Best bloggers and home cooks for dad

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Derek Campanile with his son and daughter, Brayden and Makenzie | Photo courtesy of Derek Campanile

Derek Campanile with his son and daughter, Brayden and Makenzie | Photo courtesy of Derek Campanile

The mommy blog empire is a vast and cluttered space, filled with faith-based stories about parenting, tips for raising healthy children, and plenty of family recipes to fill countless cookbooks. But plenty of dads have gotten in on the game too, providing usable tips and tricks to raise conscious eaters, recipes for creative lunchbox ideas, or birthday party snacks that wow.

Derek Campanile launched his blog Dad with a saucepan as a “hobby first” project and now has over 50,000 followers on his various social media channels.

“Since I was young, I have had a huge passion for food and cooking,” he says. “I remember my mom teaching me how to cook eggs when I was 8, and ever since then I’ve always enjoyed learning new recipes and constantly tweaking my favorites to see if I could improve on them.”

His website consists of thousands of recipes he cooks alongside his young son and daughter, Brayden and Makenzie, in their Southern California home. They’ve made everything from macaroni and cheese to beef brisket and steak and egg tostadas, to fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and toasted s’more cookies.

Photo courtesy of Derek Campanile

“Growing up, we always got together at the table every night, enjoying mum’s cooking or dad’s barbecue,” Campanile writes on its website. “Now that I’m a dad, I see the importance of having that same routine and want to instill that in my kids by not making it a chore, but something they look forward to.”

For Denver-based Nick Evans, documenting his recipes began as a necessity when his then-girlfriend “didn’t like to cook much.” So in 2008 he started Macheesmo as a space that would help men and women build confidence around the kitchen, and its website now hosts over 2,000 recipes.

“I live with my wife and our official tasters, our boy Theo, our daughter, Darby, our dog, Porter, and our cat, Tipsy,” he says. He even published a cookbook, Love your leftoverswhich shows how to best reuse food – think roast chicken turning into chicken tortilla soup or creamy chicken pesto pasta or flank steak turning into spicy beef wontons or Vietnamese noodle salad.

Photo courtesy of Nick Evans

The food writer lifestyle has even allowed Evans to be more present as a parent. “I coach the soccer team and I never miss a dance show,” he says. “It makes everything a little easier on the family calendar.”

Food was also a moment of complicity for Beau Coffren, who ran Dad lunch box for 10 years, since her daughter started kindergarten. The Oklahoma City dad now has three kids and plenty of box lunches under his belt.

“I wanted her to bring a special lunch to school and when she looked at it, it would let her know I was thinking of her,” he says. “I started the blog soon after to keep track of our lunches and encourage other parents to cook meals for their children.”

lunch box dad
lunch box dad

Coffron’s creativity seemingly knows no bounds, artfully designing a kiwi to look like Baby Yoda or decorating a Babybel cheese to mimic the Spiderman logo.

But these parents who have made careers in the kitchen insist that it’s not just carefree days in the kitchen. There’s a lot to do to keep social media accounts thriving while maintaining fresh content and an engaged audience.

“Blogging is not just about taking a few photos,” says Campanile. “There’s SEO keyword research, crafting all your social posts, and exploring video content creation – there’s quite a beast to tame there.” He adds with a laugh, “And bribe your kids to take a picture with you.”

“Sometimes the overall experience can also be isolating,” admits Evans. “But I’m very connected to thousands of readers and cooks around the world via social media. The world is a huge place, and I find new people to connect with every day and it’s wonderful.

Coffron agrees, saying his website has provided a reassuring outlet for other parents. “There is an online community that is happy to come together and support each other,” he says. “The internet doesn’t always have to be a dark space, but it can also be a space filled with love, support and positivity.”

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Sonal Ved is a Thrillist contributor and the author of Tiffin: 500 authentic recipes celebrating India’s regional cuisine. She is Content Manager at India Food Network and Tastemade India, and Editor-in-Chief at vogue india.

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