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Merriam-Webster adds ‘umami,’ ‘ghost pepper,’ ‘go-cup’ and more to dictionary

The English language never stops expanding, and neither does the dictionary. This past week, the editors at Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary added more than 600 new words, among them, a handful of food-related terms that are sure to come up in your food-loving life. In order for new words to make the cut, editors must find that a word is in frequent, widespread and meaningful use — all three of these factors must be in play. Several new words don’t seem new at all. Words you’ve been using for years, like “ghost pepper,” “java,” and “chai latte,” will have you wondering how they’re not already in official status. But that goes to show you that widespread usage is extremely important. “Umami” is another word — as in, one of the five tastes that humans register, along with salty, sweet, spicy and sour — that was elevated to official word status. The word…

The funniest food-related street names in America

Street names across the U.S. have become pretty predictable. You probably know people who live on a Pine, Maple, or Main Street. Chances are even greater that you know someone who lives on a Washington street or avenue (there are currently 4,974 streets with that name in the country), or a Second Steet (currently 10,866 of those!). It’s no one’s fault. We just got away from naming our streets after local lore. Thus, they lost their character. That makes these tasty monikers all the more appealing. Some of these food-inspired street names come with confirmed history, but others will leave us hungry with no explanation at all. Still, if you’re a food fan, you’ll love the 13 tastiest street names in America. https://www.instagram.com/p/-wVTyPLWOJ/ Frying Pan Road The street name ‘Frying Pan Road’ evokes both a longing for bacon as well as a nostalgia for days when streets signified some sort…

25 mouthwatering facts you need to know about pizza

No matter how you slice it, Americans love pizza. We eat 23 pounds of the stuff every single year. We take down 350 slices every second. Calling pizza a staple of the American diet would be a huge understatement. But pizza’s powers waft beyond the borders of the US. Our cheese-laden love affair has also extended to the rest of the world. It’s cheesy, delicious, and available just about anywhere you go. In honor of National Pizza Week, here are 20 fun facts about everyone’s favorite dinner… and lunch… and breakfast (when cold). 1. Pizza didn’t gain popularity until the 1950s, but the word “pizza” actually dates back more than a thousand years. A manuscript from 997 A.D. found in the small Italian town Gaeta, is the first known documentation of the word, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported. 2. The first documented pizzeria in the world was opened in Port’Alba, Naples. It…

16 US States with outrageous laws about alcohol

Too much alcohol can make people do crazy things. It can also inspire governments to set crazy laws. For as long as there has been an America, Americans have been known to imbibe, and for just as long, U.S. lawmakers have been creating strange laws to regulate it (like say, the Eighteen Amendment). While some states recently got around to repealing their ridiculous laws, there are still plenty of eyebrow-raising alcohol laws in existence in the country today. Here are a few of our favorites. Alaska You can’t get drunk in Alaska. If you think the point of going to a bar is to get drunk, think again. It’s illegal to get drunk and be visibly intoxicated in a bar in our northernmost state. Oh, and also, up until recently it was illegal to give alcohol to a moose. Arkansas Underage drinkers face homework assignments. Arkansas has the same legal…

What, exactly, are sugar plums?

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore paints a peaceful Christmas Eve scene, with new-fallen snow, carefully hung stockings, and visions of sugar plums. And you’ve probably heard of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from “The Nutcracker.”  But have you ever stopped to ask what, exactly, is a sugar plum? While the recipe for sugar plums has varied, what they’re not, and never were, is sugar-coated plums. The truth is that sugar plums are not linked to fruit or any plum-like substance. According to the Oxford English Dictionary of the day, a sugar plum is a comfit. Comfits are seeds, nuts, or piece of spice coated with a hard sugar shell — not unlike the outer crunchy shell of an M&M or Jordan almond. The first sugar plums date back to the 1600s when popular centers for comfits would have included caraway, fennel, coriander, almonds, walnuts, ginger,…

