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How Has Your Grocery Shopping Changed?

Every Wednesday, Bon Appétit executive editor Sonia Chopra shares what’s going on at BA—the stories she’s loved reading, the recipes she’s been making, and more. If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get her letter before everyone else.

Here’s a fun thing about my job: Every so often, I get to test recipes before they go live on our websites or into the pages of the magazine. It’s standard practice at publications like Bon Appétit and Epicurious to have multiple editors cook through recipes before they are published to make sure they will work for, well, people like me: cooking enthusiasts who are not necessarily trained kitchen experts.

The first time I volunteered, I was totally in my head about it, afraid I didn’t have the chops to be useful and that I was wasting our food team’s time. But now I like to take on a recipe once a month or so, especially when it sounds particularly delicious (most do!) or will push me to try something new. For example, I don’t fry a lot of things at home, so it was fun to test these leek latkes from our holiday issue—though my first batch somehow took me twice as long as it should have, confusing both me and the editor—and it was even more fun to eat the leftovers with fried eggs for breakfast the next day.

Anyway, as I test new recipes this week, I’ve really been thinking about access to ingredients. I used to be able to take a train five stops to get fresh curry leaves or a specific kind of green chile, and now, more often than not, I’m finding a substitution or ordering them online. I’m aware of the privilege I started with—to have lived in such close proximity to specialty grocery stores in the first place, to be able to order what I’m looking for online and pay to get it delivered—and this pandemic is definitely making me more conscious of what I am buying and how I will use it all. Like when I inevitably make this pumpkin-tahini mousse pie, I will use leftover pumpkin for this spiced chocolate-pumpkin cake and leftover tahini in swirly loaf cakes and brownies.

Tahini + chocolate = winning combo.

Photo by Alex Lau, Styling by Sue Li

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