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More cooks say 'blog appétit!'

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Indeed, a good food blog draws readers because it is entertaining, inspiring, and contains recipes that show the writer is knowledgeable about food, says Mr. McCann, whose blog, kiplog.com, is considered among the best of today's crop.

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"I am so impressed by the professionalism of today's food blogs," he says. "The writing is good.... And the photos - wow! Not long ago, some people would post pictures of their daily lunch!"

But the ethics involved in blogging are sometimes questioned.

"Some new bloggers think since it's their own site, they can do whatever they want, including reprinting others' recipes without crediting them or writing a bad review of a restaurant after eating there only once," says Schneider. But, he adds, "Most blog writers I interact with are careful about these things, and they'll often ask for advice about ethics from others."

In the end, most food bloggers write simply for enjoyment. "Keeping a blog is a way to record what I've cooked and have fun with cooking," says Owen Linderholm, who recently published a compilation of his food blogs titled "Digital Dish." "I learn something new every day, and, hopefully, I cook a little better, too."

Five food blogs worth a taste test

101 Cookbooks: This site has everything cookbook related - reviews, author profiles, recipes. Can't find what you're looking for? Post a question in the reader forum. Or just ask Heidi Swanson whose engaging blog was born from a passion for cookbook collecting. (www.101cookbooks.com)

Accidental Hedonist: Seattle writer Kate Hopkins is a champion of the food-blogging community. She launched the first Food Blog Awards in 2004 and is hosting them again this year. Her site includes thoughtful commentary on food news and events, as well as posts about her own culinary adventures. (www.accidentalhedonist.com)

Amateur Gourmet: This may be the most humorous blog out there. It features funny food films as well as witty observations about all things culinary. Creator Adam Roberts is a law-school graduate who left law to pursue dramatic writing at New York University. (www.amateurgourmet.com)

Chez Pim: An attractively designed site known for insightful, reliable restaurant reviews. Pim Techamunvint spearheads special events for the food blogging community, such as the current "Menu for Hope," a fundraising raffle for victims of the earthquake in Northern India and Pakistan. (www.chezpim.com)

The Food Section: Josh Friedland's slogan "All the News That's Fit to Eat," sums it up. His site is chock full of information, especially about the New York food scene. For foodies visiting the Big Apple, this site's calendar listings are a must-see. (www.thefoodsection.com)

Perfect Hot Chocolate

1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2-1/2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup additional cream)
1-1/2 cups water (optional)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar, to taste
Freshly whipped cream, sweetened to taste

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, place in a heat-proof bowl, and set aside. In a saucepan, bring the cream and evaporated milk to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over the chopped chocolate, then let it sit for 1 minute. Stir slowly until well blended. In another saucepan over medium heat, bring the whole milk and optional water to a boil. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate mixture. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir well until velvety smooth. Stir in the vanilla, sweeten with sugar to taste, and serve hot with a spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Makes 6 cups.

- from the "The Traveler's Lunchbox" food blog by Melissa Kronenthal

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