Deep down, we’ve always known there was something nefarious about salmon sandwiches. Now that we know about this unsolved murder mystery, we finally know why. Strange Company recently reported on a bizarre arsenic poisoning case that occurred in 1930s England. The main suspect was an unassuming Engl Read more
Are you obsessed with Jelly Babies? We’ve got terrible news: you’ve actually been eating unclaimed babies. Why do we keep harping on the fact that Victorians were creepy? Because it’s TRUE. The BBC reports: “Confectionery historians believe the earliest jelly baby was the work of an Austrian confect Read more
The week between Christmas and New Years is kind of a dead time for media. Because it’s such a popular time for people to cash in their vacation days, fewer workers killing time at their desks translates to fewer eyes on the internet. Declaring this “No One’s Watching Week,” a group of excellent pub Read more
The title of a 2012 Jezebel article entitled “What Is with Our National Anti-Fruitcake Obsession? Have Any of You Even HAD Fruitcake?“ perfectly encapsulates America’s hatred of one of the holiday season’s most infamous treats: the fruit cake. As the Washington Post described, it’s “cloyingly sweet, Read more
Here’s something you’ve probably never thought about before: why are carrots orange? Turns out the veggies didn’t get their characteristic hue because of any accident of nature. Instead, we humans intentionally bred orange carrots—because of history. Eaten by humans for millennia, carrots originally Read more
Italian archaeologists just found a Roman shipwreck that’s packed to the gills with garum. Made out of fish intestines, the pungent seasoning was the Ketchup of the ancient world. Discovery News reports: “Considered a delicacy, the smelly liquid was mass produced in factories, especially in Spain an Read more
You can see a lot of wonderful things from the comfort of your couch thanks to live webcams. Puppies. Bears. This blind Ohio deer who has her own teen-dream bedroom. Now, as the history internet has discovered, you can waste away your workday watching the most weirdly compelling live-stream star yet Read more
Originally known as a food for the Italian poor, pizza became a worldwide craze in the late nineteenth century, thanks to the patronage of Queen Margherita of Italy, who bestowed her name upon her favorite pie. But how true is this delicious urban legend? The Savoy Slice-Lover Princess Margherita of Read more
Weird thought of the day: people ate with their hands for the majority of human history. Alexander the Great, Louis XIV, and Queen Elizabeth I all would have sat down to formal dinners at tables full of aristocrats and dignitaries of the highest order, and everyone would have just shoveled it in wit Read more
Ever wonder why vintage Thanksgiving ads placed such a premium on alcohol? It’s because people had to eat stuff like this. 1. Turkey in aspic: Terrified of holiday weight gain? Courtesy of the 1978 Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Card Library, this “elegant main dish salad” is only 206 calories per Read more
Here’s a fun fact to bring up on Thursday: those sweet, orangey root vegetables that are equally delicious roasted, mashed, or covered with marshmallows? They’re not yams. Vox recently put together a quick and tasty explainer for why Americans tend to think sweet potatoes and yams are one and the sa Read more
In 1728, a Cambridge University botanist named Richard Bradley published the ultimate domestic guide: The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director in the Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm. A respected exotic plant expert with a particular interest in the pineapple—the Royal Read more
At the New Republic, Hannah Rosefield profiles a new historical biography that pushes the limits of the genre by virtue of its subject’s snooze-worthy life. Authors and English professors Robyn Warhol and Helena Michie first encountered Sir George Scharf, a lifelong bachelor who lived in England fro Read more
In AD 79, a Roman baker put his loaf of bread into the oven and walked away. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found encased in volcanic ash during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked celebrity chef Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for “P Read more
Recently, the Getty Iris featured the bizarre early modern European custom of the edible monument. At first, we were really into the idea: This triumphal arch shown above was erected on June 23, 1629, for the Feast of Saint John the Baptist in Naples. It is covered with fruits, vegetables, breads, s Read more
Looking to impress your long-bearded-craft-beer-swilling friends? Make some “Cock-Ale” out of a teenage rooster. Lauded for its invigorating qualities, the medieval party staple was made by boiling a six-month-old rooster in spices and dried fruit. Sir Kenelm Digby published the first known recipe f Read more
This Sunday, visitors to the Musée Gallo-Romain in Lyon, France will get a literal treat. In honor of the museum’s 40th anniversary on Sunday, November 15, an engineering laboratory from the École Centrale de Lyon is preparing a massive—4’5″ by 6’3″!—chocolate replica of one of the most famous objec Read more
William the Conquer‘s invasion of Britain in 1066 transformed the English language. Prior to the conquest, the local Anglo-Saxon population conversed in Old English—an Anglo-Norse creole language which emerged out of the Danish Conquest of Northern and Middle England. After he defeated King Harold I Read more
It’s no secret that broth is back in a big way. With the advent of broth-focused establishments like New York’s Brodo, Portland’s Broth Bar, and Lexington’s caldo, it is now possible to enjoy a steaming cup of the savory, nourishing liquid without having to boil the bones yourself. Most of us devot Read more
Looking to throw a traditional Thanksgiving feast? Hasty Pudding belongs on your table. The English dessert, a porridge made with flour and milk, has been around since the Middle Ages. The Oxford Companion to Food and Drink explores the origins of the classic British dish: “Hasty pudding, the simple Read more