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Food Sites for January 2021

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Comfort food: Orrechiete with sausage and grapes

Now is the winter of our discontent—with a vengeance. 

Janus was the Roman god of doorways. He had two faces, one facing forward and one back... hence our new year begins in January. 2020 will probably be remembered as our least-lamented year for the next century or so. Let us hope Janus’s door slams 2020 in the ass on its way out. 

Our kitchens have become havens—sometimes our only haven—now that restaurants and bars are either off-limits or too risky to consider.

Penwipe Publishing continues to remain in staycation mode, but—while the pandemic has provided plenty of time—our obsession with following the news has inadvertently provoked more writing. This month, we’ve posted ”The Cook’s Tale,” and “Crossroads,” two little stories from a book-in-progress. You can probably guess which one includes some—rather unusual—culinary content.

Coping with Covid” is an essay on our blog (while it has no culinary contents, whatsoever, it’s loaded with plenty of paranoid delusions). Also, our preoccupation with Covid has forced us to reconsider (and rewrite) an old holiday article. As a result, Roll Magazine has posted “Are You Going to Holiday Faire?”. It has been updated to include a lovely recipe from Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Francine Segan.

Listed below are a few more podcasts we’ve found that provided opportunities for procrastination (as if we needed any).

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook (where, among other things, we post a LOT of photographs), and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner. There’s even an Amazon author’s page, mostly about our food writing.

In reflecting on social isolation, we’re including a few items not yet found in On the Table’s culinary quote collection:

Food feeds both the body and soul—there are clear reasons to eat a balanced diet, but there are also reasons you cling to your mom’s secret chicken noodle soup recipe when you’re sick. Michael Mina

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. Christopher Morley

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie. David Mamet

Sometimes I think I’m liquefying like an old Camembert. Gustave Flaubert

January, 2021

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we’ve missed—please drop us a line. It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those who have pointed out corrections or tasty sites (this month we’re tipping our hat to Sheila Ratcliffe), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if you’ve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don’t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We’re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we’ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.

— the new sites —

American Institute of Wine & Food Culinary Collection

(7,200 volumes in the special collections of the University of California at San Diego)

Barbaric History of the Sugar Trade, The

(Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s New York Times article about the connection between sugar and a history of slavery)

Before Food Trucks, Americans Ate “Night Lunch” from Beautiful Wagons

(Gastro Obscura’s Anne Ewbank describes the glory of the ancestors of today’s diners)

Brewing Beer in Wine Country? First Archaeobotanical Indications for Beer Making in Early and Middle Bronze Age Greece

(Soultana Valamoti’s 2017 paper in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany)

Challenge and Pleasures of Elizabeth David, The

(Melissa Pasanen’s homage in The Art of Eating)


(information packet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

For the Record

(Robert Simonson’s cocktail history articles at Vinepair)

Gifts of the Gods: A History of Food in Greece

(chapter seven of Andrew and Rachel Dalby’s 2017 book; in PDF)

History of Pies, The

(a timeline from What’s Cooking America)

Kernels of Truth About Corn

(Hadassah Patterson’s article, in The Bitter Southerner, on the history, culture, and uses of Native American varieties of maize)

Marmalade: A Very British Obsession

(Olivia Potts on the history of the preoccupation with pectin and bitter oranges, at Longreads)

Natural Food Additives, Ingredients and Flavourings

(PDF of 2012 British technical book, edited by David Baines and Richard Seal)

Nouvelle Cuisine

(a history, by André Gayot, in Gayot: The Guide to the Good Life)

Quest for Sourdough, The

(resources and blog about leavening with fermented dough)

Recipes and Remedies: Manuscript Cookbooks

(digitized manuscripts from the collection of The New York Academy of Medicine)

Reviving a Crop and an African-American Culture, Stalk by Stalk

(Kim Severson’s New York Times article about Sapelo Island traditional cane syrup)

Science of Baking, The: How Physics and Chemistry Can Make You a Better Baker

(answers to the “whys” of baking)

Science of Cooking, The: Understanding the Biology and Chemistry Behind Food and Cooking

(PDF of 2016 book by Joseph J. Provost, Keri L. Colabroy, Brenda S. Kelly, and Mark A. Wallert)

Short History of American Food, A (Whatever That Is)

(Channon Hodge organizes the subject five small essays for CNN)

Short History of MSG, A: Good Science, Bad Science, and Taste Cultures

(Jordan Sands’ 2006 article in Gastronomica)

This Man Made the First Canned Cranberry Sauce

(K. Annabelle Smith tells the story of visionary Marcus Urann’s breakthroughs For Smithsonian magazine)

— inspirational (or otherwise useful) sites for writers/bloggers —

Good Sentences Are Why We Read

How Cookbooks from the Past Inform the Food of the Present

How Snobbery Helped Take the Spice Out of European Cooking

How to Edit a Book: How Many Times Should I Edit?

Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing

Mexico Cooks!

Our Lady of the Kitchen

Promote Your Book With a Shoestring Budget

Reflections on Objectivity and Wine Tasting (1)

“Salt to Taste,” Taken with a Grain of Regret

“So You Want to Write a Cookbook…?”

Ultimate Guide To Food Photography, The (77 Yummy Food Photo Tips!)

Why Wine Tasting Notes Are Not Helpful

— podcasts, etcetera —

America’s Most Famous Dessert: Jell-O, Classism, and the Death of the American Dream

Encores: Michael W. Twitty in Conversation

How to Cake It

— that’s all for now —

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

As an Amazon Associate, this newsletter earns from qualifying purchases made through it. These include our own books (listed below), and occasional books mentioned in the entries above. If you order any books via those links, the price you pay is not increased by our commission.

Occasionally, URLs we provide may link to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them). We do not receive any compensation for listing them here, and provide them without any form of recommendation—other than the fact that they looked interesting to us.

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose. Ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs for our own books:

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(newsletters like this merely update the contents of the book; what doesn’t appear here is already in the book)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries

Human Cuisine

Herbs: A Global History

Sausage: A Global History

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods

Sauces Reconsidered: Après Escoffier


Terms of Vegery

How to Serve Man:
On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating

How to Write a Great Book

The Digressions of Dr Sanscravat: Gastronomical Ramblings & Other Diversions

Ephemera: a short collection of short stories

Prophet Amidst Losses


Future Tense: Remembrance of Things Not Yet Past

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.


The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #243 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author’s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright ©2021 by Gary Allen.


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