Why This April Fools’ Kiwi Hybrid Is Bananas

In a video that went viral last week, a bearded, plaid-wearing man named Robert Mahar earnestly describes how to make a banana-kiwi hybrid (baniwi? kiwana?) by squishing together chunks of the two fruits, burying them in soil, watering them, and waiting. When this hybrid matures, he says in a voiceover, it grows into a fruit with the shape and skin of a banana and the bright-green flesh of a kiwi.

So is this subterranean, fruity embrace really how hybrids like pluots or tangelos are actually made?

No. It’s really, really not.

Mahar—who makes video tutorials for do-it-yourself crafts—originally posted his faux banana-kiwi hybridization lesson as ...

How Did a Quail Chick Hatch From a Supermarket Egg?

We all learn about the birds and the bees when we’re children—but it turns out the birds can be a little confusing. Especially when they unexpectedly hatch from breakfast foods.

A man in the Netherlands named Alwyn Wils reportedly managed to hatch an adorable baby quail from a dozen eggs he bought at the grocery store. Instead of scrambling the tiny eggs when he got back to his kitchen, Wils decided to incubate them to test the theory that most supermarket eggs aren’t fertilized, according to The Telegraph.

After 19 days, one baby quail flopped out of its shell. Wils named the little guy Albert (coincidentally, the grocery ...

Is Chipotle Getting More Scrutiny Than Other Restaurants for Food Safety Problems?

Chipotle Mexican Grill has had a rough couple of months.

First, a series of foodborne outbreaks radiating from Chipotle restaurants across the country sickened hundreds. Then, the U.S. Attorney’s Office served the fast-casual restaurant chain with subpoenas in an investigation into an August outbreak of norovirus—the virus infamous for causing explosive diarrhea—at a California Chipotle location.

But the bad press just keeps coming. In a country where foodborne illnesses sicken 48 million people, hospitalize 128,000, and kill 3,000 each year, does Chipotle deserve the scrutiny it’s been getting? Or is the company that makes its money selling “Food with Integrity,” shunning the standard fast food supply chain ...

How to Track a Brutal Cereal Killer: Extreme Weather

It’s no surprise that wildly swinging temperatures, droughts, and floods aren’t exactly good for crops. California’s drought cost the state’s thirsty agricultural sector $1.84 billion in 2015 alone, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that a warming climate reduces yields of cereals like wheat, rice, and maize.

And with climate change messing with the frequency and intensity of at least some extreme weather events, we may be seeing more trouble for food security to come. But just how bad are these crazy weather patterns for our staple crops?

To get an answer, a team of researchers led by Navin Ramankutty, a professor of global ...

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 ...

Who Built Stonehenge? Big-Time Meat-Eaters

Stonehenge’s construction crew came together from across Britain for some epic barbecues, a feat of social organization millennia before mobile phones made it easy for people to connect.

Now, new analysis of the fat-coated pottery left behind at the Durrington Walls settlement near Stonehenge is shedding some light on their culinary practices—and raising questions about what exactly these late Stone Age people were eating.

Durrington Walls was the likely home base for the builders of Stonehenge's famous inner circle of stones. It was inhabited around the same time that the iconic features were added 4,500 years ago, and man-made avenues connect both sites to the River Avon.

Earlier investigations ...

Software Creates New Flavors, Some Not for the Squeamish

I’m betting you’ve never opened your pantry and gone, “Huh, I wonder what would go really well with fermented cow manure right about now.”

But just in case you’re wondering, I’m told that jasmine and roses taste delicious with it.

Jonathan Brill, founder of Special Projects Agency, an innovation and design consulting firm based in Sausalito, California, is trying to shake up culinary traditions by creating a program that combines unexpected flavors based on their chemical makeups.

His nascent software, tentatively called “Why Flavors Work,” popped out the unlikely fecal/floral combination—and it’s delicious, says Brill. He quickly adds that you don’t actually eat the poop (please, please don’t eat the ...

U.S. Approval of GMO Salmon May Set Precedent

There’s a new fish in town—but not everyone’s ready to make room on their plates for it.

Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption. The animal is the AquAdvantage salmon, an Atlantic salmon modified to contain a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon, turned on by a chunk of DNA from another fish called the ocean pout. These modifications let the AquAdvantage salmon reach adult size far before conventional salmon do.

Already, the FDA’s decision has been challenged by groups like the Center for Food Safety, which issued a statement Thursday that it intends ...

Gene-Swapping Cheese Molds are Ripe for Investigation

For Tatiana Giraud, cheese isn’t just an emblem of French cuisine—it’s a complex and evolving world of microorganisms.

So when Giraud, a microbiologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, stocked her lab’s fridge with wheels, wedges, and rounds of cheese ordered online, it wasn’t just to spread globs of the dairy product on crackers. (But rest assured: “We took all the samples we needed,” Giraud says, “and then we ate the remaining.”).

Instead, Giraud and her colleagues were looking for traces of evolution in the molds that make up Camembert’s rind, and ...

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