There’s no shame in second place. Especially when you get to eat the competition.

Normally I’d start with some interesting historical facts, how the Mongolians or Turks or South Africans used cherries to cure disease or traded ginger instead of currency. Instead, I’m going to share a story about a second-place finish in a pie competition.

The world’s oldest example of “Set it and Forget it” accidentally made magic happen.

Pot stickers are either the serendipitous result of a Chinese chef’s negligence and his son’s blatant disregard for truthfulness, or the product of an ancient Chinese Emperor’s terrible disguises and even worse punctuality.

This is one PHO-nomenal vegan soup.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to try the Meatless Monday thing. Kids had gotten us away from doing a bunch of the culinary challenges we used to attempt, and this seemed like a good way to eat (at least a tiny bit) healthier and challenge ourselves to try some dishes we’d never considered before. We mostly gravitated towards Asian noodle and/or rice dishes – from spicy garlic noodles to ramen to the delightfully-beautiful sushi bowls.

If you’re not already on the Split Pea Soup bandwagon, climb on up.

Growing up, there were certain predicable culinary events. If I saw a paper bag full of seasoned flour, I knew it was Salisbury Steak night. Fish Sticks or corndogs showed up once a week. Thanksgiving was Turkey, and St. Patrick’s Day brought corned beef and cabbage.