2020: At Least the Food Was Good!
The best food moments from the most unusual of years
This article is part of our monthly issue "A Culinary Christmas Carol," in which we explore traditional and modern takes on holiday dishes from around the world. Using the framework of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, we'll share fun recipes, last minute gift ideas, tips for cooking a small feast in case you're social distancing, and plenty of light-hearted holiday content for you to unwind with. Check out this link to find an overview of all our weekly topics, stories, recipes, and more.
As 2020 draws to a close, I hear more and more sighs around me. It’s been an exhausting year, so full of surprises, so often of a negative nature. But that’s not to say everything was bad. When I look back on my year, one constant pops up in my memories in between lockdowns and bad news: good food.
Though the first few days at home in March were still a challenge—I've always loved to cook, but not every single day, out of convenience—my everyday cooking skills have gotten better by the week and I've come to hone more pragmatic aspects of cooking. Whether it was making a feast out of leftovers like left-over, dry rice or making spring onion greens of sprout up on my windowsill, I've learned many practical tricks of the trade out of "necessity" that will stay with me beyond this year.
The lockdown from March also meant that our new videos, hosted by our chefs and editors, had a bit of a bumpy start. While the first episodes were filmed in our usual Kitchen Stories kitchens we had to think fast. With an ad-hoc home filming setup, our cooks and editors came onto your screens straight from their home kitchens—which brings us to one of the most important topics of 2020: the baking projects.
Whether it was on our app, website, or Instagram: we let our sourdough starters bubble, baked loaves of bread, tried out Grandma-style pizza, rewarding croissants, and rustic galettes and found ourselves swept up in all manner of daily experiments with doughs and batters. I, like many others, confronted—and overcame—my long-held fear of dough while cooped up in lockdown.
Make no-knead bread with Christian
- 07:13 min.
- 171.8K views
Even if all we were sharing were the small, photographic victories of everyday life on our plates, it was clear: If there’s something that unites us even in times of crisis and across contact restrictions, it’s food.
The first big hit of the year came just at the right time for all of us: Dalgona Coffee. No matter what platform I looked at, my feeds were full of friends and strangers alike using the forgotten pack of instant coffee from their pantry to whip together this frothy, creamy—and incredibly sweet—drink. I was along for the ride, of course. The great thing was that it didn't require complicated ingredients or preparation methods, and most importantly, the success rate was almost guaranteed, with near identical results, wherever you were. And so, a simple food trend provided what we so often lacked during the quarantine period: a shared experience.
These "social" online cooking projects continued into the early summer: There were countless banana breads, fluffy cheesecakes, colorful garden focaccias, and home-pickled and fermented vegetables—and not just at my house.
But in June, we came together to talk about an oft-neglected topic that in our 2020 society concerned us more than ever: the future. Our "Food for Future" issue explored the ever more lingering, uncomfortable questions: What does it actually mean to responsibly consume meat, fish, and dairy products? And what about the environmental footprint of plant-based alternatives? In a series of articles, recipes and countless, sometimes controversial conversations with you, our community, we were able to agree on one thing: Responsibility doesn't necessarily mean prohibitive eating, and thanks to good alternatives, it doesn't feel like missing out either.
Letter from the Editor: Food for Future
Go to article Letter from the Editor: Food for Future
While we, at least here in Germany, tried to catch up on the neglected social contacts in the summer—and in many cases our big cooking projects took a back seat again—we worked on another big project: our first cookbook. "Anyone Can Cook" was published by Penguin in German in October after months of hard work. You can pre-order your English copy, out in March 2021, here. Full of so many of your Kitchen Stories favorites and new, exclusive creations, plus guides to master everyday cooking, it’s a book we hope will teach something to any cook, anywhere!
For Quick, Veg-Forward Curries—Look to the Pantry!
Go to article For Quick, Veg-Forward Curries—Look to the Pantry!
But what did we do with the rest of our time? Thinking back, in my case, there are memories of Lisa and I labouring in the test kitchen to come up with a guide to the perfect minestrone. I was not at all a vegetable soup as a child, but minestrone was the exception—thanks Parmesan! We all had irrational dislikes as kids—but an almost universal love for pizza (Hut) too. So it was no surprise that we found many similarities and just as many differences when we plunged ourselves into our culinary childhood memories for our #ThrowbackNovember. We hope that indulging in your and our memories sweetened your at home entertainment, at least a little.
#ThrowbackNovember: Snack Swap Vol. 1
- 05:59 min.
- 13.1K views
And now, here we are: It's Christmas once again. And while we look at Christmas food of the past, present and future in our "A Culinary Christmas Carol" issue, there's really only one question: How to end this year appropriately, given the circumstances? For many of us, the holidays will be smaller this year, and with it the Christmas menu, but hopefully not a bit less festive. We can bring a piece of home to wherever we might be involuntarily spending our holidays this year and feel a little closer to our relatives who live far away. Or we can use the unfamiliar situation to our advantage and be inspired to create our very own Christmas traditions. Fortunately, there's no shortage of ideas. So when 2020 (finally) draws to a close, one thing will be clear: At least we ate well!
Published on December 23, 2020