2022, are you over already? Inflation was the story of the year, as prices for pantry staples soared. Readers of The New York Times’s Food section turned to stories that helped them cook well, with less. And three years into the coronavirus pandemic, the need to cook satisfying meals quickly and under budget remained a top priority. But readers also wanted escape, be it talking about the latest kitchen gadget, a TikTok trend or food show on TV. And there was news, plenty of it.
In October Priya Krishna looked at how RH, the store formerly known as Restoration Hardware that was once known for its reproduction period home fixtures, has opened restaurants — albeit, restaurants that want to sell you the seats you’re sitting on, in addition to pricey avocado toast.
Makes perfect sense to eat at a hardware store. I buy all my furniture at Red Lobster. Lance, Texas
Nikita Richardson assembled this collection of recipes designed to help novice cooks conquer the kitchen, with help from tuna mayo rice bowls, crispy-edged quesadillas and vegetable tofu curry. While the recipes are meant for beginners, they serve as inspiration for longtime cooks, too.
Many people grow up in households where cooking doesn’t happen or isn’t taught. They need some basics to get started … If they can learn a few everyday recipes, they might be able to expand from there. JasFleet
Krysten Chambrot assembled two dozen recipes packed with flavor for this special print section in September. “An ingredient or two more — a smattering of scallions, a dash of sweet-salty miso, the juice from a single orange — really can be the difference between a good dinner and a great one,” she writes.
That kimchi grilled cheese is calling my name. For extra oomph, I would slather gochujang paste before piling on the kimchi. Kewpie mayo would lend an invaluable sweetness to bring out the funk. Magnolia, New York
Margaux Laskey wrote and wrote and wrote about dinners this year, and it’s no wonder why she’s the Food team’s M.V.P.: She’s a busy mom with a knack for finding the delicious on any day of the week. This story from November featured hearty sheet pan suppers and one-pot meals made for chilly nights.
You better believe it’s not charcuterie. In September, Amelia Nierenberg reported on a trend taking over TikTok: butter boards. It sounds like what it is, swoops of softened butter on a serving board, paired with bread and other fancy accouterments. Its blaze to fame spawned comedic imitations, among them mayo and buttercream boards.
There is another meaning of butter board. In days of yore, in a household that necessitated a butler, a chauffeur and an indoor tennis court, before the main meal a kitchen minion would use two wooden paddles to coax a couple of tablespoons of cold butter into a butter ball. These were deposited on the bread plates around the dinner table. Sort of like making meatballs between your wetted hands. The utensils were called butter boards. Angus, Medford, Ore.
Christina Morales reported in April on how touch-screen technology has allowed a seamless way for many businesses to ask for gratuity. But that has lead to tipping fatigue among consumers who are asked for tip everywhere, even while buying movie tickets.
I’m not clear where tipping speaks to my character, as opposed to the character of a restaurant owner who doesn’t pay his employees a living wage. Why is poverty wages even a thing in this country? I’m not even suggesting he pay them an exorbitant wage — just a LIVING wage. Picking up a sub sandwich and bag of chips at the end of a 4 person assembly line shouldn’t involve a character test. Tammy G, Kent, Ohio
One-pot meals were Tanya Sichynsky’s 2022 New Year’s resolution, and this story brought together some of New York Times Cooking’s best loved vegetarian dishes, including Sarah DiGregorio’s pressure cooker ribollita with smoked mozzarella toasts and Yewande Komolafe’s spicy peanut and pumpkin soup.
Here’s what helps in my meatless kitchen: Soak overnight a large pot of beans, and a large pot of grains, and then cook them the next day (cooking goes faster after soaking). Stored in the freezer in half-cup or whole cup containers, the beans or grains can become an essential ingredient in many meals, in stir-fries, soups, salads, sauces, hummus and veggie burgers. William, Minn.
Induction cooking has been top of mind for many home cooks worried about climate change and the environment. But how do those burners fare in the kitchen? To find out, Melissa Clark tested induction cooktops and delivered her findings in this story from March.
