The Salt

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About War And Food?

6 hours ago

When we think of tools of warfare, we tend to think of spears, guns and other types of militaristic weaponry. But throughout history, food has often been a critical component of war — inspiring conflict and, in some cases, delivering victory. War and peace? More like war and peas.

We've created a quiz to test your knowledge of just a few examples of how the history of food and war are intermingled. Can you defeat the questions?

In the summertime, the air is thick with the low humming of bees delivering pollen from one flower to the next. If you listen closely, a louder buzz may catch your ear.

If you're a taxpayer, you're in on this system.

We — the U.S. taxpayers — help subsidize farmers by paying part of the premiums on their crop insurance. This helps ensure that farmers don't go belly up, and also protects against food shortages.

They call it "The Hummus Wars."

Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal hummus and make it their national dish, explains Ronit Vered, a food journalist with the newspaper Haaretz in Tel Aviv. And so hummus became a symbol, she tells us, "a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East."

The war began over a 4,532-pound plate of hummus.

Most of us — and by "us," I mean urban and suburban consumers like me — don't usually get to meet the people who pick our apples, oranges or strawberries.

So about a year ago, I decided to launch a series of stories about the people who harvest some of America's iconic seasonal foods. Many of these workers move from place to place, following the seasons.

Where Did Agriculture Begin? Oh Boy, It's Complicated

Jul 15, 2016

Sometime around 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors began trying their hand at farming.

First, they grew wild varieties of crops like pea, lentil and barley, and herded wild animals like goat and wild ox. Centuries later, they switched to farming full-time, breeding both animals and plants, creating new varieties and breeds. Eventually, they migrated outward, spreading farming to parts of Europe and Asia.

After years of bitter debate and legislative stalemate over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, a compromise proposal sailed through Congress in breathtaking speed over the past three weeks.

The House of Representative passed the measure on Thursday with solid support from both Democrats and Republicans. It now goes to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it.

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About French Food?

Jul 14, 2016

To the familiar French national motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternité," one could well add "gastronomie!" The Fr

Neanderthal Dinner: Reindeer With A Side Of Cannibalism

Jul 14, 2016

They were Neanderthals living roughly 40,000 years ago in a cave in Goyet, Belgium — and they were eaten by their own kind. That's the finding of a recent study published in Scientific Reports. The authors report that Neanderthal bones found in this cave show signs of being butchered, cracked to extract marrow, then used to shape tools.

These are undeniable signs of cannibalism, says anthropologist and study author Hélène Rougier of California State University, Northridge.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

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