Follow The Plate to Our New Home

Dear fans of The Plate,

We are thrilled to announce that The Plate has a clean, new look. Expanded white space makes the text more readable, and our amazing food photos from around the world leap right off the page, and maybe, right onto your dinner plates.

We will still bring you the amazing stories of how food shapes us and our environment, how people connect through meals, explore global cultures, and dig into the impact our diets have on our health and the rest of the world. But now, our content is better integrated and more visible within National Geographic's main site.

For a little while, our archive will still live here, but if ...

Beyond Bananas: Explore Delicious, Healthy Tropical Fruits

Eat your fruits and vegetables is not just something Grandma tells you to do. Eating five to nine servings a day is something doctors and nutritionists say can reduce your risk of health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Fruits in particular, contain fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients like folate and Vitamin K that are not found in other foods.

And fruits grown in tropical regions tend to be particularly high in nutrients, while growing in seemingly infinite varieties of flavor and color: Did you know one medium papaya gives you  224 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs? And a guava can supply more than 600 percent.

Scientists are studying breadfruit as ...

The Crummy History of Matzoh

Matzoh, known by Jews worldwide as “the bread of affliction,” is a cracker-like flour and water substance that is eaten to commemorate the Hebrew slaves' exodus from Egypt. The bland crisp is eaten in place of bread for the eight days of Passover

While the aforementioned affliction may have changed over the years from one of desert-trekking deprivation to gastrointestinal hardship, most Hebrew scholars agree on one thing: It is not supposed to taste good.

And yet, for at least the first day of the holiday, which begins Friday night at sundown, many people actually crave it. Why?

For answers to this burning question about the nature of matzoh, we turn ...

Why Mushrooms Rule the Fungi Kingdom

You might assume those big white puffballs that pop up on the lawn after a good rainstorm are plants. But fungi are actually a diverse group of organisms and microorganisms that are neither plants nor animals.

Some members of the fungi kingdom are destructive, like the one that killed America’s chestnut trees, but some of them—at least many of the fruiting bodies that unfurl beneath trees in to spread their spores in damp forests—are delicious. It helps to know the difference.

People both love and fear mushrooms, but we may be more afraid of picking them ourselves than is warranted. There are about 10,000 species of mushrooms, says Ritas Vilgalys, ...

If the Civil War Didn’t Kill You, the Food Might

Most American soldiers didn’t exactly enjoy gourmet food during the Civil War—think hardtack, beans, watery coffee, and the rare rasher of bacon—but during that period in history, they learned a great many life skills. And a chef and a museum chief recently teamed up to give people a taste of what it was like.

“A lot of the problems soldiers had with cooking were because they were men,” says David Price, executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. Price, who served as a consultant to the creators of Mercy Street, the PBS Civil War drama centered around an Alexandria, Virginia hospital, says these young ...

Savor the Fleeting Season of Skrei, King of Cod

If taking on the January storms on the Barents Sea just south of the Arctic Circle to catch some cod sounds good to you, you might be a Norwegian fisherman.

If eating said cod—called skrei (from the old Norse skrida, which means “to travel”)—sounds better, you’re from anywhere else.

Skrei is the name given to the best 10 percent of the 400,000 or so Norwegian cod that migrate south to that country’s coast every  winter to spawn. Skrei are bigger, stronger, and firmer than standard coastal cod, and full of omega 3s and vitamin D—critical nutrients for people living in a land where the sun doesn’t come up for three months a year. But ...

Scientists Say Go Wild to Preserve Crops for the Future

With apologies to Matt Damon’s character in The Martian, when it comes to feeding a hungry, hotter planet, the Idaho potato alone isn’t going to cut it.

Unfortunately, many of the staple foods that humanity relies on are at risk from climate change. So plant scientists are increasingly looking to genes from wild relatives of domesticated crops for traits than can help our familiar potatoes, bananas, and rice adapt.

The problem is, we’re missing about 70 percent of the genetic material we need, according to a study released this week by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

“If we want to have at our disposal all the possible options for improving these ...

A Shout Out to Pie for Pi Day

I don't know who first thought Pi Day, a day to celebrate the world's most famous number (3.14159265359...) should also be a day to discuss the edible pie, but I want to thank her. There are many similarities between the pi and pie, besides the name. Pi can be complicated and intimidating; so can pie. Both rely heavily on an understanding of math and geometry, and both can actually help you understand something about the world if you take a little time to study them. Both are the subject of myth.

But only one is truly delicious. (There is a longstanding debate here at National Geographic about pie v. cake. And ...

Make Art, Not Food Waste: Ten #UglyFoodIsBeautiful Winners

More than 2,000 of you answered the call to share your beautiful pictures of imperfect food that might otherwise be thrown away in the Your Shot #UglyFoodIsBeautiful challenge. I worked with photographer Becky Harlan, a National Geographic producer and frequent contributor to The Plate, to narrow the entries down to ten winners, which was an incredibly difficult task. We were both struck by the variety in the submissions, from whimsical poses to sexy portraits. Thanks to everyone who entered for making us see food in a new way. Here's what we picked and why.
April's Pick

Photograph by Berrak E. Lajoie, National Geographic Your Shot

April: The photographer named this one "We Got the ...

Farming’s Next Wave: The Rise of Programmable Produce

What if you could grow the perfect apple; full of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and free of pesticides, anywhere in the world? National Geographic Emerging Explorer Caleb Harper says you can.

Harper has been preaching the gospel of open-source, programmable produce from his perch as principal investigator and director of the Open Ag Initiative at MIT's Media Lab for over a year now. He draws crowds to his greenhouse to pick lettuce and herbs, which glow purple under special growing lights in a perfectly-calibrated environment. He even once staged a Top-Chef-type event at the lab, where guests picked greens and a chef whipped them into a veggie stew before their eyes—a kind of ...

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