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8 Christmas traditions from around the world

In today’s globalized economy, the Christmas holiday can seem a little too expected. Images of Santa Claus, decorated evergreen trees, and candy canes be found all over the world. But if you dig a little deeper, you can still find people celebrating the beloved holiday in their own special way — particularly with food. While you’re tearing up tissue paper and singing festive songs this Christmas morning, consider what people around the world might be doing to add to their holiday cheer. https://www.instagram.com/p/BcqXOPkn9mb/?tagged=japankfc Japan Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan, but that doesn’t stop people from waiting in long lines at their local KFC. So why all the love for the fast food joint? December 25 is the one day a year KFCs in Japan serve “Christmas Chicken” — a tradition that dates back to a wildly successful ad campaign from 1974. The campaign was so successful, the people still flock to KFC…

Flying with food: What you can bring through TSA security checkpoints this holiday

Inching your way through the airport security line the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is stressful and time-consuming enough. The last thing you want to do is be pulled aside by a TSA agent and forced to toss that great bottle of wine you got Dad simply because you forgot the liquid laws. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) estimates that 2.4 million passengers will pass through security checkpoints each day leading up to Thanksgiving. And holiday travel is expected to be up throughout the whole 2017 season. “Last year was a record breaking year for the airline industry, and this year is expected to break that,” said Michael England, TSA National Spokesman. Food and drink play a big role in the holidays, so it’s likely that many of these millions of travelers will attempt to take with them edible gifts, baked goods or maybe even a side dish of some sort. Fortunately for travelers, agency stipulations don’t have to…

A ranking of the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world

If you don’t eat meat, dining out can present some challenges — in some countries more than others. In honor of World Vegetarian Month, Oliver’s Travels created an infographic ranking the world’s most vegetarian-friendly countries. They counted the number of veg-friendly restaurants, the number of people per each of those restaurants and the per capita meat consumption of the country. While this map doesn’t include the number of actual vegetarians living in a country, it does tell vegetarians travelers which counties will be easiest for them to navigate. While most people think of the United States as a heavily carnivorous country — hot dogs and hamburgers, Texas chili-cookoffs and holiday feasts focused on turkey — the US is actually quite accommodating with more vegetarian restaurants than any other country (18,975). Seychelles, however, has the most vegetarian restaurants per person with one for every 810 citizens. The list reveals other fun facts like Bhutan has…

Why we celebrate Oktoberfest in September

Every year millions of people around the world wonder why the German tradition known as Oktoberfest is celebrated primarily in the month of September. The annual celebration is best known for its beer, food and general celebration of German culture. But given the name, shouldn’t the shindig primarily take place in its namesake month? The official Oktoberfest website explains. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, with a one-day horse-race held as part of the wedding festivities for Bavarian King Ludwig I and his wife, Theresie. The crowd liked it so much, that it became an annual event, eventually developing into the world of marching bands, sausages and colorfully-dressed beer maidens we know today. But over the decades, the horse-race disappeared, and the event grew to more than two weeks long — stretching the event into mid-October. Since fall can be quite cold in Bavaria, even snowy, a decision was made to start the festivities earlier…

Icelandic Food: What to know before you go

“What exactly do they eat in Iceland?” is the first question I’m usually asked about my two week visit to the Nordic island country. Well, the answer isn’t for the faint of heart. The local diet hasn’t changed much since the Vikings settled the island sometime in the second half of the 9th century. The preparation of the food is, of course, much tastier than it would have been 1,200 years ago. It’s since had the benefit of other Scandinavian and European influences. The mainstays of the locals include lamb, potatoes, skyr, and lots and lots of seafood. For a country surrounding by Arctic waters, fishing is naturally the single most important sector of the economy. Fisheries employ up to 20 percent of the workforce. Many of the restaurants serve seafood caught same day. Haddock, herring, skate, salmon, lobster. Seafood is everywhere. And that’s the good news. As for the rest of the classic Icelandic dishes, well,…

