Susan La Tempa's Cheese Focaccia

A beginning

Yet another foodblog, the readers sigh resignedly. With thousands of blogs being added to the web daily, it's hard to feel that one's own endeavor will have a chance to stand out. Nevertheless, I've decided to jump into the fray with my own take on food and blogging. Every week I look forward to Wednesday's newspaper the most. The food section in my city's newspaper is something I put aside and save for last, to enjoy once all the regular news has been slogged through. And in the past few years, I discovered an additional treat: the highly regarded food section on the other coast, to be read and savored online (since the print copy can no longer be found at kiosks in Manhattan).

Once both sections became an integral part of my Wednesday mornings, I began to notice differences and similarities between the two. One week, The L.A. Times would publish a section on, say, pistachios, and the next week, The New York Times would counter with an article on hazelnuts. The New York Times devotes an article each week to a (usually) local chef and a signature recipe. The L.A. Times, instead, showcases a recipe that has been requested by a reader from a local chef. The New York Times has regular columns by Mark Bittmann (The Minimalist) and Nigella Lawson (um, The Maximalist?), while The L.A. Times has no such celebrity wielding a wooden spoon over its food section. Rather it has a reliably great group of cooking writers, such as Russ Parsons and Regina Schrambling (who, incidentally, used to write for The New York Times). Of course, the sections differ in their accessibility to good ingredients. While Manhattan certainly doesn't lack great grocery stores and quality food stuffs from around the world, nothing really can compare to the kind of produce showcased in West Coast farmers markets. So, the recipes in each section are tailored to the ingredients available to the readers.

I'm a longtime food blog reader, and would often search the web for blogs writing about the recipes published each week, but to no avail. And yet I continued to cut and paste articles from the web, and assemble notebooks full of clipped newspaper recipes. I cook from them and have found winning recipes and absolute doozies. So, why not start a blog that catalogs the recipes tried from the two best (arguably) food sections in the country and see what happens?