It's been a long, busy year here at Serious Eats. We've tackled taste tests of everything from white chocolate to frozen veggie burgers. We took trips around the world, digging into Thai street food, Spain's finest ham, and China's tea culture. But above all, we ate as much delicious food as we could get our hands on...and then we told you all about it. Here are the 9 stories you loved best in 2014, in no particular order.
Mostly looking for recipes? Don't worry, we'll share the most popular Serious Eats recipes of 2014 later this week. Or check out Kenji's list of his favorite recipes.
The Truth About Cast Iron Pans: 7 Myths That Need To Go Away
There's a mysterious, myth-packed lore when it comes to cast iron pans. On the one hand, there are the folks who claim you have to treat your cast iron cookware like a delicate little flower. On the other, there are the macho types who chime in with their my cast iron is hella non-stick or wow, does my pan heat evenly! In the world of cast iron, there are unfounded, untested claims left, right, and center. Buckle up! It's time to put a few of those myths to rest.
The 10 Best Budget Bourbons
We're lucky, as bourbon drinkers. Think about it—the bourbon industry has the resources and capacity to make massive quantities of corn juice, and they have the expertise to do it well. So well that you can find plenty of good bourbon on a budget. Careful, though! We're not implying every budget bourbon is worth your buck. Some of it is downright dreck. Here are the best bottles under $20 to seek out.
How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes
However many ways there are to skin a cat, we'd wager that there are fifty times as many ways to make tomato sauce from fresh—not canned—tomatoes. The very best, though, comes from summertime tomatoes at their peak ripeness. It layers the deeply sweet flavors of long-cooked tomatoes with the fresh, bright, fruity notes of barely-cooked ones. This sauce achieves that, and is so good, you won't even need to put cheese on top.
The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs
The secret to peeling hard boiled eggs? Well "secret" might be a bit of an exaggeration. And actually, here's the truth: there's no 100% fool-proof method we've found, and we do believe we've tried them all, many, many times over. That said, a bit of the old scientific method has definitely improved our success rate pretty dramatically. These days, we're routinely producing perfectly boiled eggs with easy, clean-peeling shells. Here's how to do it at home.
How to Make the Crispiest Shredded Hash Browns
If time is your only concern, it's easy to make a decent version of shredded hash browns. Just grate a potato on the big holes of a cheese grater, toss it in a skillet with some fat, and cook it until it's golden-brown. But how do you make a truly great version that stays extra-crispy? First things first, you have to start with the right potato. Since crispiness is the name of the game—especially with shredded potato hash browns—that means a good ol' Russet potato, which just loves to form crackly crusts. But what about the rest? We set out to test some hash brown theories, and the results...well, we'd give you a taste but they're loooong gone.
Friday Night Meatballs: How to Change Your Life With Pasta
Weekly spaghetti dinners with a rotating cast of friends and family started as an easy solution for working parents who missed having a social life. But the new tradition tapped into something much deeper. These days, people work long hours, often with long commutes or multiple jobs. An increasing number of us are freelancers, working from home without company. Social events aren't always hospitable for families with young children, and those who don't have kids can go years without even interacting with them. Friday Night Meatballs is intergenerational, kid-friendly, low-key, and cheap. You don't have to join anything: the biggest obligation it asks you to shoulder is showing up with a dessert or a bottle of wine. This is the story of how meatballs can change lives. For real. Hey—it even has a hashtag.
Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes
People, even experts, swear that you should never put a tomato in the fridge. And...they are wrong. There. We said it. In fact, the first time we told you this, we encountered our fair share of skeptics. So we went back to the drawing board. We ran taste tests and accumulated even more data. Here's the sum total of what we learned, with some basic tips for how you should really store those tomatoes.
The Best Deep-Dish Pizza in Chicago
Deep dish pizza is as accurately named as any food we know. Even if you've never experienced one in person, you already know to expect something imposing and thick, with generous layers of sauce and cheese. Oh, the cheese! The glorious, glorious cheese. But which pizzeria in Chicago serves the best? We tried different places to find out.
Coffee Science: How to Make the Best French Press Coffee at Home
A French press is often treated like Jason Segal's character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He's actually the one you want, but people tend to flock blindly to the flashy, temperamental types like coffee-siphon-somethings or Russell Brands. The French press is definitely a potential coffee happily-ever-after, and as with all things coffee, it ain't rocket science...but it is science! Delve a little deeper into how the French press works, and how you can make the best cup of coffee using this tool.