Found: Slime-Covered Notebooks Full of Conservation Data and Fish Scales

SKIP MCKINNELL FOUND THE SLIM books in a Vancouver basement: stacks of field notes coated with salmon scales still stuck to the 100-year-old fiber with slime. Then affiliated with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, McKinnell had read about the notebooks, which allegedly contained extensive data about and samples from British Columbia’s salmon population from the firstContinue reading “Found: Slime-Covered Notebooks Full of Conservation Data and Fish Scales”

The Refugee Women Turning Tastes of Home Into a Food-Delivery Business

WHEN FOOD BECAME SCARCE UNDER Taliban rule, Hoor got creative. Since the Mujahideen conflict, trade between neighbors had been periodically forbidden, rations were portioned out to the privileged, and even growing garden plots could be risky. But years of war had taught her how to find food for her family in a pinch. Hoor snuck groceries underContinue reading “The Refugee Women Turning Tastes of Home Into a Food-Delivery Business”

The Tuscan Town Famous for Anarchists, Marble, and Lard

AT FIRST GLANCE, THE APUAN Alps of northwest Tuscany’s Carrara region are pure white. Alison Leitch first saw them from a train window when traveling through Italy in the early 1980s. From a distance, she writes, their dazzling tops looked like snow. Her seatmate told her otherwise: The blinding whiteness was actually marble dust, a powdery byproductContinue reading “The Tuscan Town Famous for Anarchists, Marble, and Lard”

Eat Like Royalty With This Cookbook From the Emperor Who Built the Taj Mahal

IT WAS THE MID 1600S, and Friar Sebastian Manriquea, a Portuguese priest who had come to visit the Mughal Court, wanted to witness a royal supper. It was a rare sight. The Mughal emperors, who ruled territory across the northern Indian subcontinent, usually didn’t dine with anyone but their wives and concubines. But on this day,Continue reading “Eat Like Royalty With This Cookbook From the Emperor Who Built the Taj Mahal”

German Researchers Are Investigating the Science Behind Soft-Pretzel Scent

WORKING NINE TO FIVE IS no way to make a living, so why not quit your job and become a professional food smeller? These highly trained sensory savants are regularly hired by food manufacturers and scientists. They analyze the subtle pepper notes in coffee, the juicy, pear-like aroma of fine white wine, and—as in a studyContinue reading “German Researchers Are Investigating the Science Behind Soft-Pretzel Scent”

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

“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-SAContinue reading “After Hurricane Katrina, Home Gardeners Saved New Orleans’ Iconic Squash”

Can Nigerian Drumming Teach You to Pick the Perfect Watermelon?

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,Continue reading “Can Nigerian Drumming Teach You to Pick the Perfect Watermelon?”

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

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 MuseumContinue reading “Australia’s Growing Camel Meat Trade Reveals a Hidden History of Early Muslim Migrants”