History
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A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William SitwellRecipes
“Take nessh chese, and pare it clene, and grinde hit in a mortar small, and drawe yolkes and white of egges through streynour, and cast there-to, and grinde hem togidre;  then cast thereto Sugur, butter and salt, and put al togidre in a coffin of faire past, And lete bake ynowe, and serue it forthe.“Just in case you don’t recognize this recipe, it’s for Else fryes or Cheese Tart.
May 2, 2019
Recipe: Classic Mamie Taylor CocktailRecipes
Every week I write the 10-Minute Happy Hour to allow each of us permission to make a moment. No overly involved dinner party or stress-filled gatherings touted here. Just 10 minutes and you get to take a beat and toast the week behind or the weekend to come. Following suit, the newly released book Storied Sips, page after page, highlights how a simple cocktail can “strip away the mundane, gild an evening … and add a little flair.
May 2, 2019
Why I’ll Never Get Candy on Valentine’s Day: Serbian SlavaKitchen
My husband’s mother is French, and his father was Serbian. I knew this — and them — when I married him, so I can’t complain. After all, there are a lot of advantages. She is a wonderful cook, hostess and teacher, and he was an accomplished and caring doctor who dedicated much of his career to treating people with HIV from the time it first surfaced. He also came from a culture entirely different from my own. (I’m half country, half city, all South Carolina.
May 2, 2019
30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina AllenPeople
The angle: A celebration of the Ballymaloe cookery school through recipes, chef profiles, anecdotes, and gorgeous photos.
May 2, 2019
The 9-Bottle Bar Recipe: The Diplomat CocktailRecipes
It’s easy to imagine the circumstances: A social function, gathering that worldly stratum of government officials whose members go by titles such as consul, attaché, and ambassador. The drinks are flowing, the pressures of one’s post are at their most acute, and yet the wisest of the group know well that conducting sensitive state business could be gravely jeopardized by dulled faculties. Enter the Diplomat.
May 2, 2019
15 Glorious Quotes About Your Favorite Drink: CoffeeSkills
Whether it’s a French press, a Bialetti or a latte, if you have a love for coffee, there’s a high chance that it’s a fierce love. An all consuming love. An “I can’t live without you” love. Sure, you may take a break every now and then, but once you’ve fallen in love with coffee, it’s hard to ever really commit to a long term separation.
May 2, 2019
Did You Know the Cotton Candy Machine Was Invented By a Dentist?People
As state fairs put up their tents across the country, with them come the sweet smell of cotton candy. Did you know this sweet, fluffy, sticky treat was actually popularized by a dentist? James Morrison, a true “confection enthusiast,” invented several memorable gadgets, but none so great as the cotton candy machine.
May 1, 2019
How Canned Cranberry Jelly Became a Thanksgiving IconSkills
The turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the stuffing often get starring roles on the Thanksgiving table, leaving cranberries off to the side as a obligatory “relish.” But the enduring place of the cranberry at Thanksgiving is anything but happenstance — and canned cranberry jelly, that ever-polarizing ridged and wiggly Thanksgiving dish we know today, has a very specific story born out American agriculture. Do you know why we eat canned cranberry jelly? Let me explain.
May 1, 2019
Why Do We Drink Coffee at Breakfast?Skills
Many of us associate coffee with mornings. It’s the thing that we need to kickstart the day. But it has been shown that the best time to drink coffee isn’t even right when you get up. Because of the chemistry in your brain, it’s actually a few hours later, when the coffee gives you its full effects. So, why did we even start drinking coffee in the morning?
May 1, 2019
The Strange Cultural History of VanillaPeople
Why is it that when we want to describe something as bland we call it “vanilla”? Maybe because the flavoring — in both extract and bean form — has become ubiquitous. It’s nearly impossible to find a baking recipe that doesn’t include vanilla. But the vanilla bean is anything but vanilla. NPR took a closer look at the history and cultural significance of this standard flavor.
