The Wishbone, ExplainedSkills
Plus, how to get the perfect snap.
Apr 19, 2024
Whatever Happened to Red Pistachios?Groceries
Remember red pistachios? Up until the 1970s, it was almost impossible to find pistachios that didn’t leave fiery-red powder on your fingers.So what happened to red pistachios? And where did they come from in the first place? Read on to find out.There are two competing stories that explain why pistachio shells used to be red.In one version, the crimson hue originated with a pistachio vendor named Zaloom in Brooklyn, New York, around the turn of the 20th century.
Dec 28, 2023
What Is a Continental Breakfast?Skills
Chances are you’ve stayed at a hotel and had the opportunity to try out the continental breakfast at some point in your life. During your stay, however, you’ve probably spent some time wondering what exactly a continental breakfast is or what does it even mean for a breakfast to be “continental”?While it may depend on the hotel itself, in general a continental breakfast typically comes with a set list of expectations.
Oct 25, 2023
The Secret to an Uber-Spongy Cake Is … Ice WaterSkills
There might be some actual legit science behind why adding ice water to white cake is such a brilliant move.
Jul 14, 2023
A Food Lover’s Guide to PurimPeople
Purim is the Jewish calendar’s biggest party festival. The holiday celebrates the biblical story of the heroic Queen Esther, a Jewish woman who rose to become the Queen of Persia and saved her people from destruction at the hands of her husband’s ill-intentioned advisor, Haman. People celebrate Purim by gathering in synagogues to read Esther’s story aloud. They then head off to parties to celebrate the ancient victory by wearing costumes, getting tipsy, and, of course, eating.
Feb 24, 2023
In Praise Of Old-Fashioned Kitchen ToolsTools
We profess a fondness for old-fashioned kitchen tools – things like charming pie birds, wooden butter moldscast iron skilletThough at times we may suffer from an overly romantic view of the past as we sigh over the offerings at Labour and Wait and Lehman’s, in many cases there’s a good reason these tools have endured.
Sep 20, 2022
What’s the Difference Between Canola and Rapeseed Oil?Skills
Here’s the scoop on both.
Sep 12, 2022
10 Recipes That Defined the 1960sRecipes
This week we’re talking about recipes that define a decade, starting with the 1960s. Made more popular in the last few years from Mad Men, the recipes of the 60s are defined by strange chicken dishes, the continued domination of Jell-O and other fluff desserts, cocktail party appetizers like onion dip (seen above), and of course anything Julia Child. Some of these recipes remain relevant in recent decades, but they will always have a strong history in the 60s.
Aug 15, 2022
Vintage Pyrex Is Having a Moment — Here’s What You Need to Know About Scoring Your Own
Tips from The Kitchn
“The colorful and quirky patterns you find on vintage Pyrex — they just don’t make stuff like this today."
Jun 25, 2022
I Followed a 1920s Cleaning Routine for a Week
Cleaning Tips from The Kitchn
It was nearly impossible.
Jun 20, 2022
A Brief History of Hot Dogs — Including Why They’re Called Hot Dogs in the First PlaceGroceries
There are at least three plausible explanations for how the hot dog got its name.
May 21, 2022
Sense of Place: The Flavors and Ingredients of LouisianaPeople
Like Florida and Alaska, we felt that the Cajun and Creole cuisines of Louisiana deserved a mention all their own. Here you see a blending of Native American, French, Spanish, and African influences that results in a regional flavor that is as unique as it is mouth-watering.Cajun and Creole are actually two very distinct cuisines. Simply put, Cajun is country food while Creole is the food of the urban centers.
May 12, 2022
From Wafers to Cones: A Short History of the WafflePeople
Long before waffle cones and Eggo came on the scene, the waffle was part of the Western culinary tradition. The exact origins of this honeycombed cake are unknown, but the story of its evolution from a thin, crisp wafer to a thick, leavened cake, is a fascinating one. Join us as we take a trip through waffle history…It is hard to imagine the waffle without its iconic honeycombed surface, but in the beginning it probably started as a simple, flat cake.
