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Meghan Rodgers

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How to tell the difference between a shrimp and a prawn

Shrimp are the darling of coastal kitchens but can be found on menus just about everywhere. Whether it’s shrimp tacos, shrimp scampi, or shrimp cocktail, Americans devour nearly 4.5 pounds of the delicious crustaceans every year. But are we always sure what we’re eating? Come to think of it, maybe our neighbor’s shrimp boil last summer included prawns. What actually is the difference between the two? Let’s settle this culinary question for good. What’s the difference between shrimp and prawns? Shrimp and prawns have a lot in common, but they are, in fact, entirely different animals. Both shrimp and prawns are decapods, meaning that they have 10 legs and a thin external skeleton, but that’s where the similarities end. Shrimp (of the sub-order Pleocyemata, also belonging to crayfish, lobsters, and crabs) are typically smaller in size and live mostly in saltwater. They have claws on two of their legs and a…

14 Fun facts about Peeps

Forget groundhog shadows or tulips. The first real sign of spring are bright yellow Peeps stocking the shelves at your local grocery store. Marshmallow Peeps are everyone’s favorite non-chocolate Easter candy — they even outsell jelly beans! Americans will eat 1.5 billion Marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies this spring, but what do you really know about these sugar crystal coated, brightly-colored bird-shaped mallows? Discover 14 fun facts about Peeps: 1. Making Peeps used to be a really long process. It used to take 27 hours to make a Peep. The first Peeps were squeezed one at a time from a pastry tube before receiving hand painted eyes. Today, with an automated manufacturing process, a Peep takes just six minutes to make. 2. About 5.5 million Peeps are born every single day. Machines crank out 3,500 Peeps per minute — that’s nearly 2 billion Peeps per year! 3. Peeps were originally produced by…

Restaurants with handwritten menus are seen as healthier, study says

From the dim lighting to the trendy tunes, there are countless factors beyond the food that influence what you think about a restaurant. Now, a new study claims that even the font chosen for a menu can influence your perception. The study, led by Stephanie Liu, an Assistant Professor of Consumer Sciences at The Ohio State University, suggests that restaurants with handwritten menus (as opposed to machine-written/professionally printed) are seen as having better tasting food. Research found that the imperfect handwritten font generated more favorable attitudes toward the menu overall. Furthermore, the food was perceived as being healthier. The findings are explained in the abstract of the paper, published in the Journal of Business Research: “The results show that handwritten typeface creates a competitive advantage by conveying a sense of human touch, which subsequently induces the perception that love is symbolically imbued in the restaurant’s offerings.” The researchers then determined that…

These are the most popular cocktails in America throughout the day, research shows

You probably wouldn’t do a shot of tequila with your morning toast any more than you would sip a mimosa at midnight. We have come to think of different alcoholic drinks as being better suited for different times of the day. So which cocktails are our a.m. and p.m. favorites, and which remain popular around the clock? Nielson, a global analytics company, arrived at this answer by compiling data collected from restaurants and bars over a four month span of time in 2018. So what are Americans drinking these days? Nationwide, the most popular cocktails 24/7 were the margarita, martini, old fashioned, mimosa, and the Moscow mule. Things get more interesting when broken down by depart. Nielson defined morning at 6 .m. to noon, afternoon as noon to 6 p.m., evening as 6 p.m. to midnight, and night as midnight to 6 a.m. The favorites were as follows: Morning Mimosa Bloody…

Super Simple Shepherd’s Pie

A 20-minute dinner doesn’t get much better than this classic Irish comfort food. It’s perfect for your St. Paddy’s Day celebration, but it’s plenty delicious enough to make all year long. Shepherd’s Pie is one of those foods you’ll find on any March 17 restaurant menu. You’re practically required to eat it at some point in the month of March. It has become as synonymous with the St. Patrick’s Day celebration as pints of green beer — which is to say, that neither the green-dyed drinks nor this beef-based dinner are exactly Irish. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie uses lamb or mutton (It’s Cottage Pie that uses beef). But here in the U.S., we’ve definitely put our own spin on the holiday, so I think this dish gets a pass, too. I like to cut corners with this recipe and get everything pre-chopped so all I have to do is brown some…

