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Food Sites for December 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021

 Preserved for winter.

November delivered our first killing frost. 

There was a time, not that long ago, in our collective memory, when gardens died each year—and, if we didn’t “put food by”—we would too. It wasn’t a joke when people alluded to “the dead of winter.” But countless generations filled root cellars [speaking of which, make sure to check out The Botanist in the Root Cellar, below] with carrots and turnips and beets and potatoes—plus jars (or barrels) of all sorts of pickled produce. Their attics held strings of dried fruits, mushrooms, and herbs. Sometimes, they’d bury apples, layered with straw, the longest-keeping varieties at the bottom, to be exhumed through the dark months of the year. 

By the end of winter everyone would be mighty tired of preserved food. But Spring would always come (at least for those who had prudently prepared before the Winter) and jaded appetites rediscovered fresh food. Today, a quick trip to the supermarket allows us to eat anything we want, anytime we want, and seasons have been rendered irrelevant. Of course, all of that out-of-season produce—shipped from far-away places—comes with a price, the biggest of which is flavor. Perhaps a winter of pickles was not too much to pay for the joy of encountering the first ripe in-season strawberry of Spring?

We haven’t published anything new this month—shocking, right?—but we have begun writing a sort of nostalgic novella. Tentatively titled Beer Taste (on a Champagne Budget), its a little like The Wonder Years, but with food—and recipes.

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 older 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.

We’ve dug into the pantry for a few excerpts from On the Table’s culinary quote collection:


The jelly—the jam and the marmalade,
And the cherry-and quince-“preserves” she made!
And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear,
With cinnamon in ‘em, and all things rare!
And the more we ate was the more to spare,
Out to old Aunt Mary’s! Ah! James Whitcomb Riley

The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today. Lewis Carroll

Marmalade in the morning has the same effect on taste buds that a cold shower has on the body. Jeanine Larmoth

In the last analysis, a pickle is a cucumber with experience. Irena Chalmers

December, 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.

— the new sites —

Are Vegetables Winning?

(New York Magazine article, by Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite, on meatless options in the Big Apple)

Botanist in the Root Cellar, The

(the taxonomy of all the foods we casually refer to as “roots”)

Chicago Brewseum

(dedicated to preserving the culture & history of beer, they don’t have a physical location yet—but the museum has coordinated exhibits elsewhere and has even developed a few beers of its own)

Culinary Detectives Try to Recover the Formula for a Deliciously Fishy Roman Condiment

(Taras Grescoe’s article, in Smithsonian, about trying to recreate the long-lost garum sociorum)

Female Cooks Who Shaped French Cuisine, The

(Rachel E. Black’s essay about women in the celebrated kitchens of Lyon, in Zocalo; an excerpt from Cheffes de Cuisine: Women and Work in the Professional French Kitchen)


(“the think tank for food;” articles about responsible food systems, sustainability, etc.)

From Pythagorean to Pescatarian; The Evolution of Vegetarianism

(Tori Avey’s account, fresh from The History Kitchen)

Fry Bread Is Beloved, but Also Divisive

(Kevin Noble Maillard’ New York Times article on a Native American foodstuff with a history that shares origins that are similar to that of “soul food”)

Great Organic-Food Fraud, The

(Ian Parker’s New Yorker exposé of why things are not always what they seem—or claim to be)

How Korean Cuisine Got Huge in America (and Why It Took So Long)

(John Surico gets an answer from Matt Rodbard—one of the authors of Koreatown: A Cookbook—for Serious Eats)

Is Coffee Good for You?

(Dawn MacKeen on the latest medical opinion, in The New York Times)

Let the Wine Flow

(Nathan Steinmeyer’s report, in Bible History Daily, on the excavation of a Byzantine winery at Tel Yavne, in Israel)

Olives for Ancient Eating

(Jonathan Laden’s report on archaeological work in Israel; in Bible History Daily)

Outline View (with links)

(The Botanist in the Kitchen’s taxonomic table of food plants grouped by their botanical relationships)

People All Over the World Love Adobo—But What Is It?

(whether it’s from Spain, Mexico, the Philippines, or Puerto Rico, Bettina Makalintal has the answer at Bon Appetit)

Search for the Competitive Edge: A History of Dietary Fads and Supplements

(Louis Grivetti’s 1997 paper in The Journal of Nutrition)

True Story of Pizza Margherita: a Food Fit for a Queen, The

(Francine Segan traces the ancient roots of pizza for La Cucina Italiana)

Untold Story of Sushi in America, The

(Daniel Fromson’s New York Times article about the connection between sushi and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon)

What Is A Potato Anyway?

(Amiel Stanek‘s article, in Bon Appétit, offers a quick answer)

World War Wednesday: Save a Loaf a Week

(Sarah Wassberg Johnson’s blog, The Food Historian, looks at food rationing campaigns during World War I)

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

Building Blocks: Chapulines, a Bug’s Culinary Life in Oaxaca

Definitive History of Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, The

Does Wine Have a Subject Matter?

Feast for the Soul

Flavor, Memory, and Emotion

Free Man of Color Whose Invention Revolutionized the Sugar Industry, The

How a Librarian and a Food Historian Rediscovered the Recipes of Moorish Spain

How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained

How Much Syrup Can a Doughnut Leak?

How to Cook from a Historical Recipe

How to Make Twitter a Better Place—With Emotional Food Memories

How to Start a Writing Podcast

In Shanghai, Teahouses Offer Both Community and Solitude

Laurie Colwin’s Recipe for Being Yourself in the Kitchen

London Chef Elizabeth Haigh’s Cookbook Withdrawn After Plagiarism Allegations

On Aroma and Emotion

Return of the American Rail Dining Car, The

Rise and Rise of Mother Gin, The

Small Cautionary Tale about Cookbooks and Authenticity, A

Traveling the World for Recipes, but Always Looking for Home

Tweezer Cuisine

Two Mustard Seeds, Lime-Sized Balls of Tamarind, and Hand Smells

U.S. Restaurant Criticism Was Evolving Well Before Covid-19. The Pandemic Revealed Why Critics Need to Keep Embracing Change.

Why Cookbook Stores Are the Antidote We Need Right Now

Writing about Food IS Writing

— more blogs —

British Food: A History

Food Section, The

— podcasts, etcetera —

Art of Eating, The (Calhum Trailer Final)

Barbara Haber: The Lioness at the Library

Buried Treasure: Weeds, Seeds, and Zombies

Conversation with Melissa Clark, A

Cookbooks with Virginia

“Every Time You Make A Recipe, You Take A Risk,” An Interview With David Sutton

How We Find Our Writer’s Voice, with Dianne Jacob

Inside Julia’s Kitchen

JULIA | Official Trailer (2021)

New Book Brings Foodies on a Global Culinary Adventure

Rise and Folly of the Refugee Cookbook, The

Taste of Louisiana, A: Mainstreaming Blackness Through Food in The Princess and the Frog

Tip of the Tongue 100: 100th Episode Special with Ken Albala

Why the Recession Helped the Donut

Why You Should Eat Oysters at Home (And How to Shuck Them!)

Women Left Out of Cocktail History, The

Zest, The

— changed URL —

Oyster Varieties

— 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 anything via those links, the price you pay is not increased by our commission.

Occasionally, URLs we provide may take you to commercial sites (that is, they’ll cost you money to take full advantage of them), or publications that have paywalls. 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

Backstories: As retold by Gary Allen

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.


The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #254 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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