Sunday, September 7, 2008

One Year Anniversary and A Tour of the New and Improved Cora Cooks

Yes, you're in the right place! In honor of my one year blogging anniversary I've been reworking my blog layout and I finally mastered the necessary html changes to add a third column -- hooray! As you can see, there have been some color and format changes as well, all to make things more interesting and visually appealing. At least that was the plan. Well, that, and I just love to figure this stuff out -- I feel so accomplished at something I never even thought I would understand.

I've learned that some of my readers -- friends mostly, who indulge me in my fascination with food and writing -- are not as devoted to the notion of blogging as I am. In fact, a few of them don't even cook too much anymore, so they're indulging me even more. I guess they still have an interest in eating though, so that and curiosity bring them to these pages on a regular basis. For those reasons, I thought it might be helpful to offer a bit of a tour around the new page to familiarize novice blog readers with the set-up. Although I am still a blogging novice myself, most of what I do know has come from just reading and looking around other blogs, so I hope this will enhance your experience at Cora Cooks.


1. About Me - OK, can you guess what this first section is for? Strangely enough, when people read something, it helps them to put it into context if they can learn a little bit about the author and see a picture. Here at Cora Cooks, that would be me! Just think of this section as the back of the book jacket with that provocatively pensive picture of the author.

2. Next in the left-hand column, you'll find a link to my first/other website (yes, a blog is a website too), Season To, where you can find reprints of all of my Heartland Women food columns going back to the very beginning in January 2005.

3. If you can't find a recipe in our archives, or you want something you can't find here at all, then the Food Blog Search box, next section down in the left-hand column, will allow you to search a vast number of food blogs at one time -- simply type in a key word and away you go! Just don't get lost and forget how to get back here!

4. The Cora Cooks Archives allows you to find recipes or previous posts, just from this blog, by clicking on a keyword. You can locate posts by month, which can be helpful if you're looking for seasonal topics or recipes.

5. And wait, there's more! The last search feature in the left column is a list of all the Labels I've used to identify the information in each post. Scroll down the list and you'll see just how easy it is to locate recipes or favorite food topics by chosing key words from the articles. We do it all for you!

6. If you prefer to sign up for a Feed Reader, scroll down the left-hand column for the buttons below the Labels and add Cora Cooks to your feed reader. If this seems a little beyond your level of involvement at this point, don't worry, the email subscription in #1 on the right hand side is easy.

7. Copyright Information is way down at the bottom and just reminds people that the words and photos here are mine, unless otherwise noted.


1. If you like what you see here, and want to come back, then feel free to sign up and Subscribe to Email notices every time a new post is published. You'll be able to click on a link right from the email and come straight to Cora Cooks and the new post. I'd love for you to add Cora Cooks to your bookmarks, but email notification is a reliable time saver.

2. The Google Translator allows you to read this blog in other languages -- just click on the national flag of your choice. Good practice for those learning a new language or to test your memory for high school Spanish or French! J'adore juste la bonne nourriture !

3. When you find your garden or the farmers' market is full of your favorite seasonal produce and you would love to find a fresh recipe for your purchases, check out our In Season list in the right-hand column. Click any word in bold type and link straight to a recipe for that seasonal fruit or vegetable. It's a little extra work for me, but really, I don't mind!

4. If you're not sure where you can find fresh tomatoes in season (like no one you know has a garden and they don't "ring and run" leaving a bag full of them at your door every other day in August and September) then you need to try the Eat Well Local Food finder for a fresh food near you. Just type in your zip code and you'll find out about local farms and other sources for all the best of the season not far from home.

5. I'll admit it. I've been known to search long and hard to find out what my favorite cooks -- Julia Child, Joanne Weir, Ina Garten -- have in their kitchens. I've saved you the trouble by listing 12 Things I Can't Live Without in My Kitchen. Rest assured, I don't receive any payment from any of these companies -- in fact, I love the products so much, I pay them!
Look below the list and you'll find most of these items in my Amazon Store, just in case you need more information and instant gratification!