May 12, 2022
Regional Specialty: Brunswick StewPeople
Although residents of Brunswick, Georgia, and Brunswick County, Virginia, both claim to this recipe as their own, we can probably all agree that it is the quintessential recipe for lean times.
May 12, 2022
Why GMOs Are the Biggest Food Science Breakthrough of Our EraSkills
Up until now, the discoveries showcased within this series have highlighted achievements made during the 19th century. Not by design, I promise you. All of these food science breakthroughs were hand-picked on merit alone, as is today’s: genetically modified crops. But genetically modified crops come with some baggage. Unlike canning, fermentation, or milk pasteurization So, for the record, I will state my bias right now: I am not a fan of GM crops.
May 12, 2022
Good for a Laugh! Old Weight Watchers Recipe CardsPeople
To anyone who has ever endeavored to shed a few pounds following the Weight Watchers regime, this one is for you. These cards are a peek at what your program would have looked like a few decades ago – complete with witty and irreverent commentary from the woman who found the cards in her mom’s basement.As Wendy McClure points out in the intro, dehydrated onion flakes and pimientos are featured prominently in many recipes.
May 11, 2022
Here’s Why We Eat Corned Beef on St. Patrick’s DaySkills
You've probably wondered, too. Here's the answer (plus our favorite recipe!).
Mar 8, 2022
3 Black Pioneers Who Made Ice Cream What It Is Today
Food History
“Ice cream is one of those supercalifragilistic, whitewashed things where they wrote Black people out of the history."
Feb 2, 2022
A Brief History of Depression Glass, the Gorgeous 1930s Kitchen Staple Making a ComebackKitchen
This cheery-hued, inexpensive glassware trend is back. In a big way.
Sep 17, 2021
This Cheesy, Saucy Hot Brown Sandwich Is Kentucky's Original Hangover CureRecipes
The open-faced turkey sandwich features crispy bacon and creamy Mornay sauce.
Apr 26, 2021
Chef Tanya Holland’s Sweet Potato Rolls and What Many People Still Don’t Know About Soul FoodRecipes
"Soul food is just as expansive as any other cuisine that has been elevated. It’s just as rich and sophisticated and complex as any other ethnic cuisine."
Feb 2, 2021
What’s the Difference? Light Rye, Dark Rye, Pumpernickel, and MarbledSkills
As bread bakers, the differences between these four breads has been a real source of confusion for us. They often seem to be used interchangeably in restaurants, bakeries, and even some cookbooks. It’s quite distressing to expect one kind of bread and wind up with something completely different, we think! So is there a difference?We would argue that, yes, there is definitely a difference. Or at least there should be!
Oct 7, 2020
Baby’s First Butcher Shop: Meat Market Playsets in Victorian TimesPeople
Meat carcasses hang from the rafters. There’s blood and sawdust on the floor. Doll-sized butchers stand in front, looking severe. (One is even holding a knife.) A historical mock-up for a museum, you think? Nope. This is an actual toy butcher shop for kids, circa 1850, and it was a runaway hit at the time.Collectors Weekly has a terrific little article on their website right now on the history of toy food.
Sep 30, 2020
So You Know: Cookie Monster’s Famous Sugar Cookie Dough RecipeRecipes
We all know Cookie Monster loves to eat cookies, but it turns out he’s quite the baker, too! Cookie Monster’s famous cookie dough recipe first appeared in Big Bird’s Busy Book, from the 1970’s.
Sep 30, 2020
Why Did Popeye Eat So Much Spinach? The Surprising AnswerPeople
We know Popeye loved the stuff, but the question is: why spinach? The answer, it turns out, all goes back to one little mistake. In 1870 German chemist Erich von Wolf correctly ascertained the amount of iron in spinach, but while transcribing his notes, he accidentally misplaced a decimal point: instead of recording that spinach had 3.5 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving (as is the case), he wrote that it had 35 milligrams. This is a huge amount.
