The proliferation of food blogs was one of the most hopeful trends of last year--hopeful because people feel confident enough they'll be putting food on the table in '09 to blog about it. Why has it taken this long for us to find Ezra Pound Cake, which (in addition to its awesome name) serves up recipes most every day ranging from a hot fudge pudding cake to the grilled spicy lime chicken with black bean salad pictured above? Don't know, but we'll bookmark it for proprietor Rebecca Crump's sly turns of phrase, as in this description of Prince's Hot Chicken: "The portions that are still white will help cool the burning, but those orange patches will set your soul on fire. And by 'soul,' I mean 'ass.' " If you are coming down through the narrows of the Cumberland River, Ezra Pound Cake, please let me know beforehand, and I will come out to meet you as far as Chick-fil-A.
• OK, at first Joy of Cooking had me nodding my head in crumb-covered agreement at her post in praise of the sandwich cookie. Until we get to this sentence: "You can smear a bunch of things between two cookies and call it good, but in reality, not all sandwich cookies are created equal. Think of the Oreo. It's an insult to the sandwich cookie if you think about it." This aggression will not stand. It's the noble Oreo that bears the indignity of comparison with all those heart-shaped frou-frou fruity things and their binding of Smuckers. Now if we're talking insults, I believe the term you're looking for is "Hydrox."
• If you know the difference between Carolina mustard sauce and Big Bob Gibson/Hog Heaven white sauce, you're probably already a loyal reader of Ulika Food Blog. But BP's going above and beyond the call of cue with his five-part (and counting) guide to Middle Tennessee barbecue. The most recent entry in this thorough series covers Clarksville Highway's veritable BBQ district, sampling the pulled pork and ribs at Nick's, Joe's, Real Deal and Old Timer's. What makes this essential for newbies: the smoker science BP drops along the way about texture (shouldn't be mushy, should have a nice mix of meat and crusty "bark") and taste (without that kiss of smoke, it ain't cue). And he hasn't even gotten to Martin's yet--one reason the verdict so far seems to be that on the whole, Nashville isn't exactly putting the Q in quality....
• Whaat? There's a Dark Chunky? I'm not a huge fan of mixing chocolate and fruit, but the venerable Chunky was always an exception to the rule: a square brick of chocolate studded with raisins and peanuts, about the size of one of those wrapped blocks of unsweetened baker's chocolate. (How cruel a trick are those, by the way? At least it was when I was a kid and the label "chocolate" seemed as sure a bet as they come.) Now comes word from Candy Addict that a new dark chocolate Chunky has surfaced on the market, lower on fruit and nuts, higher on complex flavors of coffee and a hint of cordial. Candy Addict's choco-fiend found them at a Dollar Tree while trying to score some Goo Goos--so if you're holding, don't bogart that Chunky, junkie. (Gag Alert: this was so not what I had in mind when I Googled "dark chunky.")