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10 Things in the Food World We Loved in July
Including a line of ice cream featuring South Asian flavors, small-batch sauces from a Top Chef favorite, and an upcoming cookbook that blends science with serious cooking skills.
07-31-2020
America's Test Kitchen

One of the things all of us at America's Test Kitchen have in common—no matter what department we work in, whether it's in the kitchen or at a desk—is a love of food. And not just eating and cooking it, but learning about it. We talk about the latest food podcasts with coworkers, share interesting articles in Slack, and have long email chains about what food-related activities we're doing after work or on the weekends.

That's why we decided to start a series where we share the things we loved over the course of the previous month: things that made us think, things that made us laugh, things that reminded us why we relish being a part of the food world. If we enjoyed them, we thought you might, too.

In the second installment of the series (you can read last month's here), we've got 10 things that we loved in July, submitted by ATK staff members from all over the company. The list includes an Instagram Live series that will transport you to Paris, an enthralling YouTube account, and a vegan bacon recipe that, along with the chef who created it, has won over a self-proclaimed veggie hater.

1. Malai ice cream

If we're all going to be stuck at home this summer (and beyond), we may as well eat great ice cream. Next up on my list are the South Asian flavors that Pooja Bavishi is churning at her Brooklyn creamery called Malai: Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Spiced Peanut Crunch (the "crunch" is a swirl of chikki), Orange Fennel, and Jaggery with Tamarind Caramel, to name a few. Plus, her eggless, low-overrun product promises the kind of vibrant flavor and rich, dense consistency that I look for in any ice cream. Shop locally in parts of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California, or splurge on shipping via Goldbelly. —Liz Bomze, Cook’s Illustrated Managing Editor

2. emmymadeinjapan's YouTube videos

I first became enthralled with Emmy's pursuits when I clicked on a video in which she made a miniature moss garden, but most of her stuff has to do with food: making candy from Japanese kits; testing quirky vintage kitchen gadgets she's found at thrift stores; trying out recipes from times of scarcity (grapefruit peel steak, anyone? Anyone?). She also keeps bees, and this summer she's growing a giant pumpkin! I hope she'll visit the Test Kitchen one day. I have a feeling she'd find so many kindred spirits here! —Andrea Geary, Cook's Illustrated Deputy Food Editor

3. David Lebovitz's "Apero Hour" on Instagram Live

David Lebovitz released a book in the beginning March called Drinking French, all about France's cocktails, apéritifs, and café drinks. His book tour, slated to start in March, was postponed, so he started hosting Instagram Live broadcasts six days a week. In each Live, he goes deep on a recipe from his book, invites a guest on to make a drink, or answers viewer questions. I've been going through the catalog of broadcasts on his IGTV channel, starting with the first broadcast, slowly making my way through, savoring each episode. Four months later, he is still going live, but not every day. His broadcasts are a chance to learn about the deep world of French drinks, while also serving as the closest thing to a trip to Paris during a time when travel isn't possible. —Dan Callahan, Senior Video Producer

4. King small-batch sauces from Melissa King

I love food, competition, and reality shows, so I've been a fan of Top Chef since the beginning. This most recent season's winner, Melissa King, was one of the most talented—and also one of the most likeable—cheftestants the show has ever seen. She impressed the judges (and viewers) with her impeccable technique and Chinese flavors, and she's now selling four handcrafted, small-batch sauces inspired by those flavors. She announces each limited release on her Instagram account and they sell out fast. So fast that I have yet to be one of the lucky few, but it's OK—I like the competition. —Mari Levine, Web Managing Editor

5. Riot Ribs

Riot Ribs are a group of protestors and activists in Portland, Oregon who are feeding the large number of protestors standing up for police reform in the area. They have been operating a working kitchen based solely on local donatons in heavy conflict areas for the past 56 days, and have everything from fresh fruit to BBQ ribs to feed, motivate and support the activism happening on the ground there. It has been an amazing example of the role food can play in a political revolution, and an inspiring view into the way food and community intersect with social change. —Chad Chenail, Podcast Producer

6. Tabitha Brown's carrot bacon recipe

Like lots of people I know, I jumped onto Tiktok during quarantine, looking for a respite. Tabitha Brown pops up claiming she's made bacon out of carrots, and her personality and vegan recipes have won me over. I made the carrot bacon and even as a veggie hater, it was delicious! —Megan Collins, Senior Product Manager

7. From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy newsletter

I am a huge newsletter fan—I love how informal they can be, and there's nothing quite like getting an email that isn't something you have to put on your to-do list. Alicia Kennedy's newsletter has been my favorite lately. Based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Kennedy sends out a weekly essay covering food-related topics and how they intersect with anything from climate and culture to capitalism, labor, and politics (sometimes all of the above). Her essays make me think a lot about my own consumption, both in the literal sense of the foods I eat, but also the things I read and watch, and the people I listen to and learn from. This month she dug into what's really being said by the claim that food is political, the metaphorical death of the chef, and the delight of vegetables. The free newsletter comes out every Monday, but for the price of a cup of coffee you can get extra perks that keep you involved throughout the week, like discussion threads and interviews with food people. Trust me, it's worth it. Aren't we all making our own coffee at home these days, anyway? —Brenna Donovan, Assistant Editor, Cookbooks

8. The Flavor Equation, by Nik Sharma

I'm really excited about this fall book from Nik Sharma and I've already pre-ordered my copy. Nik blends deep knowledge of science with serious cooking skills. His blog is great. I love the posts about the process behind making a cookbook, especially this one about the covers not chosen. —Jack Bishop, Chief Creative Officer

What do chicken soup, broccoli melts, beets, and loaded baked potatoes have in common? They're the flavors of Seemore Sausages, a relatively new women-owned company producing sausages with humanely raised meat and lots of veggies. I recently picked up the Bubbe's Chicken Soup version (from my favorite local woman-owned specialty shop, natch!). I loved them. They were as schmaltzy and savory and satisfying as good chicken soup—and I loved the novelty of getting that burst of soup-fueled nostalgia in an unexpected format. I'm eager to try La Dolce Beet-a. They're flavored like sweet Italian sausage (always a favorite of mine) but are the most amazing shade of purple. —Kate Shannon, ATK Reviews Senior Editor

10. Home Cooking podcast

Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway are back with new episodes of their podcast about cooking while being (a little less) stuck at home. Their original four-episode run debuted in March, and is definitely worth a listen. They share their latest cooking and eating stories, take listener questions, and welcome guests. The shows have such an earnest, comforting vibe that we can all appreciate these days. Just one word of warning: Hrishikesh loves puns, and Samin often unknowingly sets him up. —Dan Callahan, Senior Video Producer