Tracy Saelinger

Lifestyle writer Tracy lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two kids. A former Brooklynite, she picks her cities based on the food.
The Annual Canned Pumpkin Freak-out: Is It a Big Hoax?
It’s become as traditional as trick-or-treating: Every fall, it seems, newscasters somberly warn us about the coming pumpkin shortage, urging us to stock up before the ransacking of supermarket shelves. Then, we rush to the store, only to see an end-cap display overflowing with canned pumpkin. What gives?
May 1, 2019
How Breakfast Has Changed
Most mornings are hectic, making us lucky to grab food at all, let alone give much thought as to why we eat breakfast the way we do. Not to get too philosophical on you or anything, but breakfast is actually a pretty good indicator of the times: how we’re living, what our culture is like, and how the economy is doing. If breakfast never changed, we’d still be eating a heavy meal of meat and wine at 11 a.m.
May 1, 2019
Why Are Diners Traditionally Greek? It’s an Immigration Story, Naturally
There’s no official Bureau of Diner Ownership to keep count, but if you’re a diner fan, you know that Greek families traditionally run the show at these beloved 24-hour joints, especially in the Northeast. Obvious giveaways include names like “Olympia Diner,” or charmingly ornate decor, like Greco-style columns, statues, or chandeliers. One diner in South Jersey even proudly displays its WiFi password at the entrance: FetaCheese (caps included!).
May 1, 2019
Why You Can’t Remember Life Before Greek Yogurt
Do you remember life before the world dominance of Greek yogurt? Ten years ago, it was only one percent of the yogurt market. Now? Fifty percent.
May 1, 2019
This May Be the Oldest Food Trivia Question of All Time
Oh, the chicken-and-egg dilemma: Start thinking about it too much, and it’s mind-bendingly philosophical. It’s little surprise, then, that the “chicken or the egg” question’s roots actually stretch as far back as Aristotle. As an idiom, though, we know “chicken or the egg?” was in regular use by the mid-1800s, says Jane Solomon, lexicographer at, who dug through loads of history to help answer this question for us.
Apr 21, 2017
Why Do We Decorate Easter Eggs, Anyway?
Easter eggs tend to be lumped with all the other things that commercialize the holiday — jellybeans, plastic grass, bunny photos at the mall — but they actually have a surprisingly deep history and symbolism, to boot. Eggs have long represented springtime and fertility, partly due to their spherical shape: Circles have no beginning and no end, so they often represent the cycle of life, religious studies professor Bruce David Forbes writes in America’s Favorite Holidays.
Apr 12, 2017
What Do Jelly Doughnuts Have to Do with Hanukkah?
Latkes get all the attention this time of year — as they should, latkes are awesome — but another Hanukkah treat has been gaining in popularity stateside in recent years. Put your hands together for the jelly doughnut. What the two have in common symbolically is also the ingredient that makes both so delicious: oil.
Dec 21, 2016
Why Do We Say “Pleased as Punch”?
Just saying “pleased as punch” conjures up thoughts of a cheerful, bubbly drink at the center of some fabulously festive party. Surely the origins of this phrase date back to some happy 18th-century public house talk, right? Sorry — like so many strange turns of phrase in our lexicon, the back story on this one is actually kind of a downer. Punch in this case refers not to the delicious, big-batch cocktail, but rather a very naughty puppet: Punch.
Dec 15, 2016
Tiny Facts: Why Do We Eat Candy Canes for Christmas?
Even without trying, we somehow seem to rack up quite a stash of candy canes every year, and it got us thinking: How did they come to be such a thing, anyway? We checked with holiday historians and candy makers, and found the backstory to be pretty hilarious: Candy canes were basically invented to get kids to shut up in church. Keeping children quiet during religious services is apparently a struggle that goes back for centuries.
Dec 6, 2016