Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

We all know what food is for. Biologically, food is fuel, the stuff that provides us with the energy to do all the things we do. Like every other animal on the planet-from protozoa to panda bears-we eat in order to live.

For us alone, however, out of all the animal kingdom, food plays a far greater role. (more…)

School Makerspaces: Growing Farmers, Gardeners, and Cooks

When my son took his preschool application intelligence test (yes, seriously), the test administrator said, “He cooks with you, so he will likely score higher than other children.”

Turns out, intelligence tests incorporate examples of everyday objects that many kids no longer see—whisks, measuring cups, loose buttons, sewing needles, spools of thread. Necessary items for tasks done by hand.

Many young kids rehearse these jobs with plastic kitchen sets and tiny ironing boards but never quite graduate to reality when they’re old enough to help make dinner or sew a patch on ripped jeans. (No judgment: I haven’t been near a hot iron since seventh grade home ec.)

Enter Makerspaces, ...

Considering Grace: The Value of Saying Thank You

I was raised Roman Catholic, which means that I was raised in a family that said grace.

Most nights of my childhood, my parents and my siblings and I sat down to dinner together, and my father said the Catholic version of the prayer before meals: “Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Once I left home, though, saying grace dropped out of my life. For years it wasn’t something I practiced, or even thought about; it was a relic I was content to leave behind, along with martyred saints and fish on Fridays.

Lately, though, ...

EAT: (Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About Food

“Food is a very sensual act; it is the only way to get into someone’s body without actually touching them.”—Padma Lakshmi

Wondering whether food television can educate without putting people to sleep? Lakshmi’s words from National Geographic Channel’s miniseries “EAT: The Story of Food” should retire any doubt. Her quote reflects EAT’s careful marriage food’s primal biological power with its civilizing intellectual force. (more…)

Recipe: Browned Butter Maple Pumpkin Bread

It’s true. This time of year is all about pumpkin spice everything.

I’m not quite sure what it is about the bloated, orange gourd. There are so many other varieties of squash out there. Why we are not carving butternut squashes and slapping them into lattes and yogurt, I’m not sure. What is it about pumpkin?

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Capitol Hill’s Unusual Food Customs

An anthropological eye on Washington, D.C.’s native Animalia Politicus species will see that for centuries its most fascinating rituals related to eating. “Political parties” used to evoke more RSVPs than derisive groans back when bipartisan fetes were an art form.

Then the rules of the jungle started changing. In the past few decades the crusade to tighten lobbying gift restrictions shut down titillating three-martini caviar dinners and boats-for-votes St. Barth’s lobster junkets designed to buy Congresspeople’s and staffers’ favor. Ridding the animal kingdom of fatcat lobbyists who survive not on the strength of their cause but the size of their expense account is a generally accepted good thing, and ...

Founding Farmers: Carbon Neutral and Mighty Delicious

By Sumner Byrne, GWU Student

Do you know where your favorite restaurant’s ingredients come from? Probably not, right?

The award-laden Founding Farmers of Washington, D.C. thinks that’s a problem. They buy almost all their ingredients from sustainable local farms, but that’s certainly not all they do to create the ultimate dining experience. They’ve taken this idea several steps further to become completely “carbon neutral.” Calling all foodies of the District: this is an experience you simply can’t miss out on.

Restaurants are the retail world’s largest energy user, with 3,792 full-service restaurants in Washington, D.C. alone. Founding Farmers has managed carbon neutrality ...

Mayonnaise Manufacturer Sues “Mayo” Maker: On Definitions, Sustainability and Start-Ups

Here’s a question: Is “mayo” mayonnaise?

It may sound like a riddle, but it’s a serious query—potentially millions of dollars serious. And it lies behind a recently filed lawsuit that reveals a David-and-Goliath struggle between a giant, established manufacturer of mayonnaise and a “mayo”-making start-up that has captured the attention of foodies, chefs, animal-welfare activists—and some significant funding of its own. (more…)

The Food Trade on Capitol Hill

Congressional offices used to give away cigarettes in the early 1990s when I was a starry-eyed, lowest-level Capitol Hill staffer.

The best offices for free tobacco belonged to the districts with big tobacco presence, where interns doled out smokes as legitimate free samples of their home state’s native products. Cigarette companies crated them into Congressional offices as promotional items to publicize the economy. (more…)

The History of Artichokes

Italian Renaissance painter Caravaggio—famed for his talent with chiaroscuro—lived hard and died young.

About 60 of his paintings survive—some of them enormous. He once chopped a hole in the ceiling of his rental apartment to accommodate the size of his canvases. When his landlady objected, he threw rocks at her window.

He also threw rocks at the police, brandished sword and pistol in the streets of Rome without a license, was tossed in jail for assaulting a fellow painter, was arraigned for beating a man with a stick, and instigated countless battles, brawls, and post-pub fist fights. In the worst of these—the result of, according to various sources, a ...

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