What I Read When I’m Reading

The always brilliant Renee Benda wrote an entry on her blog, the aptly named Bendiful Blog, about her 24 favorite blogs. It got me thinking about who I read and what I read after The Kid goes to bed and I sink into the corner of my sectional sofa with the iPad.

Admittedly, I don’t read Renee’s blog often. She writes a lot about healthy living and fitness and…things I’m not much interested in reading. If you are, I would say go for it. I stop by her space from time to time and skim the headlines for things that interest me, but it’s not a daily read.

But, Renee prompted me to think about my own list of must reads and create a list. (The more I think about it, the fact that Renee’s blog motivated me to write a similar post means that her blog has had more effect on Al Dente than most of the one’s I’ll write about below. It probably means that Renee’s blog should be on this list.)

These are the places I stop on a daily or frequent basis. They are where I draw ideas for what I’m doing for Al Dente, inform my day to day work, keep me grounded and, most of all, entertain me. And I think that’s key. It’s one thing to engage me, but it’s a whole other thing to keep me coming back. There needs to be wit or a steady stream of good information. Getting my attention is easy. Keeping it, unless you are The Kid, is a whole other task.

Food-Related

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Eat First (eatfirst.typepad.com)
Margaret McCormick is someone that I once only knew by byline. She is the former restaurant critic and food editor for The Post-Standard, and has written extensively about food in her newspaper afterlife. Her latest endeavor, Eat First, focuses on CNY food, wine and dining. She is probably the area’s leading local blogger on food (not employed by a media company) in terms of traffic and credibility.

Foodspin (foodspin.deadspin.com)
The food subsite of Deadspin. Written by Albert Burneko, I’ve described this as “very readable and somewhat informative.” It’s actually very good, if for no other reason than it evokes a reaction from every post. I don’t always agree with what he says, but it’s nice to see him not censor.

Serious Eats (www.seriouseats.com) and Eater (www.eater.com)
Serious Eats and Eater are national websites designed as blogging communities with a wide array of categories and subsites. They act like blogs, talk like blogs and look like blogs, but they are website brands not unlike Bon Appetit/Epicurious, Saveur and the like. That said, Serious Eats is my second stop for weekly meal planning (first being my own Pinterest wall) and I don’t set foot in a city without reviewing Eater’s microsite for that town.

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Anthony Bourdain’s Tumblr (anthonybourdain.tumblr.com)
I make this an occasional read and moreso as a companion guide to each week’s episode of Parts Unknown.

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Wine Country Eating (www.rickbakas.com)
Rick Bakas is a California sommelier who writes about food and wine. I’ve found more than one solid recipe here.

Not Food-Related

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Jeff Pearlman (www.jeffpearlman.com)
There’s not a lot of gray area on Jeff Pearlman, or so I have noticed. People like his writing or they don’t. They either like him or they find him to be an abrasive jerk. As someone who has been accused of the latter, I feel a kindred linkage with the Hudson Valley-based author and columnist. He gets paid to write about sports, but his blog spends a lot of time on parenting, his relationships with family members and what is rattling around in his head. I spend a lot of time on that blog feeling better that I’m not the only one thinking the same thing as him.

Jim Romenesko (www.jimromenesko.com)
I’ve worked with or in the media for the past 22 (I’m 36 and got my first paid byline at 14) years. A number of my friends still work for media companies. Inside baseball and how things tick interests me. Thus, I read Romenesko on a daily basis.

Sean Kirst (www.syracuse.com/kirst)
Had I stayed in journalism as a career, Sean Kirst is the writer and storyteller that I wish I could have been.

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Penelope Burk (www.burksblog.com)
If you work for a non-profit or in any role where you communicate with donors, or are reliant on the goodwill and financial generosity of others to provide for your salary, you must read her. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a law. She’s the author of Donor Centered Fundraising and owner of a research firm that looks at the hows, whys and whens of giving. She’s probably one of the 10 smartest people I’ve ever heard speak.

Sports Media Guy (www.sportsmediaguy.com)
The not-updated-often-enough blog of friend and countryman Brian Moritz. Brian writes about sports from an academic perspective. Sadly, this little matter of his doctoral dissertation seems to be getting in the way of his blog.

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