The Austin Chronicle

We Have an Issue: It’s Been a Year, All Right

It's the Top 10s issue; plus, meet the new Food Editor

By Kimberley Jones, December 17, 2021, Columns

It's never simple, distilling a whole year's events into lists of 10, but 2021 in particular has been such a discombobulating time of intense highs and lows. In this issue, we look back at the biggest stories of the year and the best things we watched, ate, read, and listened to.

Since I don't get to chime in on any of those lists, I hope you'll indulge one more. Euphoria probably isn't a smart feeling to chase, but I was lucky to have that feeling fall in my lap again and again, usually while watching something transportive. Here are some of the things I consumed this year that made my heart somersault:

Kathryn Hunter's electric witchiness in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Buck Meek's "Candle" and Big Thief's "Change," a conversation continued across songs. Rose Matafeo's "I just had sex" strut on limited series Starstruck. Mike Wozniak dislodging a hemorrhoid on Taskmaster. Gaby Hoffmann's magnificent eyebrows – OK, magnificent everything – in C'mon C'mon. Ariana DeBose and Rachel Zegler sharing the West Side Story's winner's belt with their devastating duet, "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love." Succession's Kieran Culkin, all pop-eyed post-dick pic. Winston Duke's incandescent recitation of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" in Nine Days. The village band pomp of Japanese Breakfast's "Paprika." Licorice Pizza: Alana Haim in reverse. The Sardaukar descent in Dune. Anderson .Paak's buoyant "Fire in the Sky" sending off the stirring Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Renate Reinsve, smeared in blood (stay off drugs, kids!) in The Worst Person in the World. Pepita granola, cajeta crema, and honeycomb courtesy of Christina Currier of Comedor and Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey – a perfect brunch bite on a perfect fall day at the Field Guide Festival.

It's telling that dining out didn't factor much into my year's highlights. I'm an enthusiastic home cook and homebody, which hasn't made me the ideal person to carry our paper's restaurant coverage while we were between editors. (Hats off here to the heroic Wayne Alan Brenner for doing so much of the heavy lifting.) I'm so pleased to report that we're Food editorless no more.

Melanie Haupt's roots with the Chronicle go deep – in fact, she and I started out in the proofreader department together in the early Aughts. Melanie's interests, and talents, run wide. For this paper alone she's written music criticism, author interviews, and TV recaps, but the bulk of her bylines have been in service of our Food section, where she worked closely with legendary Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. Along the way, Melanie got a couple advanced degrees (that's Dr. Haupt, ahem), and in 2013 she authored Historic Austin Restaurants: Capital Cuisine Through the Generations (American Palate). She was the last person to file a restaurant review in these pages before the pandemic, and I know bringing back regular restaurant reviews is one of her first priorities in the new year. Welcome aboard (again), Melanie!

Online This Week

Save the Dates Austin FC enlists Black Joe Lewis to announce the club's 34-match schedule for 2022. (P.S. Tickets go on sale on Friday.)

Food Becomes Art Culture Editor Richard Whittaker speaks with Austin gingerbread expert Stacy Frank about taking a crash course on the Avengers for the new Disney+ show Foodtastic.

Chronicle on Spotify Listen to the Chronicle Music team's favorite songs of 2021 on our Spotify profile.

How to Cook Like (and With) a Viking In which the author reveals a few burnt ends of his personal history and the practical, high-quality solution to your roasting cookware needs.

Photo Gallery ... Shinyribs, Sir Woman, Nuevo, Sweet Spirit, Go Fever, the Deer, Buffalo Hunt, Greyhounds, and a reunion of Glorietta gather at Empire Garage to celebrate Nine Mile Records' 15th anniversary.

Weekend Wine ... An American Zinfandel everyone can agree on.

The Austin Chronicle Show on KOOP 91.7FM

This week, the News staff tackles the most impactful political moments of the year.

Tune in Fridays, 6pm, to KOOP Community Radio. Past episodes at

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