From Fried Canary to Pickled Plums, History’s Questionable Hangover Cures

Had more champagne recently than you can handle?

Ever since human beings have been consuming alcohol—which began, scientists now believe, some ten million years ago with our not-quite-yet-human ancestors—imbibers have been suffering from its awful after-effects. The result of too much of a good thing is far from wonderful: a hideous mix of pounding headache, dry mouth, upset stomach, tremors, wooziness, and general misery  known as a hangover. This malady has been with us for a long time, since the unhappy symptoms have been described by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, and the authors of the Old Testament.

For millennia, desperate day-after sufferers have been looking for remedies. ...

What Ever Happened to Emu, the Next Red Meat?

In the 1990s, emu was billed as America's next red meat. Environmentalists touted its eco-friendliness, nutritionists gushed over its health benefits, and chefs praised its tender meat.

But more than a decade later, emu still can't compete with beef when it comes to space on the dinner plate.

What's contributed to the downfall of emu farming? Insufficient marketing, farmers aging out of the business, the lack of emu-meat processing facilities, and an unstable consumer base, for starters. Like kangaroo meat, (see Kangaroo: The Next Alternative Meat?) it seems to suffer from image problems.

There are only 13,300 emus in the U.S.—a 72 percent decrease in ten years. That's in comparison to the ...

How Food-Obsessed Millennials Shape the Future of Food

Are millennials obsessed with food? Millennial author Eve Turow Paul certainly thinks so.

“We are the first young generation ever to spend our discretionary income on food,” she says. “And it makes no practical sense—none—that we should be spending our money on something ephemeral when we can’t afford to get married, we can't afford to buy houses, we can't afford even just to pay rent.”

Curious, Turow Paul, a writer and millennial brand advisor, spent nearly four years interviewing leaders in the food world to figure out why the young people who make up the millennial generation (defined by some as having been born between 1982 and 2004) spend so much mental ...

Good Luck With That: A New Year’s Food Gallery

Superstitions, signs, and omens surround birth, death, and marriage in every culture, but they really get amped up when we turn over the calendar to start a new year.

Naturally, many of the rituals to ward off bad times include eating certain foods. Americans may eat greens that look vaguely like paper money to ensure a prosperous year ahead, and the Japanese may eat buckwheat noodles, which are easily cut, to symbolize a break with the past. Pork is a favorite good-luck dish in many societies, because the animal roots forward when looking for food; it doesn't scratch the ground in a backwards motion, as chickens do.

So whatever food rituals you choose to help ring in 2016, may ...

Gingerbread: Ageless Treat of Spice and Structure

Cakey or crunchy, shaped like a little man or a huge candy mansion, gingerbread is a delicious hallmark of the December holidays in many parts of the world. For those who are eternally grateful to whoever made it acceptable to eat pieces of cookie so large that they resemble the side of a house, the history of gingerbread is a great story. At the least, it makes for intelligent conversation at parties, to overcome prejudice against people with cookie crumbs on our shirts.

Ginger, the essential ingredient, is a root known for millennia in the Middle and Far East. It was, and still is, considered medicine to combat nausea ...

Is More Cattle Grazing the Solution to Saving Our Soil?

In a scrubby pasture in deep southwest Georgia, reclaimed from growing pesticide-drenched cotton, Allan Savory—ecologist, philosopher, TED speaker—stoops to pluck a blade of grass.

"What can we do to increase productivity, make this pasture more diverse, get more species of grasses to return here?" he asks the 50 people clustered around him in paddock boots and seed-company caps. They look at him raptly, and he gives them the answer they drove hours to hear: "We can use livestock. Livestock is the most powerful tool we have."

Savory, 80, is the originator of a compelling—and in some quarters deeply controversial—theory that argues that that everything we know about maintaining natural ...

The Sweet and Sticky Story of Candy Canes

Candy canes are now as much a feature of Christmas as carols, evergreen trees, and mistletoe, but we don't know much about them. We don’t know who invented them or why, or when and where they first got their red-and-white stripes. What we do have are a lot of guesses, gossip, and rumors.

The earliest proto-candy-cane was most likely a plain white sugar stick of the sort used by frazzled parents of the 1600s as pacifiers for fussy babies. The stick got its cane-like hook, one unsubstantiated story claims, when a 17th-century choirmaster at Germany’s Cologne Cathedral convinced a local candy maker to bend sugar sticks into the shape of ...

Is the Christmas Goose Making a Comeback?

A hundred years ago, a golden-browned goose was a familiar delicacy on December 25th. Scrooge thought it essential to add to  poor Bob Cratchet's table in A Christmas Carol, and a goose who lays golden eggs was a prize in the Jack In the Beanstalk story. But good luck finding one at your average American supermarket today.

The Christmas goose actually traces its roots back to the medieval European feast of Martinmas. St. Martin was revered in Roman times as a spiritual leader and patron of children and the poor. As legend goes, one evening, having learned of his consecration as Bishop, he hid in a barn to avoid what he saw as a title above his humble station, only to be revealed by the loud squawking of geese. Their punishment? Feast fare for centuries to come. But as farming life waned, so did ...

11 Sugary Desserts to Make the Holidays Sweeter

We all know the holidays are a time for friends, family, and for many, faith and reflection.

But let’s not forget (as if we could) that the holidays are also about … sweets! (Best enjoyed, of course, in tandem with the other essential elements above—and washed down with eggnog.) (See The Hale and Hearty History of Eggnog.) Across the United States, gingerbread men, candy canes, and chocolate bark abound at Christmas time; even die hard dessert fans cry uncle as the cookies and cakes pile up.

But there’s more to holiday sweets than those tasty standbys. At year’s end you’ll encounter the coconut pudding cake bebinca or bibik in Goa, ...

The 5 Cookbooks of 2015 That Will Transport You

A great book should take you somewhere, and a great cookbook is no exception.

It was a tough job, but I whittled down my 2015 cookbook collection (OK, hoarder’s pile) to five favorites. If you’ve got a foodie on your Christmas list, or you’re looking for your own escape from the festivities, this list may come in handy.

The Nordic Cookbook, by Magnus Nilsson. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland don’t actually enjoy being lumped together as the “Nordic countries,” Nilsson says. Each has its own food and traditions­—Icelandic rotten shark, anyone? How about Finnish beetroot soup? But there are some striking similarities. For example, Icelanders, Finns, Danes, and Swedes ...

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