Expanding menu of Web sites satisfies hunger for food coverage

By Mark W. Smith
Sunday, December 12, 2010

DETROIT - Chalk it up to beauty, shock or hunger pangs; there are few things that spread online as quickly as pictures of food.

From a friend's Facebook photo of a perfectly torched creme brulee to a shot of a classic Detroit Coney dog to the Luther - a cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme donuts - images of culinary creations circle the Web faster than you can reach for an antacid.

"Food speaks to us," says Dave Benjamin, 40, of Troy, Mich., a contributor to the Hungry Dudes - a food blog that specializes in sharing photos of metro Detroit cuisine.

"When you think of apple pie, you might think back to when your grandmother made apple pie. And then it's not just the food, it's the experiences that surround that food."

In the lore of extreme Web food, there may be no bigger star than the turbaconducken.

That's a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey, wrapped in a layer of salty, smoky bacon.

The gut-busting creation hit the Web courtesy of Bacon Today, a food blog specializing in often extreme creations.

The site is the brainchild of Rocco Loosbrock, 38, of Moorpark, Calif., who began dabbling in Web-based food ventures when he created an online wine club.

He quickly found the world of wine, in which he still operates, to be stuffy, as customers tried to one-up each other with their informed parlance.

"With bacon, all that disappeared," he says. "It was all about: 'I like bacon.' 'Bacon tastes good.' 'What can we do with bacon?' "

Some of the other creations on Bacon Today, which has seen as many as 2.5 million visitors in a month, include bacon cinnamon rolls, bacon coffee and bacon cupcakes.

Loosbrock, who was laid off from the banking industry more than two years ago, uses the viral nature of his posts to fuel his ventures selling bacon merchandise, including a Bacon of the Month Club.

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