Holiday Ornament Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats might already be your go-to when you need a quick treat for a kid’s birthday party or snack for the class, but this holiday season, dress them up a bit for a brand new take on the old classic. They’ll look just as good in your kid’s lunchbox as they will on the buffet table at your holiday party. I made red and green Rice Krispie ornaments, but you could easily adapt to make them match the color scheme of your holiday decor — blues or purples. Leave some without food coloring for an all natural golden ornament look. I sprinkled in some golden sugar sprinkle for extra shine, but the photo doesn’t pick up on it well. Add sprinkles in the colors of your choice for extra customization.  I could even see them decorated with piped white chocolate for more fun and flavor. The Rolos were…

The is what the color of your bread bag twist tie means

Think of all of the sandwiches you have made in your lifetime — for yourself, for your kids, for road trips and lunches and late night snacks. Have you ever once stopped to notice that the color of the twist tie on your sandwich bread bag varies — or why that is? It turns out, bread bags aren’t just randomly wrapped up with whatever colored twist tie is available. Those little pieces of wire wrapped in paper (or the hard plastic U-shaped square tags) are, in fact, used as an indicator of just how fresh your bread will be. It’s a hidden little behind-the-scenes secret at grocery stores. While you use the ‘expiration’ or ‘sell by’ date, employees restocking shelves can quickly look at a loaf and recognize the color code. Here’s how to know when you’re bread was baked: Monday: Blue Tuesday: Green Thursday: Red Friday: White Saturday: Yellow Wednesday…

Patriotic thumbprint cookies

Where I’m from, thumbprint cookies seem to have a place at every holiday get-together. For Christmas and Easter we roll them in nuts and make icing centers coordinate with the season. At Valentine’s Day, we make them chocolate. And now for Fourth of July we dress them up with star sprinkles. These thumbprint cookies have a delicious sweet and tangy flavor. The vanilla and raspberry are perfect companions. And the red, white, blue sprinkles make them fun and ready for the Fourth! Patriotic thumbprint cookies Makes about 3 dozen cookies Ingredients 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup butter, room temperature 1 cup white sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg white icing 1/4 cup sprinkles 1/8 cup raspberry jam Directions Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set…

JetBlue will fly NYC pizzas cross-country for delivery in LA

If you’ve ever felt the delivery area for Uber eats was just too darn small, let JetBlue give you hope for the future. In an amazing marketing stunt dubbed “Pie in the Sky,” the domestic airline carrier will travel cross-county to deliver authentic New York-style pizzas of the iconic Patsy’s Pizzeria of East Harlem to Los Angeles residents. Between May 9 and May 11, JetBlue will fly a total of 350 cheese and pepperoni pies from JFK to LAX each day. A team on the ground in LA will then see that it makes it directly to your door. And considering the cost of fuel and the salary of a professional pilot as your delivery driver, cheese is a very reasonable $12 and pepperoni $15. Ordering opens on www.jetblue.pizza at 12 a.m. PDT daily throughout the promotion. Patsy’s opened in East Harlem in 1933, and is one of the oldest…

19 Fun facts about champagne

Champagne is synonymous with celebration, and nothing says New Year’s quite like popping a bottle of bubbly. Throughout the year it might be seen as slightly snobbish, but on December 31 Champagne becomes holiday revelers’ drink of choice in countries all over the world. It seems that simply letting those bubbles fly sets the tone for a festive celebration, but what do you actually know about this fizzy favorite? Here are 19 fun facts about Champagne you likely never knew. 1. There are about 49 million bubbles in a 7500ml bottle of Champagne. 2. A standard-sized glass emits 30 bubbles every second. 3. France has the largest Champagne market (of course). The French consume 162.5 million bottles every year, or about 52 percent of the entire world production of Champagne. 4. Champagne has 3 times more carbonation than beer. 5. The pressure in a Champagne bottle is about 3 times the amount of pressure…