The next time you wake up after a long night out, you may want to reconsider reaching for that hair of the dog and instead opt for a savory, booze-free libation. A legendary hangover cure, the prairie oyster cocktail is a concoction of raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
Though the flavor and texture are reminiscent of its namesake, this cocktail is seafood-free. However, when served in a shell-shaped ramekin and taken down in a single swig, the prairie oyster mimics a well-dressed ocean oyster. The egg provides a creamy texture, while the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar add notes of bright salinity. Bartenders crack the egg directly into an Old Fashioned glass in order to keep the yolk intact, thus preserving its luscious mouthfeel.
Referenced in James Joyce’s Ulysses and films throughout the 20th century (e.g., Strangers on a Train, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Back to the Future III), the prairie oyster cocktail counts scholars and stars among its fans. So even if a hangover may not be classy, order one of these at the bar and your stagger may soon be a swagger.
On August 18, 1976, two U.S. Army officers entered the Korean Demilitarized Zone to trim a poplar tree that was blocking the view of United Nations observers. When they were confronted by a group of North Korean soldiers, the situation quickly escalated, with tragic results.
Captain Arthur Bonifas and First Lieutenant Mark Barrett had entered the Joint Security Area in the DMZ accompanied by Captain Kim of the South Korean Army, five Korean Service Corps (KSC) personnel, and 11 other men. Due to Joint Security Area regulations, not all the men were armed, but the KSC workers were carrying axes for pruning the branches of the poplar tree.
Shortly after the workers began trimming the tree, a group of 15 North Korean soldiers appeared. In command of the group was Senior Lieutenant Pak Chul, a man the UNC soldiers referred to as Lt. Bulldog due to the numerous confrontations they’d had with him in the past.
The North Koreans watched the men work for about 15 minutes, but then Pak decided to get involved. He aggressively told the UNC to stop pruning the tree, claiming, somewhat spuriously, that Kim Il Sung, the first Supreme Leader of North Korea, had planted the...
While Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery is more celebrated, Westview Cemetery is a beautiful gem within the city. Is the largest cemetery in the entire Southeastern United States, and an under-appreciated American necropolis.
Founded in 1884, the sprawling cemetery takes up roughly 600 acres and contains more than 108,000 dead bodies, including such famous residents as Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler and rapper Dolla. Drive through the cemetery grounds and you’ll encounter beautiful obelisks, graves, vaults, fountains, and a curious water tower topped with crenulated battlements.
Of particular note is the West View Abbey Mausoleum, constructed in the 1940s and still in operation today. Open to the public, its aged halls contain thousands of tombs and is, according to the Westview website, “the largest structure of its kind ever built under one roof.”
A morning’s visit during the summer, without lighting and air conditioning, is likely to lead visitors on a somber walk past Christian mosaics and indistinct paintings, through a chapel and down twisting staircases into the dark, leaky crypt-like halls of its lower floor.
In the bright light of a summer afternoon, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is filled with a quiet life. Dark birds flitter and squawk among blocks of granite, black-eyed Susans burst into flower beside catacombs, and fresh-cut grass scents the air. Most of the stately gravestones are shaped into obelisks or headless angels or urns draped with stone cloth. Among these classic markers of memory, though, are surprises—grave markers that simulate the natural world that surrounds them. They are shaped like tree stumps.
Some of Green-Wood’s tree-stump markers take the shape of a cross. Others are simpler, four or five feet tall, with their branch shorn off. One is a short, cleanly cut stump, like one a hiker might rest on during a long walk through the woods. It marks the grave of Alfred Vanderwerken Jr., who died in 1906. “He loved nature,” the marker says.
Tree-stump tombstones like these can be found in graveyards across the country. They tend to surprise people who come across them, since they’re not quite what we expect to see at the head of a grave. They date mostly to 1880s to 1920s, when funerary art in the United States was moving away from the grand mausoleums and obelisks found elsewhere in Green-Wood. The tree-stump stones were part of a movement to turn the focus of death back to life, and they’re a unique form connected with the secret societies of the time. “They qualify...
Paris is home to many delightful things, baguettes and beautiful art among them. The city's monumental Louvre is the largest art museum in the world, holding roughly 38,000 objects from antiquity to present day in one pyramid-shaped building. Naturally, paintings fade and three-dimensional objects lose their luster, making the Louvre an ideal candidate to have its own art recreation and rehabilitation center, if you will.
