Through the wonders of modern telegraphy, you may now receive updates from this site in your electro-mailbox. Simply enter your email address below:

Food Sites for December 2023

Thursday, November 16, 2023


Someone else's idea of holiday joy


December is a month replete with food-intensive holidays—dished out by several different religions and/or ethnicities. It continues the gastronomic (AKA, gastrointestinal) excesses that begin (in the US, at least) with Thanksgiving. It’s a time of relentless joy and—occasionally, alas—anxiety, disappointment, and/or other forms of family-induced agita. If the endless parade of holiday extravaganzas begins to overwhelm you, may we recommend some festive Xanax-laced cupcakes? Some antacid sprinkles on the frosting might also be just the thing to help keep the holiday merry.


Bon appetit!


We’re still scribbling away here in the Hudson Valley—and self-published two books: a collection of stories (Beer Taste & Other Disorders) and another collection of articles about food and eating (Galloping Gourmand: A Culinary Collection) and, of course, posting more Substack pages:
No New Is Good News” on what we can learn from sales reports;

Readin’ an’ Writin’” announced the publication of Beer Taste & Other Disorders.

Involuntary Shudder is a tale of book-induced stresses;

Don't Even Think of Doing Thatwonders about things that don’t mix;

What? Another Book Already?” about our latest book:(finally... something about food!);


Ott, Ott, Ott/Risque Business...” on exceptions to one’s introversion.


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 and other Substack pages. There’s even an Amazon author’s page, that includes our food writing and anything else we manage to get into print


Two other takes on one type of holiday dining offense—from some of our favorite curmudgeons—that are included in, or soon to be added to, On the Table’s culinary quote collection.

In these random notes on contemporary American life, the conviction has been not infrequently expressed that banquets are bores, that he who arranges one... is at least a semi-public-nuisance. Alexander Woollcott

A banquet is probably the most fatiguing thing in the world except ditchdigging. It is the insanest of all recreations. The inventor of it overlooked no detail that could furnish weariness, distress, harassment, and acute and long-sustained misery of mind and body. Mark Twain

December 2023


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 virtual hat to Elissa Altman—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 —


Ancient Switch to Soft Food Gave Us an Overbite—and the Ability to Pronounce ‘F’s and ‘V’s

(Ann Gibbons, in Science, on how cooking changed not only our anatomy but our language)


Brief History of… Oysters, A

(Miranda York’s four-minute read, at Mr. Porter)


Can Eating Spicy Food Increase Your Lifespan? Why The Science Is Still So Mixed

(Paul D. Terry—an epidemiologist—tries to answer)


Dark and Complicated History of Monterey Jack Cheese, The

(Pete O’Connell’s tale of real estate skullduggery at VinePair)


Dough You Know the Difference?: The 5 Basic Types of Pastry

(the answer, from Chloee Lee, at Food for Thought)


Everything You Wanted to Know About Salt but Were Too Afraid to Ask

(Claire Lower’s seasoned words, at lifehacker)


History in a Can

(Gastro Obscura’s account of the origin of canned food)


History of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, The

(a thick slathering from Southern Living’s Melissa Locker)


Holy Mole: Celebrating Mexico’s Iconic Sauce

(Joseph Sorrentino’s Culinary Backstreets article)


Meat and the Free Market

(Livia Gershon—in conversation with Roger Horowitz, Jeffery Pitcher, and Sydney Watts—about “the relationship between governments and industry, [and] regulation”)


Milkshake Neuroscience: How the Brain Nudges Us Toward Fatty Foods

(Max Kozlov, in Nature, on research reported in The Journal of Neuroscience)


Neurology of Taste, The: How Your Brain Perceives Flavor

(Laura Simmons introduces us to the gustatory cortex in IFL Science)


Seaweed Has Been a Superfood Since Prehistoric Times

(fossilized dental evidence from 28 archaeological sites in Europe)


Thinking About Pepper

(John Birdsall peers through the dark history of Piper nigrum in his substack pages)


Why Do Onions Make You Cry? Biology

(an excerpt from Mark Kurlansky’s book, The Core of an Onion)


Why Insect Meals Could Soon Be on Your Plate

(Dr. Beccy Corkill’s IFL Science article)



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


10 Strangest Foods in The Bible, The


10th-Century Master Chef Who Wrote Food Poetry, The


25-Year Lasagna, Special Ops Oatmeal, and the Survival Food Boom


#198: Who Benefits from the Food We Buy?


Abundance: the Proposal


Ammonium Chloride: A Surprising Sixth Basic Taste May Join Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami


Confessions of a Tableside Flambéur


Could Your Family Recipes Become a Bestselling Cookbook?


Decadent Diet of Aleister Crowley, The


Dog Food Fingers


Eating at the End of the Earth


Enduring Legacy of Elizabeth David, Britain’s First Lady of Food, The


Every Burger Topping Imaginable, Ranked


How Plant-Based Cuisine Challenges the Authenticity Trap


How to Do the Dishes


How to Tell What Kind of Procrastinator You Are (and What to Do About It)


How to Write a Good Pitch Email


Iconic Pasta Causing an Italian-American Dispute, The


Ordering Off a 5,000-Year-Old Mesopotamian Menu


Pasta and Rice May Be Healthier as Leftovers. Here’s Why.


Remembering When America Banned Sliced Bread


Restaurant Revolution Has Begun, The


Resurgence of Solar Agriculture, The


Revenge of the Colonized


Salmon on Your Plate Has a Troubling Cost, The. These Farms Offer Hope.


Shut Up and Drink!


things we cling to, the 


Turns Out Not Eating Salt Is Not the End of the World


Understanding Food and Culture; Finding Their Quintessence in Cookbooks


“We Find Nowadays Perpetual Disenchantment on the Score of Cookery”: Victorian Food Writing and Anachronistic Nationalism


What Happens to Your Body When You Eat an All-Meat Diet?


What the Neo-Prohibitionists Won’t Tell You


What You’re Eating


What’s a Predicate and Who Cares, Anyway?


When Cheese Can Tell the Future


Why Does Wine Taste Different on a Plane? We Asked an Airline Sommelier.


Wonder of Bread, The


Writing Is Not About the Routine


Your Book Cover Is Everything



— another blog —


Olga Massov



— podcasts, etcetera —


Beans, Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit


Chocolate: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


Choreography of Cooking, The


Copper and Heat


Eating the New World’s Hottest Pepper: “Pepper X”


Foreign Foods That Are Banned in the U.S.


Glen and Friends Cooking


History and Evolution of Chili Peppers, The


How the Cup Noodles Empire Was Built


Inside Ina Garten’s Kitchen | Ina’s Favorite Things | NYT Cooking


Simple Hacks for Amazing Food Photography in Natural Light


Surprising Real Origins of Your Favorite Ethnic Foods, The


You Are What (Your Microbes) Eat


Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle



— 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 are providing 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


The Backstories: As retold by Gary Allen


Tabula Rasa, Baby: (Not Written in Stone)


Unbelievable: A Modern Novella






Hot Hot Hot/Risky Business

The Long & Short of It: A Miscellany


Beer Taste & Other Disorders


Galloping Gourmand: A Culinary Collection

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...


...for the moment, anyway.




The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #278 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 ©2023 by Gary Allen.




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

The Libro-Emporium

Doorstops and lavatory entertainments abound in our book store.