Happy New Year!

Enjoying an NYE Smoking Bishop

Well I didn’t think I would be starting my New Year post in the same way as last year’s, but hey:

2020 2021 is finally over, and 2021 2022 is here. I hope the blog has been a bit of escapism from all turmoil the last 12 months 2 years have brought us; I’ve tried not to mention it too much.”

It has been surprisingly busy year: I handed in the manuscript of my first book A Dark History of Sugar, and am currently working through a draft of my second, plus I contributed to some food and cookery shows: I made Christmas Pottage and Christmas Cakes on Amazing Christmas Cakes & Bakes, plus some Wassail! On Our Victorian Christmas both on Channel 5. Then there has been the return of the podcast as well!

The Christmas pottage I made for Amazing Christmas Cakes & Bakes

I mention this only because none of it would have happened without you, dear reader: it’s the followers, and the comments and shares that make the blog popular, and makes me want to write year after year…

…and what a year! 2021 saw the blog’s 10th birthday and a record number of views! Gosh.

The top 10 posts are below; it is nice to see two seasonal posts getting high views – simnel cake and Twelfth Night cake have never made it into the top 10 before. It is, of course, very good to see puddings and offal represented there too.

So thanks for reading, liking, listening and watching; it really does mean a lot. Also: a massive thank you to anyone who had pledged me a virtual coffee or pint, or become a regular subscriber. It is getting increasingly expensive just to have a blog and podcast. It really does help, and it means that I can make more online content.

I’m gonna stop gushing now: I’m a Yorkshireman for goodness sake.

This year the blog covered a wide range of topics including: the surprising history of the pressure cooker, the problem with saltpetre and other nitrates in meat preservation, why Samuel Pepys buried his round of Parmesan in the garden, as well as the difference between a cobnut, filbert and hazelnut. There were recipes, and the histories behind them, too for frumenty, seed cake, Glamorgan sausages and the humble hot toddy.

Cobnuts (or are they hazelnuts?)

The other blog (Neil Cooks Grigson) saw me cook probably the craziest recipe in there, Hannah Glasse’s Yorkshire Christmas Pye for the TV (which was then subsequently cut out of the show), smoking my own meat, including a cold-smoked chicken. There was too an inedible three gourd garnish, plus two chapter reviews: Poultry and Saltwater Fish. I have only five recipes to cook to complete the book!

My home-made cold-smoked bacon

The second and half the third season of the podcast was published this year, and it is doing much better than I expected. If you have any suggestions of topics for the podcast, by the way, please let me know. Topics this year have included: food in gothic literature, savouries (with recipe for Scotch woodcock), gingerbread, Christmas pudding, the dark history of chocolate, Forme of Cury and, of course, the trilogy of eel episodes!

The first part of the new year ahead looks pretty busy: A Dark History of Sugar will be out at Eastertime and my second book will be handed to publisher at the end of January. I’m going to take a few months off from writing books after that – two in two years has been pretty full-on – and concentrate on the blogs and podcast. I have a large backlog of posts, and I really want to get those final Jane Grigson recipes cooked!

I really do hope that by the time we are approaching wintertime 2022 there will be a better looking – dare I say normal? – year ahead of us. But for now, we shall soldier on, eat plenty of puddings, and read more cookery books.

Take care and be safe,

Neil x

7 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Britain, food, history, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Happy New Year!

  1. Happy New Year, Neil! All best for 2022. Looking forward to your book. And thanks for asking me on to your podcast. Glad that’s taking off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura

    Happy New Year! Thank you for writing about all the interesting things up on your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy New Year, Neil 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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