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10 Things in the Food World We Loved in November
Including a virtual bread project; a punchy, small-batch hot sauce; and a digital encyclopedia of Texas tacos.
12-01-2020
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 latest installment of the series (you can find the other months' lists here), we've got 10 things that we loved in November, submitted by ATK staff members from all over the company. The list includes a food-history YouTube channel, a once-a-year cheese, and a subscription box that transports you around the world with its snacks.

1. Tasting History YouTube Channel

While we wait for our favorite restaurants to reopen fully in the future, why not take a look into the culinary past? I've been keeping up with Max Miller's YouTube channel, Tasting History, for most of the pandemic, and it offers the perfect blend of historical-culinary nerdery, goofy jokes, and timely recipes. From soul cakes for All Souls Day to pumpion (yep, "pumpion") pie for Thanksgiving, the recipes here come from all over the globe and offer an informative-yet-entertaining glimpse into all things history. You'll learn something new every time you press play. —Christine Campbell, Copy Editor

Rogue River Blue—one of the very best blue cheeses in the entire world—is available! It's made in Oregon during the fall (beginning on the autumnal equinox) when the cheesemakers believe that the milk of their organic dairy herd is best. After the wheels are formed, they're wrapped in grape leaves that have been harvested by hand and soaked in homemade pear liqueur. It is truly a labor of love. The cheese is creamy and lush, with crunchy crystals and notes of everything from pineapple and apricot to vanilla, toffee, and bacon. The folks at Rogue have been hard at work on the 2020 wheels for a few months now, and last year's release just came out. They'll likely sell out, so go look for it now. You can order online or find it in many small specialty shops across the country. —Kate Shannon, Deputy Editor ATK Reviews

This profile of Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando is from 2018. But I read it again last month because my partner and I were finally inducted into the Rancho Gordo Bean Club—after spending two years on the waitlist. We signed up for the Club after we read the article when it was first published. We got our first bean delivery a couple of weeks ago, and now some of those "beans on Sando’s site [that] look like gems in a jewelry case" will be delivered to our door every few months. It gives me new appreciation for the words in this article and even more anticipation of our next delivery. —Mari Levine, Web Managing Editor

4. Universal Yums Subscription Box

I think the best way to get rid of foreign coins at the end of a trip abroad is to use them in airport vending machines and bring home a bunch of snacks as one last souvenir. Apparently the founders of Universal Yums feel the same, because their subscription food boxes (available in three different sizes) bring you individual-size snacks from all over the world—a different country each month. In the Before Times, I often went to Italy over the long Thanksgiving weekend (always a good airfare deal to be had, and no other Americans at the destination), so it delighted me that my November snack box was from Italy. I can't get there right now, but lemon-pepper taralli and hazelnut chocolate, here I come! —Valerie Cimino, Senior Editor

There’s truly nothing better than a biscotti next to a cup of coffee or espresso. Or, who am I kidding, there’s nothing better than a biscotti, period. But, when you don’t have the time to make your own, Bella’s Home-Baked Goods has you covered. A small business owned by Deanna Bellacicco Breault in the Hudson Valley, New York, Deanna and her team make great authentic Italian biscotti. Boasting a variety of flavors, including Cappuccino Chip, Chocolate, Salted Caramel (my personal favorite), and more, they have something everyone will like. With quick shipping throughout the country, you won’t have to wait long to try it. My mom grew up with the Bellaciccos and can attest to their great baking skills. Deanna learned from the best, and her biscotti is truly that: the best. —Danielle Lapierre, Digital Content Producer

6. The Katzoomi Bread Project

Seven baking buddies in different countries met over Zoom to develop a recipe for a shokupan-style bread that's leavened with sourdough starter, but has a very fine, soft, plush crumb and no sourdough tang. I've made two huge loaves in the past week alone. —Andrea Geary, Cook’s Illustrated Deputy Food Editor

I first encountered Food Link when I drove by the building they are rehabbing in Arlington, Mass., and wondered who they were. The next week they were on the front page of my local paper as supporting the culinary arts students at the local vo-tech school. (The school's public café is closed due to the pandemic.) Food Link volunteers rescue surplus fresh food that would otherwise go to waste and get it to organizations that help alleviate hunger. They deliver ingredients to the culinary students who are turning them into meals for future delivery by Food Link. Food Link envisions a food system without waste and finds partners to help those in need, that's a beautiful thing. —Debra Hudak, Managing Editor, Books

8. Pink Elephant Hot Sauce by Angry Goat Pepper Co.

I’m a (self-proclaimed) hot sauce connoisseur, and Pink Elephant Hot Sauce is one of my all-time favorite hot sauces. Made by a small sauce company in Vermont, it has an unbeatably unique, fruity, and delicious flavor thanks to the combination of cranberries, pomegranate juice, and ghost peppers. It’s perfect to have around in November because it’s ideal for spicing up the Thanksgiving table, but it’s also great to have year-round. Even though the main pepper is ghost pepper, it’s not so hot that it kicks you in the mouth, but it’s certainly not mild. It's got a perfect balance of heat and fruity flavor, and it's very tasty and really enjoyable if that's your thing. 12/10, would recommend. —Emily Rahravan, Editorial Assistant

I like the simple silkscreened design of Xenotees' shirts and aprons that says Pie, Pizza or Tacos. The baby onesie that says Pizza is adorable. The tees are especially soft. —Lisa McManus, Executive Editor, ATK Reviews

10. The Ultimate Texas Tacopedia from Texas Monthly

I can't go to Texas right now, but I can learn about many of the different types (22!) of tacos in the state with this interactive, colorful collection of photos, descriptions, terms, and stories. Instead of doing a best-of list as he'd originally planned, José R. Ralat, the magazine's taco editor, created "a compilation of the state’s favorite and most exciting taco styles that spells out where to find the best specimens of each dish." There are also chef spotlights, taco tips, and more. —Mari Levine, Web Managing Editor