Good morning. Today, we bring you a special edition of the Briefing looking back at 2022.

A special edition looking back at 2022.

Locking the barrier to a residential area in Shanghai under lockdown in May.Credit…Aly Song/Reuters


December 25, 2022

This was a year where the news cycle sometimes seemed relentless, and the ping of yet another alert typically brought more shocking news.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine devolved into a long and desperate slog that is now estimated to have killed more than 40000 civilians and displaced up to 30 million more. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. In Pakistan, flooding devastated hundreds of villages, killing around 1,500 people and affecting more than 33 million. Iran is experiencing the deadliest protests in decades.

Economically, these were rough times. The British pound hit a historic low against the U.S. dollar, and central banks yanked hard on interest rates to curb inflation. As the year draws to a close, the cost of heating fuel is biting hard, and a global recession looms. China’s “zero Covid” approach to the pandemic hurt businesses and strangled growth.

In politics, people voted for change in Australia, Brazil, Italy and Sweden, and for familiar faces in France and Denmark. In Israel, Bibi is back. Elon Musk owns Twitter now. And in sports, February brought a deeply strange Olympics in Beijing, with an equally unusual World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom: On the lighter side, 2022 brought us Wordle, Abba’s digital residency in London, the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, even a new Beyoncé album. Next year has moments of levity and ingenuity already on the schedule, including potential changes to daylight saving in the U.S. and a remembrance of Pablo Picasso on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Culinary Highlights

Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist; Simon Andrews.


·       J. Kenji López-Alt’s San Francisco-style Vietnamese American garlic noodles, a dish that uses 20 smashed garlic cloves, was 2022’s most popular recipe on NYT Cooking. Read the full list.

·       The year’s best cookbooks included a volume on vegan Chinese food, a barbecue collection featuring truly remarkable brisket and a book on south-of-the-Sahara African cuisine.

·       These were some of our critics’ most memorable restaurant meals from all over the U.S. And in the comments, readers weighed in on what we missed.

·       Butter boards. An unauthorized Anthony Bourdain biography. Cooking your way through burnout. Revisit our most read Food stories of 2022.

·       Eric Asimov, The Times’s wine critic, sampled hundreds of bottles this year. These 12 stood out. (And so did these six books, on that theme.)

Science & Technology
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez/NASA
·       After a million-mile journey, the James Webb Space Telescope is now capturing unforgettable images of the cosmos.


·       At OpenAI, researchers are building technology that lets you create digital images simply by describing what you want to see — and one of the most impressive chat bots publicly available.

·       After decades of trying, scientists for the first time carried out a nuclear fusion reaction that produced more energy than went into it.

·       Scientists have made rapid progress in customizing drugs for ultrarare diseases.

In Memoriam
Eddie Mulholland/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Our obituaries section celebrates, honors and revisits the lives of people who shaped the world. Revisit five obituaries that stood out:
    Queen Elizabeth II of England died at 96 after reigning for seven decades. (Her Times obituary was 80 years in the making.)

·       The rapper Coolio, who charted a distinctive path to hip-hop stardom, died at 59. This is the story behind his biggest hit.

·       Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was assassinated at 67.

·       The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., died at 91.

·       Julie Powell, a little-known blogger whose quest to cook every recipe in a classic Julia Child became a best-selling book and a hit movie, died at 49.

Great Reads
Lydia Metral for The New York Times. Source photograph from Ana Belén Pintado.
· Catch up on four of the most-read stories in The Times this year:
1.         Taken under fascism, Spain’s “stolen babies” are learning the truth.

2.        The dissenters trying to save Evangelicalism from itself.

3.        Vanished in the Pacific.

4.        The judge and the case that came back to haunt him.



A year of writing the briefing

1.      Many of the stories you read in this newsletter first land with the editors in our Asia hub in Seoul, after correspondents from across the region write their articles. As editors in Seoul wrap up their day, our London team takes over.


2.     Then, it’s my turn to get to work in New York. I write while you sleep, piecing together a morning newsletter that features everything you need to know to start your day.
3.     In October, I visited our Seoul office during the days before Xi Jinping secured a third term as head of China’s Communist Party. Our China correspondents were sleeping little and reporting late into the night, trying to peer into Beijing’s secretive upper echelons.

4.     Now, back at my desk on Eastern Time, I enjoy being part of a global newsroom and reaching out to a global audience. Thank you for reading our work every day and for sharing your thoughts with us. I hope to hear more from you in the new year — about the stories that resonated with you and about what we could have done better.

5.     Cheers to another year together, wherever we are in the world. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Amelia