Weekend Reading: Hobbit Feasts, Fake Meat, And More

What we’re reading, cooking, and clicking this week

• Former SAVEUR associate food editor Ben Mims has recently confirmed one of my long-standing suspicions—that just about anything taste good with chocolate—with a "not recipe" for chocolate bark over on Food 52 [pictured] that suggests using everything from chile-lime Corn Nuts to wasabi peas and even BBQ potato chips. —Cory Baldwin

• Mother Jones asks, "Can Silicon Valley Make Fake Meat and Eggs That Don't Suck?" Over at Beyond Meat and Beyond Eggs, engineers, biochemists, food scientists, and "a piston that measures the springiness of a muffin" are working to make it so. —Karen Shimizu

• Knife manufacturer Henckels recently shared which knives are most popular in different countries around the world with the Wall Street Journal; I don't know why I was surprised to see that steak knives are the most popular Americans knife purchase, especially considering I recently purchased a new set of my own. —Farideh Sadeghin

Mildred Pierce, the terrific 1941 novel by James M. Cain, chronicles the rise and (spoiler alert!) eventual fall of the title character, a woman who achieves great success by making even greater pies. Writing for the Southern Foodways Alliance, Theresa Starkey outlines how Cain used Mildred's pies to illustrate key moments in the character's life, pivotal turning points both good and bad. —Helen Rosner

• In preparation of the release today of The Desolation of Smaug, and in more general respect and fandom of Tolkien's universe, writer Beth Accomando is hosting a Hobbit feast. From lembas bread for "elevenses," to Balin's spiced beef for dinner, this is a full meal fit for a full cast of Hobbits, crafted to most resemble the food Tolkien's characters might have eaten. —Oliver Erteman

• Sweethome's Ganda Suthivarakom tested dozens of spatulas—from flexible metal fish flippers to high-heat silicone scrapers—with the help of cooking experts (including this SAVEUR staffer) and created this comprehensive guide to help readers choose the right tool for their kitchens. —Judy Haubert

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