The Changing Vocabulary of Food

By Kate Prengaman

Sometimes, it feels like there is too much advice for healthy eating. Health food fads like gluten free, or low sugar, or whole grain or eating only local, seasonal food have all become pretty popular recently.  Fads like low fat and no carbohydrate diets seem to be fading out in the enthusiasm for the new trends.  I recently discovered Google’s ngrams viewer, a tool that you can use to view the frequency of word use in a large subset of all of the books published every year. Search for a specific word that represents a cultural idea, like “low fat diet” and you can use the graph of it’s frequency to know when it became a popular.  I wrote a larger post about the science of the ngram tool, you can read it here.

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Nutmeg’s bright red secret

By Emily Eggleston

Nutmeg is the spice of holiday cheer. And it is one of the most beautiful ingredients in my kitchen.

Photo by Nikita Avvakumov

Slicing into a whole nutmeg reveals the rivers of dark brown winding across a light tan surface. And from that surface pours a watershed of flavor.

Until mid 19th century, the only producer of nutmeg was a small group of Indonesian islands, the Banda Islands. Then the British managed to transplant a few of the lucrative trees to well-suited colonial climates. One of their transplant locations was Granada which is now the second largest producer of nutmeg. Indonesia still reigns the world of nutmeg by supplying 75% of the market and Granada comes in next with 20%. Interestingly, the flag of Granada featured nutmeg for a short time (1967-1974) before they gained independence and crafted a new flag. Keep reading for the secret…