From 2 Goats to Churning Out Award-Winning Cheeses—the Story of Cypress Grove

We’ve teamed up with Cypress Grove to share the story behind their award-winning goat cheeses—from the iconic Humboldt Fog to new favorites like their smooth and buttery Little Giant.

Most cheeses aren’t conceived of in dreams, but that’s exactly ho…

We’ve teamed up with Cypress Grove to share the story behind their award-winning goat cheeses—from the iconic Humboldt Fog to new favorites like their smooth and buttery Little Giant.


Most cheeses aren’t conceived of in dreams, but that’s exactly how Cypress Grove’s fan-favorite Humboldt Fog came about.

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A Brief History of the American Cookout

There’s something almost spiritual about watching someone cook with fire: the glowing red charcoal pulsing with energy; the slow, controlled breaths sending ash fluttering into the air. Perhaps we tend to huddle around the flames to watch—whether we kn…

There’s something almost spiritual about watching someone cook with fire: the glowing red charcoal pulsing with energy; the slow, controlled breaths sending ash fluttering into the air. Perhaps we tend to huddle around the flames to watch—whether we know it or not, it’s an experience that tugs at our shared history. From a backyard hot dog in New Jersey, to razor-thin bulgogi in Seoul, to Jamaican jerk chicken, cooking with fire draws crowds among myriad cultures.

Jim Auchmutey, author of Smokelore, notes that grilling dates back to the Paleolithic era, when humans first cooked meat over open fire. There were no fancy rubs or sauces, no direct or indirect heat. Nonetheless, Dr. Richard Wrangham, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, claims that the discovery of heating food altered the course of human development. In Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Wrangham writes that “cooking was a great discovery not merely because it gave us better food, or even because it made us physically human. It did something even more important: it helped make our brains uniquely large, providing a dull human body with a brilliant human mind.” Before humans discovered cooking, our ancestors spent most of their time and energy chewing raw fibrous plants and vegetables. But their jaws and teeth were no match for raw meat. To make chewing easier, they used stone tools as “second teeth” to break down animal flesh. This was still a lot of work. According to Wrangham, once humans began cooking with fire, they were able to consume more calories with less time and effort, which supported the development of larger brains.

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How Iceberg Lettuce Wedged Its Way Into American Culture

The easiest way to core iceberg lettuce is to firmly whack the head, core side down, against the kitchen counter. The force dislocates the core from the tight leaf structure, and, with a quick twist, it pops right out.

America’s relationship with iceb…

The easiest way to core iceberg lettuce is to firmly whack the head, core side down, against the kitchen counter. The force dislocates the core from the tight leaf structure, and, with a quick twist, it pops right out.

America’s relationship with iceberg lettuce may have once been this simple—and satisfying—but in recent years, iceberg’s reputation has wilted under nutritional and environmental scrutiny. On the other hand, iceberg recipes continue to pop up online and in cookbooks; they’re handed down, swapped, and treasured. And at some point, iceberg lettuce became a signifier of taste, class, and values: deficient for some, yet irreplaceable for others.

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What Were Cupcakes Like in the 1700s?

Amelia Simmons invented the cupcake. And if that wasn’t enough for the history books, when she first published her cookbook in 1796, she cemented herself as the author of what is now recognized as the first American cookbook.

American Cookery, or, to …

Amelia Simmons invented the cupcake. And if that wasn’t enough for the history books, when she first published her cookbook in 1796, she cemented herself as the author of what is now recognized as the first American cookbook.

American Cookery, or, to give its full title: American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves and All Kinds of Cakes from the Imperial Plumb to Plain Cake. Adapted to This Country, and All Grades of Life (catchy, right?), is considered by food historians to be the first cookbook published in the U.S. by an American. The book included 119 recipes, marrying the traditions of British cooking at the time with new American ingredients, like "pompkin" (pumpkin), "cramberry-sauce" (cranberry sauce), and molasses in place of British treacle; it was also one of the first books (yet another pioneering moment for Simmons) to introduce the use of "pearlash," a precursor to the baking soda most home cooks keep in their pantry. Before American Cookery, the only cookbooks available in the U.S. were British. In the introduction to a 1996 edition of American Cookery, food historian Karen Hess characterizes the book as inherently American, citing "the bringing together of certain native American products and English culinary traditions." (And really, what could be more American than a cupcake?)

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All About Pie Birds, the Whimsical Victorian-Era Baking Tool

While you’ve likely heard the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” with its “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,” it would probably surprise you to find a bird’s head peeking out of your fresh-from-the-oven dessert, whether or not it “began …

While you’ve likely heard the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” with its “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,” it would probably surprise you to find a bird’s head peeking out of your fresh-from-the-oven dessert, whether or not it “began to sing” upon being sliced.

