Monday, December 20, 2021

2021: 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 2021. I've already posted my Favorite Restaurants of 2021. 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 Rant: At the start of the year, I wrote Rant: Duck Wings > Chicken Wings, and it's an issue that brings out strong feelings in me. Chicken wings get all the attention, probably in large part because they are inexpensive. However, duck wings are more flavorful, but not enough restaurants serve them. Chicken meat is much milder, and the sauce and coating is far more important to bring more flavor to them. Duck wings don't have to rely as much on sauces and coatings to offer delicious flavors. Let's hope that in 2022, we start to see more duck wings available on local restaurant menus. 

Vietnamese Restaurant List: In honor of Vietnamese New Year, I compiled a list of Vietnamese restaurants, largely in the eastern portion of Massachusetts. This is a work in progress, which I shall revise and expand over time. If you know of any Vietnamese restaurants in Massachusetts which aren't on my list, please send me the info and I'll add it. 

Food History Articles: During the pandemic, it's been tough for many food writers and some have simply written sporadically, especially those who concentrated on restaurant reviews. For myself, I 've continued to devote many hours to researching and writing numerous historical food articles, combing through thousands of newspapers and books. I've especially delved into the origins of numerous foods, trying to seek out their true origins, and not just accepting the unsubstantiated claims of others. Here are over 25 historical articles I completed this past year. 

My Chinese related articles include:

My other food history articles include:

Vermont Trip: In August, I spent several days in southern Vermont, investigating some of the food scene there, including a few visits to cool and unique farms. Vermont has much to offer and I look forward to returning in 2022, to explore more of the options. 
Check out my four posts about this trip:
Chester, Vermont: Helping Hands & Wine, Cheese, Pies, Candy, Donuts & More (Including the Chester Candy Company, Southern Pie Company, and Smitty's Chester Market)
Vermont Raised Mangalitsa Pigs: Bring on the Lard (Superb heirloom pork products!)

Favorite Vermont Restaurant: I thoroughly enjoyed a fine dinner at the Social House: A Culinary Treasure in Manchester, Vermont. It has a small menu, which changes frequently depending on seasonality and what's available, but which offers plenty of appealing options. Such tasty options like Hamachi Crudo, Grilled Octopus, and Gnocchi all Buttera. They also make excellent cocktails and have a good wine list. I'd definitely return here and it worth a stop if you're in southern Vermont. 

Nova Scotia Trip: In the fall, I traveled to Nova Scotia, mainly as a family trip, but with a few culinary highlights, including:
Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia: Dockside Donuts Truck (Mini-donuts, made to order, where you choose your own toppings. A tasty treat.). 
Pictou County Pizza: A Nova Scotian Specialty (A unique regional pizza style made with a brown sauce, not a red sauce, loaded with spicy pepperoni and then covered with cheese.)

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

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