Your Shot: Rice, From the Paddy to Your Plate

If you’re not a rice farmer, chances are you give little thought to how the grains accompanying your curry, gumbo, or stir fry ended up on your plate. But humans have been growing rice for thousands of years on mountaintops, hillsides, and plains across the globe. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that there’s no scientific consensus on where the crop was first domesticated, with competing claims coming from India, China, and Southeast Asia.

Wherever it came from, rice is one of the planet's most important staple foods, along with corn and wheat. Billions of people eat rice at least once a day, either as whole grains or as noodles, ...

The Chemistry of Barbecue and You

According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), about 80 percent of American households own barbecue grills. Most popular days for grilling, says the HPBA, are Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July—though a good 60 percent of grill owners grill steadily year-round, undeterred by snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night. Real enthusiasts even cook their Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas dinners on the barbecue grill. And Americans are not the only ones who love a flame-broiled meal (see Getting Our Global Grill On.)

So what is it about grilling that makes food so yummy? Why is boiled beef so blah, but its ...

Let Go My Krembo: 4 Snacks to Bring an Israeli Childhood Back

When it comes to junk food, memory can play a big role in taste. For example, there are certain snack foods I’ve found recently in the U.S. that take me right back to my childhood on the Mediterranean Coast, in a small town 30 minutes south of Tel Aviv.

As kids, my friends and I would drop by the neighborhood grocer to fill up on sweets and snacks after school, or in between jumping rope in the street. And it’s these memories I think of when I see Krembo, Bamba, and others on the shelves of a market in the States.

Many Americans may be unfamiliar with these exotic-sounding treats, so here’s a ...

Your Shot: Hot Dog Photos From a Former Hot Dog

Thursday is National Hot Dog Day.

As a photo editor, I figured the best way to promote it is with pictures...pictures of hot dogs.

I feel like I have an obligation here, and it goes beyond my current occupation. When I was in college, my roommate interned at a local television station. She told me I could make $20 an hour if I dressed up in an Oscar Mayer Wiener costume and hung out in front of the Wienermobile. We spent many hours at amusement parks, fairs, and mini-golf courses. Fortunately (for me), I don't have any photos from this time to share with you. But fortunately (for all of us), ...

Want to Make Beautiful Food Cinemagraphs? Read On.

It all starts with a recipe, according to Daria Khoroshavina of Kitchen Ghosts. Finding the right recipe, she says, is the very important first step she and co-collaborator, Olya Kolesnikova, take in pursuit of creating one of their delicious food cinemagraphs. Both based outside of Moscow, Khoroshavina is the photographer in the food cinema graphic collaboration, and Kolesnikova is the chef and stylist.

Cinemagraphs are like GIFs, except they are still photographs in which one, often-subtle movement is repeated in a loop. They have gained enormous popularity in recent years, especially in the realm of food photography. With it’s mesmerizing capabilities, if you are a food blogger, it’s what ...

Beware the Dark Side of Sweet Tea

Iced tea on a hot summer day. What could possibly go wrong?

According to the U.S. Tea Association, Americans collectively sip, gulp, and guzzle over 80 billion servings of tea each year, and 85 percent of that is iced. Tea at any temperature is generally touted as healthy stuff, laden with antioxidants that may help us fend off such ailments as cancer and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, at least one recent study shows that there may be a dark side to iced tea.

Iced tea, legend has it, first saw the light of day at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair—a 184-day spectacle that drew over ...

Can Breadfruit Overcome Its Past to Be a Superfood of the Future?

An unusual crop that was once a staple across the tropics seems to be making a comeback. Starchy and packed with nutrients, breadfruit isn’t a typical fruit. And while this cousin of the mulberry may not be at the top of anyone’s dream menu, it could be the key to food security in part of the world.

That's because breadfruit is high in complex carbohydrates (the kind that are good for you), protein, and micronutrients like iron and zinc. And compared to white rice and potatoes, breadfruit scores lower on the glycemic index, so it won’t shock your blood sugar. That’s good news for the Pacific Islands where diabetes ...

Food Packaging: Have Your Cake and Eat the Wrapper, Too

Food packaging tops the list of Things You Don’t Think About But Can Mess With Your Day, like cheap zippers or demagnetized credit cards. Ever worn a white shirt while opening a can of tomato soup? Or left the frozen yogurt shop bummed out by the huge trashcan full of landfill-bound plastic spoons and cups?

Food companies, on the other hand, spend a lot of time thinking about packaging as a way to communicate a company’s brand and make consumers love their products. More substantively than cosmetic details like labels or logos, a food’s container can suggest whimsy, environmental consciousness, or high technology. Packaging provides consumers’ first and last impressions of a ...

Your Shot: Berries Are in Season and on the Menu

In summer, when many varieties of berries are ripe, you can eat them all day. Who would scoff at blueberries with yogurt or pancakes in the morning, raspberries in a salad at lunch, a berry smoothie for a snack, and strawberries with ice cream after dinner? Some of those meals might be good for you, too. Reports on the benefits of antioxidant-rich and calorie-low berries arrive as seasonally as the fruit itself.

But it doesn't last long. The growing season for the popular summer varieties—raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry (not technically a berry, but that's okay)—is brief, with some varieties only producing for one or two months. The unforgiving timeframe and ...

‘American Enterprise’ Shapes the Way the World Eats

Want to talk to a farmer? Watch someone grind chocolate? Sample Georgia barbecue?

Head to the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has launched a new permanent exhibition celebrating American business. But sprinkled among innovations such as Thomas Edison’s stock ticker, the Laffer Curve napkin and a rack of computer servers used to create Google, American Enterprise” also features mundane kitchen items: a refrigerator; orange juice; a Velveeta box.

But what does chili con queso have to do with business?

“Food is central to American history,” says Susan Evans, program director for the museum’s American Food History Project. “When Americans see a problem or an issue, they innovate ...

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