Why the Nazi party loved decaf coffee

The Caffeine-Free ReichIn its early years, decaf found a particularly appreciative and supportive audience: the Third Reich. As the Nazi Party assumed power, its leaders recommended decaf as a way to avoid caffeine, a poison in their eyes. More than a health campaign, decaf was part of a state policy intended to preserve a healthy Aryan population.READ MORE
Africa’s Only CaviarOne of the rarest, most luxurious crops in Madagascar is isolated in one artificial lake deep in the country’s highlands. Located about 40 miles from the capital, Antananarivo, and home to a burgeoning community of farmed sturgeon, the picturesque Lake Mantasoa has become Africa’s first and only source of caviar.READ MORE
How Salt Helped Win the Civil WarLouisiana’s Avery Island isn’t an island at all. Surrounded by marsh, it’s a massive salt dome. That salt sat relatively undisturbed until the Civil War, when it suddenly became a precious commodity. Salt is easy to overlook today, but before refrigeration, it was essential for preserving food and curing leather. As soon as southerners built facilities to make salt, they became military targets.READ MORE
Luxury Nut ButterArgan trees grow exclusively in Southwestern Morocco, and argan oil is famed for its age-defying cosmetic properties. At $130 per liter, it’s one of the most expensive plant-based oils in the world. Less known, however, is amlou, Morocco’s delectably sweet and nutty concoction made using three local ingredients: argan oil, almonds, and honey.READ MORE
Chicago’s Atomic CakeIf you’re ever in a bakeshop on Chicago’s South Side, you’ll probably see a towering confection that stacks three cakes into one glorious treat. Its bakers whip up banana, yellow, and chocolate cakes—then layer fillings and fruit throughout. Since the 1950s, generations of South-siders have enjoyed Atomic Cake during milestones, particularly birthdays, but the iconic treat is rarely seen outside its place of origin.READ MORE
Mixing Soda & SpiritsThailand’s spirits have a taste for Red Fanta, but how did Fanta nam dang, “red water,” become the drink offering of choice? How did Thailand—a country physically smaller than the state of Texas—become Fanta’s fourth-biggest market, ahead of both the entire United States and China? And how did a strawberry version of the soda concocted by a Coke-deprived, World War II-era Germany find its way into the culture of a country halfway around the world?READ MORE
A Super-Fishy ATMIn January of 2019, a new ATM was unveiled in Singapore’s Wisteria shopping mall. Instead of cash, however, this machine dispenses 200-gram fillets of frozen salmon from the fjords of Norway. Today, dozens of salmon ATMs dot the island city-state, which boasts a vibrant vending-machine culture and an undeniable affection for Norwegian salmon.READ MORE
ATLAS OBSCURA COURSESFood, Foraging & MythologyOur first Gastro Obscura online course starts this October! Over four weeks, forager Lori McCarthy and herbalist Felicity Roberts will dig into the meaning of autumn festivals through the sacred foods that accompany them. We’ll cover ciders, cheese-making, pasta-making, canning, cooking over fire, foraging, charcuterie, and so much more, as well as each item’s history and surrounding folklore. Throughout, students will have ample opportunity to experiment, explore, and reflect during mini-assignments between sessions.LEARN MORE »