You know those stories that urge you to put your phone down in order to achieve a more fulfilling and present life? This is not one of those. In fact, I'm going to suggest you do the exact opposite.
Even though social media can be a flaming pile of garbage, it can also connect you with your people. You just need to know who to follow. I gave up coffee thanks to Instagram, and I bought several essential cookbooks based off Twitter reviews. I've also found countless weeknight recipes (hello, bruschetta chicken!) from scrolling through my feeds. I have become a better writer, reader, and listener because of the creative women I choose to follow on social media. And I want you to feel the same way! We want you to feed your feed.
From cookbook authors and makers to writers and chefs, these are our editors' 20 favorite women to follow right now — the ones who inspire us to try harder, live better, and connect with our community. Share with everyone you love because scrolling through social media can actually be a beautiful thing.
I was introduced to Ruby when she appeared on The Great British Bake Off, where she came within an icing smudge of winning it all. But her sweet skills in baking are just the tip of her talent; since Bake Off she has become a ferocious voice against elitism and snobbery in food, and especially in so-called wellness, opening up about her eating disorders and smoldering against pretension of all sorts in food media. She's so young, full of incredible talent and taste, but with the desire to burn down parts of the system that would make her just another pretty baker. I can't take my eyes off her work — and I can't wait to see what she does next. —Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief
Buy Ruby's Book: Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want, $9
Soleil is the host of a kickass podcast, Racist Sandwich, where she talks about food in relation to race, class, and gender. These are the kinds of conversations I've always wanted to happen more in the food space, and Soleil and her fellow podcast host, Zahir Janmohamed, do it with such warmth and in a way that never feels pretentious. –Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
Subscribe to Soleil's Podcast: Racist Sandwich
You'll go to MeMe's diner for the food — the everything bagel babka, the juicy, crispy Patty Melt, and the free bowl of sugary kids' cereal given to every table to munch on — but you'll stay for the warm, familiar feeling you get the second you walk in, made possible by Libby and her business partner, Bill Clark, who set out to create an inclusive space where both her guests and her employees feel welcomed and comfortable. —Grace Elkus, Senior Food Editor
Visit Libby's Restaurant: MeMe's Diner
Haile is a ray of sunshine on Instagram. The super-passionate 17-year-old is the youngest certified integrative nutrition health coach in the country, and the CEO of the HAPPY org, which aims to teach teens about a plant-based lifestyle. She also just takes the most gorgeous photos of her food. Follow her! –Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
Hilary changed the way I think about bees. Whether she's sharing interesting bee factoids or posting a fun boomerang of her nieces dancing in colorful, kid beekeeping suits, Hilary inspires me to do more to save the species — with a bit of girl power mixed in. —Samantha Bolton, Art Director
Visit Hilary's Website: Girl Next Door Honey
Who she is: Writer, cookbook author, and food stylist.
Where she lives: Paris, France and Los Angeles
Follow Rebekah: Instagram
Rebekah lives a life that's hard not to be envious of, as she splits her time between LA and Paris to write, style food, eat, drink, and host friends. Yet, once you chat with her and realize how sweet, humble, and hard-working she is, that feeling quickly washes away. She's one of the most talented women in the business and I can't wait to get my hands on her charming forthcoming book. —Sheela Prakash, Assistant Food Editor
Pre-Order Rebekah's Cookbook: Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way, $19
Hawa wants people to know where she comes from. Although she fled her home country of Somalia as a refugee at the age of 7, she started Basbaas Sauce, a Somali condiment company based on her family's traditional recipes. I admire Hawa's mission so much — especially how she's chosen to tell her story through food! —Lauren Masur, Staff Writer
Buy Hawa's Sauces: Basbaas from Farm to People
Helen Rosner is the absolute best person to follow on Twitter. She's hilarious and insightful and makes me question all the assumptions I didn't know I had about food culture. I learn something every time I read her stuff or listen to her speak on a podcast. Also, she has a very cute dog. –Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
Read Helen's Writing: Helen Rosner for The New Yorker
Lyndsay is always creating things that make me smile! Her feed is full of colors and characters, plus whimsical bouquets of buttercream, meringue, and sprinkles. It's impossible to look at her work and not feel happy. –Kaitlin Garske, Senior Social Media Manager
Buy Lyndsay's Cookbook: Coco Cake Land: Cute and Pretty Party Cakes to Bake and Decorate, $19
Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima Morisse
The CAP ladies have truly taught me how to incorporate more plants into my diet than ever before. As a result, I have more energy, better digestion, and less under-eye circles. I am truly a CAP-cultist. Their blog is a must-read for me — up there with the New York Times and New York Magazine — and that's saying something! —Susan Kaplow, Chief Content Officer
Buy Their Book: High Vibrational Beauty: Recipes & Rituals for Radical Self Care, $18
The next time you're feeling salad fatigue set in, scroll through Hetty's Instagram, or better yet pick up her cookbooks — it will change everything. I didn't think it was possible to love salads and veggie-centric meals more than I already do, but she's shown me otherwise.