May 1, 2019
Why Do We Drink Eggnog at Christmas?Skills
Why do we drink eggnog? The question vexed me for years. Eggnog? The weird yellow Yuletide drink featuring eggs and sometimes booze? The mysterious stuff that retired people in movies swill by the fireside on frozen nights? The creamy concoction that comes in cartons where corn syrup is known to bat second or third in the ingredient lineup? A drink where 50 percent of the letters are g? No thanks.
May 1, 2019
Why We Leave Cookies for SantaPeople
Come December, it’s difficult to deny those few portraits of holiday tradition that hang in our minds as hallmarks of Christmas experience. Stockings hung from the mantel, presents wrapped under a twinkling tree, and chestnuts popping over a wood fire are all magical images instilled in us as children and recreated this time of year to celebrate the spirit of the season.
May 1, 2019
The Best Sparkling Water Comes from MexicoGroceries
Unlike its flat, from-the-tap counterpart, sparkling water has character and pizzazz: The initial fizz announces itself; the bubbles tickle your nose as you drink, and can settle any upset stomach, or bring a buzzy satisfaction with each sip. But not all seltzers are created equal. Certain brands carry a cult status; their legions of fans buying in bulk to satisfy their insatiable cravings.
May 1, 2019
A Brief History of Bottled WaterGroceries
Bottled water is easy to stow in your gym bag, and a must for your at-home disaster-preparedness kit. However, its meteoric rise since the 1970s has had a negative impact on the environment, and the battle between bottling brands is hiking up the cost of our planet’s most important, precious resource. Luckily numerous government agencies are regulating the industry — in the U.S.
May 1, 2019
Faux Butters: I Can’t Believe What We Were Thinking!Skills
Growing up as a kid in the ’80s, butter was for eating out — the cool discs served on a rimmed plate at the country club, the rip-open individual packets accompanying toast and pancakes for Sunday diner brunches — but margarine was our everyday meal accompaniment. The heavy beige tub of Country Crock was a permanent fixture on our kitchen table. It was so big it occupied nearly an entire refrigerator shelf on its own.
May 1, 2019
What’s the Difference Between a Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and Robot-Coupe Food Processor?Tools
Just as tissues have become synonymous with Kleenex and bandages with Band-Aid, Cuisinart is the brand that often comes to mind when we think about food processors. But it’s certainly not the only one on the market. Food processors first made their way to market in Europe in the 1940s. They evolved over time to include the commercially favored Robot-Coupe.
May 1, 2019
The Delightful Kitsch of Easter Lamb CakeSkills
The comic essayist David Sedaris perfectly captures the absurdity of ritual in his famous French-class skit. Sedaris, an American, attempts to describe in broken French how “the rabbit of Easter … he bring of the chocolate … he come in the night when one sleep on a bed.” His Polish and Italian classmates scoff at the idea of a small, long-eared mammal that sneaks into children’s homes each spring to lavish them with sweets.
May 1, 2019
An Illustrated History of Cocktails in the SouthPeople
It could be argued that the history of America is inexorably linked to the history of drinking. After all, legend has it that the real reason the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock was because they ran out of beer; they dropped anchor at first sight of land in order to, ahem, rectify the situation. Flash forward a few years, and our nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, used the country’s affinity for alcohol to pay back the debt owed from the Civil War.
May 1, 2019
Can You Believe This Classic Drink Was Created by Accident?People
Maybe you’ve heard the legend of the accidental creation of potato chips; a tale of delicious, crispy-crunchy revenge, dished up hot after a vindictive cook received a complaint that his fries were too thick. But have you heard the story of how one of the world’s most well-known cocktails accidentally came into existence?
May 1, 2019
The Luxury of Lunch at the Department StorePeople
For me, glamour is an onion. Not just one, but many more than you think you’ll need — thinly sliced, sautéed into caramel, soused in a broth and wine cocktail, dressed with baguette sops, and then all of it tucked under a thick blanket of toasted cheese and christened French onion soup. That dish was a lot of what made the St. Louis department store Famous-Barr simply “Famous” to the locals.
