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, ...

In a Thirsty World, Tea Time Is Any Time

Walk into a good tea shop and you'll encounter shelves upon shelves of canisters, all brimming with teas of different shapes, sizes, and scents. The array can be dizzying: leaves sporting shades from bright to pale green, from mahogany to rich, deep black. And you could easily spend an hour breathing in fragrances that range from sweet to spinachy to the smell of a dank cellar.

With so much variety, you may be surprised to learn that black, green, oolong, and even white teas are all made from just a single plant species, camellia sinesis (and by tea, we mean the brewed beverage made with tea leaves. Herbal teas, ...

Your (Espresso) Shot: Time for a Coffee Break!

Millions of people insist they can’t start the day without a jolt from coffee, one of the world’s most beloved caffeinated beverages. But walk into a coffee house at any hour, almost anywhere in the world, and it’s clear that people enjoy their filter coffee, espressos, lattes, and cafe con leches at any—and every—time of day.

With billions of of tea drinkers in Asia, a cuppa remains the world’s most consumed beverage. But with coffee consumption on the rise in traditionally tea-centric China, the darker brew is gaining ground. 

Almost all the coffee we drink comes from two varieties of beans—arabica and robusta. ...

Thanksgiving Dinner, From Bog to Table

It's Thanksgiving week in the U.S., which means home cooks are hitting the grocery, digging out beloved family recipe cards, or brainstorming new twists on classic dishes (chai-spiced sweet potatoes, anyone?).

But in the pre-holiday rush to pick the perfect turkey and gather up the green beans (and perhaps a can of cream-of-mushroom soup), it's easy to forget that each ingredient was sown and grown, and perhaps even picked by hand. Those cranberries were scooped out of a bog before they made it into that perforated plastic bag, and those glorious pecans, soon to grace your pie, were once nestled inside a beautiful pale-green shell.

This week, we're giving ...

Our Daily Bread: Pictures of Baking Around the World

Gluten-free and Paleo-inspired diets, which give wheat and many other grains and starches the cold shoulder, are increasingly popular in the West. But even as more people enjoy their dinner without the dinner roll, bread remains a beloved staple for billions of people around the world.

Because what’s a burger without a fluffy bun, pizza without a chewy, yeasty crust, or lox without bagels? (Here's an authentic New York bagel recipe, by the way.) And it’s hard to imagine Germans ditching the pretzel or the French abandoning that enduring symbol of Gallic life, the baguette.

Indeed, in much of the world, bread has been an essential part of the daily diet ...

Comfort Food: Nostalgia in a Bowl

Ask five people what foods they consider comforting, and you’re likely to get five different answers.

That’s because comfort food is all about nostalgia—memories of a parent at the stove, family gatherings around the table, even a dish you hated as a kid but inexplicably long for once you’re old enough to have a kitchen of your own. So it’s no wonder that when you’re feeling low, homesick, or just plain sick, nothing sounds better than curling up on the couch with a blanket and a hot bowl of something you grew up eating.

Historians differ on the origins of most food concepts, and comfort food ...

Your Shot: How You Like Them Apples?

There may be nothing as American as apple pie, but the U.S. hardly has a lock on apples. Scientists point to the mountains of Kazakhstan as the birthplace of the storied fruits, varieties of which have been cultivated in temperate climates the world over for centuries.

(And if you’re interested in the history of apples, why they’re probably not the "forbidden fruit" and the curious way they’re cultivated, we have some fun reading for you at these links. Trust us—apples are fascinating!)

There are thousands of varieties of apples, which may come as a surprise ...

Your Shot: It’s September … Bring on the Gourds!

Once corn season is in full swing, gourds aren’t far behind—at least in much of North America, where pumpkins and their many cousins are typically harvested starting in September.

But even if Mother Nature thinks it’s time for pumpkins, acorn squash, and those warty-and-whimsical decorative gourds, that doesn’t mean we all do. Because if you’re among the people who associate gourds with Halloween and the Thanksgiving table, it’s a bit jarring to see these harbingers of the holidays already piling up at the supermarket when the thermostat still reaches into the 80s.


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Your Shot: Corn Is King for Creatures Great and Small

Your Shot: Ripe Tomatoes for Summer’s End

For food lovers, summer brings a bounty of luscious fruits and vegetables: peaches, plums, zucchini, okra, watermelons … the list goes on. But perhaps no hot-weather fruit is more beloved than the tomato (and yes, it is indeed a fruit—though it is generally considered a vegetable for culinary and statistical purposes).

Ripe, juicy tomatoes, with their rainbow colors and sometimes bizarre, bulbous shapes, steal the show at the summer farmers market. And as the season wanes, tomato fans are in a mad rush to enjoy these savory-sweet beauties before they’re gone (because every tomato lover knows out-of-season tomatoes are a pale comparison to their summer cousins).

But the tomato ...

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