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5 Things in the Food World We Loved in April

Including an illustrated food blog and a cookbook for people suffering from COVID side effects.

Published Apr. 30, 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 in which 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, and 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 April, submitted by ATK staff members from all over the company.

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1. Taste & Flavour by Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke

One of the major lingering possible side effects of COVID-19 is the loss of smell and taste (anosmia), along with a distorted perception of familiar smells (parosmia). As someone whose professional and personal life is wrapped up in food and cooking, this is the thing that terrifies me most about the disease. It’s also why I love Taste & Flavour, the new cookbook from chefs and cooking instructors Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke, created expressly to help those suffering from COVID find joy again in food and possibly help guide their senses back to full health. The recipes it contains are designed to tickle the senses that remain intact after COVID-related anosmia, like the sense of touch—chewy, crunchy, or creamy textures, for example—and umami, that mercurial “sixth” sense that intensifies other tastes and stimulates the appetite. And they take pains to avoid foods that parosmia sufferers cannot stomach, including coffee, garlic, and eggs. Best of all, while the printed cookbook is available for purchase, Riley and Duke are also giving it away as a free PDF download, a testament to their desire to help anyone suffering from COVID-related anosmia find their way back to the joy of food and cooking once again. —Andrew Janjigian, former Cook’s Illustrated senior editor and forever breadhead

2. Kettle Brand Pepperoncini Flavored Chips

While perusing potato chip flavors for work, I stumbled upon these pepperoncini chips and immediately added them to my shopping cart. As a Rhode Islander, I grew up eating crispy calamari dotted with slivers of these electric green, tangy, and slightly spicy pickled peppers, and grew to love them. There’s always a jar of them in my fridge, and beyond eating them straight out of the pickle brine, I put them on everything: pizza, pasta, Italian grinders . . . you name it, I pepperoncini it. So when I saw these pepperoncini potato chips, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a bag. While the flavor isn’t exactly pepperoncini, the chips are the perfect amount of savory flavor, tang, and salt. If you like salt and vinegar chips or you're a pepperoncini freak like me, you’ll love these. —Grace Kelly, ATK Reviews Assistant Editor

3. The Orishirishi Cookbook by Tola Akerele

Almost exactly three years ago, I was in Lagos, Nigeria celebrating the wedding of two of my dearest friends. The wedding was on the "smaller" side—which meant that instead of the usual 1,000+ guests, there were only about 300. Anyway, we ate like queens and I'll never forget how pleasantly surprised I was to find a lot of the dishes had okra in them. Okra, I've come to understand, is one of those global, ubiquitous vegetables. In these Nigerian dishes, I could taste echoes of the way okra is used in American southern cuisine and hints of the way it's paired with protein for textural variety in Japanese cuisine. That same friend whose wedding I attended recently introduced me to the publicist of The Orishirishi Cookbook, which is authored by Lagos-born chef Tola Akerele. (It just came out in the U.S. on April 15th!) The book features a shrimp okra soup/stew, so I can recreate some of my favorite flavors from the wedding and also incorporate other Nigerian cuisine into my rotation! —Yumi Araki, Senior Producer, Proof

4. Piping Plover Baking Co. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Based in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Piping Plover Baking Co. is a vegan, gluten-free bakery whose products can be found in farmers’ markets and cafes throughout New England or shipped around the country. My grandparents recently gifted me a box of Piping Plover goodies and though everything was phenomenal (try the granola! and the triple fudge brownies!) the real standout was the humble chocolate chip cookie. The secret is a sprinkle of sea salt, which complements the rich flavors of brown sugar and semi-sweet chocolate perfectly, plus just the right texture: crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. It’s the absolute best cookie I’ve ever tasted, hands down. —Hannah Appleby-Wineberg, Library Intern

5. Indestructible Food

I first came across artist Sarah Dudek's work at local craft markets and and popup events in the Cambridge/Somerville, Mass., area and totally fell in love with her food-related screen prints (check out her Etsy shop). She recently launched a new blog called "Indestructible Food" where she dives into the strange and wonderful history of beloved packaged foods, accompanied by original illustrations. I always look forward to her new posts, and how her unique perspective as a former advertising art director informs her work. If you've ever wondered how everything from Shake 'n Bake to Jiffy Pop to Manwich came to be, then check out these delightful, insightful stories! (And treat yourself to a few of her wonderful tea towels, devotional food prints, and screen printed BLM signs while you're at it.) —Afton Cyrus, Senior Editor, ATK Kids

See the food-related things we've loved in past months here and make sure to visit this page every day for new cooking tips, recipes, features, and more.

This is a members' feature.