May 1, 2019
A Short History of the Mason JarTools
Mason jars are everywhere. They line the shelves of artisan grocery stores, filled with homemade blood orange marmalade or pickled fennel; they store your sugar and spices (and everything nices); and they serve as lanterns, candles, and vases at weddings. There are entire cookbooks dedicated to Mason jar salads. Brooklyn bars serve beer in them and, perhaps, so do you. But how did it get to be so? Here is a short history of this iconic and ubiquitous jar.
May 1, 2019
Beyond Southern Sweet Tea: How Sweet Tea Is Drunk Around the WorldPeople
A mistake had been made. My mother absentmindedly asked for an iced tea at the roadside barbeque joint in rural North Florida. To her chagrin, before she could chase down the waitress and clarify unsweetened tea, a beverage appeared with a glycemic index somewhere between that of a Coca Cola and straight simple syrup. At 8 years old, I was more than happy to drink the sweetened beverage, the sucrose completely masking any bitterness in the tea that my immature pallet would have rejected.
May 1, 2019
How Did the Cast Iron Skillet Take Over the World?Tools
If you search for “cast iron” on eBay, you will see about 15,000 cookware items for sale. There are also about 20 cast iron cookbooks presently on the market, not to mention numerous blogs dedicated to cast iron collecting and cooking. And there is, of course, a Facebook group, of which I am now a member, dedicated to celebrating all things cast iron.
May 1, 2019
Is There Any Snack More Mysterious Than the Whoopie Pie?People
It’s debate season! And because we try to stay out of politics, we bring you instead the great debate surrounding the origin of the whoopie pie. Did it begin with the Amish in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country? Does Maine earn the bragging rights for this decadent treat?
May 1, 2019
How Breakfast Has ChangedPeople
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
3 Surprising Stories Behind America’s Favorite Chinese DishesPeople
When it comes to our favorite Chinese foods, the path from China to our plates isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. Several books that have come out in recent years — such as Chop Suey, Chop Suey USA, and Chow Chop Suey (no joke!) — tell the story of a uniquely American cuisine that was born out of a complex relationship between Chinese immigrants and their host country.
May 1, 2019
This Is the Original Girl Scout Cookie RecipePeople
The Girl Scouts are going all out to celebrate their 100th anniversary of selling cookies. This year they debuted two new s’mores cookiesGirl Scout Cookie-flavored gum When the Girl Scouts originally sold cookies, they baked the cookies themselves. The first cookie sale was in 1917 from the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where the troop sold cookies at a local high school for a service project. In 1922, The American Girl featured a recipe by Florence E.
May 1, 2019
10 Things You Should Know About Greek EasterPeople
With a name like Fleischer, you might not think that I’d be Greek or that I’d celebrate Easter. But both are true! My mother is Greek, and we’ve celebrated Greek Easter my entire life. I am aware that this baffles people. Perhaps the most confusing part that people seem to struggle with, however, is what exactly Greek Easter is and how it’s different from Western Easter. Let me explain. First of all, it’s technically called Orthodox Easter.
May 1, 2019
Why Are Diners Traditionally Greek? It’s an Immigration Story, NaturallyPeople
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
Poke Cakes Are Kitschy and Dated, but Still a Heck of a Lot of FunSkills
Poke cakes go back to the ancient days of the 1970s, the heyday of boxed cake mixes, Jell-O, and Cool Whip. Colorful and easy to make, poke cakes are the white patent leather go-go boots of the bakery case — kitschy and dated, but still a heck of a lot of fun. Poke cakes were originally created to increase sluggish sales for Jell-O gelatin.
May 1, 2019
Fancy Toast Isn’t a New Trend. The Danes Invented It 200 Years Ago.People
It certainly feels as though we’ve reached peak toast mania. Avocado toast was the center of about a thousand think pieces on millennials this year, and you can’t open a trendy brunch menu without spying a jam- and ricotta-topped toast. While we might be newly hooked on toast, its roots stretch back much further than our Instagram feeds suggest. Toast has been a staple of Scandinavian cuisine for 200 years.
