Thursday, February 28, 2008

Digital or Analog?

The Boston Foodie's Moleskine. I keep the calendar cards in the back pocket.

Clotilde always uses a notebook. And a blue pen. She carries them with her at all times. Specifically, the notebook is a moleskine, advertised as the same one used by Hemingway and Van Gogh but she waxes romantic about all notebooks, which she keeps in a tidy stack. And this is how she produces one of the most popular food blogs in all the world: Chocolate & Zucchini. After a few years of blogging she was able to quit her day job to become a food writer full time. She is now on her eagerly anticipated second book.

Clotilde Dusoulier writes a Parisian food blog.

Aidan "Trig" Brooks

Trig, on the other hand, is a thoroughly modern man. The only notebook he knows is his laptop. His popular food blog is: Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef. He started it to trace the journey of a young London native on his way to become a world class chef and restauranteur by study, apprenticeship and lots of hard work. If he's out at the pub and has an idea for a dish he will use his mobile to text it for download later into a massive Word document that, at this point, must be manuscript length. He is also a contributor to the Guardian/Observer food blog "Word Of Mouth."

Trig in his garden on the laptop.

Both are passionate about food and, not coincidentally, learning as much as they can about food and its preparation. That passion is contagious and the way they gather information and chronicle it is important. It's always of interest to me how true foodies file their treasures, notes and finds, one person digital, another analog. These two young writers are both very popular but follow their own style. They are my favorite bloggers.

Clotilde's Moleskine rests on a work surface.
You can view Clotilde's actual notebook entries (as well as those of other famous writers, artists, designers and doodlers) at this link:

I've adopted the pen and paper approach myself and also find the moleskine quite handy, having used small journals for years on travels throughout Europe. I wanted to save all that information I knew my memory would never recall: the brand name of that balsamic vinegar used in the small family-run restaurant in Venice, which table at that cafe in Reykjavik has the best view of the Bay, the cost of tea at Fortnum and Mason. We do it because any true foodie wants to share that information with friends or post it in their very own food blog. So, which are you? Analog or digital? Do you collect the fancy journals or the newest gadgets? Do you save all those menus, napkins and notes or snap photos of food with your iphone?

Special Note: The very cool calendar cards shown in the top photo were designed for the Prague Philharmonic Choir. You can print these up on your own 3x5 index cards at the following site: Unless, of course, you are totally digital.


  1. nice blog. keep up the good work!


  2. It's probably because I've always had access to a PC since I was very young, both at home and in school, and have had my own PC for many years. Actually I write by hand very neatly, but using the mobile and PC and backing up regularly means that my ideas are recorded safely for the future. Like Vincent van Gogh's paintings, they may not be worth much at the time of production, but you never know what they'll be worth one day.