Sep 30, 2020
Before There Was Dump Cake, There Was “Do Nothing” Cake — The Ultimate Cake for Lazy BakersRecipes
We gave the old-school recipe a delicious upgrade.
Sep 8, 2020
How a Glorious Mistake Resulted in Gooey Butter Cake: A St. Louis Tradition Since the ’40sRecipes
Good things happen when you add too much butter.
Aug 9, 2020
Here’s the Story Behind Bumpy Cake — The 100-Year-Old Recipe That’s Blowing Up the InternetRecipes
Plus, a recipe for making the iconic Heartland cake at home.
Aug 9, 2020
These Are the Most Popular Kitchen Colors from the Last 100 YearsKitchen
Looking through the kitchen color trends of the last century tells us a lot more than simply the most popular hues of the moment.
Jul 16, 2020
Of All the Desserts That Call Themselves Salads, Strawberry Pretzel Is QueenRecipes
This retro Southern summertime favorite is one of the easiest, prettiest, and most refreshing fresh fruit desserts around.
May 29, 2020
What Is Boxing Day? How to Celebrate This Perfectly Sensible British Holiday.People
Christmas falls on a Monday this year, which means we get it off from work. Hooray! But across the pond, the day after Christmas — or more accurately, the weekday after Christmas — is always an actual holiday. It’s call Boxing Day and it has nothing to do with pugilism (or the “unboxing” phenomenon, which I admit to not understanding one bit). There are many theories as to how Boxing Day got its name. Some posit the name comes from church donation boxes.
Dec 17, 2019
These Gorgeous Infographics Show How Kitchen Appliances Have Evolved Over the Past 100 YearsTools
Check out the past and future of toasters!
Nov 14, 2019
The Story Behind New England Spider Cake: The Sweet, Quirky Cornbread with a Surprise InsideRecipes
It's worth making for the experience alone, but if you’re a fan of sweet and salty combinations, this unique recipe delivers in spades.
Nov 5, 2019
The English Muffin Is Not English at AllPeople
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but English muffins did not originate in England.
Sep 26, 2019
Good Quote: Jack LaLanne on NutritionPeople
We have a confession to make. Until his death at the age of 96 last week, the only thing we knew about Jack LaLanne was that he sold juicers. But as we’ve learned more about his rich body of work (no pun intended!), LaLanne has quickly become our new hero. We’ve been watching old videos of his show and reading great quotes like the one below. Sounds like something Michael Pollan might say, right?If man makes it, don’t eat it.
Jul 4, 2019
The Long, Curious, Profoundly American Journey of the Churro
Cover Story
Churro-flavored ice cream and cereal are just the latest stage in the pastry’s long, strange, profoundly American journey.
Jul 2, 2019
5 Surprising Food Things You’ll Learn from a 23andMe Test (Bonus: It’s On Sale Right Now!)People
It's not need-to-know information, but interesting nonetheless.
Jun 11, 2019
My Complicated Relationship with The Great British Baking ShowPeople
It's complicated, but Philip Larkin has the last word.
Jun 11, 2019
Why You Want a Kitchen Island Now (but Didn’t 100 Years Ago)Kitchen
The evolution of the kitchen island maps out not only how American kitchens have changed over the 20th century, but also how our lives have shifted from decade to decade.
Jun 9, 2019
What’s the Difference Between East Coast Butter and West Coast Butter?Skills
It's what's on the inside that counts.
Jun 8, 2019
A Tale of 3 Caesar SaladsPeople
The original Caesar, a product of neither America nor Italy, but of Tijuana, Mexico, has come a long way. In its century of existence, the salad has evolved from finger food to American classic to questionable health food. For the armchair historian or the Caesar devotee, here is a condensed history of the legendary salad in three iconic Caesars.
