Predators, Pandas, and Pizza

Fascinating food reads from around the web


Ready for your weekly serving of Binge Reading? It’s okay to have a second helping. On our reading radar this week: history and the food chain, healthier vending machines, the best health supplements.

Today, humans may be at the top of the food chain but Slate reminds us that we weren’t always. We used to have predators such as big cats and even giant eagles to worry about on a daily basis. Turns out, humans made pretty good snacks. Having less hair than other mammals makes us easier to digest.

Salon picks up documenting our ancestral timeline just a bit later. Right around the time we were starting to gain a leg up on the food chain, we started eating pandas. Panda fossils recently excavated in China indicate that one of today’s favorite endangered animals used to be dinner.

In a surprising move, LA Times reports that soda companies are planning to put calorie counts on their vending machines. The initiative isn’t entirely selfless, though. It’s likely that this an attempt to avoid impending soda taxes in many cities across the nation.

NPR sat down for a talk with the scientists of the food world: Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop, two of the chefs behind America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. The two debunk food myths about searing steaks, offer up some fishy suggestions, and ease our fears of MSG.

The NY Times knows well what their readers want, and that is where our favorite chefs go to eat. It can be easy enough to find out where Mario Batali likes to snack in New York, but how about having a chef guide you through a culinary vacation? This article rounds up where the Spanish chefs and food writers eat in Madrid.

Just when you thought there was no more room for innovation in or on a pizza, The Wall Street Journal has sought out a new enticing pizza created by the daughter of a “pizza maestro,” of course, with an unfamiliar topping: slices of lemon. The best part? You can make this pie yourself at home.

We’ve dug up an oldie but a goodie: A chart from Information is Beautiful that displays health supplements in terms of their popularity and the actual scientific information available to prove they’re healthy. High on the list for popularity an scientific accuracy are supplements such as dark chocolate and fish oil. What’s equally popular but has almost no science to back its usefulness? Antioxidants. Just click on any supplement to see the studies backing it.

YumSugar is ready for Halloween. They’ve gathered the best, the tackiest, and the most bizarre of food costumes from around the web. Who knew Heinz ketchup bottles could be sexy? Or that putting a turkey hat on your head counted as a costume?

We already have museums dedicated to pizza, Coke, potatoes and spam. The Washington Post proposes it’s time to create a place of honor for one of America’s favorite classic cuisines: barbeque.

Zester humbly offers a recipe and its history. Romanian Sour Soup, borscht with meatballs; rice; and dollops of sour cream, is part Russian part Ottoman and pure Romanian

Mary Sydnor is a Philadelphia arts and culture writer and the Assistant Editor at Drexel University's Center for Cultural Outreach. Her work has been published in the Daily News and The Smart Set.

October 17, 2012
,4:43 pm


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