Brad Pitt to open new restaurant, resort in Croatia

Soon, Brad Pitt will be able to add the title “hotelier” to his resume. The actor, activist, producer and father of six is the latest celebrity to step into the world of hospitality. People magazine reported Pitt’s plans to open a new luxury resort in Croatia. The massive development will break ground in at the small coastal town of Zablace and will also include a hotel, villa, shops, a golf course, and several restaurants, the Telegraph reports. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.5 billion and will be “a modern ecologically-responsible planned community.” The 52-year-old actor recently stayed overnight in Sibenik’s new Dogusevon Hotel, toured the town and embarked on a walking tour with a team of 10 people around the proposed site of his new investment. Among them was Nikola Basic, creator of the celebrated Sea Organ, a giant culture that creates music as water is passed through its…

Celebrate the Solar Eclipse with deals from these fast food joints

If you haven’t heard about the solar eclipse happening on Aug. 21, you’ve been living on another planet. Experts predict as many as 7.4 million people will temporarily migrate to towns in the path of “totality” this weekend — areas where the moon will completely block out the sun — resulting in what could be the biggest traffic jam in history. But if road trips mean one thing, it’s plenty of fast food stops along the way. Luckily, companies all across America are eager to celebrate the solar eclipse, too, even if they have no connection to science or astronomy. Here are some fun food deals you can scoop up as you hit the road this weekend. And be rejoice, because the last time the U.S. had a coast to coast eclipse it was 1918 and there weren’t many cars around for long road trips, and there definitely weren’t any Dairy Queen Blizzards! gasp! DAIRY…

Why you should photograph your stove dials before a trip

After weeks of planning, days of packing and hours of travel, you’re finally relaxing on vacation — swearing you’re not going to worry about life back home. But inevitably, one thought creeps into your mind: “Did I leave the stove on?” Maybe it’s the hair straightener, or leaving the garage door open, or even locking the front door. Whatever plagues your peacefulness, Lifehacker shares this genius tip: Use your smartphone to snap a shot of your stove dials (or whatever it is you worry about most) before you head out the door. Make it a part of your usual pre-travel routine. That’s it. It’s so simple, but such a small step can save you from feeling stressed ever again when you’re away from home. If you’re lounging on the beach and anxiety about the little things back home start to pop up, whip out your smart phone and put your mind at…

The fate of your confiscated airport food

A bustling travel season is in full swing, and while we’re all familiar with the airport security screening process, it can still be easy to make a mistake when an open water bottle or piece of fruit gets forgotten in your backpack. But what happens to these food items after they’re confiscated? These airport checkpoints don’t exist simply to inconvenience you, but rather to protect our American agriculture from threat. In a video by Great Big Story, U.S. customs supervisor Ellie Scaffa tells the story of what happens to these illegal imports down the line — and no, the TSA staff doesn’t get to sit around feasting each evening. “I’ve been threatened with my life,” she says about her efforts at New York’s JFK Airport where she personally sorts through up to 600 pounds of illegal produce per day. All confiscated goods, whether it be Chinese beef candy or Jamaican mangoes,…

Appetite-Inducing American Town Names: U.S. Cities Named After Foods

Hungry for travel? More than 80 percent of Americans are expected to take a road trip this summer, according to a survey conducted by the auto club AAA. Road trips have always been the perfect opportunity for a little quirky out-of-the-way adventure. World’s biggest rubber band ball? Don’t mind if I do! But what’s out there specifically for the foodie? Surely, we’ve visited towns for their unique cuisines — New Orleans, Maine, Texas — but what about towns named after cuisine? You don’t have to be a culinary expert to enjoy visiting these appetite-inducing American towns. Their quirky names make traveling to far-flung corners of the country an adventure for all eating enthusiasts. Enjoy these delicious destination. Breakfast fans might like to start their day in Two Egg, Florida, then head on up to Toast, North Carolina and Bacon, Washington. Hot Coffee, Mississippi is a can’t miss, but don’t forget the Cream, Wisconsin. Or maybe you’d like to…