Founded in 1794, the Louvre's sculpture casting atelier lives in an unassuming warehouse dedicated to recreating the museum's most iconic sculptures for purchase. Officially known as L’Atelier de moulage de la Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais, this centuries-old casting studio does more than preserve art. It preserves history, too, and prolongs the life of France's much-beloved sculptures along the way.
The workshop was originally based in the body of the Louvre itself before the need for more space caused the molds to move to their current place in Saint-Denis. And understandably so: the studio holds roughly 6,000 molds made from original sculptures, and has provided replicas of time-worn statues to various architecture schools, national museums, and even the Palace of Versailles! (This atelier is responsible for more than half of the garden's statues, and holds the originals in its archives.)
Beyond replication, the studio is also called upon to restore damaged antique sculptures, particularly ones relevant...
This haunting sculpture is made all the more powerful by its odd location. It's backdropped by a half-collapsed barn, surrounded by the expanse of a remote field in the village of Checkendon in south Oxfordshire. There are no signs leading to the striking sculpture, or plaques explaining its meaning.
The artwork, depicting two skeletons in an embrace, is titled "The Nuba Survival." It was created by local Oxfordshire sculptor John Buckley (best known for his sculpture of a shark sticking out of a roof in Headington) following a visit to the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan.
Buckley lived in the region from 2000 to 2001, as a guest of the Nuba Rehabilitation, Relief and Development Organisation (N.R.R.D.O.). Thirty years of fighting has left the indigenous tribes living in the Nuba Mountains on the edge of survival, what some relief groups are calling an ethnic genocide. Buckley was struck by the resilience of the people he met, despite their suffering, and created this incredible work to call attention to their plight.
No one knows exactly how old Tāne Mahuta is. Perhaps 1,250 years. Perhaps 2,500. Living in the Waipoua Forest in New Zealand’s North Auckland Peninsula, the kauri tree reaches more than 160 feet tall and has grown more then 45 feet wide. Named for a Māori god, the son of the sky god Ranginui, Tāne Mahuta is one of the most beloved and revered trees of its kind.
But it’s surrounded with danger. About 200 feet from its base, the soil is tainted with a pathogen that kills kauri trees, and one expert is warning that Tāne Mahuta could already be infected.
Discovered a decade ago, the pathogen responsible for kauri dieback is a type of water mold, a relative of the microbes that caused the Great Potato Famine of Ireland. It lives in the soil, finding its way toward tree roots, where it attacks the tissues at the base of the trunk, killing the tree. It’s been spreading across New Zealand since at least the 1950s and is thought to have killed thousands of trees. There’s no known cure; the only way to protect trees is to keep it from spreading.
That’s difficult, though. The pathogen spreads...
Most of Lisbon's ginjinha bars are hole-in-the-wall establishments, nestled beside larger shops or cafes. In these tiny taverns, guests (sometimes no more than three or four) squeeze inside to order their coveted scarlet-red shots of sour cherry liqueur.
While Portugal is most famous for its port and sherry, ginjinha (also known simply as ginja) is a tart, lesser-known gem. Made by soaking local cherries in brandy, the drink is smooth and warming. Many city dwellers prefer to sip theirs as an aperitif or digestif.
There are many ginjinha bars dotted throughout Lisbon. Gem Sem Rival, which has been in operation since 1890, serves homemade ginjinha. In the historic Mouraria (Moorish) neighborhood, Os Amigos de Severa serves up cherry liqueur, along with music and paraphernalia paying tribute to Lisbon singer Maria Severa. By most accounts, Severa is credited with popularizing fado, a melancholy style of Portuguese folk music, in the 19th century.
Everywhere you go, however, your options will be the same: a ginjinha com (with) or sem (without) a cherry. The latter requires a bit of skill on the part of the bartender, as working out one cherry from the bottle at a time can be difficult. Be sure to savor the flavor of the alcohol-soaked fruit for a little bit before spitting out the pit.
Located on Barent's Island (Barenstøya), Diskobukta is not an easy destination to visit. But it’s definitely worth the trek. Exploring the cliffs around the bay means listening to a chorus of black-footed kittiwakes squawking so loudly that conversations below a scream are close to impossible.
The birds in this colony, which is well over a hundred thousand strong, build nests along the cliff walls to hatch their eggs and prepare them for flight. The birds speckle the dark, dreary rocks and soar above a shore littered with whale bones.
Unfortunately for the kittiwakes, people aren’t the only ones who visit Diskobukta to witness the magnificent colony. Along the base of the cliffs, you can spot another group of parents teaching their young some life skills, much to the danger of the birds.
Adult arctic foxes teach their pups how to hunt using fallen eggs and birds who happened to nest a bit too close to the ground. Though the foxes easily blend into the walls, a keen eye can catch them racing up and down the walls toward their prey. Polar bears, reindeer, and walruses have been seen within and around the bay as well.
Even without the animals’ presence, the area itself is worth exploring. The canyon leading to the bay was formed by a swift stream that gushes out to the ocean....
A rogue neighbor can make life unpredictable. Putting out the trash a day early, playing loud music at all hours, never getting around to fixing that fence. Jupiter's moons are getting a sense of what that feels like now, with a newly identified resident careening toward conflict with everyone else. This new moon, called Valetudo, is a bit of a renegade.
The worst-case scenario for Valetudo? It’s more serious than an icy glare from the front stoop. “Essentially, it's going to be like a bug in the windshield,” says Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “It’s going to slap into something.”
Sheppard is leading a team that scrutinizes the darkest reaches of the solar system. To get the clearest, crispest, most sweeping views from Earth, it helps to get far, far away from other man-made creations, such as electric lights and buildings. “Magnificent desolation,” Sheppard says, is the ideal. "You want to be in the middle of nowhere.” That’s why, in March 2017, the team was studying the sky from the Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The observatory is nestled high in the desert mountains of the Atacama region. It’s a few hours’ drive from the nearest city, and the night sky is dazzling. If you go outside late at night and let your eyes adapt, Sheppard says, “the sky blows you away."
The Ouvrage La Ferté was a small fort on the Maginot Line that saw heavy fighting during the German blitzkrieg against France in May, 1940. The entire garrison, 104 French soldiers and three officers, were killed in the fighting. The ouvrage has been preserved just as it was after the attack, pockmarked with holes from the German shells.
The fort was part of the "New Front" of the French defensive line, extended to prepare for the increased likelihood that the Germans would attack through Belgium. The Maginot Line was considered impregnable, but these new positions were under-funded, and spaced further apart than the other fortifications, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Due to budget concerns, La Ferté had only two combat blocks instead of the three originally planned (larger forts could have as many as 20).
The La Ferté petit ouvrage—the preferred term for these smaller, less-armed Maginot positions—was attacked by German infantry supported by heavy artillery on May 18, 1940. The bombardment broke through the anti-tank barbed wire that surrounded the fort and created massive shell craters the advancing troops could hide in. A shape charge explosion dislodged the fort’s arms turret, which flew into the air and landed off-kilter, where it remains today.
The French counterattack failed, and both blocks were destroyed by the shellfire. Eventually, the fighting from the...
The Anatomy Museum of the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli is part of the broader University Museum of Sciences and Arts. The entire museum system is full of fascinating historical and cultural treasures, though its anatomy section in particular is a trove of morbid curiosities, like human remains preserved in various substances.
Created at the end of the 18th century, the anatomy museum was reopened to the public only in recent years. It has sections dedicated to “normal” anatomy—think the type of material you’d expect to find in a biology class, like various scientific tools—and another specifically for anatomic pathology.
In the latter section, you can find all kinds of deformities caused by different diseases and birth defects. Be warned, though, as it’s not for the faint of heart: you’ll see malformed fetuses, cyclopic heads, faces scarred and blemished by different illnesses, and numerous other monstrosities preserved in formaldehyde or alcohol.
The anatomy museum also contains some of the the work of Efisio Marini, who petrified remains to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. You can also see the preserved bust of a woman and the body of a newborn child, which were calcified by Giuseppe Albini in the late 19th century.
The Top of the World Highway snakes through breathtaking North American scenery. Rolling hills flank a path sparsely studded with clusters of scraggly trees. On this boreal route sits Poker Creek, the United States’ northernmost terrestrial border crossing.
At an elevation of 4,127 feet, Poker Creek also boasts the honor of being the country’s highest international border crossing. It’s the U.S. counterpart to Canada’s adjacent command post at Little Gold Creek, Yukon Territory. Though the two stations share a facility, they’re actually separated by a time zone.
