The Salt

Sometime around the turn of the last century, a blood-red, flint-hard "dent" corn with a rich and oily germ made its way from Appalachia to the islands of Charleston, S.C. The corn was grown out by local farmers and bootleggers, who found that it made spectacular hooch, or moonshine whiskey.

Wintertime is a special time of year at Cafe Berlin, located just a few blocks from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

This is when they roll out their menu of wild game, such as deer, wild boar, and quail. Regular customers have come to expect it. "They ask, weeks in advance, 'When does the wild game menu start? When does it start?' " says James Watson, one of the restaurant's chefs.

Exercise is great for your health. But if you're looking to lose weight in the new year, you should know this: How much you eat ultimately matters more than how much you work out.

Like a lot of Americans, I've got some extra pounds to shed. So about two months ago, I started tracking everything I eat using an app called Lose It! It's one of several apps out there — like MyFitnessPal and MyPlate – designed to help you watch your diet. When I eat something, I can look up how many calories it contains in the app. If my food isn't listed, I add it myself.

Chef Carla Hall had never heard of "friendship bread" before someone gave her a plastic zip-top bag full of a yeasty, mushy starter. As a young caterer just starting out, she got busy baking up a storm and was excited to tell her friend some days later about everything she had made.

Instead of being delighted, her friend just stared at her. "You used it all up?" she asked. "That's not the point. You're supposed to just use some of it, and then pass it on to someone else. That's why it's called friendship bread."

All Things Considered host Robert Siegel likes a good cocktail. He also likes to talk about cocktails.

For the past few years, right before New Year's Eve, he has talked with Emma Allen, who covered the New York City bar scene for The New Yorker and now edits the magazine's famous cartoons.

This year, she had a surprise for him.

Oenophiles have debated the most desirable characteristics of bubbles in champagne and sparkling wines for centuries, with most purists swearing that the smaller the bubble, the better the wine. But up until recently, few thought to listen to the bubbles themselves for answers.

There are few regions in the world where you can make true "ice wine," a sweet, dessert-style vintage. You need warm summers to grow quality grapes. But the fruit must be picked and pressed when it's well below freezing. So you need frigid winters.

Most of the ice wine in the U.S. is imported from Canada or Germany. But a growing number of wineries in places like upstate New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania have started making their own, giving American consumers the option of buying domestically produced bottles.

Allie Hill got really serious about eating local food about eight years ago. She was cooking for three young children. "I was able to go to the farmers' market and find my produce — fruits and veggies," she says. "I was able to find meat, and even some dairy."

She simply couldn't find local version of other foods, though. These are foods that fill her pantry, like marinara sauce, apple sauce and everything else that comes to us preserved in sealed jars and cans.

Americans Love Spices. So Why Don't We Grow Them?

Dec 26, 2017

Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves are probably ramping up in importance in your spice cabinet right about now — the classic flavors of the winter season. But while you might be shopping for local ingredients for your favorite recipes for eggnog or maple-glazed ham, the odds are that the spices you're using were imported from the other side of the world.

Lior Lev Sercarz thinks spices should be local, too.

Regular sprinkles — you know, the ones coated in wax and lacking in flavor — can be found at any grocery store for a dollar or two.

Gourmet sprinkles, on the other hand, go for up to $20 a bottle. For example, that could be 8 ounces of tiny sugar rods, coated in silver and gold and mixed with miniature rice paper cutouts of unicorns and Christmas trees.

Elizabeth Butts is a cake decorator in Katy, Texas. When she couldn't find some very specific shades of blue, green, and black sprinkles for a baby shower cake, she decided to make her own sprinkle mix.

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