Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020: Favorite Food-Related Items

What were some of my favorite food-related items of the past year?

Let me continue the lists of my best recommendations and favorites of 2020. I've already posted my Favorite Restaurants of 2020. Now, I want to address my Favorite Food-Related Items of the past year.

This is certainly not a complete list but it is more a sampling of memorable food items I've experienced and/or posted about over the past year. This is also a purely subjective list, based on my own preferences, and makes no claims about being the "best" of anything. But all of the items here have earned my strong recommendations and I hope you will enjoy them as well. For more food-related items, you can just search my blog posts for the past year.

Favorite Culinary School:
 NECAT is a local culinary school which trains people from challenging backgrounds, from ex-convicts to recovering addicts, from the homeless to the chronically unemployed. NECAT fills an important need for culinary help while helping numerous people achieve a better life. It is such a worthy school, helping to transform lives, and it really touches my heart. It helps individuals while also helping the community, and I continue, year after year, to try to raise awareness of NECAT so that its good work can continue and even expand. It is one of my favorite causes and is well worthy of your continued support. 

Favorite Food Market: The Greek International Food Market, in West Roxbury, is an amazing place, with so much excellent Greek food and ingredients, from prepackaged items to freshly made dishes. Lots of Greek cheeses and olives, spreads and pastries, wine and olive oil, and so much more. I tried numerous foods from the market and they were generally excellent and delicious. I plan to return there again soon to stock up for the winter. I highly recommend this market to anyone who loves food, to anyone who loves Greek cuisine, to anyone who is adventurous.
Favorite Food Rant: At the start of the year, I wrote, We Need More Bread Pudding! It's been a cause of mine for years, and there still aren't enough restaurants and bakeries offering delicious bread pudding. I wish there was a bakery that even specialized in Bread Pudding. It is a relatively simple dish to prepare, can be made in many different flavors, and is so tasty. So why isn't it more readily available? Why isn't it more popular? Let's hope 2021 seems Bread Pudding become a new trend. 

Writing For The Sampan: 
In April, I started a new gig, writing for the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English Newspaper in New England. The newspaper, which was founded in 1972, is published bi-weekly by the nonprofit Asian American Civic Association and is distributed free-of-charge. It is also available online. Most of my articles deal with the history of Chinatown, especially its restaurants, though I also write restaurant reviews and related articles. Please check out my various Sampan articles here.

Blogging During A Pandemic: This year has been tough for food writers and some have simply written sporadically, whenever they had a topic idea. For myself this year, I devoted many hours to researching and writing numerous historical articles, combing through thousands of newspapers and books, especially about Boston's Chinatown and related topics. Many of the links to those numerous articles can be found in this compilation post.

I greatly expanded my previous five-part series on The First Restaurants in Boston's Chinatown, and it became an eight-part series, consisting of over 100,000 words (making it the size of a book). I'm especially proud of this series, and was surprised and enlightened by the information I found in my research. Some day, I would like to turn it into an actual book.

I also wrote a seven-part series, The First Chinese Restaurants Outside Boston, and a three-part series, The First Chinese Restaurants in Connecticut. In addition, there are histories of Dim Sum in the U.S.Origins Of The Chop Suey SandwichWhat's A Chop Suey Sundae?The Origins of American Chop SueyOrigins Of The St. Paul SandwichOrigins of Crab RangoonPA History of Peking Duck, and Chinatown, Little Syria & Its Restaurants

For non-Asian historical articles, I also wrote Origins of Manhattan Clam ChowderEarly History of Greek Restaurants in Boston, and Pastitsio: A Short History of a Greek Classic. Maybe the most poplar historical article I wrote this past year was Closed For Fifty Years: A History of the Sahara Syrian Restaurant. Who knew so many people were curious about a restaurant that has been closed for about fifty years? (And I have some new information which I will be presenting in an expanded article in 2021). 

What were some of your favorite food-related items this year?

No comments: