Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'food'

The Circle of Life

October 8th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Fact-checking Tasmania’s claim to be the roadkill capital of the world is no easy feat, since few of its potential competitors (we’re looking at you, Madagascar) keep accurate statistics regarding flattened wildlife. One thing that is certain, however, is that the remote Australian state is a tireless innovator in the roadkill space, dedicating vast resources […]

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Lord of the Elvers

April 8th, 2013 · No Comments

If you want to know why elver-related crime is on the rise in Maine (and elsewhere), look no further than the chart above, which shows just how valuable those wriggly little creatures have become in the past few years. As this dissection of the political tussle over fishing licenses reveals, the Asian appetite for baby […]

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The Simple Can Be So Difficult

December 27th, 2012 · No Comments

A few days before Christmas, a milestone of sorts was reached at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology: for the first time ever, a few eggs were cooked on a kerosene stove. This was significant not because of the quality of the meal produced, but rather because the stove generated eight watts of electricity […]

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The Forces Arrayed Against Nachos

February 24th, 2012 · 3 Comments

I’m a sucker for creative metrics, such as measuring a creature’s ferocity by how quickly it can skeletonize a cow. One of my favorites is the way in which a nation’s development is assessed by how rapidly it’s being colonized by Western franchises. Take Indonesia, which is revealed here to be “opening a new convenience […]

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Legend of the Eggs

December 9th, 2011 · No Comments

I am regrettably a few days late in noting the untimely passing of Vasily Alexeev, the famed Soviet athlete who dominated the sport of weightlifting for most of the 1970s. Alexeev was an object of great fascination in the West, for he seemed to embody our deepest fears about the world behind the Iron Curtain: […]

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The Sea Dayaks Bid Adieu

October 5th, 2011 · No Comments

I’ve been slowly pulling together a post about the Iban alphabet, a rather convoluted form of written communication that is nonetheless making a comeback in a small corner of Borneo. In researching the esoteric matter, I came across this excellent illustrated document regarding the funerary rites of the so-called Sea Dayaks, who really know how […]

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The Allure of Meat

July 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

The crime rate in Bermuda is not particularly high, but I’m still surprised the island nation’s police force had time to solve a five-year-old cold case that was far from dastardly: the theft of $70 worth of meat from a home. The perpetrator of this not-so-sinister act was finally nabbed last month, after Bermudan cops […]

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Wishful Milking

June 6th, 2011 · No Comments

If you’re the sort who follows the more bizarre tidbits to emerge from the world of agribusiness, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been quite a stir about camel milk as of late. The United Arab Emirates, for one, has vowed to take advantage of relaxed European Union regulations regarding the import of the offbeat dairy […]

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The Patron Saint of Chi-Chi’s

April 13th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m working on a Wired piece that’s requiring some deep-diving into Patent Office history, and so I’ve recently been losing myself in Google’s nifty patents database (which is far more user-friendly than Uncle Sam’s). For some odd reason, I’ve found myself gravitating toward food-technology patents, since engineering innovation has obviously remade the American diet—and, by […]

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Edible Pigeons and the Misuse of Technology

April 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

One of my favorite Ponzi schemes of recent vintage was Pigeon King International, which convinced thousands of cash-strapped farmers to raise so-called “rats of the sky” in backyard pens. The scam’s mastermind, Arlan Galbraith, claimed that poultry-loving North Americans were on the verge of falling in love with roasted squab, and that farmers who bred […]

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The Art of Catching Lampreys

March 25th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Following up on an earlier post about the decline of England’s enthusiasm for eels, I spent (wasted?) a fair bit of time this morning digging into America’s long-standing hatred for lampreys. These parasitic fish, widely held responsible for the death of King Henry I, were once on the verge of conquering the Great Lakes; they […]

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A Pocketful of Eels

March 21st, 2011 · 8 Comments

Modern slang is full of gastronomical synonyms for money: dough, bread, cabbage, cake. Notably absent from the long list, however, is a foodstuff that once actually functioned as a form of currency: the humble eel, a traditional English delicacy often served in jellied form. Nine centuries ago or thereabouts, eels were more than just a […]

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The Quinby Smoker

February 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Behind every mass-market product is an invention that made its creation cost-effective. In the case of honey, that technological marvel is the humble bellows smoker, which produces a non-toxic haze with the power to chill out agitated bees. It does so by messing with a colony’s communications system: Sentries are supposed to alert warriors to […]

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The Golden Age of Twice-Cooked Pork

February 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Apologies to my vegetarian readers for what is about to commence: a post about the grisly business of producing pig meat, a delicacy that I seek out far more often than my arteries would like. (I will perform nearly any feat of self-abasement in exchange for some top-notch lechón.) Though I’m accustomed to reading about […]

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Varmints on the Ascent

November 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

It is a good time to be a squirrel in the United States. For starters, the bushy-tailed rodents are no longer coveted by hunters, to the great distress of many aging sportsmen. The latest numbers out of Pennsylvania don’t lie: The wider availability of squirrel species has not been enough to buoy squirrel hunting participation. […]