I’ve been amazed that induction stove tops have been so slow to catch on in the U.S. I have been cooking with induction for years and don’t know anybody French or otherwise who doesn’t — the safety, the instantaneous control, the ability to set timers for each “burner” are marvelous. And as far as speed of e.g. heating water, if you still think “a watched pot never boils,” you’ve never used induction. Susan, Paris
In April, Nikita Richardson assembled a recipe list of reader and staff favorites worth memorizing, so you can riff off them again and again. Along with standards (hello, classic marinara!), there were standouts, like Sue Li’s cucumber salad with roasted peanuts and chile.
Thanks for this fun list. I will veganize and/or adapt the ones I like to suit my tastes, and show the other ones to friends who prefer meat. PB Fan, Minneapolis
In an October episode that made many viewers cringe, “The Great British Baking Show” put Mexico on the menu, along with some puns in poor taste, for its “Mexican Week.” The phrase itself “quickly became shorthand for profound culinary blunder, presented with a sense of naïve triumph,” our critic Tejal Rao wrote.
I love the show. It is inclusive at its heart. My family is mixed Latino. This controversy is silly and has gone too far. MamaSchnooks, The Other Washington
In February, Krysten Chambrot wrote about two dozen ways to work baking into your life, with recipes like Genevieve Ko’s butter mochi, and learn something in the process. “What unites them are smart techniques, the eye-opening approaches that educate as much as they impress,” Krysten writes.
Ah, looks yummy. The NYTimes trying to kill me, early in the morning. Worse, making me feel OLD, describing the source of one recipe as so ancient as to be lost in the mists of time, “with its origins likely traced back to recipe pamphlets and community cookbooks from the 1960s.” We had just discovered fire back then and so were understandably enthusiastic about cooking. RRI Ocean Beach, Calif.
In July, as food costs continued to rise, Margaux Laskey assembled a collection of recipes that lean into pantry staples without skimping on flavor. Smart techniques abound, like stretching meat with beans in these smoky white bean and beef sloppy Joes from Sarah DiGregorio. Von Diaz shares a recipe for stretching leftovers with the Puerto Rican favorite arroz mamposteao.
Don’t tell the lady lamp in the powder room of Tatiana, but there is a new luminary in town. As Priya Krishna reported in August, the rechargeable Pino Pro has taken over outdoor tables all over the city.
Lamps are great. I once had my hair catch on fire from candles. Appreciated lamps after that. Jin, Seoul
“These recipes are for the days when your survival instinct tells you to order takeout (which we do all the time, too), but your heart longs for something homemade,” Margaux Laskey writes. It doesn’t get much easier than this crispy oven bacon and eggs.
My secret for making things even easier is with cleanup … for that bacon and egg sheet pan dinner, or a salmon one, or most everything else, I line the sheet pan with tin foil and parchment paper on top of that. Anything to make it easier helps! mainesummers, Lake region, N.H.
In September, Kim Severson had an early look at a new unauthorized biography of the beloved chef and television host Anthony Bourdain, who took his own life in a French hotel room in 2018. “Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain” by Charles Leerhsen included “fresh, intimate details, including raw, anguished texts from the days before Mr. Bourdain’s death.”
I think it’s possible to love the best of Tony (his stories, his perspectives, his globe-trotting) and also take his life as a bit of a cautionary tale. kick19741, Boulder
Our reporters and editors scoured the country this year looking for the 50 restaurants that we’re most excited about now, including new spots and reliable institutions that have been on the scene for decades.
There are plenty of great places that don’t make lists. I’m happy this list highlights so many I haven’t seen elsewhere. ML, Washington D.C.
Julie Powell was an early blogger who spent a year cooking her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1,” an endeavor that became her first book, “Julie & Julia,” and a subsequent movie, directed by Nora Ephron and starring Amy Adams as Ms. Powell and Meryl Streep as Mrs. Child. As Julia Moskin and Kim Severson reported in November, Ms. Powell died in late October at age 49. The cause was cardiac arrest.
She was about to turn 30 and had no real career prospects. It was, she said in an interview with The New York Times, ‘one of those panicked, backed-into-a-corner kind of moments.’” Many, many Gen X Americans found themselves in similar circumstances in the 1990s and early to mid 2000s. I salute Julie Powell for coming up with one of the most creative ways to get out of that dreaded, sinking feeling at age 29. She was a huge inspiration even to many people with little or no interest in cooking. Virginia