Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007: A Year of Culinary Types

Just one year ago, I wondered what I would possibly write about.

I’d created the Culinary Types blog as a means to pursue a regular writing discipline about something so core to my life – food. Yet as 2007 loomed, I had no formal classes planned, and no culinary travels on the calendar.

What would I possibly write about?

It turned out that the answer to that question was almost as easy as, “What shall I eat?” The options were endless. In fact, I wrote over 100 entries in 2007.

While Culinary Types is about writing, it is far more than words – it is the people at the heart of each story. For without them, food would just be ingredients, or so much organic matter. Each “Culinary Type” adds key ingredients to the recipe that creates this ongoing chronicle: artistry, care, technique, passion, a spirit of adventure and a deeply-rooted personal history that connects them to the food they offer at this table.

There were so many Culinary Types that captivated me in 2007:

There were chefs who left their corporate jobs to pursue their passion for food, like Juan Pablo Chavez, founder of Healthy Meals JPC in New York City, and John MacPherson of the B&B The Foster Harris House in Little Washington, Virginia who with his wife Diane serves up exquisite breakfasts of pure fantasy and the best hospitality on the East Coast.

We dined with home cooks, like my friend Jill from Ottawa who meticulously researched and jointly mastermind the American-Canadian Cooking Project, and inspired a Locally-Grown Canadian Feast, two cross-country culinary collaborations. And, we followed the trials and tribulations of my own kitchen experiments from sushi to tagine.

We met food artisans who care deeply about their craft, like Jon Wright who produces creamy Vermont gouda cheese at Taylor Farm, and the Sprague family who invite the public into their rustic sugar house to learn about the production of pure Vermont maple syrup.

There were epicurean delights, like my birthday celebration dinner at The Inn at Little Washington.

We learned about the science of the kitchen from trend-makers like “The Curious Cook” Harold McGee, while I joined my friend “Lee Sloan,” a grand dame of food and wine, to investigate the cutting-edge phenomena of molecular gastronomy and raw food.

We tasted the creations of skilled bakers, like Tante Kremer’s Hungarian Nut Torte, and sampled a fluffy procession of Retro Cakes, uncovered by the Old Foodie. The names of the original creators may be lost to the annals of time, but every crumb was infused with history, flavor and emotion.

We journeyed with culinary road warriors like my colleague “Splint McCullough,” experiencing first-hand this avowed carnivore’s religious experience with roast beef at the world-renowned Carnegie Deli.

And of course, there were food bloggers – new friends like Lydia of the Perfect Pantry and her wonderful Drop In and Decorate program, and Susan the Food Blogga and her fascination with eating Christmas Cookies! But, a review of 2007 would not be complete without a mention of my delicious, surprise meeting with the brilliant Veronica, proprietor of the blogosphere’s top test kitchen. That was indeed an unexpected culinary treat!

I am submitting my list of 2007 Culinary Types to “One Hot Stove” and Nupur’s "Best of 2007" event. I just recently learned of "One Hot Stove" at Lydia’ Perfect Pantry, and I’m looking forward to discovering more about Indian regional food from Nupur in 2008.

What will I write about in 2008? I’ve only just begun to explore locally-grown foods, and I’m curious about American regional cooking, so there may be some "Low Country" cuisine from the American South in my near future.

I do wonder what I’ll write about in 2008, but I have a feeling the feast has just begun.

Happy New Year!

©2007 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Veron said...

It has been a great year for food blogging and it was indeed a wonderful surprise to meet you in NY and introducing me to The Porkchop too! We might stay at the Foster Harris House next time we go up to the Inn at Little Washington. Happy New Year, T.W. !

Maryann said...

TW, I only recently became aquainted with your blog, but I'm looking forward to your future posts:)

Nupur said...

What a fascinating post! I am glad to have discovered your blog :)

Lydia said...

Spending a year with Culinary Types has been a high point for me -- I'm looking forward to another year of your explorations into the world of local food and historical recipes. Thanks, TW, for giving us all food for thought. Wishing you the happiest of new years....

Diane said...

t.w., I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog since discovering it this past summer. I've learned so much. With your natural curiosity I have no doubt that you will find plenty to write about in 2008. Keep up the great writing. All the best for a wonderful new year.

Kathy said...

Happy New Year, T.W. I have really enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading more in 2008.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

It's been delightful getting to know you, T.W. I look forward to our future visit in 2008. May it bring you much joy.

T.W. Barritt said...

Veron - Maybe the three of us should plan to have dinner there in 2008!

Maryann, Nupur, Lydia, Diane, Kathy and Susan - Many thanks for your kind words, and thank you SO MUCH for reading. I look forward to sharing more tasty stories with you in 2008!

The Old Foodie said...

A Happy New Year to you from Oz! I do hope we get to meet in person one day - perhaps over a slice of Retro Cake?

Mansi Desai said...

wow, thanks to Nupur's event I'm gald I discovered your site! wish you a healthy and happy 2008!

T.W. Barritt said...

Janet - I look forward to the day when we share a slice of Retro Cake! That would certainly be an occasion for a Lady Baltimore!

Mansi - thanks so much for visiting, and best wishes for a happy 2008!

Splint said...

I look forward to more roadside delicacies in 2008. That which does not kill me, makes me hungrier.

Catherine said...

Hello, Tom! Do let your ardent fan from the Deep South know if you want to explore the food of her family (and an amazing food historian that she met recently.

I can highly recommend a foray into the delights of Georgia pecans, especially those from Albany, GA.

T.W. Barritt said...

Splint - Bon Appetit!

Hi Catherine - Happy New Year! I remember those pecans fondly! Although I was wondering if you were about to suggest recreating a menu from that famous traveling eatery, "The Pie Cart!" I'd love to hear more about your recent encounter.

David said...

TW, I met you at a New Years Party a whole year ago (I’m the guy that brought the Chili Pie). You mentioned your blog and I’ve been a regular reader ever since. Congratulations on the success of your blog! Keep up the good work.

T.W. Barritt said...

David - How could I forget your fantastic Chili Pie and how well it went with a side of Mac and Cheese?! Thanks so much for reading and for your good wishes!

Catherine said...

Ahh, the Pie Car. Amazingly good coffee for the setting (and the price!). And the food? Not shabby, for a bunch of clowns.

I'll send you more info on the historian - she's compiled a county-by-county recipe database for North Carolina.

Happy trails! : )