The population of Poker Creek fluctuates wildly, changing by as much as 50 percent from year to year. Variously reported as two or three people, demographics change with the needs of the U.S. Customs Service. Census numbers plummet congruently with the temperatures in winter, as the border closes between September and May.
After passing through Poker Creek and into the U.S., travelers are free to range over Alaska’s great wildlands toward the town of Chicken. Ticking along Route 5, Tok beckons only 80 miles south from there. The more adventurous may choose the six-hour round-trip...
Very close to the science museum in Saint Paul stands a bronze statue of U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks, his arms outstretched, celebrating the victory that became known as the "Miracle on Ice."
The "miracle" refers to a medal-round upset game between the United States and USSR during the men's ice hockey tournament at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Soviet team were the defending world champions, and heavily favored to win. The team had won the hockey gold medal in five of the six previous Winter Olympics.
While the players on the Soviet team were essentially full-time professionals with ample experience in international competition, the American team, led by head coach Herb Brooks, were all amateur players and the youngest team in the tournament.
A Saint Paul native, Brooks coached the University of Minnesota team from 1972 to 1979. He selected much of his Olympic team from Minnesota. Nine members had played for Brooks’ Golden Gophers, who had won three national titles in six years.
For the first game in the medal round, the United States played the USSR and to everyone’s surprise, except for Brooks and his team, they won the game 4–3. This shocking upset against the Cold War rivals was dubbed a Miracle on Ice by the victorious Americans. The U.S. went on to clinch the gold medal.
The Miracle on Ice is often seen as a turning...
In the United States, you can find beer almost anywhere if you look hard enough—including wedged into the rear end of a chicken. Though it may sound crude, beer can chicken is a decades-old dish that’s enjoyed at backyard barbecues, college cookouts, and renowned restaurants across the nation. (The origin of beer can chicken is unknown, but most agree that it originated somewhere in the South.)
While more traditional ways of roasting a chicken entail placing it in a baking pan or roasting it on a stick rotisserie-style, this method requires balancing the bird atop a can of beer. To prepare this peculiar dish, one must open a beer can, pour out nearly half of its contents, and puncture two holes in the top to ensure it doesn’t explode. As the chef seasons the outside of the chicken, she also plops a bit of the spice blend or rub into the open brew. Once the bird's insides have been emptied, the can goes into the cavity. Using the the upright can and its two outstretched legs, the chef positions the chicken into a makeshift tripod. Though heavily debated, fans of the boozy bird claim that as the can heats up, some of the beer evaporates, seasoning and moistening the fowl from the inside out.
This spooky standing chicken has, inevitably, ruffled some feathers. Many claim that it simply doesn’t work—that the beer doesn’t actually evaporate and moisten the bird. Some...
In Palermo, street vendors take a page from nonna’s waste-not-want-not cookbook by using an often unwanted part of the cow to make a succulent sandwich. Pane con la milza, or pani câ mèusa in its native Sicilian, literally translates to "bread with spleen," which is exactly what this sandwich is.
Vendors make the messy sandwich by boiling the cow's spleen and lungs (and sometimes trachea), then frying everything in lard. When it's ready to serve, the moist, rich meat is piled on a sesame-topped sandwich bread known as vastedda. Though the sandwich has a resemblance to the United States classic known as “Italian Beef,” the texture is said to be “springier on the teeth,” as entrails often are.
Perhaps the most fun of enjoying a spleen sandwich, is deciding whether you want it “single,” which means spritzed with a fresh squeeze of lemon, or “married,” which involves sprinkling it with local ricotta or caciocavallo (a provolone-like cheese). But take note, no matter how you decide to enjoy your spleen treat, locals advise that pani câ mèusa must be eaten hot, or else your filling will congeal.
It takes an exquisite hand to achieve the diaphanous dough needed to make zelnik. In Macedonia, this savory pastry’s ancestral home, children learning to make it spend years practicing under the guidance of family experts.
The name zelnik comes from the word zelje, which means "leafy greens," and is the pastry’s most traditional filling, along with sirene, a regional brined cheese similar to feta. To achieve a light, puffy crust, zelnik bakers search out pastry flour of the lightest, smallest grain possible. After sifting the flour and mixing with eggs, water, oil, and sometimes vinegar, they knead the dough and leave it to rest. Meanwhile, they prepare leeks or other fillings. Once the dough has rested, they can begin the difficult process of laminating (the process of rolling, pressing, and folding butter between layers of dough).
