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A guide to surfing for food

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Like everyone else who owns a computer, I rely on the Internet to

find information for just about everything these days. A recent

search for “cooking” on Google, my favorite search engine, delivered

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a mind-boggling 1,034 possibilities -- from Sri Lankan recipes to

Suzy Smith’s Cooking School. Many of the sites sounded delicious, but

I resisted temptation and just checked out a few new sites and

revisited some old ones. I’ve revised my bookmarks and hope you’ll

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find these sites helpful, and fun to visit too.

Www.cyber-kitchen.com, will give you a good idea of how much

information is available to anyone interested in using their kitchen.

This mega Web site supplies links to hundreds of other sites on the

subject. It’s more than overwhelming, and users are warned to explore

in short visits. There are thousands of recipes for dishes to

celebrate every imaginable occasion in countries I’ve never heard of.

But, two particular features are real standouts. Web Links transports

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you to 55 different categories of sites. Find your way to health and

nutrition, cooking with kids, growing your own food and even making

dinner for your pet. Of course, there are lots of opportunities to

shop. My other favorite feature is the cookbook reviews, some

supplied by Mimi, mistress of the site, and others by visiting cooks.

Fans of the Food Channel are already familiar with www.foodtv.

com, where they can find recipes from their favorite cooking shows.

When the site first appeared, many of these recipes were a bit short

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on detailed instruction, but they have improved a great deal. Search

by program or visit Recipe & Menu Search on the left side of the home

page. Scroll down to “You Asked for It” and find excellent videos and

instructions about boning chicken, prying skin off tomatoes and

making yogurt.

Think you know a lot about wine? Click on Wine & Drinks and learn

something new. David Rosengarten talks about ordering wine in

restaurants, how to read wine bottle labels, pairing wine with food

and the latest news about New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. While the

recipes and instructions on this site are quite good, this feature is

outstanding, and lots of fun to read. Epicurious.com is the product

of Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. Besides a slew of excellent

recipes, the site also offers very clear video demos and slide shows.

One of the nicest features is “Recipes” at the top of the home page.

Browse recipes by main ingredient, type of ethnic cuisine,

preparation method, course or dish.

“Learn,” also at the top of the page, offers expert advice by

topics such as homemade convenience food, how to make a perfect

vinaigrette and what kind of chicken to use for soup. On the left

side of the home page is “Chef Michael Lomonaco’s Expert Advice.” The

former TV Chef explains how to do practically everything.

Recipes for Water Boiling 101 to Australasian banquets are all

over the internet. But there’s no substitute for a reliable cookbook.

Www.books-for-cooks.com is a recent discovery.

A search for a specific title, author or category results in

thousands of titles (some with readers’ reviews). But the main reason

to visit this site is for the book reviews by two very experienced

writers and passionate cooks. Browse the titles on the home page or

click on “Cookbook Reviews” to find very detailed commentary by

people who have actually tried the recipes. Books that have received

the James Beard and Julia Child awards are also here.

I’m not always impressed by any Best Sellers listing, but it’s fun

to take a peek. Most prices are discounted by only 10 to 20%, so you

may want to save the postage and visit a bookstore.

When you need the proper tools to get the job done, visit

www.cooking.com. Many featured items crowd the site’s home page, but

resist the temptation and browse the “departments” first. Under Cooks

Tools, I found 21 graters from five different manufacturers. Click on

the little green icon with the image of a book and discover how the

experts rate each item. The site has every imaginable pot and

skillet, small appliance and loads of handy tools.

Buying Guides, at the top of the page, are a must-visit for

beginning cooks. They’ll find more advice from experienced chefs and

an interactive shopping guide to help everyone choose exactly what

they need.

* LILLIAN REITER is a Laguna Beach resident. A self-described

“shameless foodie,” she is currently co-authoring a cookbook. She can

be reached at reitersinc@net-star.net or P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach,

CA 92652, or via fax at 494-8979


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