The Struggling Vineyards That Helped Inspire Karl Marx’s Communism

$4 Wine, Gastro Obscura, Politics

A SPECTRE IS HAUNTING TRIER, Germany—the spectre of Karl Marx. Today, tourists to the small Rhineland city visit the house where Marx was born and gaze at the armchair he died in. They take selfies in front of a larger-than-life Marx statue, gifted to the city in 2018 by the Chinese government. 

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: Public Domain.

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After Hurricane Katrina, Home Gardeners Saved New Orleans’ Iconic Squash

Culture, Food, Gastro Obscura, social justice

“WE NORMALLY DON’T HAVE A spring crop,” says Paul D’Anna, a home gardener in Metairie, Louisiana. But this year—maybe it’s the weather or, though he’s loathe to talk himself up, maybe it’s his green thumb—he got lucky: His backyard vines have already produced around 70 fruits.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo:  David Monniaux, CC BY-SA 3.0

Can Nigerian Drumming Teach You to Pick the Perfect Watermelon?

Culture, Food

FOR OGBODO NKIRUKA, THE SLAP of a hand hitting a watermelon is a welcome melody. A fruit vendor who’s been selling watermelons from a roadside stand in the Nigerian city of Enugu for 15 years, she identifies the ripeness of her wares by ear. Each melon has its own music, a deep, hollow thump—ba ba, ba, ba— indicating a fruit that’s perfectly ripe.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: Kenogenic/CC BY-SA 4.0

Australia’s Growing Camel Meat Trade Reveals a Hidden History of Early Muslim Migrants

Food, labor

THERE IS A CAMEL IN Hanifa Deen’s kitchen. He looks down at her as she cooks, eyes proud yet warm, delicately flared snout smelling dinner. While the creature is merely an image on a poster, Deen, who has written several books on Islam in Australia, regards him affectionately.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: National Museum of Australia/Public Domain.

This British Colonial Report Offers a Rare Glimpse Into India’s Historic Cannabis Cuisine

Food, India

THICK, SUGARY, AND CREAMY, RICH with saffron and almonds, bhang thandai is so sweet that at first it’s hard to pinpoint the drink’s secret ingredient. After a sip or two, however, the telltale taste lingers: spicy and slightly musky, it’s the signature whiff of cannabis. After a few minutes, the high comes, dreamy as the rainbow play of Holi colors.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: San Diego Museum of Art/Public Domain.

How Lesbian Potlucks Nourished the LGBTQ Movement

Food, Sexuality

JEN MARTIN AND LIZ ALPERN lived in “that house.” Many queer friend groups have one. It’s the kind of place where a pot of soup is always boiling, where bread is always in the oven, where someone is always willing to read your tarot cards. Friends stopped to visit the Brooklyn apartment on weeknights. It was a space to cook and eat, to work and relax.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: Brooke Lark/Unsplash.

The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale

Food, Sexual violence, Sexuality, trauma

ON MAY 20, 1895, 16-YEAR-OLD Susie Johnson, wearing nothing but gauze and haloed by a flock of live canaries, burst through the crust of a giant pie. It was polo player John Ellliot Cowdin’s 10th wedding anniversary, and the dinner was lavish: 16 courses from clams to coffee, each punctuated by champagne. Two models entertained the male guests. There was a later rumor—likely apocryphal—that their hair color was coordinated with the wine, the brunettes pouring red, the blondes pouring white. Susie Johnson, dancing out of double-crust pastry, served herself.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: Hugo Aitken/Unsplash.