You did it! Another week down!
We're putting up a post very much like this one every Friday afternoon to celebrate the fact that the week is done. No one likes weekdays! Everybody's workin' for the weekend!
We think of this series as something of a send-off for the week, giving you the option of a brief interlude for your Friday afternoon. Of course, if your workweek is just starting, or if you're still in the thick of it, think of this as a pick-me-up for your personal hump day or as a nice way to kick off your weekend shifts.
We hope to provide a short mix of mostly silly, mostly food-related, mostly entertaining things to look at, listen to, and read, and we hope you'll find it amusing, and maybe, sometimes, edifying and enlightening. We also see it as an opportunity to go over some of what's new on the site, which you, dear readers, may have missed.
If you have feedback, or if you run across any interesting/oddball/totally crazy stories/podcasts/images/videos during the week that you think may be appropriate for this little collection of miscellany, email us! We can't guarantee that we'll use it, but we will 100% appreciate the effort.
What's New on Serious Eats
You can, of course, browse all our content in reverse-chronological order. But here are just a few highlights from the week:
- We're in holiday prep mode at Serious Eat HQ, and one of the things we've been doing is writing little odes to our favorite pieces of kitchen equipment, just in case you need some inspiration for gifts. This week, Niki wrote about her invaluable countertop dishwasher and Sho wrote about his valuable bird-cutting knife. (GBV! GBV!)
- In a similar vein, we highlighted some pricey gifts from our gift guide, the ones we'd want to be given if there were someone out there with send-us-on-a-trip-to-Italy-with-Sasha money who loved us dearly.
- Speaking of Sasha, this week he made the case for embracing koji in your cooking, first by making a fermented seasoning known as shio koji, then by using that shio koji to marinate a glorious prime rib for your family.
- Daniel called attention to the fact that Fuchsia Dunlop has published
The Food of Sichuan, which is a revised and updated version of her seminal work, Land of Plenty. (It's also a bit of a teaser for some future Dunlop/Gritzer content...stay tuned.)
- Finally, Stella showed us all how to make meringue mushrooms that look like the real deal but taste much sweeter.
Our Favorite Comments of the Week
I make a yule log every year and, no matter how delicious the cake, the meringue mushrooms are always the star of the show with my kids! They’ll love dusting the mushrooms with cocoa powder and buffing them. Thanks for sharing a fun kitchen project that I can involve my kids with!
YES! A million times yes! I bought a honesuki several years ago based on the recommendation of the folks in the Chef’s Knives to Go forum. I’d chipped my chef’s knife butchering out whole chickens and asked for a suggestion other than poultry shears, which I find clunky and awkward. They recommended the Tojiro DP Honesuki 150mm. I couldn’t believe how well it worked. It was a revelation. Anyone who regularly cuts up whole chickens owes it to themselves to buy one of these. It makes it effortless.
From a commenter (who we are frankly quite worried about) on Facebook, in response to our refeatured article, "How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar":
wonder if you could do this in a breadmaker
A Brief Book Break
I never knew any man who relished good eating more than he did. When at table, he was totally absorbed in the business of the moment; his looks seemed rivetted to his plate; nor would he, unless when in very high company, say one word, or even pay the least attention to what was said by others, till he had satisfied his appetite, which was so fierce, and indulged with such intenseness, that while in the act of eating, the veins of his forehead swelled, and generally a strong perspiration was visible. To those whose sensations were delicate, this could not but be disgusting; and it was doubtless not very suitable to the character of a philosopher, who should be distinguished by self-command. But it must be owned, that Johnson, though he could be rigidly ABSTEMIOUS, was not a TEMPERATE man either in eating or drinking. He could refrain, but he could not use moderately. He told me, that he had fasted two days without inconvenience, and that he had never been hungry but once. They who beheld with wonder how much he eat upon all occasions when his dinner was to his taste, could not easily conceive what he must have meant by hunger; and not only was he remarkable for the extraordinary quantity which he eat, but he was, or affected to be, a man of very nice discernment in the science of cookery. He used to descant critically on the dishes which had been at table where he had dined or supped, and to recollect very minutely what he had liked...When invited to dine, even with an intimate friend, he was not pleased if something better than a plain dinner was not prepared for him. I have heard him say on such an occasion, 'This was a good dinner enough, to be sure; but it was not a dinner to ASK a man to.'
From Boswell's Life of Johnson by James Boswell.
Food Numbers, News, and Hijinks
- 0: percent likelihood the human would've won.
- 7: pounds of illicit pasta that "prompted the orecchiette crackdown scare of 2019."
- 11: Number of "Herbs & Spices" that'll perfume your house when you put a KFC log on the fire.
- $300: current price of a six-piece, lab-grown chicken-nugget order.
- 120,000: number of real dollars an eaten banana cost.
- "Because they are insensate, stuck, and unable to speak, plants are easy to ignore; mostly, we use and abuse them."
- To be fair, British food is pretty exotic.
- René Auberjonois, who voiced "the French chef who sings the love song to fish-killing" in The Little Mermaid, has died.
- Benihana, at home.
- Cooking with wool.
- "All Star" with melons; "Africa" with sweet potato and squash.