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More fun and useful cooking sites.

As a follow-up to last month’s culinary tour, this month we’ll look at some more sites that will help round out your kitchen savvy.

Mayo Clinic

Turn to this site for the latest information on food allergies, additives, and food safety as well as other tidbits you won’t find elsewhere, such as how to conduct your diet if you work the night shift or what liquid smoke is and how it works. What’s for Dinner and Virtual Cookbook sections suggest meals and recipe slimmers along with the occasional wine pick.

Speaking of wine, try out one of these sites before you plunk down $50 or more for some hefty reference tome.

GourmetSpot

The name is a misnomer–GourmetSpot is a food-reference site along the lines of About. It’s almost as comprehensive, and it won’t lose you as easily in wayside nooks and crannies.

Clicking on any link in the left-hand margin–ethnic recipes, beer, foods A to Z, chefs, etc.–will take you to a tidy list of sites that specialize in this area. On the right-hand side you’ll find cooking articles, answers to common and uncommon questions, trivia, and links to food-related charities and political discussions.

About’s Recipe Archives Index–Home Cooking

About’s strength can also be its weakness–with links to everything under the sun, you wouldn’t choose this site if you were feeling peckish or pressed for time. But if you have patience and curiosity in equal measures, I guarantee you will find stuff here that you won’t see anywhere else, and that will probably come in handy somewhere along the line. Under “food history,” for example, you can study up on all sorts of topics, including the origins of tea, Italian cuisine, utensils, religious customs, military rations, and even food in space. About is also the place to turn for specific culinary inquiries. The site even lists baby-food recipes, newspaper recipes, and recipes for pets.

Robin Garr’s Wine Lovers’ Page

This site looks overwhelming at first, but it’s worth the initial shock. No other site can beat the Questionary’s list of answers to oft-asked questions, such as ‘why the dent in the bottom of a bottle?’; the Lexicon, complete with audio pronunciation guides to names such as C“te R“tie; the Label Decoder; and the Online Wine-Tasting course.

The Wine Spectator

Included on any “best of” list, this site will take you all the way from novice to sommelier if you wish, even giving advice on how to invest in wine stocks. No matter where you are on the spectrum, you can dazzle or amuse yourself with regional wine tours or interactive taste quizzes, or just get a quick tip on what to serve with dinner.

The Wine Portal.com

Check here for quick links to guides and magazines, wineries, wine-tasting clubs, and other information. Whatever your interest in wine, this is your jumping-off point.

Simple Cooking

Food luminaries such as Julia Child subscribe to this site’s bimonthly newsletter for $24/year, and you’ll see why after you poke around a bit through its public content.

Passionate, articulate, knowledgeable, and literary, this site’s recipes, essays, and cookbook reviews will inspire your mind as well as your salivary glands. Particularly notable is Made to Taste, where the authors introduce food history, techniques, and adaptations to each recipe–you’ll learn a lot just reading them.

Bon appetit!

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