What Food Was *Actually* Served at the First Thanksgiving

A few years ago, I made my inner history nerd unbelievably giddy and spent a few weeks digging in to one question: What was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving? The results were surprising (no turkey?!), illuminating, and just plain curious. So le…

A few years ago, I made my inner history nerd unbelievably giddy and spent a few weeks digging in to one question: What was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving? The results were surprising (no turkey?!), illuminating, and just plain curious. So leading up to November, I thought I'd give you something to chew on besides what's on your table. First, let's set the scene:

The modern Thanksgiving holiday is based off a festival shared by the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American tribe at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, in 1621. The feast purportedly celebrated the colonists’ first successful harvest in the New World. While modern Thanksgiving always lands on the fourth Thursday in November, the original went down sometime earlier in autumn, closer to harvest time.

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Why Pasta Is an Essential Part of Indian Regional Cuisine

When I visited Leh, a dusty Himalayan town and the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Ladakh, it was at the onset of winter. Tiny cafes serving Himalayan meals to weary trekkers had begun wrapping up for the season. On my last night after an arduous p…

When I visited Leh, a dusty Himalayan town and the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Ladakh, it was at the onset of winter. Tiny cafes serving Himalayan meals to weary trekkers had begun wrapping up for the season. On my last night after an arduous pine forest walk, when I couldn’t be bothered about what to get for dinner (I just want something hot and spicy!, I thought to myself) I spotted a three-letter dish called kev.

Resembling strozzapreti, a Tuscan pasta variety that looks like chopped pieces of a thin rope, a bowl of kev is just that, except it’s made of whole wheat flour and tempered with a handful of Indian spices and mountain beans. And this is just one example of the range of Himalayan pastas that are common in this part of the country. Their skyu is an orecchiette look-alike; chutagi feels like a distant cousin of minestrone; and bhatsa marku, a Tibetan version of mac and cheese comes topped with dri (female yak) cheese.

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The 2,000-Year-Old History of Vending Machines

There’s little more frightening than watching a purchased bag of Sunchips get caught in a vending machine, and no greater joy than when three bags of Sunchips fall for the price of one.

We’ve all been there. Read More >>

There's little more frightening than watching a purchased bag of Sunchips get caught in a vending machine, and no greater joy than when three bags of Sunchips fall for the price of one.

We've all been there.

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How a 1661 ‘Ladies Directory’ Blazed the Trail for Contemporary Cookbooks

Anne Willan is the award-winning culinary historian, cookbook writer, and founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris. In her latest book, Women in the Kitchen, released last month, she introduces us to 12 cookbook writers “who defined the way we eat…

Anne Willan is the award-winning culinary historian, cookbook writer, and founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris. In her latest book, Women in the Kitchen, released last month, she introduces us to 12 cookbook writers "who defined the way we eat"—stretching from 1661 to modern day. Below, in an excerpt from the book, we'll start at the beginning: Get to know trailblazer Hannah Woolley.


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The first handbook written in English by a woman for women was published in 1661, almost two hundred years after the first cookbook was printed (in Latin). In The Ladies Directory, Hannah Woolley began to reveal not just her own life but a whole new world for her readers, that of the expanding English middle class of prosperous tradesmen, physicians, and the like, all of them profiting from the newly restored monarchy of King Charles II. In a group of later books Woolley elaborated on the skills called for in the domestic kitchen, a very different world from the grand establishments of the professional male cooks who had hitherto dominated the cookbook scene.

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A Bite-Size Look Back at the 40-Year History of Cape Cod Potato Chips

We’ve partnered with Cape Cod® Potato Chips to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a crunchy look back at their decades-long history.

Since its humble beginnings in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Cape Cod Potato Chips has become a household name. Whether…

We’ve partnered with Cape Cod® Potato Chips to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a crunchy look back at their decades-long history.


Since its humble beginnings in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Cape Cod Potato Chips has become a household name. Whether you’re enjoying a bag of their ridged Waves potato chips, tangy Sea Salt and Vinegar, or classic Original flavor, the foundational ingredients (just potatoes, salt, and oil) always shine through.

