In a recent entry, I poked fun at a 1958 "Chinese" recipe printed by Good Housekeeping whose main ingredient was "luncheon meat." Sounds sketchy, right? How many Chinese restaurants have you known that featured fresh deli products straight from the wok?
Then a long-time floss reader, Brian, wrote in from Barcelona. "Luncheon ham (also known as Spam) is actually wildly popular with Asian people," he testified. "My Japanese grandmothers would go crazy for that...so... READ ON
Superfund is both an actual fund and a shorthand term for the list of America's nastiest toxic waste sites. One in two Americans lives within ten miles of a Superfund site. Currently, there are about 1,300 sites on the list, although it fluctuates. New Jersey has the most Superfund sites, with over a hundred. Nevada and the District of Columbia have one apiece. Here's a closer look at some of the notable ones.
Love... READ ON
Given the strong-arm tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, some observers expect a return of the Cold War. If that prediction proves true, maybe the new Cold War will bring back some of the kitschy old recipes below, found in vintage cookbooks. Predictably, they emphasize canned veggies and preserved meats—perfect fare for bomb-shelter dining.
Best casserole: Frankfurter... READ ON
In case yesterday's story on horrifying parasites didn't leave you sufficiently creeped out, Chris Weber is here to tell you about seven more creepy crawlies. Afterwards, have a look at our own Ransom Riggs' latest original video: Attack of the Killer Parasites.
Remember that scene in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan when Ricardo Montalban drops a weird-scorpion spacebug into a poor guy's ear? That was fiction; these suckers are real. Here are seven parasites, ranging from common to obscure, that... READ ON
This week: How to build your own TiVo (or, How to never miss an important football game ever... READ ON
No matter where you call home, there's a good chance that one of your neighbors is busy making some kind of booze. Brewing, distilling, and winemaking are nearly universal activities, and folks will ferment just about anything.
1. If you want to try traditional chicha, go to Peru or Bolivia, where women chew corn flour and then spit it into bowls. Enzymes in their saliva help break down the sugars in the corn. Chicha tastes tart and can be white, yellow, red, purple, or even black depending on... READ ON
"¢ The deadliest epidemic in history, the Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people — and maybe twice that many — surpassing even the plague.
"¢ The flu brought the country to its knees in 1918 and 1919. In New York City, 851 people died in one day. Public gatherings were cancelled nationwide. When people did go out, they wore very chic gauze masks.
"¢ Though it is still called Spanish flu, many epidemiologists now think the virus originated in... READ ON
BUGS BITE: YELLOW FEVER
"¢ Yellow fever is not as well known as many epidemics, but it struck Philadelphia with incredible ferocity in 1793. At the time, Philadelphia was the nation's capitol. The epidemic was so severe that the national government disbanded and fled. Alexander Hamilton, the Treasure Secretary, contracted the fever — although Washington accused him of faking — and also fled. (When he arrived in Albany, New York, he was shunned because of his fever cooties.)... READ ON
MONSTER SOUP: CHOLERA
"¢ The classic symptom of Asiatic cholera is watery diarrhea leading to rapid dehydration. It occurs when someone carrying the bacteria Vibrio cholerae poops in your water supply.
"¢ There were six worldwide cholera epidemics from 1817 to 1923. Though you don't hear much about it, we are now in the midst of a seventh epidemic, which began in 1961 and kills over 100,000 people every year.
"¢ One of most well-known episodes in the history of epidemics... READ ON
OH RATS!: THE PLAGUE
"¢ The greatest plague of the fourteenth century was known as the Great Mortality. Spread by rats and fleas, it killed over 20 million people in Europe alone in just a few years. Medieval people thought the world was coming to an end. (Rat picture courtesy of ChemBark.)
"¢ We call plague "bubonic" because of one of its chief symptoms — buboes in the armpits and groin (for the brave and strong-stomached, here's a picture). Unlike syphilis, which can last... READ ON
Male seahorses carry the eggs and birth the babies.