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Annual Taste Test Awards

Annual Taste Test Awards

Meet the winners of the Taste Test Awards, our annual guide to the best supermarket and artisanal products in a variety of categories.

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Annual Taste Test Awards - Recipes

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Get FREE ACCESS to every recipe and rating from this season of our TV show.

Get FREE ACCESS to every recipe and rating from this season of our TV show.

Get FREE ACCESS to every recipe and rating from this season of our TV show.

Get FREE ACCESS to every recipe and rating from this season of our TV show.

We are proud to announce that the Julia Child Foundation has named Cook&rsquos Country Editor in Chief Toni Tipton-Martin the recipient of the 2021 Julia Child Award. Every year since 2015, this award has gone to the individual "who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats, and drinks." Past recipients include José Andrés and Jacques Pépin.

Simply put, this is one of the most prestigious culinary awards in the industry, and Toni is well deserving. She is an award-winning food journalist, historian, and author who has spent her career championing the study, appreciation, and awareness of African American cuisine. It is that same pioneering spirit and leadership that Julia Child demonstrated in her career.

Toni Tipton-Martin and Julia Child's paths crossed during the start of Toni's career. This photo was taken in Santa Barbara, California, at a retreat for food journalists in 1986. (Julia is in the middle of the top row, and Toni is on the far right in the first row.)

The award comes with a $50,000 grant to be given to the food-related nonprofit of the recipient&rsquos choosing. Toni has chosen The SANDE Youth Project , a grassroots organization she founded in 2008 that serves vulnerable families by using cultural exhibits and cooking experiences to promote the connection between cultural heritage, food, and health.

Congratulations to Toni&mdasheveryone at America&rsquos Test Kitchen is honored to work alongside you every day.

Read more about Toni&rsquos career and the award in the press release below.


Blueprint Technologies

Photos courtesy Blueprint Technologies

F or Bellevue-based serial entrepreneur Ryan Neal, everything is about efficiency. Cutting waste and speeding up processes, he said, have been at the center of the more than 1 5 companies he has purchased or started over the course of his career.

So, even as a self-admitted “nontechie,” Neal saw an opportunity in 20 1 3, when he and a business partner recognized massive inefficiencies in the traditional consulting industry.

“The way that technology is changing and rapidly improving renders the old traditional consulting model obsolete,” Neal said, referring to many consulting companies that have long provided only strategic guidance, or acted only as staffing agencies, without filling the gaps in between or holding themselves accountable to results.

“We think that’s a very inefficient, broken model,” Neal said. “So, we decided to create a company that helps businesses across industries with strategy and delivery and then hold ourselves pretty hardcore accountable to the ROI for the solutions that we create.”

That’s how Blueprint Technologies began: as a small, ambitious startup in Bellevue with one employee and a big mission. Originally, the company focused solely on consulting but pivoted two years ago to include a focus on aspects of technology. In seven years, the company has grown into a global brand, with more than 700 employees, making it one of the fastest-growing private companies in Washington state two years in a row.

Neal credits Blueprint’s trajectory of success to its high-quality technology products and solutions, which until a few years ago were marketed solely by word of mouth.

“For the first four years, we didn’t have a marketing department, and for the first five years, we didn’t have a sales department,” Neal said. “We wanted to grow quickly but without those things because that means that your customers are exceedingly happy with what you’re providing them, and they want more of it and want all their friends to have more if it, too. For years of our growth, it was almost entirely referral-based, both for our customers and for our employees. More than half of our talent acquisition (still) comes from internal referrals, which I think is also a big measure of our success.”

The solutions and products that Blueprint’s customers are so happy with are complex and varied. All of them, however, work to improve efficiency — from analyzing data to automating predictions across supply chain processes — which is increasingly urgent in today’s corporate climate.

“We call it the Amazon effect: What Amazon is doing forces everybody else to move two to three times faster,” Neal said. “It’s putting an intense amount of pressure on traditional industries, and these companies that have been around for generations are now going out of business. So, the fact that all of our products and solutions are designed to automate and eliminate waste of motion, waste of effort, to make businesses more efficient, can be huge for them.”

And rather than use a classic model of establishing contracts with companies meant to last five or 1 0 years, Neal said that Blueprint is staunchly built on a firm belief of “working ourselves out of a job.”

