The Late Movies: the Many Obsessions of Foodies

I know people who describe themselves as "bread obsessives" or "pizza fanatics" -- often they're talented in the kitchen and have latched onto one aspect of food or food culture and learned everything they can about it. There's something really satisfying about hearing these self-styled experts hold forth on the subjects they love, which is the whole idea behind CHOW's series of videos entitled, appropriately enough, Obsessives.

Let's start with a soda obsessive, a man named John Nese. He runs Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles, and if you've never stopped in for a visit, do yourself a favor and go. He's got hundreds and hundreds of varieties of soda, many of which are historically accurate reproductions of antique sodas. My favorite: cucumber soda.

A devoted barista talks about the differences between drip and french press, how to make great espresso, and why you should never, never freeze coffee beans.

Joel is a writer-turned-knifemaker. Watch him make a knife while dispensing valuable advice, like try not to get blood in the grinder belt. Easier said than done.

Spend a few minutes listening to one of America's tea gurus.

It's very simple: alcohol, wormwood, and some anise characteristics. But not simple at all: The carefully calibrated mix of aromatics and herbs that goes into the absinthe made by Lance Winters of St. George Spirits took extensive testing to get just right.

This fascinating and opinionated pizzamaker talks about why his restaurant only serves four kinds of pizza, and how hard it is to get a good pie in America.

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


More from mental floss studios