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The Austerity Kitchen
By Christine Baumgarthuber
Where the alimentary is elementary.
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The Tao of Chow

An Open Air Kitchen Weeks

“From food are born all creatures, which live upon food and after death return to food. Food is the chief of all things. It is therefore said to be medicine for all diseases of the body. Those who worship food as Brahman gain all material objects. From food are born all beings which, being born, grow by food, and, when they die, food feeds upon them.” –From Taittiriya Upanishad (ca. 5th century BC)

History Made Queasy

A fresh look at rotten food’s influence on world events

Photography of Bacteria

Joyous but hellishly hot is no doubt how those in attendance would have described the Washington Monument’s groundbreaking ceremony, which took place July 4, 1850. Yet the heat didn’t dampen the appetite of President Zachary Taylor, who presided over the event. “Old Rough and Ready,” as he was affectionately known, snacked on cucumbers, “a generous quantity of cherries,” and iced milk during the festivities, and he munched a few green apples while strolling afterward along the banks of the Potomac River. On returning home to the White House he capped his afternoon by drinking a few quarts of water.

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Cat Gut

Good Cats Bad Cats
“A fellow, a shepherd at Beverley, in Yorkshire, about eleven years ago, for a bet of five pounds, was produced, who was to devour a living cat. The one produced was a large black tomcat, which had not been fed for the purpose; but was chosen, as being the largest in that neighborhood. The day appointed was the fair-day at Beverley. The parties met. The man produced was a raw-boned fellow, about forty. The cat was then given to him; on which he took hold of his four legs with one hand, and closing his mouth with the other, he killed him by biting his head to pieces immediately, and in less than a quarter of an hour, devoured every part of the cat, tail, legs, claws, bones, and everything. The man who laid the wager gave the fellow two guineas for doing it, and the shepherd appeared perfectly satisfied with the reward. — After he had done it, he walked about the fair the whole afternoon, and appeared neither sick nor sorry. He took no emetic, nor had this repast any effect on him whatever.” –From “Cat Eaters,” in The Portfolio of Entertaining and Instructive Varieties (ca. 1824)

Red Holidays of Genius

The Italian Futurists’ marriage of man and machine was a feast for the senses

Futurist Umberto Boccioni a-futurist-evening-in-milan

In a room whose walls are lined with aluminum, nimble waiters flit past diners, spritzing the air with perfume. A Wagner opera blares from a phonograph somewhere hidden. On each table sit four plates, each containing a small morsel. A quarter of a fennel bulb occupies the first, a single olive the second, the third holds a minute pile of candied fruit, and the fourth, a “tactile device” of red damask, velvet, and sandpaper, which the diners fondle as they eat.

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