May 1, 2019
The Famous Fudge Bottom Pie Comes with Mystery, Rivalry, and the Story of a Great ChefRecipes
Of all earthly desserts, people have some deep feelings about pie. Pie is a labor of love. Nothing represents home, community, or slowing down to enjoy the small things in life quite like a slice of pie. Pie is not a cupcake; it’s meant to be shared, and forces what is now considered a luxurious moment of taking a pause and a seat in order to eat it, with a plate and a fork.
Apr 30, 2019
Food Rituals Will Help You Bring Your Best Self to the TablePeople
This past winter I began lighting candles each night just before our small family of three sat down to dinner. It changed the way we eat. Even now in the long-lit days of a northern spring, a reminder to take a deep breath and lower our voices before lifting our forks does the same as the candles that once lit our table. For years we slid into our chairs, fresh from email, homework, or feeding the dogs.
Apr 29, 2017
This May Be the Oldest Food Trivia Question of All TimePeople
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 Dictionary.com, who dug through loads of history to help answer this question for us.
Apr 21, 2017
Why Do We Decorate Easter Eggs, Anyway?People
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
5 Reasons to Feel Good About Drinking Guinness TodayPeople
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which means it is also a day when many pints of Guinness will be consumed. And when we say many, we mean roughly 13 million pints over the course of 24 hours. Clearly no excuse is needed to drink a pint of Guinness today of all days, but there are, in fact, many reasons to feel good about raising a glass of the dark-and-creamy stout in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland. Here are five.
Mar 17, 2017
A Brief History of Artichokes … and the MafiaPeople
In California, where I live, March marks the start of artichoke season. That’s when the vegetable — officially, a spiky flowering plant called a thistle — starts showing up in farmers markets across the state. Cooked and eaten around the Mediterranean for at least two millennia, the ancient artichoke is known as the “aristocrat” of the vegetable world, with its delicate flavor and impenetrable exterior, at least to the uninitiated.
Mar 3, 2017
A Brief History of Peking Duck in AmericaPeople
When you think of any Chinatown in any city in the country, the image that springs to mind is almost always of glistening, lacquered ducks hanging in the storefronts. (Whether those are Peking ducks or not is up for debate, but I digress.) Peking duck has long been one of the iconic Chinese dishes, and it’s easy to see why — the tableside preparation, the communal eating, the multiple courses, the pure deliciousness of it.
Jan 26, 2017
The True Story Behind General Tso’s ChickenPeople
Whether it goes by the name General Tso’s, General Gau’s, or General Gao’s (see a spirited Yelp discussion on the matter here), the deep-fried nuggets of boneless chicken tossed in sweet-spicy sauce and served on a bed of broccoli is America’s reigning Chinese dish. According to the food delivery site GrubHub, General Tso’s chicken was the most popular Chinese takeout item of 2014, and the fourth most-ordered dish overall.
Jan 25, 2017
What Do Jelly Doughnuts Have to Do with Hanukkah?Skills
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
The Midwestern Drink That’s Making a ComebackRecipes
Every year as the weather grows cold, small red, white, and green plastic tubs suddenly line the shelves of grocery stores in the upper Midwest. Anyone not from the area might read the labels with total confusion: “Tom and Jerry Batter,” they say, often surrounded by drawings of holly leaves and snowy winter scenes. But this batter isn’t for cake, and it has nothing to do with the cartoon cat and mouse — it’s the base for a classic punch.
Dec 16, 2016
Why Do We Say “Pleased as Punch”?Skills
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?People
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
Marshmallows on Sweet Potatoes: Who Thought This Up Anyway?Recipes
When it comes to holiday meals, I am all about the side dishes. I would happily forgo the turkey, ham, or centerpiece protein altogether in favor of a panoply of starchy, gooey goodness to pile on my plate. And I’m no side dish snob. At Thanksgiving, I crave unpretentious dishes like green bean casseroles, corn puddings, and mashed potatoes choking beneath a pool of butter and gravy. There is, however, one notable exception to my love of traditional Thanksgiving sides.