Rather than a traditional rolling pin, zelnik makers use a long, thin dowel to roll and stretch the dough as thin as possible. A well-executed pastry should blanket the table like a translucent sheet of chiffon. At that point, it can be filled with leeks, ground meat, or other vegetables, and delicately shaped before it is baked. The best zelniks are often formed into a spiral, with a well of greens at the center and a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top. The finished product is typically served warm with a glass of kefir, or drinking yogurt.
Round or rectangular, flat or spiraled, flaky or moist, in the...
Since 1955, the Midwest Dairy Association has crowned the winner of the annual Minnesota Dairy Princess Program as “Princess Kay of the Milky Way,” and since 1965, that woman’s head has been carved into butter.
At the State Fair, one sculptor carves twelve “butter heads” during the twelve days of the annual Minnesota State Fair, including the newly coronated princess and eleven finalists. On the first day, the crowned princess, cloaked in warm layers, joins the sculptor for six to eight hours in a 40-degree, glass-walled booth. With awestruck fairgoers passing by, the artist uses knives and a floss-like cord to transform a 90-pound block of butter into a regal likeness. Each day thereafter another finalist joins the sculptor in this chilly spectator event. As for the heads, while many contestants keep them, limited refrigerator space makes a community “corn feed” featuring warm, melted butter heads another popular option. Sliced slabs of butter heads also find their way to local schools and the occasional Princess Kay of the Milky Way wedding.
With more than 500 sculptures and 32,000 pounds of butter under her belt, Linda Christensen has been the artist behind the butter heads for more than 40 years. To get a gander at her most recent masterpieces, head to the Minnesota State Fair from late August through early September. But if you plan on doing a lot of butter-sculpture spectating, don’t forget your jacket.
At the annual Roadkill Cook-off in the West Virginia town of Marlinton, chefs compete to see who can make the tastiest dishes with animals often found by the side of the road. Attendees wander stall to stall, indulging in the likes of fried venison wontons, snapping turtle stew, teriyaki-marinated bear, and squirrel gravy over biscuits.
To be clear, it's not required that the ingredients are actual roadkill, but they must be the sort of animals that commonly find themselves the victims of traffic accidents. Think opossum, groundhog, deer, rabbit, crow, squirrel, or turkey. While contestants cannot precook their protein, they must pre-clean and pre-skin everything. Visitors strolling the grounds might see snakes sizzling on barbecue grills and thick, brown broths bubbling with black bear stew.
In addition to inventive takes on local game, the event also provides an opportunity for West Virginians to poke fun at stereotypes that some assign to the region. Recipe names run from the humorous ("Ma, them hogs are runnin' wild in the pineapple!") to the mysterious (“Busted Tailgate BBQ Macaroni and Cheese").
The first-place winner takes home bragging rights and $1,200. And just who exactly is judging these unique dishes? As the cook-off's rules stipulate, "All judges have been tested for cast-iron stomachs and have sworn under oath to have no vegetarian tendencies."
Bread-making around the world has evolved from a similar, ancient approach of combining flour, water, and sometimes yeast. But for prehistoric societies with limited tools, making bread wasn’t so simple. Given how laborious it was to make bread thousands of years ago, it’s long been associated with settled Neolithic societies—and only after the advent of agriculture.
That's no longer the case. Today, a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, the University College London, and the University of Cambridge released a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detailing their discovery of 14,400-year-old crumbs from a flatbread. The archaeological site, known as Shubayqa 1, is located in the Black Desert of northeastern Jordan and was home to Natufian hunter-gatherers. The flatbread remains are not only the oldest instance of bread found to date, but also preeminent examples of how bread-making existed even before agriculture developed some 4,000 years later.
“Nobody had found any direct evidence for production of bread, so the fact that bread predates agriculture is kind of stunning,” says Tobias Richter, a University of Copenhagen archaeologist who co-authored the paper. “Because making bread is quite labor-intensive, and you don’t necessarily get a huge return for it. So it doesn’t seem like an economical thing to do.” That’s because breadmaking doesn’t just involve baking: Back then, it would have also involved kneading, grinding cereals into fine grains, and dehusking plants.
Before the find at Shubayqa...