Food History

Baklava consists of fine layers of pastry dough, often filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

The Sticky History of Baklava

The sweet dessert is an important part of the culinary identity of so many places that people sometimes dispute claims to its origins

Some 30 million cups of spaghettieis are sold in Germany each year.

How Germany's Spaghetti Ice Cream Came to Be

Italian German ice cream maker Dario Fontanella invented "spaghettieis," a clever dish that has captured the hearts of many

Researchers found evidence of eight different spices on 12 stone tools at the Óc Eo archaeological complex in southern Vietnam.

Archaeologists Uncover Oldest Evidence of 'Curry' Outside of India

Ancient spice processing in Southeast Asia reveals an early trade of ingredients for dishes that Westerners often call “curry”

The curious snack has definitely joined the ranks of food-on-a-stick favorites, including corn dogs, candied apples and deep-fried Snickers.

The Most Surprising Carnival Treat Might Just Be Pickle on a Stick

Pickles are having a moment, even at small-town fairs, where vendors are serving them up like popsicles

L to R: Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen pose on a tour bus in 1978.

Why Did Van Halen Demand Concert Venues Remove Brown M&M's From the Menu?

An investigation of the rock band's unusual concert rider suggests the stipulation was a savvy marketing move

The pop-top is a patently American invention.

How Popping Open a Can Became the Sound of Summer

More than 60 years ago, an unfortunate picnic set Ohioan Ermal C. Fraze on a path to inventing the first pop-top tab opener for canned beverages

A woman adds artificial sweetener to a drink. The paranoia over the health dangers of aspartame can be traced back to an early Internet hoax.

The Decades-Long Struggle to Figure Out Whether Aspartame Is Bad for You

As groups within the World Health Organization are reviewing the artificial sweetner’s potential to cause cancer, take a look back at a hoax from the '90s

A recently unearthed fresco at a house in Pompeii shows a flatbread that could have been a precursor to pizza.

Does This Pompeii Painting Depict a 2,000-Year-Old Pizza?

The fresco features a flatbread with a variety of toppings—but no tomato and mozzarella

Losang Samten, a Tibetan American scholar and former Buddhist monk, will create, with the help of festivalgoers, a sand mandala.

The 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Explores the Many Ways Americans Express Their Spirituality

Tibetan Buddhist monks, Yiddish musicians and many more creatives will share their cultural practices with visitors to the National Mall

Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired Ebony magazine's bright and bold test kitchen, originally built in 1972.

'Ebony' Magazine's Vintage Test Kitchen Finds a Home at the Smithsonian

The 1970s-era kitchen will undergo conservation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Spam musubi, a Japanese-American dish created in Hawaii, is made of Spam, rice and seaweed.

How Spam Became a Staple of Asian Cuisine

When American G.I.s fought abroad in wars in the 20th century, they left behind an unlikely legacy: canned meat

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey with Mary Claire Cook, a fourth-grade student and creator of the new cookie

This Fourth Grader Created Alabama's New Official State Cookie

Called the Yellowhammer, the dessert is made with ingredients that are important to the state

Representative Robert F. Broussard believed hippos imported from Africa would rid Louisiana and Florida of the water hyacinths smothering their waterways.

How the U.S. Almost Became a Nation of Hippo Ranchers

In 1910, a failed House bill sought to increase the availability of low-cost meat by importing hippopotamuses that would be killed to make "lake cow bacon"

Edna Lewis gathers ingredients in the garden behind Ellerslie Plantation west of Charlottesville, Virginia, 1975.

What Made Edna Lewis the Mother of Soul Food

The Virginia-born chef did more than anyone to elevate Southern food to haute cuisine

The Luxury Picnic Company in London launched in April 2020 to a rush of orders over social media, and the enthusiasm for the luxury picnic continued to rise.

Picnics Are Back

Gen-Z is spurning restaurants to enjoy hot dates outdoors—echoing the picnic's racy beginnings

At the request of the Comité Champagne, Belgian officials destroyed 2,352 cans of Miller High Life for using the slogan the "Champagne of Beers."

European Officials Trash Thousands of Brews in Dispute Over 'Champagne of Beers' Slogan

The word is typically reserved for sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France

Candy Wrapper Museum curator Darlene Lacey was 15 when she started collecting for her "roadside attraction." Building the online museum has led to all kinds of surprises—including being sent a Necco scrapbook saved from a dumpster (pictured above).

Take a Peek Inside the Candy Wrapper Museum

Your trash is my treasure—and a sweet reminder of the past

A candlelit dinner in Scandinavia

Mimi Sheraton’s 10 Most Memorable Meals

From dinner by candlelight in Denmark to Peking duck in China, the celebrated food critic reveals her most memorable culinary experiences

Ella Hawkins’ stunning biscuit art emulates book covers, scalloped-edged Tiffany lamps, pottery shards, mosaic tiles, medieval manuscripts, Elizabethan fabrics and more.

The Timeless Draw of Decorating Cookies

Intricate designs painted by biscuit artist Ella Hawkins are part of a lengthy baking tradition

Pancakes—or at least early versions of them—have been a culinary staple for tens of thousands of years.

A Brief History of Pancakes

From ancient Greece to Shrove Tuesday celebrations, the sweet or savory flat cakes have long been a culinary staple

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