Why Americans Still Eat Barbecue on July Fourth

More Than Two Centuries Ago, Roasted Meat Met Independence Day and Hasn’t Left the National Consciousness Since

Dearly beloved, we are gathered in this moment to celebrate the culinary union of barbecue (a.k.a. barbeque, bar-b-que, bar-b-q, and BBQ) and Independence Day (a.k.a. July 4 or “the Fourth of July”). This moment is a culmination of the Founding Fathers generation’s need for the right to party.

In the early history of our republic, Independence Day was often the biggest community festival of the year. Barbecue, which developed as a new, fusion cuisine well-suited for festive occasions by the late 1600s and early 1700s, became the ultimate party food …

How Concentration Camp Prisoners Found Comfort in Imaginary Feasts

From Ravensbrück to Mao's Labor Camps, Inmates Recited Family Recipes to Preserve Their Humanity

When the Soviet Union sent Dmitri Likhachev to an offshore detention camp in February 1928, the Russian scholar was crammed onto a train car with other prisoners and handed a …

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 …

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 …