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An accidental invention: the history of the Popsicle

watermelon jalapeno ice pops Popsicles define summertime for many US children. The brightly-colored, fruit-flavored frozen treats are the perfect foil to a hot, sticky summer afternoon. Popsicles are adored by children but did you know that they were also invented by one? NPR's The Salt tells the story of how an 11-year-old accidentally created the frozen treat over 100 years ago.

In 1905, Frank Epperson, a boy living in the San Francisco Bay area, "mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight. It was a cold night, and the mixture froze. In the morning, Epperson devoured the icy concoction, licking it off the wooden stirrer." He named his invention the "Epsicle" and began selling the treat around his neighborhood. Several years later Epperson applied for a patent and changed the name, at the urging of his kids, to what they were calling the treat - Popsicle (Pops' sicle).

While the story of the Popsicle's creation is charming, it doesn't have a very happy ending. A broke Epperson sold the rights to his creation to the Joe Lowe Co. in the late 1920s: "I was flat and had to liquidate all my assets," he later said. "I haven't been the same since." Popsicle remained independent until 1989, when food giant Unilever scooped up the rights to the frozen treat. 

While Popsicles may be perfect for kids, the EYB Library has recipes for frozen pops that will suit young and old alike. Try the Watermelon-jalapeño ice pops from Cooking Light Magazine by David Bonom (pictured above) or the highly-rated Yogurt ice pops with berries (Paletas de yogurt con moras) from Paletas by Fany Gerson. You'll find over 300 more fruit and cream ice pop recipes in the Library.


Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Do you find other people's comments on recipes helpful? Have you written your own recipe Notes? It's a great way to remind yourself how a dish turned out and share your experience with the EYB community. On each Recipe Details page you'll find a Notes tab.

Adding online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf is a really great way to expand your personal recipe collection. You can now do this even if you have a free membership!

We're featuring online recipes from these books, magazines and blogs - check them out.

Happy cooking & baking everyone!
From UK books:

25 recipes from The Edible Atlas by Mina Holland, editor of indexed The Guardian Cook
(Published as The World on a Plate in the US)
Enter our giveaway (Ends Aug 19th -- US/UK only)

21 recipes (many with videos!) from The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes from a Chinese Family Kitchen by Amy & Julie Zhang 
Enter our giveaway (Ends Aug 20th -- UK only)

10 recipes from The Art of French Baking by Ginette Mathiot 
(Buy from the Phaidon website using coupon code EYB to save 35%!)

10 recipes from Celebrity Bake Book, edited by Linda Morris, indexed by an EYB member

From AUS/NZ books:

3 recipes from David Herbert's Best-Ever Baking Recipes, indexed by an EYB member

From US books:

31 recipes from Feeding the Fire: Recipes and Strategies for Better Barbecue and Grilling
by Joe Carroll & Nick Fauchald

8 recipes from Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto 
by Aaron Franklin & Jordan Mackay, indexed by an EYB member

28 recipes from Weber's On the Grill: Steak & Sides 
by Jamie Purviance, indexed by an EYB member

19 recipes from Weber's On the Grill: Chicken & Sides,
by Jamie Purviance, indexed by an EYB member

Why you should try rye

The Scofflaw cocktail

Until recently, rye whiskey was thought of as an old-fashioned spirit imbibed by the likes of a gumshoe detective in a paperback mystery. That is changing, however, due to a US-led rye whiskey revival. According to The Telegraph, a "resurgence in artisanal distilling and aging in America has led to a rye renaissance. Old brands have been revived, new brands born, and the most grown-up of American whiskies is back." And it's better than ever, which means it's time to try a rye-based cocktail.

Arguably the most famous rye cocktail is the Manhattan. The story of its invention is (like many cocktails) in dispute. The Manhattan traces back to "a banquet either in honour of Winston Churchill's mother or losing presidential candidate Samuel J Tilden in the late 19th Century." The drink comes dry, perfect or sweet, depending on which type of vermouth and the amount you like to use.

There are newer cocktails that celebrate the spirit, like the Red Hook, which dates back to the 1980s and NYC bartender Enzo Enrico, or the even more recent Conference cocktail from the team behind Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails. Whether you want to revisit a classic or find something new, the EYB Library features over 200 drinks highlighting rye whiskey, like these popular libations:

The slope (Time for a Drink) from Serious Eats
Artillery punch from The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
Hibiscus Sazerac from Food Network Magazine by Masaharu Morimoto
The scofflaw cocktail from The Kitchn (pictured above)
Rye and maple fizz from Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine
Caraway rye cocktail from Food & Wine Magazine by Richard Blais

Scientists think they've discovered a sixth taste

bacon fatFor centuries, people described food in terms of four basic tastes: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. More recently a Japanese chemist discovered a fifth taste, umami, which is triggered by glutamates. Now scientists say they have found a sixth basic taste, and they believe it could profoundly change the way we eat.

This new basic taste doesn't get a fancy new name because it is already familiar to everyone - it's fat. Scientists have long known that receptors in our mouths recognize fat, which led them to speculate that it could change the way we perceive food in the same way that other basic tastes do. Now scientists have discovered the evidence to back up their theory.

Richard Mattes, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, is the lead author of the study. He explained the results to The Washington Post: "We already knew that people have a taste receptor for fatty acids; now we know that it's a distinguishable taste - that it doesn't have overlap. The combination of those two things is what's important," he said.

When you eat, fat isn't perceived by itself, just like you don't immediately perceive that the color green is a combination of blue and yellow. In the same manner, "when you eat a food that contains fat, you don't immediately perceive the taste produced by the fatty acid. But it's there, and it's distinct." 

You may be surprised to learn that fat, when isolated from other flavors, doesn't taste good. "It's very harsh," said Mattes. But other basic tastes operate in the same manner. The bitter taste and MSG also aren't appealing outside of the food products in which they are found, but they contribute significantly to foods we love like chocolate and beer. "Many things that are unpleasant in isolation in fact contribute greatly to the appeal of foods," Mattes reminds us. "Fat is a perfect example."

This finding will change the way food companies approach flavor. Until now, they've mostly focused on the "mouthfeel" of fat rather than the flavor. Mattes thinks that if these companies learn to manipulate the taste of fat correctly, they can make many foods taste better by finding better substitutes or using fat molecules as a flavor enhancer. 

Photo of Rendering bacon fat from Cooking Light Magazine

The Great British Bake Off returns

Great British Bakeoff

It might be hard to believe, but the Great British Bake Off returns on 1 August for another season. The show has spawned several new stars and at least 20 cookbooks, some by contestants and some from hosts Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. The Guardian caught up with the show's presenters, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, to discuss the show as it approaches the premiere of its sixth season.

When asked how they retain their "famous normalness" when working on the biggest show on TV, Sue replies "We're the same people we were when we met as teenagers. We've had lots of ups and downs, so we don't link our career success to our personal happiness. You learn how to do that when you lose everything and become very badly unemployed, as we did." Mel chimes in, saying "It helps having extremely grounded families."

The pair discuss what they think the future holds and reply in their trademark off-the-cuff manner. They get a bit more serious when discussing the contestants, however. Says Sue ""A lot of people, women particularly, have come to this programme to find out who they are. They've spent a life doing things for other people, they're mothers, daughters, and now it's time for them. To see that spark of independence and self-worth is really something. I don't want to be too meta about it, because it is just a show about cakes, but..." and this is where Mel chimes in, "...it means a lot to people."

When talking with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, the focus of the conversation changes a bit. They discuss their relationship, which is described as "most similar to that of a stubborn son and his long suffering mother." Mainly, though, they talk about the contestants. When asked why he thinks they want to be on the show, Paul states "It's about the challenge. To push themselves. Where's your benchmark? You want to be the best. It takes a certain type of person. A strong person. Confident. You have to be a pretty good baker as well." Mary notes that over the seasons, "the bakers have really changed. Now they're savvy, and they know what's expected of them. The standard has gone up. Paul and I are trying to get it back to basics."

