A Brief History of Food Blogs
To the food bloggers of the world, I raise a glass to toast your impressive, enduring body of work. To those of you considering starting a blog, I say, Jump in! There's plenty of room for you. Don't be discouraged if you don't find your niche right away. It really takes some time to settle into a good rhythm. Don't believe me? Here's a really small timeline of food blogging, with some familiar names and links to (what I believe is) their first posts. And leave us a comment to tell us where your blog fits into the timeline.
July 2, 1997
Jim Leff and Bob Okumura found Chowhound, an online discussion forum about food in New York.
eating on I-78
"I am travelling to Gettysburgh from NYC (the GW Bridge) on July 4th, early AM. Is there any outstanding roadside breakfast on that route that's open 4th of July. Or any great greasy spoon in or around Harrisburg or Gettysburg?"
December 17, 1997
Jorn Barger coins the term "weblog".
David Lebovitz, cookbook author, begins posting updates on his influential baking and desserts website.
"After working for almost 20 years as a baker and pastry chef, I've been asked countless times for my recipes, and Room for Dessert offerse many of my most requested and most popular recipes (I wanted to call it "Dave's Greatest Hits" but humility got the best of me...plus my editor would have wisely nixed it!)."
August 23, 1999
Jason Perlow and food writer Steven Shaw launch eGullet, a food online discussion forum.
September or October, 2001
This influential, newsy blog was the brainchild of Bruce Cole, now publisher/editor of Edible San Francisco. An archive of his first post no longer exists online; this is one of his earliest available posts.
"Anthony Bourdain quotes RAYMOND CARVER in an article published in this weekends SF CHRONICLE."
August 25, 2002
The Julie/Julia Project
Julie Powell's Salon blog may be the first cook-through blog.
"365 days. 536 recipes. One girl and a crappy outer borough kitchen.
How far will it go? We can only wait. And wait. And wait….."
Late summer, 2002
Professional food writer Regina Schrambling embraces the web well-ahead of her print peers.
"My favorite lately was the item on salt cod that said it "had a good run until the 1950s, which gave us refrigeration." The 1850s, maybe — that's when the first patent for mechanical refrigeration was issued."
February 18, 2003
Vegetarian Heidi Swanson cooks her way through recipes from her vast collection of cookbooks.
"Quite a bit of effort went into this number. Fresh pasta, fresh curry paste, and a few ingredients I rarely use: dried mushrooms, paprika, and turmeric (brought back from Zanzibar quite a while back and then ignored for a couple years)."
May 27, 2003
WordPress is first available for download.
July 6, 2003
Cooking with Amy
Amy Sherman, a cookbook author, developed her own recipes for her early cooking blog.
"The party was very last minute, but it was also a great success! Lots of people and great drinks and nibbles."
July 7, 2003
The Food Section
Josh Friedland's site aggregates the best in food and restaurant news.
"I purchased New Zealand baby clams, which will be combined with extremely hot extra virgin olive oil, thinly sliced garlic, chopped shallots, and white wine. When the clams open, I will add al dente spaghetti and chopped Italian parsley. Buon Appetito!"
July 9, 2003
Though Elise Bauer had been hand-coding her collection of family and friends' recipes for at least a year before, this is one of her earliest blog format posts.
"Poaching eggs is one of the easiest, quickest, and lowest calorie ways of preparing eggs, as there is no added fat."
August 19, 2003
Pim Techamuanvivit, a Thai ex-pat in San Francisco who speaks French and writes in English, shares her fine dining experiences and cooking techniques.
"I am proud of my ability to eat anything…anything I tell you, brains, tripes, everything…….Well, everything but beets, that is."
September 30, 2003
Chocolate & Zucchini
Parisienne Clotilde Dusoulier makes French home cooking accessible but no less glamorous.
"I also wanted to get copper canelé molds, because Maxence likes canelés so much and the ones we've made using our silicon mold are not as caramelized as the ones you buy in bakeries."
October 13, 2003
Slice (formerly Slice NY)
Adam Kuban's ode to New York City pizza is likely the first niche blog devoted to a single food.
"Eagle-eye readers will have spotted the mistake pertaining to Patsy's address. That's not a Slice typo. Maybe if Newday wasn't out on Long Island, they'd know that Patsy's is at 118th and First Ave. Oh well."
January 14, 2004
The Amateur Gourmet
Adam Roberts's blog brings humor and a refreshing irreverence to the table.
"Are you sick of competency?
Of food blogs run by competent people with flawless track records and no history of salmonella?
Are you tired of not having salmonella?
You've come to the right place."
April 11, 2004
'Ono Kine Grindz
The author of 'Ono Kine Grindz celebrates the cuisine of his home, Hawaii, a food culture that doesn't get much attention in print media.
"Once inside, you'll normally see a line of people waiting to order. During peak hours, expect to wait about 20 - 30 minutes for your food to be prepared. Today, it wasn't as bad as usual...could it be because we got there well after 1:00 pm?"
July 29, 2004
Molly Wizenberg's earnest words, rich photography, and reliable recipes make her almost instantaneously popular.
"This is my space to start writing for myself again, rather than for only for professors, advisors, students, grant committees, and the like."
November 16, 2004
The Girl Who Ate Everything
Robyn Lee's voice is pure blog, full of youthful charm and curiosity.
"Food and music = happy. Not necessarily together…wouldn't wanna see a concert while eating or watch singing food but yeah. Fwee."
March 6, 2005
Nicky Stich and Oliver Seidel, Munich residents who publish in English, raise the bar on blog aesthetics with their beautiful photography.
