Having been a food writer for some 18 years now I've got to know a lot of my fellow professionals. Very nice people they are too. I belong to a couple of good forums which are incredibly useful if you want to find out, for instance, in what respect English flour differs from American flour and the impact that will have on a recipe. People are more than generous with their advice
But frankly it doesn't compare with the heady sensation of joining the blogging community and finding out what people are cooking and eating on a daily basis. There's a joyous lack of inhibition about blogging, a manic enthusiasm, a total obsessiveness about ingredients and techniques, however off the wall, that's hugely liberating. Recipes don't have to be perfect, in fact it's better if they aren't. Everyone is on a voyage of discovery.
Every week, sometimes every day, I find out something new. Such as that Nicolas Clee, the author of the excellent and thought-provoking Don't Sweat the Aubergine has a blog called Sceptical Cook. Through Nicolas I find there's a terrific blog called Baking for Britain which not only gives recipes for forgotten treasures such as Deddington Pudding-Pie but meticulously charts their origin
Yesterday I got invited to join an American group of bloggers called The Foodie Blogroll (right) by a blogger who calls herself The Leftover Queen. A fellow spirit! This is much better than Facebook where you have to keep your food-related obsessions within reasonable bounds
At a time when you can't open a magazine without being told how to cook a perfect dinner party by yet another celebrity chef an army of bloggers is quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) creating the kind of food that they want to eat.
Writers can become photographers, photographers writers. There are no rules in the blogosphere.