This is the seventh installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
Last week, I found myself hanging out with five whole hogs, three briskets and a whole lot of barbecue legends (and their faithful disciples) near some fire pits in freezing cold Murphysboro, Illinois. We'd congregated there for the second annual Whole Hog Extravaganza and BBQ MBA program, and when I wasn't stuffing my mouth with some of the best pork and brisket on the planet, I was slamming it shut and soaking up what these venerable pitmasters had to say.
Here's a taste.
Just in case you still have eggnog to spike or plums to sugar before the gang arrives, consider us Santa's little helpers.
We're sharing our time-tested Christmas tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Christmas with a jolly smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on December 26 with your sanity intact.
Here are a few helpful holiday posts that may make your holiday bright.
Yo mama's cinnamon is so old, its UPC code is "1."
Yo mama's thyme is so old, they used it to season the Last Supper.
Yo mama's cloves are so old, the bottle has a Brontosaurus steak recipe on the side.
Casey Barber, a food writer in Clifton, New Jersey, says many Hostess products and their associated feelings of nostalgia are easy to conjure up in a home kitchen, but there's one thing she's never been able to replicate: "There's just a fakeness about them, a teeth rattling extra super-sugaryness that comes with the high fructose corn syrup that you're not going to get if you make a Twinkie or Devil Dog at home."
She made these raspberry "Zingers" - a snack cake sold under both the Dolly Madison and Hostess brand names - in October. The recipe is in her forthcoming book,"Classic Snacks Made from Scratch."
Samantha Reichman is an intern on CNN Early Start and Starting Point. She is a senior at The College of William and Mary, a coffee fiend and a trained barista. She blogs at Alimentación. All pictures taken at Blue Bottle Coffee in Manhattan.
As local coffee culture seems to be approaching critical mass, the need for a superior, distinctive product is becoming even more pressing.
Caffeine aficionados are also experiencing a phase of experimentation. Myriad styles of coffee preparation and presentation combined with selective sourcing allow for unprecedented levels of personal flair. But can individuality truly be achieved at an espresso bar?
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