Thursday, January 11, 2007

In which I revisit a couple of cooking sites

I was feeling so much better this evening, and checking a few food/recipe sites, testing my tolerance for pictures of food (still fairly low - glad that so far you don't get aromas through the laptop) and I noticed a couple of major differences between two I've visited in the past, both by British food celebs.

Further to yesterday's posting on recipe copyright I was interested to see, while stopping in at Nigella Lawson's site that I think it has been revamped since my last visit. It's very much a glossy marketing forum for books, dvds, kitchenware and of course Nigella herself. No Nigella recipes on offer; instead a clever wrinkle whereby she invites readers to post their own recipes. She does provide an index to her own - simply the recipe title and the name of the book it's from. Drat, and me separated from my one Nigella cookbook by 7 or 8000 miles I think it is. (There are some of her recipes available at UKTV Food, including a good one for lemon risotto.)

Thankfully Delia Smith still offers a hefty selection of recipes, though some (would be interesting to know what percentage) of them are now locked into "premium content" which you have to pay for. (I wonder if more and more recipes will slip into the "premium" void?) While the site is also a serious marketing tool - you can buy kitchenware, books, online recipe collections and even wine - she has a number of added-value pages, like her online cookery school. If you've ever lamely wondered how to make shortcrust pastry, joint a raw chicken, or prepare and serve a mango, she gives you step by step instructions with photos. And if that leaves you thirsting for more she offers links to her own cooking school in Norwich (no she doesn't teach the classes) and the Leith School in London.

On the other hand there is a page where she plugs products for McCain's that she has developed to bulk up her football team (Norwich City). An interesting wrinkle - given the U.S. copyright controversy - is that she gives a few of the recipes for these away in case you want the hands-on challenge of making a high-carb, low-fat dish like Lean Shepherd's Pie from scratch (--if "scratch" to you includes using McCain's frozen mashed potatoes) (why on earth would anyone use frozen mashed potatoes for anything??). And she does tell the alert reader, flat-out, that a simple baked potato (not counting any fillings) is a better source of carbohydrates than anything McCain's is offering.



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