The Chinese-Born Doctor Who Brought Tofu to America

Yamei Kin Was a Scientific Prodigy Who Promoted the Chinese Art of Living to U.S. Audiences

On a hot summer day in 1918, syndicated reporter Sarah McDougal paid a visit to an unusual laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Chemistry, a predecessor to the Food and Drug Administration, in its Romanesque Revival building near the piers of New York City’s Hudson River. The bureau usually worried itself with detecting adulterants in imports, but its role had expanded during wartime to investigate “meritorious substitutes” for foods made scarce by the trade disruptions and hungry armies of World War I—in particular, red meat, wheat, and …

More In: Food

What Our Gargantuan Appetite for Meat Says About America

It Symbolizes Affluence and Social Status, Showcases Regional Differences, and Reveals Shifting Attitudes Toward Health

Americans have always been distinguished by their love of meat. Where does that love come from?

One short answer: our ethnic heritage. Among whites, the English and Germans were two of …

The Deadly Toxin Outbreak That Spurred America’s Food Safety System

To Prevent Botulism in Tinned Goods, Scientists and Canners Worked With the Government to Protect the Public

My seventh-grade science teacher repeated two facts so often that they are still crystal clear in my memory. The first was the definition of osmosis: “the passing of a substance …

The Enslaved Chefs Who Invented Southern Hospitality

Black Cooks Created the Feasts that Gave the South Its Reputation for Gracious Living 

“We need to forget about this so we can heal,” said an elderly white woman, as she left my lecture on the history of enslaved cooks and their influence on …

How Hawai‘i Taught the World to Love Raw Seafood

Whether Served with a Beer in Honolulu, or Goji Berries in Dusseldorf, Poke is One of the Islands' Global Exports

Where did all this poke come from?

You may have asked yourself that as poke—the chopped raw fish salad—begins to appear everywhere, from Paris to Pennsylvania. The short answer is, …

Is Ketchup the Perfect Complement to the American Diet?

More Than Just a Condiment, It Helped Revolutionize How Food Is Grown, Processed, and Regulated

Ketchup is arguably the United States’ most ubiquitous condiment. Ninety-seven percent of Americans have a ketchup bottle in the fridge, usually Heinz, and we buy some 10 billion ounces of …