During an interview on the New York Times Book Review podcast, author and former Times columnist Jonathan Miles was asked about writing about the bar scene. I’ll never forget this. He referred to people in bars as people living in extremis. In the extreme. Too much drinking, too much talking, too much not talking, too much… It all makes for good theater, for good storytelling. 2012 felt like this. Perhaps this is why we in the F+D section were more in our heads than in the past. With so much going on, food tastes different. Drinks taste different. We are different, poised, like never before, perhaps, to divine the complexity behind the tastes and smells and textures. Here’s a recap of what this looked like, through story and recipe, interview and review.

Interview: Masterchef Contestant Tali Clavijo

Contributor Mariana Mora crossed the threshold into one of the more magical places on the planet, the personal kitchen of a masterchef. In this case, it was Chef Tali Clavijo’s kitchen, from which he cooked and chatted away about triumphs, defeats and everything in between.

Food Geek: Biotechnology and Future Nausea

In Nicole Cipri’s column, Food Geek, Cipri sought to write about eating bugs. Instead, she found herself awry, researching and writing her way around one of the scarier fronts affecting each of us: genetically modified food.

Cheesemonger: True Story

Our resident cheesemonger, Jen López, shared a deeply personal and deeply hilarious story about that non-human entity which is most important to her: cheese. True story.

Interview: Tuesday Night Dinner’s Jeremy Levine

In response to dire fiscal straits, pop up restaurants are now a delicious and wonderful thing. Contributor Nathaniel Paul Joseph interviewed the creator of one of them, Jeremy Levine.

Fat & Happy: Juicy, Tender Filet Mignon for Steak and BJ Day

Our weekly recipe writer, Fat & Happy’s Monique Costello, seized upon the apropos as only a woman who can see the world through recipes can. With our attention piqued–especially after linking to our most popular article of all time–we found her instructions on how to test for the doneness of a piece of meat much more, uh, entertaining.

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