Evocative photographs, intimate tales and URLs? No, no, it's not what you think.

The Internet has made cooking a communal affair, as legions of food bloggers share not only what's simmering oh-so-fragrantly on the stove, but details about their food truck forays, Parisian sojourns and stilettos-to-cowboy-boots lives.

It's all one happy, virtual party, and everyone's welcome.

So we've taken the notion to heart and invited five of our favorite food bloggers -- including the head of William-Sonoma's test kitchen, the queen of Manhattan's online foodie scene and a Stanford grad student-turned-accidental food blogger -- to the party and asked them to bring dishes, virtually, to share with you.

One Family, One Meal

Amanda Haas has long been part of the culinary world, testing and developing recipes for cookbooks and for Williams-Sonoma. But when she had her first child nine years ago, her perspective suddenly shifted.

"I'm surprised by how many of my friends -- amazing cooks -- serve two meals every night," the Orinda food writer says. "There's something amazing for the adults, and dinosaur chicken nuggets and ranch dressing for the kids. Kids will eat what we eat, if we let them."


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Launched in 2009, One Family, One Meal is more than a blog. It's a fully evolved website with 200 recipes, as well as meal planning, shopping and budgeting tips, and weekly blog posts. Haas' companion cookbook, "Cooking Light, Real Family Food" (Oxmoor House, $21.95, 288 pages) came out in September, with recipes for family-friendly, party-ready fare such as fish tacos with lime crema -- similar to a whipped guacamole, Haas says, which kids will love -- and mango salsa.

Details: www.onefamilyonemeal.com

Desserts for Breakfast

We're not sure whether it was the witty blog title that first captured our attention or the evocative photographs of peach-lemon verbena pie, plum-rosemary cakes and a peach-basil riff on ice cream sandwiches, But Stephanie Shih, a Cal alum and Stanford graduate student -- whose Oski-love gets "a lot of sideways looks" during Big Game week -- says her entry into the blogging world in 2009 was entirely accidental. She didn't even know what a blog was.

"For a while, in early grad school, I was doing some dessert catering, and I needed a quick and dirty website with pictures of what I had done in the past," she says. "People started asking for the recipes."

Suddenly, she says, people were using the word.

"Blog-what?" she remembers thinking. "What is this phenomenon?"

Four years later, this is a crowded, competitive, boisterous field -- and Shih's blog has been featured in Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food and Wine and the New York Times. She's the creative director for a new indie magazine, Sated, that features her stunning food photography -- and she's still working on that Ph.D. in linguistics.

As for her blog's title, it reflects her childhood philosophy: "I always thought desserts made a very good breakfast. Strawberry ice cream? It's a fruit and a dairy."

Details: www.dessertsforbreakfast.com.

OMG! Yummy

It was a midlife crisis of sorts that prompted Beth Lee's foray into food writing. The San Jose blogger, a former marketing exec, realized three years ago that "I needed to find something I was passionate about to pursue other than running our frenetic household. My husband -- affectionately known as @dormantchef -- and my kids, especially @techsavvyteen, encouraged me to start writing a food blog."

Needless to say, Twitter figures largely in the Lee family, but the blog, OMG! Yummy, is devoted to food, recipes and the stories and inspirations behind them. Lee, who spoke on a storytelling panel at this past summer's BlogHerFood conference in Seattle, wants to make "cooking like Granny cool again."

"My grandmother was a fabulous baker and cook," she says, "but had no recipes written down, and somehow none of her six children learned her craft. When I was a teenager, I tried to follow along and write down what she did."

These days, Lee's eclectic recipes run the gamut, including a spinach salad with a strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette that's perfect for spring, and a citrusy cherry tomato, avocado and hearts of palm salad to enjoy year round.

Details: http://omgyummy.com.

TheKitchn

To understand just how quickly things change, think on this: When Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan cofounded the now incredibly popular Apartment Therapy site in 2004 and spun off TheKitchn a year later, very few websites were devoted to cooking.

"When we started, there was no social media. We wanted to fill a niche," Gillingham-Ryan says by phone from her home in New York City. "Apartment Therapy was trying to address what goes on in the home as a whole, but I was writing more and more about cooking. The kitchen is the most important room in the house. It's where nurturing happens."

Today, millions read TheKitchn's take on topics ranging from kitchen organization to make-at-home snacks for movie night, and Gillingham-Ryan has published a cookbook, too: "Good Food to Share" for Williams-Sonoma (Weldon Owen, 2011).

"Potlucks never have good drinks," she says, so fabulous cocktails are one idea -- the site has plenty of riffs on that topic, too -- but she also is a fan of portable, slightly unusual desserts. Her Olive Oil, Lemon and Sea Salt Sundaes can be assembled and frozen solid in small Mason jars.

Details: www.thekitchn.com

A Little Yumminess

Stay-at-home moms Simran Singh and Stacie Dong use the word "yummy" a lot, too; in their case, it's to describe the ethnic food explorations they do around the Bay Area and the blend of Asian and Indian fare they serve their families. They've been fast friends for a long time, but their first meeting was "a blind date walk at Crissy Field," Dong says, after mutual friends told them they'd hit it off.

"We were set up," Singh laughs.

They bonded over a shared passion for ramen, ethnic cooking and Korean restaurants in parts of the city that Dong says might as well be in Timbuktu. Soon, they were taking their kids on culinary forays all over the Bay Area.

"The Bay Area has basically every cuisine you can think of, so many casual places that welcome kids, we try to take advantage of that," Dong says.

These days, they run culinary camps and classes for tots at Seesaw and 18 Reasons in San Francisco -- and their 3-year-old blog, which has been featured in the New York Times, brims with food-inspired kids' crafts as well as recipes for Thai coconut-mango pancakes, Indian dhal and tandoori chicken that can be made in a conventional oven.

Details: http://alittleyum.com.