Although the plant had a place of pride in Mesoamerican society, it is not thought to have traveled very far north. Archaeologists have searched for connections between Mesoamerican people and those who were living in the American southwest and have found few.
Now, a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggests that there might have been more exchange than previously thought. Their evidence? Chocolate. Well, not chocolate exactly, but traces of theobromine and caffeine (two compounds found in cacao) in bowls from an eighth-century archaeological site in Alkali Ridge, Utah. That chocolate would have had to have been imported from Mesoamerican cacao orchards, thousands of miles away.
Read more. [Images: Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology/Harvard University via Science]
Ten years ago, Americans drank enough soda every year to fill a small aquarium. Fifty-three gallons of the stuff per person. That’s half a liter of Diet Coke on an average day. Compare that to our other favorite liquid-caffeine companion. For every cup of coffee we consumed in 2003, we drank two cups of soft drink. For $1 we spent on joe, we spent $4 on soda.
Now look where we are: Soda is in a free fall, with domestic revenue down 40%. Coffee culture is ascendant, up 50% in ten years. In another decade, the United States could easily spend more on coffee than soda — something utterly unthinkable at the turn of the century.
Read more. [Image: IBISWorld]
Until around 250 years ago in the West, archaeological evidence suggests that most human beings had an edge-to-edge bite, similar to apes. In other words, our teeth were aligned liked a guillotine, with the top layer clashing against the bottom layer. Then, quite suddenly, this alignment of the jaw changed: We developed an overbite, which is still normal today. The top layer of teeth fits over the bottom layer like a lid on a box.
Read more. [Image: Flickr]
[Images: Market Watch]
Craft distillers not only need to be knowledgeable in such arcane matters as the esoteric habits of yeast and the miraculous properties of copper; they also must be deft in navigating the complex regulatory geography. (As I once heard a tour guide at the Wild Turkey distillery explain: “How do you make bourbon? You take some moonshine, put it in a barrel, and add a bunch of federal regulations.”)
Read more. [Image: Chris Langer]
December 4th is National Cookie Day!
U.S. Marine Corps CPL. Victor Medrano prepares chocolate chip cookies for the crew of the aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). Nimitz is deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, 01/29/1998
It’s common to disparage light beers. As craft beers have elbowed their way into American refrigerators and taps, light beers have become punch lines. What few drinkers know, however, is that quality light beers are incredibly difficult to brew. The thin flavor means there’s little to mask defects in the more than 800 chemical compounds within. As Kyler Serfass, manager of the home-brew supply shop Brooklyn Homebrew, told me, “Light beer is a brewer’s beer. It may be bland, but it’s really tough to do.” Belgian monks and master brewers around the world marvel at how macro-breweries like Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have perfected the process in hundreds of factories, ensuring that every pour from every brewery tastes exactly the same. Staring at a bottle, it’s staggering to consider the effort that goes into producing each ounce of the straw-colored liquid.