Today is TASTE’s fifth birthday, and we’re celebrating with some memories, a few shout-outs, and a handful of favorite stories.
Matt Rodbard, Editor in Chief: When we launched TASTE on February 7, 2017, we marked our frigid go-live morning with a story about the future of grocery, a dive into the cult of the newly popularized electronic cooker called the Instant Pot, a profile of Inspiralizer queen Ali Maffucci, and a piece about lunch in the writers’ room of megapopular sitcom 2 Broke Girls (along with a bold and boozy party at New York’s Joy Luck Palace). We’re proud to have published over a thousand other essays, reported travelogues, home cooking deep dives, newsletters, podcasts, and an epic story about those who love, and those who loathe, sun-dried tomato. Anna and I have been working on TASTE basically nonstop since day one, along with some serious help over the years (see the shout-outs below).
We wanted to take a pause from our regular programming to reflect on some of our favorite stories and takeaways that we’ve encountered over the past half-decade. We’d like to express much gratitude to our colleagues in food media, to our friends at Random House Publishing Group, and mostly to our readers for opening our emails and clicking on the work we throw ourselves into each week. Thank you for the likes, letters, and gently phrased suggestions, and for spreading the word about our weekly lineup of stories.
Anna Hezel, Senior Editor: A whole lot can change in the realm of home cooking in five years, and it certainly has in the five years that I’ve been an editor at TASTE. Even something as simple as how we buy groceries has transformed from the national supermarket chains of yore to a brave new world of pop-up shops and online pantry browsing, making space on shelves for specialty vinegars and chile crisps created by small, independent producers.
Even the tools that make up my kitchen artillery look different than they did back then. I’ve replaced some scratched-up, rusty nonstick pans with newer models, and my knife collection has grown. When I started at TASTE, Instant Pots were flying off shelves, sous vide circulators were starting to whir in home kitchens, and air fryers were entering the scene, greeted by a healthy dose of skepticism. I, too, was a skeptic when Terrence Doyle called the air fryer an “Adult Easy Bake Oven” in TASTE. But when Ben Mims wrote about how the machine changed his salad game, and Hana Asbrink wrote about its roast chicken and Basque cheesecake prowess, I became a convert.
Air fryer appreciation wasn’t the first or last thing I’ve learned from TASTE writers. Mecca Bos taught me that you’re never too old to cook your first hotdish. Mahira Rivers illuminated why we shouldn’t think of konjac as merely a health food. I’ll never think of the word “fusion” the same way after reading Soleil Ho’s essay about assimilation food. And former TASTE editor Tatiana Bautista instilled in me a lifelong appreciation of mochi doughnuts. I hope I’ll get to edit and learn from many more TASTE stories to come.
Anna and Matt: Before we get to a few (just a few!) of our favorite stories from the past five years, we’d like to recognize our past editors. These fine individuals, many of whom are working at some of your favorite publications near and far, brought sharp ideas, serious writing chops, plenty of laughs, and sincere dedication to the craft of the story. We cannot thank you all enough. Our editors Talia Baiocchi, Kaitlin Bray, Alex Citrin, Rachel Khong, Rebecca Flint Marx, Lizzie Munro, and Leslie Pariseau. Our columnists Cathy Erway, JJ Goode, Mary-Frances Heck, Scott Hocker, Daniel Holzman, Priya Krishna, and Mari Uyehara. Our incredible copyeditor Amelia Ayrelan Iuvino. And our longtime coeditor and friend Tatiana Bautista.