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5 Things in the Food World We Loved in January

Including a moving article about front-line workers and a colorful cookware collaboration.

Published Jan. 29, 2021.

One of the things all of us at America's Test Kitchen have in common is a love of food. And if you’re reading this, you probably do, too.

That's why we decided to start a series where we share some of the things in the food world 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.

Here are five things that we loved in January, submitted by ATK staff members from all over the company.

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1. “Voices from the Front Lines of America's Food Supply,” by The New York Times

While some people were hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, others were stocking those shelves—not to mention all of the people involved who made sure that particular hot commodity arrived at the grocery store at all. This article from The New York Times gives credit to the countless essential workers that kept (and continue to keep) Americans fed, from the long-haul trucker to the meatpacking plant processor to the cafeteria food services worker in Montana that is still providing lunch to students, even those learning remotely. Each person touches on how they feel about being called "essential workers," but it's Minnesota farm owner Lakisha Witter who says it best: "It’s been essential. We’re just now becoming aware." —Brenna Donovan, Assistant Editor, Cookbooks

2. Garbage to Garden composting service

Since I'm recipe testing from home now (in addition to cooking/eating three meals a day at home every day for . . . forever?!), we're generating a LOT of food scraps. My partner and I are avid gardeners and have a setup for composting in the backyard, but since a) it's now frozen solid for the winter and b) we're generating more food waste than it can handle, we decided to sign up for a curbside composting service this month. We picked Garbage to Garden, which is based in Portland, Maine (always looking to support my home state!), and it's been great so far. They pick up weekly and will deliver a bag of finished compost weekly at your request, which will be great for us when spring rolls around again and we get back in the garden. Plus, they partner with Maine Standard Biofuels and will pick up spent cooking oil as well to turn into biodiesel and a clean alternative to home heating oil. We've been loving it so far, and highly recommend that folks look into curbside composting options available in their communities! Many municipalities also offer discounts and perks if you sign up for programs through the city or town—we got a free compost bin and liners through our town's partnership. —Afton Cyrus, Senior Editor, ATK Kids

3. Passionfruit Butter from Lilly Joy Hawaii

My mom lived in Hawaii when she was a kid and many parts of island life stuck with her. For Christmas, I ordered a three-pack of lilikoi (aka passion fruit) butters from @lillyjoyhawaii. (I heard about it in a writeup by food writer Cathy Erway in The New York Times Style Magazine back in November and immediately knew it would be a perfect gift.) But I kept this passion fruit-coconut-lime combo for myself. It is like a spoonful of sunshine on these chilly January days. I’ve been putting it on yogurt and spreading it on toast, but I really want to eat it straight from the jar. —Kate Shannon, Deputy Editor, ATK Reviews

4. Ghetto Gastro and CRUXGG TRNR Double Rotation Waffle Maker

A few months ago, I learned about a Bronx-based art collective called Ghetto Gastro, which celebrates the borough through food, music, and fashion. They recently partnered with CRUX and debuted a line of cookware at Williams Sonoma. One of their coolest products is a rotating double waffle maker, which I gifted to a family member for Christmas. After using it, I can confirm that it’s the real deal. It made beautifully crispy and fluffy Belgian waffles that had my family asking for seconds and sometimes thirds. It also got major points for being nonstick right out of the box. I tried two different waffle recipes—sweet potato and cornbread—and they slid right out! Besides being an all-around solid waffle maker, it has a striking black and red design. So it performs great and looks great, too. —Sawyer Phillips, Assistant Digital Editor, ATK Reviews

5. Meredith Dairy Marinated Feta

This feta is the best cheese I have had in years. I like all kinds of cheese and do not discriminate, but feta has always been a bit lackluster for me. My aunt recommended this as an exciting new addition to a celebratory cheese plate. And let me tell you: She. Was. Right. The creamy feta curds are so spreadable and soft, and they’re delicious because they’re marinated in garlic-infused olive oil with spices. I believe it was also just featured in a Try Guys video but I have found it at Whole Foods and many other chain grocery stores. It is out of this world. —Emily Rahravan, Editorial Assistant, Cookbooks

See the food-related things we've loved in past months here.

This is a members' feature.