6 Ancient Cooking Tools Sri Lankans Can’t Do Without

Every day, Swarna de Mel is up at 5 a.m., pulling tropical herbs from her garden, harvesting dinosaur-egg-sized jackfruit, and cracking coconuts with a hatchet in preparation for curries, spicy sambols, and mallum salads. You’d expect her home to be filled with the smells of exotic spices—cumin, cardamom, chilies, and loads of black pepper tickling the nose. But the scent is neutral, the kitchen is quiet, and de Mel is nowhere to be found. And then the dishes suddenly appear.

That’s because she’s been cooking outside, not far from her jungle of a garden. Many Sri Lankan families have two kitchens: the “rough” kitchen outside, and the pantry, or ...

Set the Table for a Divine Feast on Dia de Los Muertos

The smell of incense fills the air and golden marigolds brighten drab tombstones in a cemetery full of the living dead. Faces are decorated like skulls with flowers lining their crowns, and a kaleidoscope of color transforms the monochrome Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, where some of our greatest stars are buried—think Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, and Jayne Mansfield.

A Day of the Dead festival has taken over the cemetery to observe the ancient Mexican tradition of honoring loved ones who’ve passed on. I’m so overwhelmed by these intricately adorned altars that I click-click my camera at every turn.

For Dia de Los Muertos, Mexican families set ...

California Winegrowers Turn to Tech to Save at the Tap

It’s a hot October day in Northern California, and I’m roving a sea of endless green vineyards, which I’m sure haven’t felt much rain this summer. That’s when I notice the irrigation lines for the first time, then begin to see them everywhere. I imagine the wine industry to be a serious drain on California water resources, and wonder how they are navigating the drought.

It turns out they use less water than you might think. In fact, vines actually thrive in a water-stressed environment, and winemakers have been turning to technology to help them determine the perfect wine climate.

According to reports by UC Davis and the

Turning Trash Fish Into Treasure in Denmark

Cod, mackerel, and herring are so prevalent in Denmark that, over the centuries, they have become common fare. Since the 19th century, working class folks (and nearly everyone else today) have lunched on smørrebrød, or buttered rye bread, often layered with these fish—either pickled or smoked.

These ordinary fish are what many local fishermen even call “trash fish.” Until recently, they were certainly not what Danes go for when they’re thinking gourmet.

Fiskebar, a trendy fish restaurant in Copenhagen, is changing that perception. It’s creating a new demand by reinventing the way Danes look at these sustainable fish. And the Danes are eating it up.

“We had a wild night here. Set a ...

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