Today, Turkey is famous for its tea. It has the highest tea consumption per person, followed by the UK. The most popular type in Turkey is the distinctive Rize tea, a black tea from Turkey’s
Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast.
Surprisingly, tea is not an ancient Turkish tradition. The drink overtook coffee in popularity only after World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. With the loss of the Ottoman southern provinces, coffee was suddenly an expensive import. Tea, as a homegrown product from Anatolia, was cheap and caffeinated. Economics was the spark that started the Turkish love affair with tea.
Did you know that ancient Egyptians enjoyed the sweet sap of the marsh mallow plant? Or that France was very important in creating the confection we know and love today? Read more…
Momofuku Ando is a national hero in Japan, for helping to end a national food shortage after World War II. He did this by … inventing instant ramen. He created the brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.
At the time, the United States was providing wheat flour to Japan to prevent widespread famine. The Japanese government tried to encourage its people to make the wheat flour into wheat bread, but that was unfamiliar to pretty much all Japanese at the time, and many went hungry instead. Ando thought noodles made more sense. Noodles were familiar, could be made using wheat instead of rice flour, and could be easily made at home using only hot water. After months of trial and error, he debuted the first instant noodles: Chikin Ramen. And the rest is history!
It is rare to have 100-year-old wines, as people tend to drink them before they reach the centennial mark. But there has been a notable decrease in 100-year-old wines starting in 2014 due to World War I. It is expected for there to be a similar shortage starting in 2039.
Oyster eaters have been avoiding the shellfish during the summer
months — and so lowering their risk of food poisoning — for at least 4,000
years. That’s the major finding of a new study
examining remains of the Boonea impressa, a parasitic snail that latches onto
oyster shells, in a 230-foot shell ring built by the inhabitants of St.
Catherine’s Island off the coast of Georgia.
The snail has a predictable
12-month life cycle, and so by measuring the length of its shell, the
scientists were able to estimate when its oyster host had been harvested
by humans. Based on the size of the snail shells on the oyster shells in the ring, oyster harvest was limited to the late fall, winter,
and spring. This avoids not only the summer months, but the time when southeastern oysters spawned as well. In other words humans knew how to ensure they would have food for next year.
Looking at this map, you would never know that potatoes were domesticated in the Andean highlands. History takes some strange turns.
Sapporo is the oldest beer company in Japan. It was founded in 1876, less than 10 years after the Meiji Restoration.
Most people think the pizzas they know and love – four cheese, pepperoni – were invented in Italy. But they were actually developed by Italian immigrants in the United
States, and then exported back to Italy. Syracuse University
anthropologist Agehananda Bharati calls this the “pizza effect.” Here are some other examples of when
elements of a nation’s culture developed elsewhere and were then reimported:
- Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade was invented for the James Bond film Spectre and then adopted by the city.
- American blues music influenced English musicians in the 1960s, who then exported blues-rock to the United States.
- Adapted from India’s chicken tikka, chicken tikka masala became one
of the most popular dishes in Britain before being re-exported to India.
- Yoga became popular in India after its adoption in the West.
- Salsa music originated largely among Cuban and Puerto Rican
immigrants to New York in the 1920s and then spread throughout the
- Teppanyaki, the Japanese style of cooking on an iron griddle, grew to prominence in America in “Japanese steakhouses.”
In 1529, it looked like Switzerland would fall into war between its Protestant and Catholics. Similar religious wars, both small and large, were raging across Europe.
Switzerland’s cantons were divided by religion. To the north was the Protestant-favouring canton of Zürich, led by Martin Luther-like reformer Ulrich Zwingli, a parish overseer who was spreading reform. To the south was Zug and the allied Catholic cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy, who felt their rural union should remain aligned with the Vatican and Rome. In June of 1529 diplomacy failed and the Zürich soldiers marched south to fight.
When the armies met, negotiations between the leadership continued. Meanwhile the soldiers in both armies were hungry, and Zürich had plenty of bread and salt, while Zug had a surplus of milk from its farms. They pooled their resources to make a simple soup of milk and bread. The men who ate together would not fight against each other, and no fighting would happen that year. And the legend of the miltschuppe was born. Even today, politicians in Switzerland share miltschuppe to (symbolically) help resolve disagreements.