Not only does Hetty create extraordinarily inspiring (and gorgeous!) salads, but her food is also approachable, nourishing, and, best of all, made for sharing and bringing people together around the table. This is food that makes my soul happy. Needless to say, I cannot wait to get my hands on her new book. —Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
Buy Hetty's Cookbook: Neighborhood: Hearty Salads and Plant-Based Recipes from Home and Abroad, $17
Jessica just makes me want to party. Everything she makes, whether it's a swoon-worthy salad or one of her perfectly styled cheese boards, makes me want to invite my friends over and get cooking. —Kaitlin Garske, Senior Social Media Manager
Buy Jessica's Cookbook: The Pretty Dish, $20
Who she is: Writer, former podcaster (Hot Grease), cookbook author, and the director of special projects at The Brownsville Community Culinary Center.
Where she lives: Brooklyn, New York
Follow Nicole: Twitter
Nicole is a storyteller, and food just happens to be the medium in which she tells those stories. Whether it's in recipes or on a podcast, Nicole always puts people and place at the center of any narrative on food culture. My favorite kind of food writing! She inspires me to become a better editor by reading more about food cultures I'm not as well-versed in and search for new voices. —Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
Buy Nicole's Cookbook: The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen, $18
Thanks to Lauren's Instagram, @trashisfortossers, participating in the Zero Waste Movement is more than just sustainable — it's cool. Lauren doesn't just talk the talk either. She's the CEO of Package Free Shop and can fit six years' worth of non-recyclable, non-compostable trash in a 16-ounce Mason jar. I'm super inspired by her because I can often throw out that much waste (or more!) in a single day. She's a really important reminder that one person's actions can actually be more than a drop in the bucket. —Lauren Masur, Staff Writer
Shop (Online!) at Lauren's Store: Package Free Shop
I fell in love with Easy Lunch Boxes a few years ago, before I even knew who Kelly was, but I love this family-friendly product even more since finding Kelly on Instagram. In an internet world of terribly cute bento-styled lunch boxes, Kelly shares every real lunch box that comes from the Easy Lunch Box community. Yes, some are beautiful but most are just real-life snapshots from parents packing lunches in real life. —Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor
Buy Kelly's Lunch Box: Easy Lunch Boxes
Who she is: Author of the James Beard Award-winning Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (a documentary series based on the book is coming to Netflix on October 11), and a food columnist for New York Times Magazine.
Where she lives: Berkeley, California
Follow Samin: Instagram
Samin Nosrat's debut cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, is truly ingenious — it's one of the most informative, approachable, joyful guides to cooking there is. If you were enamored of Samin on the 'Water' episode of Michael Pollan's Cooked on Netflix, know that she is just as wonderful and endearing on Instagram — and in real life. (True story: I eagerly introduced myself to her at Cherry Bombe's Jubilee this past April and she was gracious and kind in response to my blatant fangirling.) Her feed is always full of refreshing glimpses into her life, from baking fails to battling jet lag. —Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor
Buy Samin's Cookbook: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, $20
Who she is: Former Culinary Director for Williams Sonoma, cookbook author.
Where she lives: Orinda, California
Follow Amanda: Instagram
I first met Amanda a bunch (ahem, many!) of years ago and I could feel something special just radiating off her. She was the Culinary Director at Williams Sonoma (she started with the company as a sales assistant and rose to the top!) and was having SO MUCH fun doing it. You could tell because she was always dancing and joking around in the kitchen.
With two cookbooks under her belt, she recently moved on from the company. She had such a huge influence at Williams Sonoma and I'm so excited to see what she's up to next. – Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director
Buy Amanda's Cookbook: The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy, $17
FarmHer founder, Marji Guyler-Alaniz, is empowering female farmers through creating a community that goes beyond beautiful images on Instagram. She's changing the way I think about where and who my food comes from. It's impossible to not love seeing the faces of America's female farmers and learning more about their roots. —Samantha Bolton, Art Director
Visit Marji's Website: FarmHer
Blogger turned entrepreneur and cookbook author, Chitra Agrawal has a way with food that never ceases to make me feel excited and deeply inspired. Not to mention hungry! From recipes to the popular condiments she's created and sells at her successful company, Brooklyn Delhi, Chitra celebrates the fresh, vibrant food of her roots, but gives these classic South Indian foods a modern twist with influence from her life in Brooklyn. —Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
Buy Chitra's Condiments: Brooklyn Delhi
When I first entered the world of online food media, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks was already one of the biggest and loveliest stars of the internet food space. A dozen years on, and about a million social media changes and leaps later, Heidi is still my favorite (yes, favorite!) Instagram food follow. Her quiet yet lush photography, unerring good taste in plant-powered food (these rolls!), and ability to reinvent her blog and presence while remaining absolutely herself, have only grown more attractive and essential in the intervening years.
In a world that sorely needs more beauty, Heidi still does lovely and aspirational (yet still accessible) food better than anyone else, her taste a subtle influence on so much of what I see in mainstream food media and photography. If you don't already follow her, do yourself a favor and do so today. —Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief
Buy Heidi's Cookbook: Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, $18
Now tell us: Who else needs to be on this list?