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Filet-O-Skink

October 21st, 2010 · 2 Comments

I’m scrambling to catch up after the whirlwind Florida jaunt, so today’s polymathism shall consist of a mere reference back to an oldie-but-goodie: My 2003 Slate piece about the veracity of Eric Rudolph‘s nutritional claims. The serial bomber stated that he managed to live on the lam for five-plus years by dining on North Carolina’s […]

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A Queen’s Edge

October 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Scrambling to prep for a key interview and finish a Wired essay, so just a quickie this morning. The clip above features the coolest drummer ever to brush a cymbal; the snippet below reveals how a young woman named Courtney Larkin was able to triumph in this year’s Miss National Peanut pageant: On Monday, Larkin […]

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Just Rats in a Maze Market

September 23rd, 2010 · 10 Comments

Think about the place where you regularly buy your groceries. After you pass through the sliding-glass door, how do you make your way around the premises? Perhaps you believe you take this path due to habit or preference, but odds are you’re nudged in one direction or another by the store’s physical layout. Some supermarket’s […]

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Satan’s Salad Dressing

July 13th, 2010 · 2 Comments

We’re in the process of trying to find an insightful passage to read at a pal’s forthcoming wedding. (Suggestions welcome, by the way.) It’s taking us much longer than anticipated, in large part because we keep getting sidetracked by old favorites we’ve discovered while ransacking our overstuffed bookshelves. Case in point: Lawrence Wright’s Saints and […]

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Cheesy Ain’t Easy

May 26th, 2010 · 8 Comments

So how does Frito-Lay create the world’s favorite orange-hued snack? We reveal the secrets of Cheetos manufacturing in this month’s Wired. Our favorite factoid, as a teaser: Every half hour, an in-house lab analyzes the chemical composition of samples pulled from the cooking line to verify that the Cheetos have the right density and nutritional […]

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A Notch Below the Opti-Grab

May 7th, 2010 · No Comments

While using the U.S. Patent Office’s records to try and discern what genius invented the jalapeno popper, we accidentally stumbled upon an invention for the ages: the flavored boot for eyeglasses. We’ll let the application’s description do the dirty work for us: Many individuals who wear eyeglasses frequently will remove their eyeglasses and place the […]

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Essential Egg Tech

March 9th, 2010 · No Comments

Since far more learned organizations have the whole gadget scene locked down, we here at Microkhan rarely wax rhapsodic about the electronic toys that wow us. But we just couldn’t help ourselves upon coming across the Egg Shell Thickness Gauge, which now sits high atop our wish list. How many hours have we spent fraught […]

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Pining for Convenience

March 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Living as we do in the heart of Atlah, we often take for granted the notion of easy access to groceries. Whenever we find ourselves lacking a can of beans or coffee filters, no big whoop—that situation can be rectified in a manner of minutes, simply by strapping on our sneakers and walking down to […]

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Fuel for a Growing Nation

February 12th, 2010 · 2 Comments

The lamentable advent of Bud Select 55 got us thinking about the history of nutritional science—or, rather, the ways in which dodgy scientific claims have been used to peddle all manner of food products. We’re of a mind that such science-y pitches do an excellent job of reflecting cultural neuroses. So just as today we’re […]

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The Jonestown Diet

January 8th, 2010 · 3 Comments

During one of our recent discussions about food taboos, a sage commenter noted that one of the theories regarding such prohibitions is that they aid social cohesion—if we can all agree to, say, eschew beef or Funyuns, we instantly have something that defines us in opposition to “The Other.” Given the inherent creepiness of that […]

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This World, Then the Visigoths

January 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Over the past several days, no ad campaign has been as inescapable as the one hyping Food Network’s recently aired “Super Chef Battle”. The innumerable commercials and Web banners that ran in support of the event made it seem like a culinary version of a Thunderdome match, crossed with the Apollo Creed versus Ivan Drago […]

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Twinkies for Peace

December 23rd, 2009 · 10 Comments

Staying on the food-taboo theme, we recommend this recent paper from the eternally irresistible Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. The whole thing is worth a read, especially the authors’ various theories regarding why taboos exist. Our favorite nugget comes in the section dedicated to explaining why taboos may have formed to protect human health: Eating […]

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Love Those Arthropods at Popeyes

December 22nd, 2009 · 13 Comments

A comment on an otherwise forgettable post just got us thinking: isn’t there something completely random about the Western culinary take on arthropods? We have apparently decided to feast on only one of the phylum’s four remaining subphyllum—Crustacea. But we gag at the thought of eating the terrestrial cousins of shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish. Why […]

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The Tech of Why You’re Fat

December 9th, 2009 · 8 Comments

The graph above shows the roughly quarter-century trend in America’s per-capita fat consumption. To our great non-surprise, we’ve became rather fond of gorging on foodstuffs that we know to be deleterious to our waistlines, though we’re heartened to see that we’ve recently pulled back somewhat from the Popeyes-related brink. Perhaps this trend has less to […]

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The Immortals of Flesh

December 4th, 2009 · 3 Comments

We’ve heard surprisingly little debate about the Meat Industry Hall of Fame‘s inaugural class. The same folks who spent years droning on about the pass-catching virtues of Art Monk have uttered nary a peep about whether Paul Engler deserved enshrinement in his own version of Canton. And why no wailing and gnashing of teeth over […]

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