Momentous Crumbs of 2007

As 2007 comes to a close, I will take time this week -- as I like to do -- to reflect on the past 12 months of my life, my kitchen and the community at large. The milestones of any given year are unique to each one of us, because we are all writing our own life stories -- but they are also shared because at any given moment at any GPS location, someone is experiencing birth, death, joy, sadness, love or anguish. Someone somewhere is also stirring a pot, or boiling water for tea, catching a bag of rice dropped from a UN helicopter, peeling a mango or praying for rain so that the crops can grow. Food is yet another other link in our chain of human experience that makes this world very small and all of its human snowflakes so very interconnected.

And so, in reviewing my own life story this year -- one of new beginnings, sudden endings, reunions and painful uncertainty -- I must also look at what's happened in the kitchen, where nothing ever stands still. Herewith, a snapshot from this year's Mighty Appetite, a smorgasbord of new adventures, ingredients and techniques, lessons learned and old favorites resurfacing for good measure. Please share your culinary highlights of 2007 in the comments area below.

In January, I shared my new-found love for fried rice and in return, MA readers shared the many ways they love a lentil.

February brought snow and ice, but it also gave me reason to rejigger two staples of the party snack tray -- queso, sans Velveeta and onion dip outside of that Lipton's box. And as a bride gearing up for her nuptials, I got poetic about red velvet cupcakes.

In March, I had a ball playing with salmon tacos and then of course, there was my Eureka moment of making my very own English muffins.

April was a mixed bag -- a thrill to discover Steve Sando and his heirloom beans and the many days of anguish connected to the Virginia Tech shootings, which prompted me to become a cupcake fairy.

May meant trying my hand at Jamaican patties (both meat and veggie fillings included) and celebrating the arrival of local romaine lettuce, which translated into many servings of table-side Caesar salad.

In June , I traveled to New Orleans, where I volunteered as a chef with CulinaryCorps and had my mind and heart expand and contract over and again. This is where I learned many recipes for humility and passion for living.

In July, MA readers joined me on my quest for cold-brewed iced coffee and "crab cakes" made from zucchini.

In August, I discovered how much fun it is to play with orzo
and I met my new friend, purslane.

In September, I got schooled in phyllo dough and the dying art of home canning.

October inspired me to make my own candy corns and slow roast a gigantic box of Roma tomatoes.

In November, I embarked on two maiden (and eye-opening) culinary journeys -- fruitcake and baguettes.

And in this final month of the year, December , I learned the ins and outs of peppermint patties and to appreciate the virtues of gluten-free, vegan gingerbread cut-out cookies.

By Kim ODonnel |  December 27, 2007; 10:55 AM ET Kitchen Musings
Previous: What's Your Christmas Tradition? | Next: Twelve Under-$20 Ways to Snack Well on New Year's Eve


Please email us to report offensive comments.


Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us. This has been an incredible food year for me as well. The baker within is coming out. I've spend the past six months making and tweaking molasses cookies and poundcakes. The food section showcased me in Chef on Call for Thanksgiving. I learned tons from the chefs and Mr. David Hagedorn (I love that man). My friends have encouraged me to step out on a limb and sell my pastries. I'm in the process of finding out how to get licensed. I'm finally learning to use food to soothe my soul not fill the emptiness left behind by my two biggest culinary influences, my parents. Also, I have a good role model in you. Your fearlessness in the kitchen is to be admired. Thank you for a wonderful year! Looking forward to 2008.

Posted by: LisaLuvs2Cook | December 27, 2007 12:21 PM

My wife says our exclamation point this year was homemade pulled pork barbecue. We had always stayed away from it because I'm diabetic, and would rather save exposure to serious sugar for REALLY special occasions, and she hadn't enjoyed my experiments with splenda-sweetened barbecue sauce. This fall, however, I found Masterpiece Lo-Cal (sugar-free) barbecue sauce on the shelf! Three and a half pound of boneless pork shoulder went into the (big) slow cooker for eight hours, and three quarts of pulled pork were retrieved, along with several cups of rendered fat to be refrigerated into lard. Then the pork went back into the slow cooker for two more hours with two eight ounce bottles of sauce and some hot sauce, and several additional herbs and seasonings. Wow! Just add coleslaw!

Posted by: Gusto | December 27, 2007 12:26 PM

I have to say that 2007 was the year I finally got comfortable baking real bread. It started with the trendy no-knead bread from the NY Times (sorry, Kim...) and led to pita bread and challah. Now I make all of them on a regular basis, and am not afraid to tweak them with different flours, etc. Being underemployed until recently helped me with the discipline to keep up with the breadbaking.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me how, since I live across the street from Marvelous Market, I manage not to spend a lot of money there, and I was able to answer truthfully, "Well, since I make my own bread..." (OK, I do like their olives and their brownies.)

Posted by: Reine de Saba | December 27, 2007 1:53 PM

It's funny how distance and time change your tastes. When I was a kid, you couldn't get me to eat my grandma's version of fried rice. Don't know why, but I just didn't want to eat it. Actually, it's a variation of what Chinese folks normally put inside palm/banana leaves and steam, but fried rice is how I've always thought of it. At any rate, now that I'm all the way across the country from home, suddenly, at Christmas, I find myself making the rice because there's a reason to be festive, because that's what she always did. My take is a little more elaborate than grandma's (she uses only a few added ingredients, but I insist on "8 treasures" plus regular brown, sweet brown, and either red or black rice), but the thought is still the same - comfort food that reminds me of family gatherings.

Here's to a healthy, yummy new year! I hope I can get my yeast recipes to work more reliably next year...

Posted by: Pam | December 27, 2007 6:48 PM


I'll make you brownies if you teach me to make bread.

Posted by: LisaLuvs2Cook | December 28, 2007 10:20 AM

LisaLuvs: for pita, start here:

and for a sesame-semolina version of No Knead bread (easy peasy), start here:

What brownie recipe do you like?

Posted by: Reine de Saba | January 2, 2008 12:57 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company