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That’s Not Wasabi

Fresh wasabi is virtually unheard of outside Japan. Faking it is easier and cheaper than trying to find the real thing. READ MORE

Burden of Proof

When compared with, say, a typical 86-proof cognac, your typical wine would seem about as threatening as a bottle of Evian --right? But the alcohol level in wine varies. READ MORE

Something Like Savory

Umami is one of the basic flavors perceived by the human tongue, along with sweet, bitter, sour, and salty. It comes from the amino acid glutamate, which is related, but not identical to, the unpopular flavor enhancer MSG. READ MORE


Conversation with a Cocktail Epicure

Alberta Straub, once described as "the Alice Waters of booze," has been mixing up sublime adult beverages made with herbs, spices, and fresh fruits and vegetables for the past six years at San Francisco's Orbit Room Cafe. READ MORE

Coop de Ville

If your neighbors are wary, a gift of fresh-laid eggs may change their minds. READ MORE

Meals, Ready to Eat

Today there are 24 different MRE menus, such as Cheese Tortellini, Jamaican Pork Chop, and Jambalaya. Most are actually quite tasty. READ MORE

Secrets of the Chip Aisle

The differences between "kettle-cooked" and standard potato chips; olestra and MSG. READ MORE

Why Pomegranate, and Why Now?

Not that long ago, pomegranates made only cameo appearances in salads. And now: pomegranate juice, pomegranate soda, pomegranate martinis, pomegranate ice cream. READ MORE

Just Shoplifting, Thank You

Many personal care items on the list of the top 50 most shoplifted items stand out for their potential for embarrassment. READ MORE

I’ll Have a Steak Knife to Go

When a staff member confronted the customer, she was shocked, _shocked_. "How did these massive wineglasses get into my bag?" she wondered aloud. READ MORE