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More cooks say 'blog appétit!'

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But not everyone is ready to put away their cookbooks. Some cooks simply don't want to bother going online, or they question the credibility of blogs, knowing that cookbooks typically endure some editing.

"I want the physical experience of holding a book," says Mr. Wolf, the restaurant consultant. "The style of a blog is such that anyone can just blather on without liability for anything they write - sort of like chatting on the phone."

Still, more people are drawn to food blogs for their conversational style and wide range of topics. Besides recipes, some blogs feature restaurant reviews, tips for dining out in Tokyo, cooking with the kids - or how to forage for wild mushrooms. Someone looking for a carrot soup recipe might stumble upon a blog that not only provides the information they want, but also contains entertaining writing. Before long, they've bookmarked the site.

Take Naomi Baldinger, an American student who lived in Paris. While researching Parisian cafes, she found Clotilde Dusoulier's food blog, "Chocolate & Zucchini," helpful and posted a note praising the site's restaurant reviews. Ms. Dusoulier, who is French and lives in Paris, writes an elegant yet accessible blog in both her native language and English. She has become so popular and influential in the blogging scene that she recently clinched a book deal. But she has no plans to drop her blog anytime soon.

One of the first food bloggers started an online journal as a way to escape from the drudgery of her 9-to-5 job. In 2002, Julie Powell set out to teach herself a new skill by cooking her way through Julia Child's legendary tome, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." She wrote in a witty style about the daily attempts she made in her tiny Queens, N.Y., kitchen to cook Julia's recipes - from soufflé to cassoulet. Soon after, her "Julie/Julia Project" led to a book deal. Powell has since dropped her blog, but her humorous blogging style has generated fast sales of her book, "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, and 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen."

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