If you'd told me at the start of the year that goodfood.com.au would not have a single recipe for the most Googled recipe of 2020, as the digital editor I would've felt obliged to quit on the spot.
"I know what people want. Chicken!" I thought. But I was wronger than Pete Evans. No, the truth was far more unpredictable, and unappetising.
Google have released their annual most-searched list. And the results are... different. Last year's 'plant-based' number one didn't even make the top 10 this year. We were too busy wallowing in saucy, meaty twirls of soothing spag bol. And 2018's keto diet craze seems like a long time ago in a vain galaxy far far away.
So here they are, Australia's 10 most Googled recipes of 2020 - as much a snapshot of the emotional rollercoaster that this hazy, crazy year took us on as they are a practical cooking resource. Another squirt of sanitiser on that, anyone?
1. Hand sanitiser
Well, what do you know? We have tens of thousands of recipes on goodfood.com.au but not a single one for hand sanitiser. Or for toilet paper, that other hot commodity that was in short supply in early 2020. We don't profess to knowing how to make it, but many did, including American journalist Maryn McKenna's whose simple formula, nicked from someone with a biomedical PhD, went viral on Twitter. Follow it at your own risk. Note to self: commission more non-edible recipes in 2021.
Combine in a bowl:— Maryn McKenna (@marynmck) March 2, 2020
⅔-cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol)
⅓-cup aloe vera gel.
Stir. Decant into a clean soap or pump bottle.
That's it, that's the recipe. Originates with a 2019 post by biomedical PhD @azareal: https://t.co/nmxCOfqojL
2. Sourdough bread
Did you even do 2020 if you didn't attempt to make your own sourdough? It was everywhere - especially Instagram - with varying degrees of success. Baking sourdough takes us back to that innocent time a whole six months ago when we all thought that lockdown was the perfect time to learn new skills and nail the domestic goddess persona. Parts of Australia probably still do. But in Melbourne, that sourdough starter still bubbling away in the fridge may as well be a gremlin about to hatch. The post-lockdown PTSD rages on. But here's how to make it if you insist.
3. Beef stroganoff
Ah, some things never change - the puzzling enduring popularity of that grey chewy dish, aka beef stroganoff, among them. Maybe I've just never eaten a good one. Every year the strog makes this list. We include a recipe for it and don't think of it again until the following year. Are we missing something? Please feel free to drop me a line @goodfoodau and let us know so we can give you more strog content if that's what you want (seriously though?). Here's Adam Liaw's take on stroganoff - with a welcome twist.
Adam Liaw's stroganoff stew. Photo: William Meppem
4. Spaghetti bolognese
Was it breakout YouTube cooking star Nat's What I Reckon's controversial milky spag bol or the simple, comforting combo of tomatoey meat sauce and pasta that put spag bol back on the most popular list this year? Whatever the reason, I'm here for it. I'm not ashamed to say I made it more times than was probably healthy. Totally worth it. And yes to milk for the record. Here's Jill Dupleix's deluxe Italian-Australian spag bol recipe to save you Googling it (again).
Spaghetti bolognese, may the fourth be with you, always. Photo: William Meppem
If there's one things Victorian's love this year it's donuts - doughnuts as we like to spell it - and lots of them. After months on end of grim daily Covid case updates, the first zero new case day (aka #donutday) was announced on October 26, and it's been donuts ever since (touch wood). Donuts all day erryday, please and thank you Dan and co.
Are crumpets just another iso cooking project? After all, poking all those perfect little holes to ensure maximum butter soakage seems like a total boredom buster to me. Whatever the reason, it gives us another excuse to share one of my favourite recipes on the site, Dan Lepard's crumpet recipe. And to say the word crumpet which is up there as one of the greats.
Dan Lepard's easy crumpets. Photo: William Meppem
So there were more searches for macaron than banana bread or lasagne? Have you guys been watching too much Emily In Paris or something (ie. more than one episode)? These pastel-coloured pretties belong with crumpets and sourdough in the 'why butcher it yourself when you can quite easily buy a much better version' bucket in my humble opinion. But if you really do want to make them (mark as another under 'iso project') these Italian-style macarons are a great place to start.
Macarons were the seventh most Googled recipe of 2020.
8. Anzac cookie
Anzac COOKIE? Since when did these traditional golden syrup and oat BISCUITS become, like, totally Americanised? Whatever next – dipped in chocolate? Smothered in cheese? Sacrilege! Don't mess with the original. In fact don't dare make a batch and sell them as Anzac anythings as that's actually illegal. Play it with a straight bat and follow our traditional recipe for Anzac Day, or any day, you need to dunk something delicious.
Banana bread - cake for breakfast Photo: SUpplied
9. Banana Bread
Ah banana bread, we were wondering when you'd show up! BB was the home bake of choice for thousands of Australians during lockdown because it was cheap, simple, saved browning bananas from the bin and satisfied that sweet craving without being really bad for you, right? (In actual fact it is basically cake that you can justify eating for breakfast.) Here's 10 of the best recipes that went bananas (sorry) when we shared them back in April.
10. Dalgona coffee
"Dalwhat the what?" you may very well be asking (or was that just me?). It's whipped instant coffee, basically. And it was an internet phenomenon early in 2020. Not so much now. Which means it probably won't make the list in 2021, but much stranger things have happened (see number one).