“Most of our projects are anywhere from 90 days to 1 8 months,” he said. “If the customer chooses, we move our solutions into either a licensing model or value-based pricing that allows them to tie the money that they’re paying us for the solution to an actual business outcome they want to achieve.”

The approach of cutting waste, serving customers and employees with integrity, and working out solutions for different industries in its own innovation lab keeps Blueprint Technologies in the enviable position of consistent growth without having to cut quality. For this, Neal thanked his team of employees, saying that the company has found success by “finding good people who like to work together on cool projects.” — ZB

Legacy Business of the Year


Budget bubbly and mince pies triumph in Christmas taste test

Budget chains’ own-brand mince pies and sparkling wine have once again been judged superior to their upmarket rivals in an independent taste test of Christmas food and drink.

Iceland’s “luxury” mince pies – £1.50 for six – were judged to be the best in the UK in the annual exercise by Good Housekeeping for its December edition – while a £5.29 sparkling wine from German discounter Lidl could be the toast of the festive season.

The own-brand mince pies from frozen food giant Iceland were favoured over 24 other brands, including those from Harrods and Selfridges. In second place were convenience chain Spar’s pies, costing £2 for 6. The judges hailed Iceland’s pies as: “Juicy mincemeat with a rich flavour in a lovely crisp and buttery pastry case”.

Although Morrisons’ Prosecco Spumante, costing £8.25, scored highest in the sparkling wine under £10 category, the judges rated runner-up Lidl’s Allini Prosecco Spumante as “the real steal” at £5.29. Ocado.com’s £19.99 Champagne Faubert Brut NV came top in the Champagne section.

The blind taste tests by food experts and consumers also found Iceland’s £4.95 a kg Luxury British Whole Brined Turkey with Orange and Thyme Butter to be top of its class.

Marks & Spencer’s Belgian Chocolate and Orange Star Christmas Pudding, costing £12, was crowned the best of the Christmas pudding bunch. M&S also appears most frequently in Good Housekeeping’s top five – 10 of the twelve categories, and winning the Stilton and mulled wine tests – followed by Asda and Lidl.

“Our expert team and panel of consumer testers blind test an incredibly wide range of Christmas products, so we can be very confident that these results shine a light on the food and drink that tastes the best”, said Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor. “Everyone loves a bargain and so it’s good to see Iceland mince pies and Lidl prosecco beating more expensive upmarket brands.”

Neil Nugent, head of product development at Iceland, said: ‘We work tirelessly to ensure that all our food is the best in class and we have put a lot of time and effort into perfecting our recipe for this classic Christmas favourite. We are absolutely thrilled that this has been recognised by the award of Good Housekeeping’s prestigious “best mince pie” title for the second time in three years.”

In its quest to find the best, the Good Housekeeping taste test team ate and drank their way through 211 different festive foods from more than 30 stockists across 12 categories Champagne, fizz for under £10, smoked salmon, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, Christmas cake, mince pies, mulled wine and stilton.

Positive recommendations in national taste tests can clear supermarket shelves. Last year Lidl’s luxury ‘Snowy Lodge’ mince pies (which came second in a Which? taste test in the run-up to Christmas) sold out in many parts of the UK.

Anna Krettmann, wine buyer at Lidl UK, said: “We’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of sparkling wine at Lidl over the last 12 months – with sales of all sparkling wine up over 50% year on year. It’s great so see the Allini Prosecco Spumante recognised by Good Housekeeping, showing that quality wines don’t need to come with a big price tag. The taste is light and crisp which makes it perfect for drinking alongside smoked salmon or canapés for Christmas.”

MINCE PIES
Winner
: Iceland 6 Luxury Mince Pies, £1.50 for 6 (scored 84/100)
Runner up
: Spar Luxury Mince Pies, £2 for 6 (83/100)
Best of the rest
: Betty’s Classic Mince Pies, £10 for 12 (75/100)

SPARKLING WINE
Winner:
Wm Morrison Prosecco Spumante, £8.25, Morrisons (81/100)
Runner up
: Allini Prosecco Spumante, £5.29, Lidl (80/100)
Best of the rest
: Abbazia Fiorino Prosecco DOC, £8.99, Ocado.com (79/100)

