GASTRO OBSCURA NEWSLETTER



Life-Saving HindsightOn the outskirts of Botswana’s Okavango Delta region lies the Moremi Game Reserve—a 1,900-square-mile wildlife sanctuary home to leopards, hyenas, and, most importantly, lions. Unsurprisingly, these ambush predators threaten neighboring farmers’ livelihoods by preying on their free-roaming cattle. In response, farmers turned to a surprising method: painting eyes on their cows’ butts.READ MORE
A Genius Noblewoman’s LegacyWritten by Lady Jang Gye-hyang around the year 1670, the oldest cookbook in Korean is titled Eumsik-dimibang, or “Understanding the Taste of Food.” Some historians believe it could be the first cookbook written by a woman in all of East Asia. Born at a time women were barred from higher education, Lady Jang eavesdropped on her father’s classes and pried into his books, then penned the manuscript in her old age.READ MORE
The Culinary Pursuits of PiratesThe name and practice of boucanning meat originates with the Tupi of Brazil. European explorers and conquistadors, impressed by the Tupi’s methods, brought both the technique and terminology to the West Indies. But it was French hunters who really embraced the boucan. Smoking huts and grills were such common sights at their camps that they became known as boucaniers.READ MORE
Kenosha’s Historic Lunch-Car DinerIn 1917, the Jerry Mahoney Diner Company began manufacturing roadside diners. The long and narrow prefabricated buildings were trucked on railroad flatcars to various locations across the United States, and were often confused with actual railroad cars. One such diner arrived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1926, and it’s now the oldest continuously-operating lunch-car diner in the country.READ MORE
Amber of the SeaWhen a sharp squid beak gets lodged in a sperm whale’s intestines, the whale produces a waxy secretion called ambergris (“gray amber”) to protect itself. By the time a clump of weather-beaten, excreted ambergris reaches shore, it may be worth thousands of dollars—a result of its intoxicating aroma. Throughout history, ambergris has been prized in perfumery, but cooks began publishing recipes calling for the substance around 1660.READ MORE
The Other Sloppy JoeTo most individuals a “Sloppy Joe” denotes hot, tomato-y, loose ground beef in a white bun. If this description matches your idea, ordering one from a northern New Jersey deli will leave you confused. It will also leave you with a cold, double- or triple-decker rye bread sandwich stuffed with cold cuts, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing over coleslaw. Since the 1930s, this is what New Jerseyites have called a Sloppy Joe.READ MORE
Cave of WondersSince 1906, visitors in Teotihuacán, Mexico, have cooled down in this little-known subterranean restaurant that’s 650 feet from the famous archaeological site. The impressive La Gruta is decorated only by its own natural features. Sun pours in through the upper reaches of the cave during daytime, while at night hundreds of candles cast a warm glow about the cool, echoey space.READ MORE

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.