fish sandwiches. But it's the writing, the interesting observations, the organization that makes Salt and Fat stand out. The canned fish sandwiches post, for example, includes recipes for sandwiches stuffed with sardines, tuna and anchovies. But it's not just about some simple lunch solutions, but in order to explore "fishy" as a flavor and highlight why it is most certainly not a bad taste. Here at Squid Ink, we couldn't agree more.
A kind of taxonomy of New York City sandwiches of all sorts, Scanwiches gets its cross-section like images by putting uneaten lunches cut side down on a scanner bed. The disembodied meals take on a very scientific feeling with the black background and strange depth of field tricks played by the scanner. Cranberry sauce on a sandwich of Thanksgiving leftovers bleeds into bread and sprouts like some sort of strange amoeba, while a dark chocolate cake donut and vanilla ice cream creation from Peter Pan Bakery looks either like a plating from the sadly defunct El Bulli or something that was left in the fridge for a few months longer than advisable. Less food porn than fascinating, almost avant-garde food photography, Scanwiches is full of images worth a second and third look.
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Apologies to Bea Arthur, pizza and mountains, but this Tumblr's amalgam of food, pop culture and landscape photography has a magic and humor all of its own. Why is it so funny, so amazing? A difficult question to answer. But between having to hunt for the gyro hiding beneath a cantilevered outcropping of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house--Selleck standing triumphantly and completely out-of-scale on the rooftop--and watching the animated gif of a kayaking Selleck spearing a Mahi Mahi sandwich out of a lagoon (feed by a waterfall, of course) over and over again, you're sure to realize your facing Internet meme genius.