CHAMPAGNE
Winner:
Champagne Faubert Brut NV £19.99 Ocado.com (82/100)
Joint runners up:
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve NV, £26.99, Waitrose (80/100)
Veuve Clicquot Brut NV £39.99, Majestic (80/100)
The Society’s Champagne Brut NV £28, The Wine Society (80/100)
Pol Roger Brut NV £39.99 Waitrose (80/100)
Waitrose Brut NV £18.99, Waitrose (80/100)

CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Winner
: Marks & Spencer The Collection Belgian Chocolate & Orange Star Christmas Pudding, £12 for 907g (77/100)
Runner up
: Iceland Luxury 12-month Matured Christmas Pudding, £6 for 454g (76/100)
Best of the rest
: Morrisons Jewelled Top Christmas Pudding, £4 for 454g (75/100)

Source: Good Housekeeping Tried & Tested, December issue (on sale 27 October)


I made a healthy soyrizo salad using whatever I had in the fridge and loved it

The soyrizo helped bulk up a large, lunchtime salad.

I added some pico de gallo, avocado, bell peppers, cheese, and cooked soyrizo to a bowl of spinach, then topped the combo with crushed Trader Joe's chili-and-lime tortilla rolls for some crunch and extra spice.

This option is a healthier way to enjoy the soyrizo and a quick, convenient lunch or dinner, as the ingredients can easily vary based on what you have available.

This time, I skipped adding dressing because the meal already had so many flavorful elements, and I was glad I did.

I'm generally not a huge fan of salads but am already looking forward to making this recipe again and again.


Whole turkey

What we looked for: A free-range, extra-special whole turkey that will take pride of place on a Christmas Day spread. Turkeys can arrive with flavour accompaniments but not stuffing or gravy.

Winner: Whole turkey

ASDA Extra Special free range Norfolk bronze large turkey (serves up to 10) Buy now from ASDA (£28.36)

A very classic turkey, this plump, golden-coloured bird not only looks inviting on the table but has moist, juicy and full-flavoured meat. While the most common turkey gripes are dry breast meat and bitter, liver-tasting leg meat, this has neither problem – the white meat is succulent while the dark is rich and gamey, but not overpowering. One of our judges said, ‘one bite of this reminded me of Christmas’ – now that’s what you want from a turkey!

Highly commended: Whole turkey

M&S Collection traditionally dressed free-range Devonshire bronze turkey (serves 8-10) Buy now from M&S (£54-£74.25)

If you like turkey with a deeper, gamier flavour then this is for you. While it slightly divided our judges, those who liked it, really loved it, describing it as rich, meaty and incredibly juicy. The leg meat is fatty and gamey – a real bonus for many of our judges, but slightly overpowering for others. Overall, it has good depth of flavour, juicy meat and excellent skin.


Last minute Easter Egg delivery

At the time of writing, these Easter eggs are still available for last minute delivery. but be quick!

  • Best Easter egg for last minute delivery:Ferrero Rocher Golden Easter Egg
  • Best truffle selection:Monty Bojangles Taste Adventures Balloon Egg
  • Best plastic-free Easter egg:Chococo Dark Chocolate Ocean Studded Egg
  • Best milk chocolate Easter egg for adults:Prestat Milk Chocolate Gianduja Truffle Easter Egg
  • Best popcorn Easter egg:Joe&Seph Chocolate Popcorn Egg
  • Best vegan Easter egg:Doisy & Dam 70% Dark Chocolate Easter Egg with Almond Nuttercups
  • Best blow the budget Easter egg:Rococo Sea Salt Milk Choc Egg
  • Best strawberry-flavoured Easter egg:Melt Chocolates Strawberry Choc Easter Egg
  • Best praline Easter egg:Co-op Irresistible Hand Finished Golden Praline Egg
  • Best box of chocolates:Guylian Easter Egg box with Sea Shells
  • Best for kids:Kinder Surprise Kinder Egg
  • Best mini eggs:Tony's Chocolonely Egg-Stra Special Chocolate Eggs
  • Best keepsake:Booja Booja Almond Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffle Egg

Our Easter testing panel tried 42 milk, blonde, dark and flavoured chocolate eggs &mdash from supermarket budget buys through to luxury creations &mdash to see which ones are worth indulging in this year.