Jun 6, 2019
What I Learned from Visiting William Faulkner’s Mississippi KitchenKitchen
A couple years ago, without really planning it, l found myself standing in William Faulkner’s kitchen. In Oxford, Mississippi, for the Southern Foodways Symposium, I did what every tourist to Ole Miss does: I visited Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home just off campus.
Jun 5, 2019
12 Great Writers & Their Favorite SnacksPeople
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” So said Virginia Woolf, and we heartily concur. However, while Ms. Woolf might approve of these literary cocktails, I tend to think cold toast and stale coffee (a la Steinbeck) isn’t what she had in mind for “fine dining.” Ah well! To each his own. Enjoy a peek at 12 great writers and their go-to snacks, as illustrated by the wonderful Wendy MacNaughton.
Jun 5, 2019
What’s the Difference? Dry-Aging vs. Wet-Aging BeefSkills
Whether dry-aged or wet-aged beef is better has actually become quite a debate in certain foodie circles. Dry-aging has centuries of tradition on its side, while wet-aging is really the new kid on the block. Is one really better than the other? You decide.All meat benefits from some amount of aging before being sold and consumed. In the days after slaughter, enzymes go to work on the muscle tissue, breaking it down and making it tender. Chicken needs a few days, while pork and lamb needs a week.
Jun 4, 2019
From Ocean to Box: How Sea Salt Is HarvestedSkills
If you’ve ever flown into or out of the San Francisco airport, you have probably looked out the window and wondered about those weird red ponds scattered along the edge of the Bay. Wonder no more: they’re sea salt harvesting ponds!I was recently invited along on Diamond Crystal Salt’s annual sea salt harvest right here in the San Francisco Bay. Let me tell you, it was a fascinating trip from Bay to box. Oh, and why the startling red color in those ponds?
Jun 4, 2019
Tell Us Your Favorite Drink and We’ll Tell You What Decade You Belong InPeople
Now would be a good time to start working on that time machine.
May 30, 2019
Egyptian Street Food at Home: KosharyRecipes
Following the news coverage in Egypt these past few months eventually led us to an inevitable, and quite likely predictable, place: Egypt’s food. Koshary is generally acknowledged to be The Ultimate Egyptian street food, and given its blend of pasta, lentils, chickpeas, and tangy tomato sauce, it’s easy to see why. We found a recipe in Saveur, and had to give it a try.There are a lot of parts to this recipe (link below).
May 24, 2019
The Newbie’s Guide to the KnishPeople
Those of you raised on the classic New York City knish may goggle astonished at people who have never encountered this comfort food extraordinaire. But there are plenty of us who come to the knish late, like one reader last week who asked, “Can you tell me exactly what a knish is?” She also asked for more history of this mysterious food.
May 24, 2019
3 Women Who Made England Mad for TeaPeople
When the heads of the G20 nations gathered in London in 2009 to grapple with the economic crisis, angry British protestors demonstrated in front of the Bank of England … by taking tea. Their concern was not bloated bankers’ bonuses, the lending crisis, or the mortgage scandal. To them, the disappearance of time for a nice cuppa represented everything that is wrong with modern capitalism.
May 24, 2019
Too Cute! Fairy Bread from Down UnderPeople
Soft white bread spread with sweet butterbrilliantWe spotted this idea for fairy bread on CRAFT, who in turn picked it up from the Australian blog “I Ate Brisbane.” We’d never heard of this particular delicacy before, but apparently it’s a well-known and much-loved snack for children’s birthday parties in Australia.We dug a little deeper and found some more interesting facts about fairy bread!