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The Tumultuous History of Atlantic City’s Salt Water Taffy

As urban legend has it, a man named David Bradley owned a confectionary stand on the Atlantic City boardwalk, at the turn of the 20th century. After a night of heavy storming, Bradley returned to find his stand flooded and his candies soaked with seawa…

As urban legend has it, a man named David Bradley owned a confectionary stand on the Atlantic City boardwalk, at the turn of the 20th century. After a night of heavy storming, Bradley returned to find his stand flooded and his candies soaked with seawater. He decided to sell the taffy anyway, jokingly calling it “salt water taffy.”

Bradley’s marketing ploy worked—driving fellow Atlantic City taffy-makers, James Candy Company and Fralinger’s, to rebrand their product as well. “Salt water” taffy and the health of the tourist-reliant Jersey shore economy have been inextricable since.

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Is This the Most Refreshing Drink in the World?

I’ll never forget my first taste of Rooh Afza, the “Summer Drink of the East,” a South Asian syrup that was a mainstay in our house growing up. It was as if something had turned on inside of me. I could only liken it to the first time ones tries cheese…

I’ll never forget my first taste of Rooh Afza, the "Summer Drink of the East,” a South Asian syrup that was a mainstay in our house growing up. It was as if something had turned on inside of me. I could only liken it to the first time ones tries cheese, or a first kiss. I never knew such a flavor could exist and that it could bring me such pleasure.

The two ingredients that give Rooh Afza its signature taste are rose water and kewra, which is also known as Screw Pine Essence. This name is a misnomer; I mistakenly believed for years in the existence of some type of floral pine tree, but kewra is actually the white flower of the pandanus plant. The leaves of this plant, called pandan, are a ubiquitous flavoring in many Southeast Asian desserts. The flower is a vital ingredient in many special-occasion dishes in South Asia, particularly those associated with Muslim communities.

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This Cult-Favorite 1960s Dish Is Still Wildly Popular—But Why?

Grape jelly and meatballs. Sounds like two options a random word generator might spit out if programmed to a food setting. They couldn’t possibly go together, flavor-wise. Au contraire. In fact, the grape jelly meatball has been a beloved appetizer sin…

Grape jelly and meatballs. Sounds like two options a random word generator might spit out if programmed to a food setting. They couldn’t possibly go together, flavor-wise. Au contraire. In fact, the grape jelly meatball has been a beloved appetizer since at least the 1960s—and it isn’t going anywhere.

The dish is humble: Toss beef meatballs in a sauce of grape jelly and barbecue or a tomato-based chili sauce—always one prepared sauce, and always grape jelly. Stir in lemon juice, sometimes. Simmer until sticky.

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The Forgotten Inventor of the Fluffernutter Sandwich

I never cared for Fluffernutter sandwiches as a kid—they always struck me as a kind of “nothing” food. Two slices of white bread thickly smeared with peanut butter and a spread made from corn syrup, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla flavoring amounted to …

I never cared for Fluffernutter sandwiches as a kid—they always struck me as a kind of “nothing” food. Two slices of white bread thickly smeared with peanut butter and a spread made from corn syrup, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla flavoring amounted to little more than a sickly-sweet mushy mess. I’d eat them only at friends’ houses, and was always happier to have mac and cheese or tuna salad instead.

In the fall of 2011, I moved from Delaware to Massachusetts for college and found myself, all of a sudden, completely friendless. After a few drab meals in its grey dining hall, the freshmen class—myself included—started craving snacks.

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The Mystery Meat of My Dreams

“What’s in it?” I asked my dad, who occasionally enjoyed a crisp slab of scrapple with his eggs on Saturday mornings.

“Everything in the pig but the oink,” he said. Read More >>

What’s in it?” I asked my dad, who occasionally enjoyed a crisp slab of scrapple with his eggs on Saturday mornings.

“Everything in the pig but the oink,” he said.

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