Articles by Peter Smith

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The Stunt that Launched Nathan’s Famous Stand on Coney Island

Back in 1916, the now-famous Nathan's hot-dogs of New York City did not sell on name alone

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A Midsummer Night’s Surströmming

The Baltic herring ferment inside a can thanks to salt-loving, anaerobic bacteria that produce distinctive organic acids found in sweat and rotting butter

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Mining an Oyster Midden

The Damariscotta River was an epicenter of oyster shucking between 2,200 and 1,000 years ago

Lapis lazuli cylinder seal

A Sip from an Ancient Sumerian Drinking Song

A newly analyzed cuneiform hymn accompanied a drinking song dedicated to a female tavern-keeper

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The Unnatural History of the Dixie Cup

The product was a life-saving technology that avoided the transmission of disease from communal "tin dippers"

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Edible Dictionary: Lean Cuisine Syndrome

Where do Mayor Michael Bloomberg's statistics come from? People underestimate junk food and overestimate healthy food in dietary surveys

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Elderberries, Liqueurs and Meat Stamps

These elder-containing concoctions, credited with reviving a taste for liqueurs, came about as folk remedies

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A Taste of Edible Feces

Ambergris, the subject of a new book, "is aromatic—both woody and floral. The smell reminds me of leaf litter on a forest floor."

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The Peas that Smelled the Leaky Pipe

In 1901, a 17-year-old Russian discovered the gas that tells fruits to ripen

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Meat is From Mars, Peaches are From Venus

It might be predictable that hamburger is considered a masculine food, but what about rabbit or orange juice?

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The Birth of Non-Alcoholic Ketchup

One of the first recipes for ketchup published in the United States called for "love apples"

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What Sunken Sandwiches Tell Us About the Future of Food Storage

The sinking of the Alvin was an accident that demonstrated the promise of a novel food preservation method

Food books worth reading

Books on How To Get Pickled

Curious about the middle ground between fresh and rotten? These four books tell you how to preserve the fleeting tastes of spring

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Eating Invasive Species to Stop Them?

The "if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em" strategy for controlling exotic species could backfire, a new analysis warns

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Edible Dictionary: Microbial Mothers

Why are the lees at the bottom of a wine or cider barrel named for your female parent?

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Mythology and the Raw Milk Movement

What's behind recent claims about a milky unpasteurized panacea?

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Was America Named for a Pickle Dealer?

Amerigo Vespucci wasn't entirely heroic—just ask Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The Cost of “No” on Potato Chips

What can snack food marketing tell us about political campaigns?

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The Shangri-La of Health Food

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Magical Thinking and Food Revulsion

Carol Nemeroff studies why certain foods, such as feces-shaped fudge, pink slime, or recycled tap water, gross us out

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