May 24, 2019
The Man Named Josephus: Why We Call Coffee “A Cup of Joe”People
Have you ever wondered why the slang term for coffee is a cup of joe? The phrase has been in use since World War I, but the original term, coined by sailors in the Navy, was actually a cup of Joseph Daniels. And it was meant as an insult. Josephus Daniels was secretary to the Navy under president Woodrow Wilson. Looking to impose stricter moral standards on naval life, he made changes like increasing the number of chaplains, cracking down on prostitution at naval bases and banning alcohol.
May 24, 2019
From Jesus to Oprah: A 5,000-Year History of Bread HeroesPeople
Bread flourishes in so many forms around the world: naan, tortillas, injera, arepas, pita, etc. And as consumers of grain-based sustenance, we all contribute to the history of bread in our own small ways. Although you did an excellent job of finishing that bagel this morning, some of us have made a more significant impact than others. Here’s a look back at a few pivotal people in the history of bread. Egyptians were the first civilization to leaven their bread.
May 24, 2019
Why Is it Called a “Dutch Oven” Anyway?Tools
The kinds of long-cooked stews and deep, rich dishes most people make in their Dutch ovens are hardly the type of foods most associated with the Netherlands. Nor is Le Creuset, the company best known for making the heavy, thick-walled pots, located in France. Yet, even as the tight-lidded, versatile, and iconic vessel is used to make everything from Mexican mole to no-knead bread, we call it “Dutch.” (Also, it isn’t anything like what we would consider an oven these days.
May 24, 2019
Good Cure Question: What Are Processed Foods?Kitchen
Last Thursday I gave a controversial assignment as part of Week Two of The Kitchn Cure: I asked you to pitch your processed foods.And the questions started rolling in about what, exactly, processed foods are?Processed food is basically food that has been changed from its natural state for the sake of shelf life and safety, or for the sake of convenience.
May 3, 2019
Word of Mouth: Al DenteSkills
Al Dente; adjective, Italian: Literally, “to the tooth.” In practice, this means cooked just enough to still be firm, where the center still remains a bit under-cooked and the pasta still offers resistance when chewed.In medieval times, pasta was cooked for an hour or more until it was soft, mushy, and offered no resistance. This was typical of all cooking at the time (ie, cooking food to death!
May 3, 2019
Heirloom, Heritage … What Does It Mean?Skills
These days, shoppers have the option of choosing heritage or heirloom foods. But what do these words mean and how do they affect you? You may be surprised to learn it isn’t just a frivolous fad; our food supply depends on them.Through the history of civilization, humans have raised a variety of livestock and agriculture. However, today’s large-scale industrial farming methods only use a few specialized breeds that have been developed to meet certain requirements.
May 3, 2019
Sweet Treat: Whoopie PiesRecipes
Whoopie pies tend to show up more frequently on food blogs and in magazines this time of year because, for some reason, pumpkin ones are a popular variation. If you’re not familiar with the whoopie pie or just want to know more about where they came from, read on…Whoopie pies are made from two flat-ish mounds of cake, about the size of a hamburger, with whipped frosting in between. They are most commonly found in New England and Pennsylvania.
May 3, 2019
Word of Mouth: ClabberSkills
Clabber, noun: soured milkBack before there was baking powder to use as a quick leavener in baking, there was clabber. This was something that every farm wife or person with access to fresh milk could make, no additional ingredients necessary!To make clabbered milk, the fresh, raw milk was simply left out at room temperature. Bacteria in the milk would start converting the lactose (sugars) into an acid, causing the milk to thicken and sour while also keeping it from actually spoiling.
May 3, 2019
Amish Friendship Bread: Have You Ever Made It?Groceries
For the past few weeks, bags of liquid starter for this Amish friendship bread have been spreading among our friends faster than a 1980’s chain letter. “How are you?” has been replaced by “What day are you on?” and “Have you made yours yet?” We’d be a little frightened except that everyone is so gosh darn excited…For the unfamiliar, Amish friendship bread is your basic sweetened quick-bread.