Supermarkets' own-brand champagne beats French houses in Which? test

An £18 own-brand champagne from Morrisons has claimed top place in an annual champagne taste test, beating competition from premium champagne houses, including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Lanson.

The supermarket’s Adrien Chopin Brut champagne was awarded the highest score of 82% in blind tasting of supermarket own-label and popular champagne brands, priced up to £36, by a panel of wine experts for the consumer group Which?. The experts were won over by the Morrisons’ bubbly, describing it as “golden champagne with stewed apple aromas, rich flavours and a hint of sweetness”.

The runner-up was another supermarket champagne, Waitrose’s Brut. Costing £19.99. It was described by the experts as an ideal party fizz, with notes of “ripe red apples and apple blossom”.

Adrien Chopin Brut came top with an 82% score. Photograph: Morrisons

Both the Morrisons and the Waitrose fizzes scooped a Which? “best buy” award in time for the festive season. Their offerings knocked Moët & Chandon’s Imperial Brut champagne into joint third place, despite it costing £36 – double the price of the winner.

Imperial Brut, the only bottle from a well known champagne house to make it into the top four, was described by the experts as a pleasure to drink, although one found it a “little bland”. The Moët & Chandon champagne received the same score as Landric Champagne Brut from Sainsbury’s, priced at £25, which just missed out on “best buy” status.

Own-brand or exclusive champagnes from supermarkets dominated in this year’s taste test. Champagnes from Lidl, Aldi and Marks & Spencer ranked more highly than those from some of France’s best-known producers, such as Veuve Clicquot and Lanson.

Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said consumers would be able to pop a cork this festive season for less than £20. “Your Christmas might be a bit more low key this year, but there is no reason to scrimp on the bubbly,” he said.

At the bottom of the table was a champagne from the discounter Aldi, with its Philizot & Fils organic champagne, which costs £27, described by one panellist as “wishy washy”.


Nickelodeon's new slime sauce tastes way better than it looks

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

We all remember the iconic oozy green slime from the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards — and almost all 1990s tweens dreamed of getting "slimed" alongside Jesse McCartney and Victoria Justice (or Alasdair Gillis on "You Can't Do That on Television" if you were a kid in the 1980s).

Now, we finally have the chance. That's because Nickelodeon's recreated the bright green goo as a ketchup-like "slime sauce" which retails for about $2.28 and is now available exclusively at Walmart.


Cookbook Awards

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts
Author: Stella Parks, Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots
Author: Matt Jennings, Editor: Judy Pray, Publisher: Artisan Books

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Author: Samin Nosrat, Editor: Emily Graff, Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes
Author: Jami Curl, Editor: Jenny Wapner, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook
Author: Jim Lahey with Maya Joseph, Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Sweet: Desserts from London&aposs Ottolenghi
Authors: Yotam Ottolenghi Helen Goh, Editor: Kaitlin Ketchum, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Chefs & Restaurants

Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall
Author: Paul Kahan with Rachel Holtzman, Editor: Lorena Jones, Publisher: Lorena Jones

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Author: Samin Nosrat, Editor: Emily Graff, Publisher: Simon & Schuster

50: The Cookbook
Author: Wylie Dufresne Peter Meehan, Editor: Dan Halpern, Publisher: Ecco

Children, Youth & Family

Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake!
Author: Deanna F. Cook, Editors: Deborah Balmuth Lisa Hiley, Publisher: Storey Publishing

Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work
Author: Sarah Waldman, Editors: Jennifer Urban-Brown Sara Bercholz, Publisher: Roost Books

The School Year Survival Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Sanity-Saving Strategies for Every Family and Every Meal (Even Snacks)
Authors: Laura Keogh Ceri Marsh, Editor: Bhavna Chauhan, Publisher: Appetite by Random House

Compilations

The Blue Apron Cookbook: 165 Essential Recipes and Lessons for a Lifetime of Home Cooking
Author: Blue Apron Culinary Team, Editors: Karen Rinaldi Hannah Robinson, Publisher: Harper Wave

Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook
Authors: Kerry Diamond Claudia Wu, Editor: Amanda Englander ,Publisher: Clarkson Potter

The Grand Central Market Cookbook: Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles
Authors: Adele Yellin Kevin West, Editor: Amanda Englander, Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Culinary Travel

Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar
Author: Michael Harlan Turkell, Editor: Michael Sand, Publisher: Abrams

