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The Food & Think Year in Review

Beer batter, doggie bags, culinary crimes, beer koozies... Lisa Bramen says farewell with a list of her favorite 2011 posts

smithsonian.com

Lisa's last Food and Think post.

This is our last Food & Think post of the year. Sadly, it also happens to be my last ever—or at least for the foreseeable future. With my due date approaching in a few months, I’ve decided one full-time job (I am a senior editor at Adirondack Life magazine) plus new motherhood is about all I can handle for a while. I have learned so many interesting things about food in the last two and a half years of writing for the blog—and I still plan to, but now as a reader instead of writer.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite posts of the year—those that I either particularly enjoyed reading or writing. If you missed any of them, I hope you’ll go back and give them a look.

1. Beer Batter Is Better; Science Says So. Without T. A. Frail’s important batter research in January, we all might have eaten inferior onion rings in 2011. Thank you, Tom.

2. Unwrapping the History of the Doggie Bag. Also back in January, Jesse detailed how the practice of wrapping up “bones for Bowser” evolved into bringing home leftovers never intended to touch canine lips.

3. Renaissance Table Etiquette and the Origins of Manners. Jesse’s look at pre-Emily Post do’s and don’ts includes one of my favorite lines of the year: On farting at the dinner table, Erasmus writes, “If it is possible to withdraw, it should be done alone. But if not, in accordance with the ancient proverb, let a cough hide the sound.”

4. Inviting Writing: When in Rome. Inviting Writing has always been one of my favorite parts of the blog—to both write and read. Of the ones I wrote, the one reminiscing about a perfect meal in Rome was particularly enjoyable.

5. Law and Order: Culinary Crimes Unit. That Jesse had the material to write not one but six posts on food-related crime is both astonishing and entertaining. Read them all: the original; Jell-O Gelatin Unit; Ice Cream Truck Unit; More Culinary Crimes; Even More Food Crimes; and New Culinary Crimes.

6. Science in the Public Interest: The Beer Koozie Test. I’ll admit, this one was fun to both research and write. But, like T. A. Frail’s onion ring research, I believe it performed an important reader service.

7. Inviting Writing: What to Eat When You’re Adopting. One of my favorite guest essays this year was by Amy Rogers Nazarov, who wrote a touching piece on learning about Korean food while waiting to meet her adopted son.

8. The Other Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Jesse tells us about the cookbook written by Alice B. Toklas, famous as the longtime lover of Gertrude Stein and the title subject of one of the celebrated author’s best-known works.

9. The Gingerbread Man and Other Runaway Foods. Who knew there was a whole literary genre of runaway pancakes? Well, anyone who read Jesse’s enlightening post from earlier this month.

With that, I bid you adieu. Have a wonderful 2012, everyone.

Ed. note — Thank you, Lisa, for the 272 posts that carry your byline. You’ll be dearly missed and here’s to a very happy and joyful 2012!

About Lisa Bramen
Lisa Bramen

Lisa Bramen was a frequent contributor to Smithsonian.com's Food and Think blog. She is based in northern New York and is also an associate editor at Adirondack Life magazine.

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