"Now after almost 8 months I can surely record that there was life before Arabica beans and life with them. "
May 1, 2005
Tara O'Brady, a Canadian mother of two, used a point-and-shoot camera when she first started blogging.
"I'm at a culinary crossroads — a few years off from thirty, I've said goodbye to my parents' table (except on Sundays), and a student diet of fast food and pasta has had its day."
May 10, 2005
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (formerly Gluten-Free Girl)
Shauna James Ahern is one of the first bloggers to develop recipes for the gluten-intolerant.
"I was starting to think I would never feel well.
Notice that sentence is in the past tense. Because now, I know. And now, I feel much, much better. Gloriously better. Finally.
I have a diagnosis: celiac disease."
July 21, 2005
Eater (formerly Eater NY)
Reveling in celebrity chef culture, Eater becomes the first stop for all restaurant gossip.
"Welcome to Eater. The paint is just about dry, the banquettes arrived just last night from Budapest (customs is a real bitch), and it looks like the chef is done experimenting with the menu. So, come on in. May we check your coat?"
August 22, 2005
The Wednesday Chef
A cookbook editor at the time, Luisa Weiss tests clipped recipes from her favorite newspaper food sections with the palate of a professional.
"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. …why not start a blog that catalogs the recipes tried from the two best (arguably) food sections in the country and see what happens?"
September 9, 2005
"Health isn't just reduced-fat cookies and green vegetables; it's having an understanding of where it all comes from and how it's made."
September 25, 2005
Lisa Fain's blog is one of the first regional cuisine niche blogs, celebrating the food of the state she grew up in.
"I love me some refried beans, but here in New York City, it's impossible to find any that are worth a lick (let alone a bite)."
February 14, 2006
The New York Times's Diner's Journal
The blog for the Times's food critic makes the most elusive creature in food media more accessible and emphasizes the significance of the blog medium.
"A mystified friend complained to me recently about her experience trying to reserve a table for two at the restaurant Annisa in the Village."
June 4, 2006
Matt Armendariz brings an art director's style to his blog's photography and design.
"Ladies and gentleman, my name is Matt. I am a Snail Wrangler."
June 30, 2006
Deb Perelman's taste is impeccable and her recipes, both adapted and original, are reliable.
[A photo of dewy cherries, no text.]
July 27, 2006
Not Eating Out in New York
Cathy Erway, a dedicated locavore, uses a points system to denote how healthy and how green her recipes are.
"Watermelon gazpacho, for instance, is one of my favorites. I imagine that using peach or perhaps crisp white peach to complement the traditional blend of vegetables would also be a bright spin on the already spun-beyond-recognition summer dish."
December 1, 2006
Ed Levine brings together some of the food blog world's biggest names under a single roof: Alaina Browne (A Full Belly), Meg Hourihan (Megnut), Adam Kuban (Slice and A Hamburger Today), and, at launch, Adam Roberts (The Amateur Gourmet).
"May all our videos provide a respite from your busy day, may all your food and drink questions be reliably answered here, may you chew the fat with gusto on Serious Eats, may you always feel welcome on our site, and may all your interactions with fellow serious eaters be filled with pleasure and the joy of discovery."
Sarah Gim's Tastespotting gathers user submissions and curates a visual tile spread of the best "food porn" photos on the web.
January 3, 2007
Already a widely-respected cookbook author, her blog is a continuation of her book signings — a chance to meet and chat with her readers.
"In every city I visited, I met someone I knew from the web – people who'd been baking from my book and posting stories and pictures about the desserts on their blogs and on websites where groups were working their way through the book – and I loved it."
October 31, 2007
All strains of cake pop fever can be traced back to Angie Dudley.
"My six year old niece is turning out to be quite the little baker. She was so excited to decorate these for Halloween."
January 27, 2008
Canelle et Vanille
Aran Goyoaga's blog employs wide and tall photos with great details and distinctive styling.
"I feel like a little kid on her first day of school. What a terrifying thought that is! I have always been shy of crowds, introductions and so on. But I really wanted to start a pastry journal, mostly for myself, to keep me going and to force me to bake everyday."
June 10, 2009
Professional food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs turn to the crowd to source their modern-day community cookbook.
"I'll admit I'm a true butter lover. I'm not one of those people who spend five minutes shellacking a layer of butter as thin as parchment on each slice of bread, working the knife back and forth like a bricklayer with his trowel until the butter is perfectly even. No, I'm a slatherer."
July 14, 2009
The Pioneer Woman introduces Tasty Kitchen
Ree Drummond's food community is spun-off from a comment contest on her wildly popular blog, The Pioneer Woman.
"This, of course, led me to the obvious idea: I need a recipe site—a fun one, a pretty one, a place where moms, dads, singletons, foodies, freaks, dweebs, and friends could congregate and share the very best recipes in their arsenals. That's it! I told myself. A recipe site!"
August 7, 2009
Julie & Julia, the movie based on the book based on the blog, is released in the U.S.
Foodspotting, a social site for sharing food pics, launches.
October 14, 2010
The New York Times's Diner's Journal reports that starting in 2011, the James Beard Foundation will get rid of the distinction between online and print journalism, which means that blogs can compete in the same category as magazine articles.
May 12, 2011
Voting closes for the Saveur.com 2nd Annual Best Food Blog Awards. Vote now!
Where does your blog fit into the timeline? Leave a comment below with your own food blog story.
UPDATES: I'll be updating this with other important food blog dates as we find them. If you have something we should add, send a tip to email@example.com.
Correction: The Kitchn's first post was created on September 9, 2005, not December 7, 2007.