Nov 7, 2016
Oyster Crackers Are Oyster-Free, So Why Are They Called Oysters?Skills
Let's investigate this curiously-named cracker, shall we?
Oct 10, 2016
7 Fun Facts About PicklesPeople
Today, pickle enthusiasts converge in their spiritual home — the Lower East Side — to celebrate the 15th annual Pickle Day. To mark the occasion, here are seven facts from New York City’s pickled past. When the Dutch settled in the 1600s, New York became home to the largest concentration of picklers anywhere at the time. The majority of cukes were grown in modern-day Brooklyn, where the pickling tradition lives on.
Sep 25, 2016
A Look at the Enduring Allure of Canning and PreservingSkills
I come from a long line of Missouri farmers. Our roots were literally in the soil for generations. That is, until my Grandma Dot got fed up with wearing feed sack dresses and growing her own food, getting by on what you could and being reluctantly grateful for the Ball jars still left in the root cellar come February. In the mid-century promise of modernity just after WWII, she packed her bag and took a train to St.
Sep 3, 2016
Tiny Facts: Caesar Salad Isn’t Named After the EmperorPeople
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Caesar salad has no relation to Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor of yore. It’s an understandable mistake to make though. It feels like the salad could be from the days of chariots and togas, right? It has the black pepper, eggs, and fishy flavor profile, all which are typically found in ancient Roman cooking. But, alas, it’s not the case. Caesar salad was, in fact, invented in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1920s.
Aug 4, 2016
Our Love Affair with Picnics — The Moveable FeastKitchen
For the first six months of her life, my daughter lived entirely on picnics. A mother’s moveable feast — packed not in a basket, but a nursing bra — taught her that eating was a pleasure to be had wherever you might find yourself. Then at the six-month solid-food milestone, mealtimes suddenly became lessons in modern civility: silverware, linen (aka bibs), and being confined to a chair rather than reclining as if at a Roman banquet.
Jul 30, 2016
Seed Saving and Iowa’s Corn Train GospelSkills
In Iowa, you can hear the corn grow. The other night my friend Howard brought over some grass stalks to show me the sound. Corn kernels, like other grains, are the edible seeds of certain types of grass plants. He wanted to demonstrate the sound he heard growing up on an Iowa farm, so he pulled the stems of each stalk through its leaf sheath; one weedy stalk made the gentle popping sound he’d heard on hot humid nights.
Jul 24, 2016
The Tart and Tangy Ingredient Hawaii Can’t Stop EatingPeople
I don’t remember the first time I had dried plum. Maybe it was on a playground at my elementary school in Guam. Whenever it was, what I’ll never forget is how my fingers would be stained red after eating one, and how I could still taste traces of saltiness hours after nothing was left but the marble-sized pit. In Guam, these Chinese pickled and dried, sweetened plums are called “sweet and sours” because they are just that — sweet, sour, and a bit salty, too.
Apr 29, 2016
Why It’s Time to Reconsider California ChardonnayPeople
Chardonnay is like Kim Kardashian: loved, loathed, and everywhere. We can’t seem to get enough of this butter bombshell, which has maintained its position as the leading varietal of wines for the last decade. Nowhere is this more true than in California, where Chardonnay is the most widely planted wine grape. In 2014, the state crushed 718,000 tons of Chardonnay and shipped 54 million cases to the rest of the United States.
Apr 28, 2016
Delicious History: Watch a Century of Family Dinner Trends in Just 3 MinutesKitchen
You’re probably familiar with new dinner trends: kale everywhere; grains everywhere; red meat approximately nowhere. But how well do you know the dinner trends of the generations that came before you? This short video by Mode Studios starts in 1915 with roast beef and potatoes, and ends in 2015 with a dish that is — no surprise — significantly greener. How does their selection line up with your memories of food over the years?