6. My Blog List is the place to go if you want to check out what other food bloggers are saying. Blogs are very personal and there is one for almost any topic or theme you can imagine. I've listed some of my favorites here. Someday I need to spend a little time introducing you to a few of my food blogging heroes -- stay tuned for that.

7. My favorite Food Magazines are listed and linked in the right-hand column. Many have their articles and recipes available on the websites -- some require a subscription fee to search their Internet recipe/article archives, but others just put it all out there for free. I know that before I had a Barnes and Noble in my neighborhood, I was not familiar with some of the wonderful food mags from England, Australia and Italy, but the Internet is a good way to discover what else is out there.

8. Recipe Sites is my list of the best places to search for recipes, so I like to keep it handy for readers who may be reading along on one of my posts and think -- Wow!, I wonder if I can find a recipe for celery root on Epicurious or AllRecipes? It could happen, and when it does, just zip over to the right hand column and click on Epicurious. I'll trust you to hit the "back" button to find your way back to the one place that puts the food world at your fingertips -- Cora Cooks!

9. The heading, Summer Reading for Cooks, features books of fiction related to food and cooking in some way. I'll admit I haven't read all of these books, but I was delighted to find this genre of popular fiction, called cozy or culinary novels, for the times when I want to relax and let someone else do the cooking. I've read a few of them this summer and can tell you that they remind me of Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy the caterer series. If you haven't bought books from Amazon Used Books before, I am here to tell you that's the way to go for paperbacks AND collecting out-of-print and must-have cookbooks.

10. Shop Around the Web will take you to some of my favorite cooking equipment and supply websites. If I mention something in a regular post, I'll usually provide a link for where to find it on the web, but in case you think of something while you're here, I want you to be able to find it right away. Yeah, my memory isn't what it used to be either, I need all the help I can get.

11. Style Feeder is a cool idea to find out what's new and where to shop for it online. I've added a lot of cooking equipment and some cookbooks to this site, but it's really fun to check out other stylefeeds for some amazing fashion and home decorating finds too.

12. Places to Go, People to See and Things to Do is just that -- some of my favorite places and people. I'm especially fond of going to California when I can and taking cooking classes at Ramekins in Sonoma. And I dream of the day I can go to Provence or Tuscany with Joanne Weir, one of my favorite cooking instructors. Take a look at some of these classes and find fun new ways to experience food.

13. Finally, the last two sections in the right hand column are for research. Wine Enthusiast will help you find just the right wines to pair with your recipes. The Research Assistance section is one I personally use a lot to link to the information I need to keep up with in order to pass it along to you and the readers of my newspaper column. I guess I've made my blog my own little desk in the world-wide reference library -- everything I need to read, write and blog about food is all in one place, at Cora Cooks. Oh yeah, and I keep my computer just steps away from that vast library of cookbooks I have too. It's not as much fun to curl up with a laptop and read as it is with a book -- one must still keep lots and lots of books!


The center section of the blog page is devoted to my words and yours. I try to post something at least a couple of times a week -- sometimes more, sometimes less. But did you know you can post too? Yes indeed! There is a place for you to leave comments at the end of every post and bloggers just love to hear your comments, as do other readers. Blogging is a forum for sharing ideas and information. And your comments let the blogger know you are out there. When you buy a cookbook, newspaper or magazine, the people who write those works know you're reading what they write because they've got money in their pockets to prove it. Bloggers write to put their words out there and, in some cases, to connect and share within a certain community of readers through their blog. That's what Cora Cooks is about -- your comments here are my payment, my reward. It's free to come here and look around, take a recipe home, preview a book or discover a new product. But, if you find something useful, or if you have something to add to anything here, please leave a comment and share it with all of us. Sharing recipes and information about food is bound to be one of the oldest networks known to women, and men to for that matter.

Please enjoy visiting Cora Cooks and let me know what you like while you're here. I may have a few questions for you in the next few days, so watch for them. Thanks for stopping by!

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