The Tuscan Town Famous for Anarchists, Marble, and Lard

Food, Gastro Obscura, Politics

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 byproduct of the famous quarries that gash through the mountains. Then Leitch’s seatmate explained that the Apuan quarries were the source of another legendary tradition. “That’s where the anarchists live,” she said.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo credit: B. Gramulin, CC BY-SA 2.0


The Scholar Mapping America’s Forgotten Feminist Restaurants

Food, Gastro Obscura

THERE ARE NO WAITRESSES AT Bloodroot restaurant. There’s no meat, either. When a small collective of women founded the Bridgeport, Connecticut, café and bookstore in 1977, they eliminated both meat and table service as part of a sweeping feminist vision.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: LES Library, Public Domain

German Researchers Are Investigating the Science Behind Soft-Pretzel Scent

Food, Gastro Obscura

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 study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry—the delectable whiffs of sweat and malt in freshly baked soft pretzels.

Read more at Atlas Obscura. Photo: Wesual Click, Public Domain

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

Wondrous Foods at Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

I’m currently working as a Gastro Obscura fellow at Atlas Obscura, cataloguing and reporting on the world’s most wondrous (and delicious) foods.

You can find my additions to Gastro Obscura’s database of wondrous foods here. From frog eye salad to muttamala, you’re sure to find something that will intrigue you, feed your curiosity, and make your stomach grumble.

Featured image: Ian Muttoo, Wikimedia Commons