Mar 31, 2016
The History of Chicago Deep-Dish PizzaPeople
In the United States of Pizza, crust is a mark of origin. Cracker-thin means California, one step thicker signals the coal-fired ovens of New Haven, while blistered and thick-enough-to-fold-n’-go means New York. Deep-dish, of course, hails from Chicago, and like many New Yorkers I didn’t understand its charm. With a daughter attending college in Chicago, though, I’ve had the chance for plenty of location taste testing.
Feb 17, 2016
What’s the Difference Between Bundt Pans, Sponge Cake Pans, and Chiffon Pans?Tools
Size matters, and so does shape. This truism is never as true as when you are baking in tube pans. Each has a specific purpose and usage, and they aren’t easily interchangeable. Does that mean that if you want to bake a Bundt and a chiffon cake or an angel food cake that you need different pans? The answer is a firm yes. Tube pans share one distinction: the tube down the center. But some have sloped sides, some drop straight from top to bottom, and some are decoratively fluted.
Feb 16, 2016
In Defense of Dump-and-Bake CasserolesPeople
In the Midwest (where Superman and Bob Dylan are from, BTW), a casserole is not just a one-pan meal. It is how we cook, how we gather, and even how we think — a potluck attitude where everybody is expected to bring something to the table.
Feb 16, 2016
Discover the Most Popular Recipe from the Decade You Were Born InPeople
If you were asked to guess the most popular name from the year you were born in, you would likely score close to the top of the list. Undoubtedly, you’d know a person with each of the top 10 names. But could you even begin to guess, if asked, what recipe was the most popular from the decade you were born in? The most popular recipe of the 1990s surprised me, but I suppose I should have expected that.
Feb 8, 2016
Why Does My Espresso Come with a Twist of Lemon?People
Lucky patrons who order a petite-sized cup of bittersweet espresso might joyfully discover it is served alongside a gratis sphere of buttery shortbread or disc of dark chocolate, perhaps. Others will be confounded upon spotting a thin swath of lemon peel on the saucer. What, exactly, is one meant to do with this colorful component? Folklore dictates that the lemon should be rubbed on the cup’s lip before first sip. But why, you ask?
Feb 1, 2016
The Enduring Allure of Tomato Soup CakePeople
You don’t see tomato soup cake on dessert menus at Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s not a postmodern invention of the molecular gastronomy set. Unlike donuts or meatballs, it’s not going through some upscale comfort food revival. Yet for the past century, tomato soup cake has endured, remaining a stalwart presence through decades of food trends to become an American dessert icon. And if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re in for a revelation.
Jan 29, 2016
Free Food Art & Photographs: Some Favorites from The New York Public Library Digital CollectionPeople
Did you know that The New York Public Library recently added nearly 200,000 high-res public-domain images to the NYPL Digital Collection? Just search the database with whatever keyword strikes your fancy, then use the treasures you uncover in any way you please. I’m tempted to turn the one above into a cheesy Valentine’s Day card that reads, “You make me feel some type of whey,” but the possibilities are absolutely endless!
Jan 28, 2016
Who Invented Canned Fruit Cocktail?People
Canned fruit cocktail — it’s just a bunch of mushy, syrupy fruit with a few kid-friendly cherries thrown in, right? Not so fast. Fruit cocktail is actually a triumph of turn-of-the-century marketing and food technology — a perfectly packaged paean to the industrialization of our country’s food system. Here’s how it went from cookbook to can.
Jan 20, 2016
Why Fruitcake Is One of the First True Global RecipesRecipes
When my partner and I decided to run away to Scotland to get married, we thought nothing could be more romantic. Bagpipes, whisky, and local venison for an intimate wedding party of four. And then came the delicious sweet finale, that symbol of riches and good fortune served at every British wedding: the fruitcake.
Dec 23, 2015
5 Fascinating Food & Death Traditions from Around the WorldPeople
The cooking and sharing of food is not only used to celebrate life; since early human history, it has also played an important part in marking the death of a loved one, and these rituals continue in many different forms today. From Mormon funeral potatoes to bread shaped liked bones, here are five food-related death traditions from around the world. Did you know in Japan it is terribly rude to stab your chopsticks into a bowl of rice and then leave them there?
