Author Archives: Nicola

The Twenty-Four Hour Loaf

In the opening episode of the BBC’s new three-part series, “Inside the Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made,” we spend an hour watching a loaf of supermarket sliced white get made. There is a short diversion into the history of bread-making (including Victorian-era DIY tests for alum adulteration) and a brief interlude in an […]

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Improbable Salt

The illicit thrill of carrying vials of expensive white powder around town is just part of the charm of owning your own Improbable Salt. I am no salt expert (yes, there is such a profession: meet salt sommelier Sommai Wooniem) but, astonishingly, the salt from a Hawaiian-French improbable ocean tastes distinctly different to that of […]

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Supply Chain Seasoning

Salt is essential. Globally, humans eat an average of 10 grams a day and we each contain roughly 250 grams, without which we would die. IMAGE: Photograph courtesy Ryan Dewey. As Mark Kurlansky explains in his book, Salt, the extraction of salt has inspired many of the world’s most ambitious public works projects, while the […]

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Pear Bulb

IMAGE: “Die Glühbirne,” 2015, from “The Light Inside,” photograph by Radu Zaciu. German slang for light bulb is “die Glühbirne,” or “the glow pear.” As Romanian photograph Radu Zaciu explained to Petapixel, his latest series, “The Light Inside,” was originally inspired by this word play. IMAGE: Photograher Radu Zaciu preparing a cauliflower; photograph via Petapixel. […]

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Holy Radish Water, Scientists!

IMAGE: Bottles of holy water (available at the Sacramentals Foundation of Omaha, Nebraska) and a radish. In a paper published in the journal Psychological Reports in 1979, Sandra Lenington measured the mean growth of 12 radish seeds watered with holy water against that of 12 radish seeds watered with tap water. It was not, Lenington […]

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Outsourcing the Mouth

Until recently, the question of whether an apple was truly ripe could only be answered by destroying it. The human mouth, with its variety of multi-functional sensory detection mechanisms, provides the traditional—and, until recently, the most reliable—guide. But once an apple has been bitten, there is, as Eve reminds us, no going back. For eaters, […]

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100 Shades of French Fry

For just two days this weekend, a gallery on New York’s Lower East Side hosted a pop-up French fry exhibition. IMAGE: A French fry on the Bowery. All photos in this post by Nicola Twilley. It was a PR stunt put together by craft condiment contender Sir Kensington, but, as someone who has never successfully […]

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Gastropod: What America *Could* Taste Like

And we’re back! It’s time for your fortnightly dose of Gastropod. This is our first sound “bite”—a mini-programme to tide you over between our monthly in-depth episodes. In it, my co-host, Cynthia Graber, and I discuss two of the most interesting food history and science stories we’ve come across recently. This week is all about […]

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Gastropod: The Golden Spoon

Meet Gastropod, the brand new, podcast-shaped lovechild of Edible Geography and award-winning science journalist Cynthia Graber. Each month, we’ll be releasing a new full-length episode looking at food through the lens of science and history, as well as a shorter, bite-sized interlude to tide you over in between. Our very first episode launches today. It’s […]

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Proustian Greengrocers

IMAGE: Memory Lane, courtesy Grove Care, Ltd. Among the facilities at the Blossom Fields care home near Bristol is “Memory Lane”: a reconstructed 1950s street where residents, many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, can mail letters in a George VI Post Box, make calls from a restored phone box, enjoy a pint (or, […]

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