As the upheaval of June receded day-by-day into the past, one word repeatedly popped into my head to taunt me: normal. Epicurious stepped away from publishing for most of June; in July, would we publish again like normal? Would we return to publishing on a daily cadence, go back to our regularly scheduled programming?
I speak for myself but also for the rest of the Epi team when I say that July did not feel anywhere close to normal. The pandemic, the justice movements, the economy, and yes, of course, the aftermath of the internal Bon Appétit/Epi shakeup, prevented us from fooling ourselves that anything is remotely like the way we perceived it to be six months ago. And yet Epicurious did return to publishing on a regular schedule this month. We published new recipes, posted new articles, and even unleashed new initiatives. But in doing so, we kept our promises to you—promises to be a more inclusive publication—top of mind.
So did Epicurious achieve normalcy in July? I’d say we did, but it was not the same normal we aimed for at the beginning of the year. July was our first step towards a new normal. Here’s what it looked like.
We started the month with two new vegetarian recipes for the grill: Open-Face Mushroom Sandwiches With Pecorino Salsa Verde by Christian Reynoso (his first—but not last!—contribution to the site), and Grilled Cauliflower Wedges With Herb Tarator by Hetty McKinnon. These are meatless but meaty dinners that give you the endorphin rush of cooking over live fire, and the smug satisfaction of knowing that you prevented at least one dinner’s worth of cash from getting in the hands of the beef industry.
Later in the month we published Jocelyn Jackson’s Black-Eyed Pea Burgers, which get topped with a smoky barbecue sauce and Chowchow. In an essay that accompanies the recipes, Jackson writes of the histories—both personal and global—that allowed her to develop these dishes. I’m particularly in love with the way she talks about preserves: “The preservation process is a pathway to liberation and love,” Jackson writes. “[It’s] a legacy of resilience.”
Elsewhere on the site, we published a couple salads that could pair with that burger. Alexander Smalls’s Creole Caesar packs in every flavor of summer, from the corn to the tomatoes to the okra. Equally as summer-y is Brigid Washington’s fiery, smoky-sweet Jerk Potato Salad. Make it and you’ll end up with extra jerk seasoning to use in other ways. Mashing it into butter “is a gift to yourself and all of the season’s ears of corn,” Washington writes. “It’s also an automatic game changer when slathered on zucchini, eggplant, and meaty portabella mushrooms.” (And yes, you can also use it on chicken.)
What about drinks? Well, yes, what about them? This is the month our resident cocktail expert Maggie Hoffman said that we don’t have to worry about shaking cocktails: all we have to do is open a bottle of vermouth. (It took less than ten minutes for me to place an order for vermouth after reading this piece, so maybe have your wallet handy before clicking.)
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