Cracking through 8 myths about eggs

They’re cheap, nutritious, and an essential part in the diets of billions around the world. Still, there are a lot of myths surrounding the everyday egg. Get ready for a bit of shell shock. I’m about to scramble everything you think you know about eggs. Myth: Brown chickens lay brown eggs. Truth: The color of a chicken does determine what color eggs it lays, but it’s not the feathers that give it away — it’s the earlobes. (Yes, Earlobes!) Chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs, while white eggs usually come from chickens with white earlobes. There are always exceptions, but if you’re wondering what color a hen’s eggs will be, this general rule is a good place to start. Myth: All eggs need to be refrigerated at all times. Truth: Whether or not you need to refrigerate your eggs depends on where you live. If you live in the United…

18 tips on how to eat healthy and still save money at the grocery store

The average American house hold spends $6,600 on groceries every year — that’s $550 a month!. Are you doing all you can to make sure you’re getting the healthiest foods for your dollar? It can cost a lot to eat whole, healthy foods. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can cost about $2,000 more per year. But the real question is can you afford not to? With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes all on the rise, spending the cash now on fresh foods could save you big bucks on medical bills throughout your lifetime. This increased food expense is all the more reason to identify ways to make your money stretch. The most obvious area for savings is to eliminate food waste. Americans throw out $640 worth of groceries every year. Reduce this waste, and you’ve recouped a…

10 recipes with beer you need to make for St. Patrick’s Day

You may like to crack open a cold one while you’re cooking, but on March 17, beer is the celebrated drink of the day. Let it inspire your cooking. Enjoy the distinct flavor of your favorite Irish brew at mealtime with one of these popular beer-infused dishes. And don’t worry, the alcohol is cooked out of the recipe, so you’re still free to cheers to St. Paddy with a few extra pints. Also, learn to make the original Irish Coffee. Beer and honey BBQ Chicken Skewers Let these beer beauties marinated overnight, then grill the next day. Recipe here.  Irish BeeF and Guinness Stew Guinness stew is traditionally made with lamb, but you’ll love this delicious big, chunky beef version. Check out the recipe. Slow Cooker Beer Mac & Cheese How do you improve upon mac and cheese? Beer, of course! Get the recipe here. Beer butter mushrooms These smooth and…

How to pick the best pineapple every time

By this point in the winter we’re dreaming of snacking on sweet, succulent pineapple while lounging in a swaying beachside hammock. Although they’re available all year long, the tangy, tropical fruit is at its peak ripeness from March to July, making this month a perfect time to start enjoying the bold taste of this delicious fruit once again. The vibrant flavor of pineapples works great in all kinds of sweet or savory appetizers, entrées, and desserts. And of course, no summer dream is complete without a cool, refreshing piña colada or mai tai. But knowing how to pick the right one can be the difference between a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy fruit, and a too tart, bitter mess. With this in mind, here are three things to look for when picking pineapples from the store. Curious why pineapple leaves your mouth sore?  The Base The bottom of the pineapple…

Colcannon is the traditional Irish dish you must try

Lots of foods have become synonymous with Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day — Soda Bread, Shepherd’s Pie, and corned beef, to name a few. But have you ever heard of colcannon? It might be lesser-known on a global scale, but to the Irish, it’s a true taste of home. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes, cabbage (or kale) and leeks, yet somehow, most parade-going, Irish heritage-loving Americans have never heard of it. It’s tasty (picture rich potatoes and lightly crunchy cabbage cradling a pool of melty butter) and easy to make, so it’s surprising it never caught on here on our side of the pond. The name colcannon is said to have originated from the Gaelic phrase “cal ceannann,” meaning white-headed cabbage — the vegetable most commonly mixed into the potatoes. During the 17th and 18th centuries, potatoes, cabbage, and leeks were considered to be food for the…