Food & Drink

About.com

Don’t bother with ordinary search engines for food. About.com should be one of your first ports of call.

About.com – 'the human internet' – presents a network of over 700 sites led by guides who are experts in their respective field. The aim is to cut through the dross and bring you the best in your area of interest, however some guides are better than others, and some of the stuff on the forums is, frankly, drivel. There is an understandable but unfortunate American bias, however there are plans to launch a British version of about.com, as well as sites for other countires. The design is good and consistent across the sites so you feel equally at home no matter which section you're in, however it is surprisingly slow given the lack of pictures.

Scroll down the alphabetical list of channels on the homepage to Food/Drink. You will then be presented with several subject areas, each a site in its own right with articles, forums, a daily newsletter, and hundreds of categorised links. There is some crossover between areas.

SPECIAL FEATURES


Home Cooking
Cheery Peggy Trowbridge, complete with smiley-face signature, is the efficient guide to this section. She responds to posted questions promptly and helpfully and trawls the darkest sections of the web on your behalf. Unfortunately, some of her message board regulars seem to resent newcomers, but this is not a great loss as many postings leave a lot to be desired.

Chinese/Oriental
A very good section with many interesting articles and recipes. Under breakfast, one good congee recipe was expected, but in fact there were eight really interesting ones, plus Chinese muffin and crêpe recipes.

Busy Cooks
This is not all quick dishes and microwaves, as the site guide wisely recognises that long, slow cooking using crock-pots and ovens can be just as valuable to those short on time. There are also features on planning for leftovers and cooking for the freezer.


Mexican
Although more feature articles would be welcome, what's here is very good and a brilliant introduction to real Mexican food. The site guide distinguishes between regional Mexican, Tex-Mex and Ameri-Mex, but caters to all three. Great recipes include barbecue and grill marinades, tequila lime prawns, squash and black bean burritos and chocolate Mexican wedding cookies.


Barbecues and Grilling
Probably the best barbecue site on the web, covering meat, poultry, seafood, breads, vegetables, fruit, smoking and sauces. The bias is American, with rib rubs from Memphis and Kansas City as well as a brown sugar rub, but the guide also gives recipes for teriyaki, sukiyaki and even Indian naan bread.


Cheese and Appetisers Not so good on cheese; although there is a general lack of good cheese sites 
on the web, the view here is that all Cheddar is American, apart from 

that made in Australia! Even the stilton link is to an American site.


Other sites worth a visit are those on Southern American cuisine, low-fat cooking, desserts and baking, and a comprehensive vegetarian section.