With its central location, Dix Hills provides its food-loving residents with extensive dining opportunities. Whether venturing to urban eateries in New York City or quaint vineyards in the Hamptons, these Long Islanders are bound for some delicious culinary experiences. Even still, Dix Hills residents may feel that traveling that far, east or west, is a bit unnecessary. But that doesn't mean they can't indulge their culinary senses at home – literally.
With a computer, and a hearty appetite, Dix Hills residents have access to some incredibly talented "underground" cooks. How? From the thousands of food blogs that span the internet. All it takes is a few clicks to get there.
Blogging, the act of writing journal-like entries and posting them on the web, has become an increasingly popular phenomenon over the course of the past decade. With virtually unlimited access to blogging sites, including Blogger, WordPress, and TypePad, it's easy to understand why.
Blogs can cover a variety of topics – travel, culture, lifestyle; the list could go on and on. But presently, food is among the most prevalent focuses.
Take Ree Drummond, for example. Drummond, more commonly known as "The Pioneer Woman", devotes an entire section of her site to food. Under this section, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks!", Drummond shares her user-friendly recipes, accompanied by step-by-step photos. Each recipe receives hundreds of comments (in a single day) from newcomers and loyal readers, alike. But perhaps what's even more impressive is that Drummond's recipes, prepared on her family's secluded cattle ranch in northern Oklahoma, travel through cyberspace to the computer screens of several million readers a month.
Drummond isn't the only one grabbing the attention of internet-goers. California girl Joy Wilson, of Joy the Baker, and college student Elissa Bernstein, of 17 and Baking, are also big players on the food blogging scene.
Although it appears that the majority of food blogs are run by women, food blogging is not exclusive to a single gender. Tim Mazurek of Lottie + Doof and Kamran Siddiqi of The Sophisticated Gourmet are equally heavy-hitters.
So why has food blogging become such a hot trend? The reasons are twofold.
For readers, these online food journals serve as nice alternatives to the predictably stiff, food-oriented magazines. Readers seem to prefer the blatantly honest and humble nature, typical of most blogs. This allows the relationship of blogger-to-reader to be far more personal – as if you are sitting down and chatting with The Pioneer Woman herself. (And it certainly doesn't hurt when she bakes some of her famous chocolate sheet cake, especially for you.)
For bloggers, the combination of food and heartfelt writing prompt opportunities which, under normal circumstances, said individuals might not come across otherwise. Once a self-proclaimed "desperate ranch wife," Drummond now has a published cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, and a second book (an autobiography of sorts) in the works. Were it not for her famed blog (and its endearingly casual feel), it is unlikely that Drummond would have found such resounding success.
Other than the obvious passion for both food and writing, there are no requirements for becoming a food blogger. In fact, this online community is incredibly diverse--composed of stay-at-home moms, former pastry chefs, high school students, and everyone in between. Food bloggers most definitely are not defined by a single demographic.
Despite their varied backgrounds, these bloggers have formed a surprisingly tight-knit community. Connected primarily by their computer screens and keyboards, they lend invaluable support to one another – especially in times of need.
On September 1, Erika Pineda of The Ivory Hut announced on her Twitter, "Our house burned down last night. Barely made it out alive. Homeless, possession-less. But we're all safe & together. Still richly blessed."
Since the release of that statement, there has been an outpouring of online support from both friends and fans. Fellow bloggers Alice Currah of The Savory Sweet Life and Maggy Keet of Three Many Cooks banded together to create Friends of The Ivory Hut – an internet-based fund-raiser intended to help Pineda and her family get back on their feet. As of September 8, Friends of The Ivory Hut reported that their fundraising goal of $10,000 has been met.
Clearly, food bloggers have captured the minds and stomachs of their readers, as well as their contemporaries. In due time, these bloggers will have captured the attention of Long Islanders, too.