King Solomon&aposs Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World
Author: Joan Nathan Editor: Lexy Bloom Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus
Author: Carla Capalbo, Editor: Alexander Fyjis-Walker, Publishers: Interlink Books/Pallas Athene Publishers

The IACP Julia Child First Book Award

Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice
Author: Alexandra Stafford with Elizabeth Lowery, Editor: Amanda Englander, Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking
Authors: Bonnie Frumkin Morales Deena Prichep, Editors: Will Schwalbe Kara Rota, Publisher: Flatiron Books

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Author: Samin Nosrat, Editor: Emily Graff, Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Food Matters

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea
Author: Barton Seave, Editor: Jennifer Williams, Publisher: Sterling Epicure

Deepa&aposs Secrets: Slow Carb New Indian Cuisine
Author: Deepa Thomas, Editor: Kim Lim, Publisher: Skyhorse

Lure: Healthy Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast
Authors: Ned Bell with Valerie Howes, Editor: Michelle Meade, Publisher: Figure 1 Publishing

Scraps, Wilt & Weeds: Turning Wasted Food into Plenty
Authors: Mads Refslund Tama Matsuoka Wong, Editors: Karen Murgolo Morgan Hedden, Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style

Food Photography & Styling

The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart
Author: Alex Guarnaschelli, Editor: Raquel Pelzel, Publisher: Clarkson Potter

The Newlywed Cookbook: Favorite Recipes for Cooking Together
Author: Williams Sonoma, Editors: Amy Marr Lisa Atwood, Publisher: Weldon Owen

Simple Fare: Spring and Summer, Simple Fare: Fall and Winter
Author: Karen Mordechai, Editor: Laura Dozier, Publisher: Abrams

Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating
Author: Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox, Editor: Karen Murgolo, Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style

Dinner: Changing the Game
Author: Melissa Clark, Editor: Doris Cooper, Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
Author: Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg, Editor: Ann Bramson, Publisher: Artisan Books

Health & Special Diet

The Book of Greens: A Cook&aposs Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More than 175 Recipes Authors: Jenn Louis Kathleen Squires, Editor: Emily Timberlake, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Recipes from the Herbalist&aposs Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being
Author: Brittany Wood Nickerson, Editors: Nancy Ringer Michal Lumsden, Publisher: Storey Publishing

Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between
Authors: The Editors at America&aposs Test Kitchen Editors: The Editors at America&aposs Test Kitchen Publishers: Penguin Random House/America&aposs Test Kitchen

International

King Solomon&aposs Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World
Author: Joan Nathan Editor: Lexy Bloom Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen
Authors: Gonzalo Guzmán with Stacy Adimando, Editor: Jenny Wapner, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Rasika: Flavors of India
Authors: Ashok Bajaj Vikram Sunderam David Hagedorn, Editor: Dan Halpern, Publisher: Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Literary Food Writing

The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining
Author: David S. Shields, Editor: Alan Thomas, Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America
Author: Michael Ruhlman, Editor: Michael Sand, Publisher: Abrams

Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert&aposs Renegade Life
Author: Emily Kaiser Thelin, Editor: Karen Murgolo, Publisher: Grand Central

Reference & Technical

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea
Author: Barton Seaver, Editor: Jennifer Williams, Publisher: Sterling Epicure

The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You&aposll Love
Author: Liz Thorpe, Editors: Will Schwalbe Kara Rota, Publisher: Flatiron Books

Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor
Author: Maricel E. Presilla, Editor: Lorena Jones, Publisher: Lorena Jones Books

Single Subject Artisan

Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner&aposs Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading
Author: Emilie Raffa, Editor: Sarah Monroe, Publisher: Page Street Publishing Co.

Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop
Author: Dana Cree, Editor: Francis Lam, Publisher: Clarkson Potter

The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam&aposs Favorite Soup and Noodles
Author: Andrea Nguyen, Editor: Kelly Snowden, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Wine, Beer & Spirits

The Bloody Mary: The Lore and Legend of a Cocktail Classic, with Recipes for Brunch and Beyond
Author: Brian Bartels, Editor: Emily Timberlake, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region
Author: Peter Liem, Editor: Kelly Snowden, Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Meehan&aposs Bartender Manual
Author: Jim Meehan, Editor: Emily Timberlake, Publisher: Ten Speed Press


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