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How Americans became so obsessed with pumpkins

Halloween and Thanksgiving are quickly approaching, but the spirit of the season has already been here for weeks. By early August, retailers were stocking shelves with pumpkin-flavored foods. Starbucks began selling it’s famous Pumpkin Spice Latte back on Aug. 27, and pumpkin beer has been available in bars for just as long. People associate pumpkins with fall, and as they look forward to the season, the demand for pumpkin everything increases. According to Nielsen data, sales of pumpkin and pumpkin spice-flavored items skyrocketed in 2017 $488.7 million – up from $286 million in 2013. But this hasn’t always been the case. There was a time when pumpkins weren’t celebrated as they are today — with products bearing their beloved image and contests cheering on their gigantic size. “American colonists were less than enthusiastic about pumpkins,” said Cindy Ott, author of Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon. The colonists were accustomed to eating a diet of domesticated meats and…

Book Lovers Day: Our Meghan Rodgers’ favorite food books

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we had editor Meghan Rodgers compile a list of her favorite books about food, and we’re not just talking about cookbooks. Maybe you can find some inspiration in the following tomes: “Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss • • • “How Italian Food Conquered The World” by John F. Mariani • • • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” by Michael Pollan • • • “The Sugar King Of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon” by John Paul Rathbone • • • “Salt: A World History” by Mark Kurlansky • • • “The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food From the Lost WPA Files” by Mark Kurlansky • • • “Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon” by Cindy Ott • • • “Combat-Ready…

Kombucha and cotija among foods to finally earn dictionary entries

Merriam-Webster announced this week that it will add 850 new words to its online dictionary — and our ever evolving love of food can be thanked for many of them. “In recent years, a the richest source of these newly adopted foreign-language words has been the world of food-or, perhaps we should say: the food of the world,” Merriam-Webster said in a news release about the dictionary update. Among the new class of words is “aquafaba,” or the leftover water that results from cooked beans. The liquid is used in many vegan dishes and is ofter used as an egg white substitute. “Cotija,” the Mexican hard cow’s milk cheese named after the town in the Mexican state of Michoacán. “Harissa” is a versatile fiery and garlicky paste spice from North Africa. Seemingly late comers to the dictionary are the fermented and effervescent tea drink kombucha and the raw seafood dish “poke.” If…