For quite some time now, we’ve been deliberating how we can communicate with our readers in a way that’s not recipes, technique guides, or generally nerdy and longform news content. Over the years, different iterations of SE staffers have initiated blogs, round-ups, mail bags; all of it great, none of it longterm. This version of the staff, though—this exhausted, too-online, silly-goofy staff—hasn’t tried any of it, and thought it might be nice to try it all in one go. So! Welcome to the first edition of Mise En Place, a casual weekly update giving you a behind-the-line look at all the things that made Serious Eats, well, Serious Eats this week. We hope you enjoy it, we hope it allows you to get to know us better (…we hope to hear from you and get to know you better in turn!), we hope it is nothing more than a lovely, vaguely funny, slightly helpful-in-navigating-our-site happening that you can enjoy once a week for a while.
It Was All a Lot
The Northeast (SE’s main home base) has officially switched to sweater weather and made smart layering an essential part of our team’s sartorial decisions. And while we all looked great, we also did all get hit hard with disgusting and miscellaneous viral plagues. Amidst the illnesses, we polled the class on what their go to comfort sick food was. Related: Excuse any extra unhingedness in this inaugural edition; we’re all just trying to get by!
Yasmine Maggio, Associate Editor: RAMEN
Leah Colins, Senior Culinary Editor: chicken noodle soup, hot & sour soup, and a childhood favorite, “tomato rice with a raw egg cracked in it while it’s still piping hot to emulsify, and pecorino sprinkled overtop”
Grace Kelly, Associate Commerce Editor: chicken and slicks soup (grandma’s recipe, therefore not quite linkable) and pierogies
Yuansi Li, UX Designer: congee
A Discourse On Mother’s Cooking, Fueled By Birria
Can anything ever really be better than Mom’s home cooking? Or will we just be chasing ways to replicate that magic in our own kitchens forever? And what if, in our journey, we *gasp* discover a technique *double gasp* might make the dish even better than mom’s?
Serious Eats / Lorena Masso
These are the questions that have been circulating the staff ever since we published Octavio Pena’’s stunning new birria recipe on Tuesday. Octavio, a new contributor to the site, set out to replicate his mother’s savory red chile broth and the first attempt ended up in catastrophe. (A canceled party and a phone call to a nurse were involved—YoU’LL hAvE tO CLiCk tHe LiNk To LeArN MoRe!!!) The recipe he ended up developing for Serious Eats has a combination of 3 chile varieties, an ample amount of achiote paste, and, perhaps most excitingly, gochujang! Our cross-tester Tina Ujlaki (the former 30-year Executive Food Editor of Food & Wine) noted: “This was the best birria I’ve ever had, and I’ve had it quite a bit.”
Run, don’t walk, to this recipe (linked below for your convenience), but please note, per our edit lead Tess: “For legal reasons, we love moms and we love all moms’ birria recipes.”
WE JUST GOT A LETTER, WE JUST GOT A LETTER
…One we sent ourselves, but ’twas exciting nonetheless! This week, the Serious Eats commerce team published all the tips to make your daily trip to the mailbox less dreadful. First up, Madeline Muzzi tested 10 mail-order turkeys to help you get a jump start on your Thanksgiving day feast. Then, the whole commerce team tested subscription boxes filled with all kinds of kitchen goodness, from wine to cheese to olive oil to fish to snacks from around the world. Read their round-up here and treat your future self to a fun little surprise by mail, etc., etc.
First there was girl math. Then there was boy math. Now, there is funnel cake math.
This week, the team lost—and I am being so serious—at least four hours to math. More specifically, they lost that time to funnel cake-specific math. We’re re-testing and updating our funnel cake recipe, so senior culinary editor Leah Colins and senior culinary director Daniel Gritzer set out to calculate the circumference measurements needed to achieve a perfect, carnival-worthy funnel cake that fits perfectly on a paper plate. And yes! There were protractors involved. Take a look at the prelim results by Leah and stay tuned for our newly refreshed recipe coming soon!