Where does gingerbread come from, and why is it called that? The answer involves the crusades, witchcraft, and taxation without representation.
Where does pie come from, and why do we eat it on Thanksgiving? The answer involves a certain bird known for collecting miscellaneous objects, Queen Elizabeth I, and elaborate dinnertime entertainment.
Why does the word salad sound suspiciously like the word for salted in many languages? And where did salads come from, anyway? The answer takes us from ancient Rome to the high-class hotels of New York to Tijuana, Mexico.
Why do we blow out candles on birthday cakes? The answer involves Egyptian theocracy, the moon goddess, and (as for many holidays) the mixing of Christian and pagan tradition.
Why are hamburgers called hamburgers if they’re not made out of ham? The answer spans time and space from the Mongol invasion of Russia to the German revolutions of 1848 to the McDonald’s Big Mac.
Is white chocolate actually chocolate—and where did it come from in the first place? The answer involves the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, questionable pharmaceutical cookbooks, and children’s vitamins.