Fermentation, affordable booze, avocados, giant cookies and coffee are among the topics covered in my favorite posts of this year, and indeed these are a few of my favorite things. I've picked five posts from The Kitchn and five posts from elsewhere on the web, including an article about a matriarchal group of shellfish divers in Korea and an anti-food-snobbery manifesto. Enjoy!
My Favorite Posts from The Kitchn
- Try This! Easy Homemade Ginger Ale - I am a fermentation geek and making my own ginger ale is next on the to-do list. Emma's post has great tips for getting started and there are a lot of helpful links from readers in the comments.
- Best Bargain Booze: 7 Top Picks From Bar Experts - I'm typically a wine and beer girl, but one of my goals for next year is learning how to make more cocktails. First I need to stock my bar at home, which will be pricey, but hopefully a little less so thanks to Nora M.'s list of spirits with a lot of bang for the buck.
- Weekend Meditation: Broken - Dana's Weekend Meditation posts are always thoughtful, but I was especially moved by this piece on taking the time to mourn a broken platter which was once a favorite. As cooks we inevitably become attached to things, the tools that help us make the food we serve, but it is difficult to not feel frivolous when we mourn their loss. Dana has a beautiful perspective on the situation, one I will always think about when I lose something treasured.
- Huge Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked in a Cast-Iron Skillet - The name of this post kind of says it all, so I'll just add this: I thought my trick of baking together rounds of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough in a square pan and topping it with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream was the smartest no-fuss dessert ever, but then I read Elizabeth's review of this Martha Stewart recipe and realized I was wrong. A giant cookie baked in a cast-iron skillet and topped with ice cream is actually the smartest no-fuss dessert ever. So tasty and good-looking!
- Eating Quietly - In the midst of holiday festivities, it's easy to forget the importance of eating without distraction from time to time. Without a conversation, the television, a book or even music focusing our attention, there is only the plate of food in front of us and a deep awareness of every bite we take. Sara Kate's post offers ten tips for eating quietly, which is more challenging and more rewarding than you might think.
My Favorite Posts from Around the Web
- Two Loves - The Dinner Files is the food blog of former Sunset magazine writer Molly Watson. I'm a fan of her simple cooking style and funny, observant writing, which is about food but also so much more. It all comes together in this post about her two loves: San Francisco and tomatoes.
- Consider the Avocado - The Guardian UK's Word of Mouth blog is always thoughtfully written, often with a dry wit so sharp it could slice a finger off if you aren't careful. Yet, as in this piece about the avocado, it manages to be as informative as it is hilarious, and always with a pure love of food at its heart.
- A Few Beefs - I hate food snobs. But living in a hip neighborhood in a big city, I see food snobbery all the time, so this article by Peter Meehan for the New York Times Magazine really spoke to me. Through three well-observed vignettes, he captures the pointlessness of making others feel bad about the food choices they make.
- Coffee Preparation Through the Ages - Food journalist Kathryn McGowan wrote a fascinating two-part post on how people have brewed coffee throughout history. From thick Turkish coffee &mdash prepared the same way since the 17th century— to the first electric-pressurized espresso machine, invented in 1960, there are a surprising number of brewing methods that are still around today.
- Korean Island Women Carry On Diving Tradition - Haenyeo, "women of the sea," are shellfish divers living on a group of islands in South Korea, performing a dangerous job no man is allowed to do. For six generations, mothers have been training their daughters and passing on the tradition, but now their way of life is in trouble. This real-life story reads like a fairy tale told by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki: beautiful, joyful and quite haunting.
(Images: See linked posts for full image credits.)