Oct 30, 2015
The Most Expensive Cracker in the World Costs $23,000People
No, it’s not gold-plated, but it is one of the few surviving food artifacts from the Titanic. And this week at auction, a collector from Greece purchased the Spillers & Bakers Pilot cracker for the hefty sum of $23,000. But before you think this was something that might have been served in one of the many dining rooms on the ship, this cracker actually has a different origin, and that’s the reason it probably survived the shipwreck.
Oct 29, 2015
Do You Know the Secret Feature of the Iconic Red Solo Cup?People
If you’re attending a backyard barbecue, pool party, or any kind of group gathering this holiday weekend, chances are someone’s going to offer you a beverage in a red Solo cup (or its off-brand ilk). Long before it was immortalized in song, the disposable, recyclable, and brightly colored plastic cup has been a de facto accompaniment to good times in the good old U.S. of A. Here’s why it’s so iconic — including a secret that you may not know.
Jul 3, 2015
A Short History of the Ostensibly Deadly NightshadePeople
Nightshade — the name alone sounds mysterious and ominous. Vegetables and plants that fall within this family have been labeled with terms like poisonous and deadly. Some get a bad rap for contributing to chronic health conditions. Yet we eat many of these vegetables on a regular basis. So, what’s really the deal with the ostensibly deadly nightshade? Nightshades are a family of plants, including vegetables, herbs, weeds, and shrubs, technically referred to as Solanaceae.
Jun 18, 2015
Forget Barrels, These Clay Pots Make Great WinePeople
Ever heard of qvevri? If you haven’t, now’s the time to learn about this clay wine barrel from Georgia, which is regaining popularity. NPR takes a closer look at the process, which involves the large clay barrels shown here. The wine is unique for more than just the barrels, though. It has several interesting attributes. First, it’s one of the few wines where white grapes are fermented with their skins on. This gives the wine a darker, almost orange hue.
Jun 11, 2015
How Refrigeration Determined What We Eat and Where We LiveSkills
Imagine summertime without ice cream, or an ice-cold lemonade. No chilled wine or cold beer can be found — anywhere. It’s horrible and downright post-apocalyptic, like something Tina Turner sings the theme song to. But a world quite similar to this existed, mere centuries ago. Refrigeration is not only responsible for what you eat, but probably also where you live, which is why it’s next on my list of the five all-time most important food science breakthroughs!
Apr 15, 2015
How Canning Was Invented, and How It Changed the Way We EatSkills
This week I’m talking through five of the greatest breakthroughs in food science, from fermentation to today’s topic: canning. Because seriously, when was the last time you considered Louis Pasteur, or how canned food was discovered? It’s been a while. These days we’re preoccupied by health fads, gluten-free eating, and vegan alternatives.
Apr 14, 2015
Fermentation Was Probably the First Great Moment in Food ScienceSkills
Science and food are natural buddies. Take the discovery of fire for example: it not only makes food super tasty, but cooked food is both safer, and easier to digest. Thanks to advancements in food science, we consume food in a way that would’ve been unheard a mere century or so ago. And modern life is not only made easier by these discoveries, it’s made possible by them.
Apr 13, 2015
A Brief History of the Cadbury EggSkills
The Cadbury Creme Egg, a milk chocolate egg filled with a creamy white-and-yellow fondant that is meant to mimic a real chicken egg, is a polarizing Easter candy. Some might say it’s cloyingly sweet. This seasonal treat has become a signifier of spring, in part because eggs traditionally symbolize renewal and rebirth. Regardless of how you feel about this confection, you can’t deny its prominence from coast to coast come Easter time.
Apr 3, 2015
What Are Oyster Crackers (And How Did They Get Their Name)?Skills
Even though I didn’t grow up in New England and only lived there for about two years, I’m immediately suspicious of any clam chowder doesn’t come with a little packet of oyster crackers on the side. Is it still authentic if there aren’t any oyster crackers? Also, these cute crackers got me thinking: What exactly IS an oyster cracker, and why does it have such a close connection with clam chowder?
Jan 13, 2015