Don’t worry, though—there aren’t live birds in most pies, let alone two dozen. While the rhyme possibly alludes to the trials and tribulations of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, it may have served as inspiration for pie birds: hollow ceramic figurines designed to vent steam from the pastries, according to Linda Fields, author of Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Vol. 1 and 2, an anthology about the avian kitchen helpers.

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You Think 2020 Was the Year of Sourdough? Look Back to the Gold Rush

When the discovery of gold near Coloma, Calif., in 1848 ignited a massive influx of prospectors to the area from other regions of the United States, as well as Europe, Asia, and Australia, many arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs. …

When the discovery of gold near Coloma, Calif., in 1848 ignited a massive influx of prospectors to the area from other regions of the United States, as well as Europe, Asia, and Australia, many arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs. Among the few prized possessions brought along for the journey were jars of sourdough starter—the mixture of fermented flour and water used to make bread without commercial yeast—that held the promise of a full belly. To thousands of hopeful (and hungry) miners who risked it all in pursuit of striking it rich, those jars of cultivated wild yeast represented a semblance of stability and a taste of home, even amid backbreaking work and an uncertain future. Legend has it that the miners even hugged their starters at night to keep the cultures warm and help them survive.

Sourdough starter served as a lifeline to which the miners literally clung. Due to the sudden population explosion, farms couldn’t keep up with the surge in demand, rendering affordable food an elusive commodity in many parts of the state. Moreover, the discovery of gold excited locals, too: As California’s farm workers left their agricultural jobs to pan for gold, farms that had once supported the state's economy sat abandoned. Local food merchants, smelling opportunity as droves of miners rushed the goldfields, inflated prices on everything from fruit to flour: A single egg could command as much as $3 (more than $80 per egg in today’s dollars). Suffice it to say, many merchants struck more riches than gold miners; after traveling thousands of arduous miles to stake their claim to wealth, most hopefuls in the mining camps ultimately made little money. Faced with limited funds and resources, the miners could extend a small amount of purchased flour by mixing it with sourdough starter—a more affordable solution than buying a fresh loaf of bread.

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What the Heck is Vegemite (& How Do You Eat It)?

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), o…

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), or the disturbing preponderance of poisonous snakes, for example. But it was with the invention of Vegemite in 1922 that things really went off the rails. What is Vegemite? So glad you asked.

Vegemite is a thick, dark spread extracted from the yeasty waste of the beer-brewing process, seasoned with celery, onion, salt, and some undisclosed extra flavors. Salty, umami-rich, with a hint of bitterness, Vegemite is an Australian obsession. But it wasn’t always this way.

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The Lonely Legacy of Spam

Table for One is a column by Eric Kim, who loves cooking for himself—and only himself—and seeks to celebrate the beauty of solitude in its many forms.

“Spam is the ultimate loner food,” said the chef Esther Choi, who lives in a one-bedroom by hersel…

Table for One is a column by Eric Kim, who loves cooking for himself—and only himself—and seeks to celebrate the beauty of solitude in its many forms.


“Spam is the ultimate loner food,” said the chef Esther Choi, who lives in a one-bedroom by herself in New York City. Working late hours to keep the lights on at all of her restaurants, Ms. Yoo and two Mŏkbar locations (with one more on the way), Choi doesn’t get to cook meals at home for herself very often. But when she does, she turns to the simple things: fried Spam, eggs, and Hetbahn, a single serving of Korean microwavable rice. “Even though I’m a chef and I can make anything in the world,” she said, “when I’m by myself, those are the things I want to eat.”

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15 New Year’s Food Traditions From Around the World

We have a very, er, specific New Year’s Eve food tradition in my household.

It’s an elaborate shrimp tree, and my mother and I spend hours constructing it each year. There’s the day-of, panicked search for the correctly shaped and perfectly sized foam…

We have a very, er, specific New Year's Eve food tradition in my household.

It's an elaborate shrimp tree, and my mother and I spend hours constructing it each year. There's the day-of, panicked search for the correctly shaped and perfectly sized foam cone, which somehow always gets tossed away during the year prior. There's the painstaking affixing of curly kale leaves to said foam cone (once procured), in the style of a full Christmas tree. There's the careful preparation of a perfectly seasoned cocktail sauce. And then, just before our New Year's Eve party starts, there's the pinning of each individual shrimp to the tree, using colorful toothpicks, to look like a wrap-around garland.

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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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