May 3, 2019
Brioche: A Bread For Breakfast, Lunch, or DinnerPeople
It wasn’t cake that Marie Antoinette wanted to feed to the masses. Her instructions were actually, “Let them eat brioche.” Brioche is certainly as rich and buttery as cake, but that’s where the similarities end.Brioche is definitely more of a bread than it is a cake. For one thing, it’s yeast-risen and has a chewy, bread-like interior. It’s also far less sweet.
May 2, 2019
The Canape: A Classic Cocktail Party NibbleRecipes
The other day I thifted the amazing canapé cookbook pictured above (circa 1934) for just a few dollars. At first the book’s design drew me, with its deco cover and amusing black drawings. But then I started reading the fascinating recipes with names like Devil’s Knapsack, Diamond Cut Diamond and Rainbow’s End. Intrigued, I set out discover more about the canapé, a retro cocktail mainstay.
May 2, 2019
What’s the Deal with Tuscan Bread?People
The first time you try Tuscan bread, it feels like someone must be playing a joke. This bland-tasting, pale-crusted, thoroughly un-appetizing bread surely can’t be right. But Tuscan bread it is! In fact, the bread is (quite deliberately) missing one key ingredient.Tuscan bread is intentionally made without salt. If you need any proof of salt’s flavor-enhancing properties, just try a slice of Tuscan next to a slice of something like ciabatta.
May 2, 2019
Summer Ales & Winter Lagers: Why Are Beers Seasonal? Beer SessionsSkills
Ever fall in love with a beer, only to discover that it’s a “seasonal” not to be seen again for another year?It can seem cruel for a brewery to hook us on a delicious beer and then snatch it away again, but they have some good reasons for doing so.Back before refrigeration and shipping made it possible to lager beers in the hot summer months and save fresh hops through the winter, some beers were seasonal by virtue of what was available.
May 2, 2019
5 Troublesome Cocktails & Spirits TermsPeople
Do you know your whisky from your whiskey? A pony from a jigger? Here are 5 sets of cocktails and spirits terms we find to be the most frequently flummoxing. Tell us, what are yours? 1. Cocktail/Mixed Drink Cocktails and mixed drinks are the same thing, right? Well, yes and no. These days, “cocktail” is generally used as a catchall term for all kinds of mixed alcoholic drinks, from Martinis, to Moscow Mules, to Margaritas, to Mudslides.
May 2, 2019
How to Dress Like a Greengrocer! Old Town Clothing’s Small Trades GarmentsKitchen
In the old days, the greengrocer, the fishmonger, and baker could often be identified by what they wore — an apron, or smock, or jacket that was specific to that trade. More than just an uniform, these garments were often a badge of honor and reflected the pride people took in their work. They were also kind of cool, and they are having a comeback.Once upon a time, certain skilled trades were considered a respectable way to earn a living.
May 2, 2019
Handwritten Recipes by Michael PopekKitchen
Why would someone tuck a recipe for Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole in the pages of Michael Crichton’s Sphere? Could that Dutch Apple Cake be someone’s long-lost family recipe? Michael Popek has spent years with these mysteries while collecting recipes from the used books at his shop, first for his blog Handwritten Recipes and now for this cookbook.
May 2, 2019
Wise Words From America’s Past: Food, Don’t Waste ItPeople
In this age of excess, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when people rallied around the idea of individual deprivation for the common good. What a nice surprise to come across this poster, which so neatly sums up some of my most basic beliefs about food, and realize it was created nearly a century ago.Designed by Fred G. Cooper for the U.S.
May 2, 2019
Jacob Bromwell: Classic Tools from America’s Oldest Kitchenware ManufacturerTools
Would it surprise you to learn that the maker of the flour sifter or cheese grater your great-great grandmother may have used is still in business? Jacob Bromwell is the oldest housewares company in America, and one of only a handful of kitchenware companies that still manufacture all their products in the US. The company was founded in 1819, which means they’ve been producing kitchenware products for 194 years!
May 2, 2019