Are you planning to watch the sixth season of the show? Which of the show's many cookbooks is your favourite?

Noma popup slated for Australia

Noma cookbooks

The chef of the number one restaurant in the world is taking his show on the road once again again. René Redzepi is packing up everything, include his entire 60-person staff, and will open a popup version of Noma in Sydney for 10 weeks beginning in January. Redzepi notes that the weather was at least one factor in choosing the location for the popup, as he was partly motivated by the thought of his three children learning to surf. "There is a unique shoreline culture in Australia and you definitely feel that as visiting northern Europeans," he said.

The avant garde chef will continue his signature style of finding creative ways to use native foods. He's already spent time foraging in the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia to get ideas for the menu. "I have always been attracted to the incredible diversity you find in Australia's landscapes and ingredients, because they are like no other place I've seen before," said Redzepi.

There is no word yet on how much lunch or dinner at Noma Australia will cost. Expressions of interest in attending the restaurant will be taken at www.noma.dk/australia, and plans are for the spot to be open for lunch and dinner five days a week over the 10-week period. It's not yet clear whether the restaurant will follow the lead of Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck Australia, which utilised a ballot to allocate the limited number of tables. That restaurant attracted 90,000 people for the available 14,000 seats.

Weights and measures

strawberries on scale

More and more home bakers are using scales to improve their baking. Precision is important to achieving consistent results, but it can be a pain to convert volume measures into ounces or grams. A few conversion charts are tucked away on manufacturer or baking websites, but the folks at King Arthur Flour have an extraordinarily comprehensive list on their website.

This list includes both ounces and grams, which is sure to please those outside the US (and bakers like me who prefer to use the metric system). Also included are weights for many types of specialty flours, including those made from ancient grains like teff and quinoa, that seem to be springing up everywhere. In addition to nearly every type of flour imaginable, the chart has entries for many dairy products, including several cheeses; fruits both fresh and dried; baking ingredients like leaveners, nuts, and chocolates; fats and oils; and even a few herbs and vegetables.

The beginning of the list skews heavily to products made by King Arthur flour and there is a caveat: it appears the measurements are those for "spoon and sweep" recipes, not "dip and sweep" ones. (The latter is where you dip your measuring cup directly into the flour then level off the top.) Make sure to read the foreward in your cookbook to see how the author instructs you to measure flour.

Dip and sweep is usually 4.75 to 5 ounces per cup (Cook's Illustrated uses the latter measurement). While this chart says that 1 cup of unbleached, all purpose flour is 4.25 ounces, many other charts go up to 4.5 ounces per cup. In most recipes this won't be a crucial difference, but if you don't have success with the lesser amount, try again with the larger one - and be sure to note it in your cookbook for future reference.

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

At Eat Your Books we want to bring you the best recipes - our dedicated team searches out and finds online recipes excerpted from newly indexed cookbooks and magazines. New recipes from the best blogs are indexed daily and members index their favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet all the time.

Below you'll find this week's recommendations from the EYB team.

Remember you can add any of these online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf - it's a great way to expand your personal recipe collection.

Happy cooking and baking everyone!
From AUS/NZ books:

Beesting Cake recipe from A Year's Worth: Recipes from the Dunsandel Store
by Sam Mannering & Annabel Graham, indexed by an EYB member

From Canadian books:

5 recipes from Grow Your Own, Eat Your Own: Bob Flowerdew's Guide to Making the Most of Your Garden Produce, indexed by an EYB member

From US books:

Publisher Penguin pulls the plug on its Australian cookbook imprint

Lantern cookbooksPenguin Random House's Lantern imprint has published top selling cookbooks from a veritable Who's Who of Australian food writers and chefs from David Thompson to Kylie Kwong. Despite the success of books like Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, Penguin announced that it is shutting down the Lantern cookbook division in 2016.

Lantern was created by Julie Gibbs, its publishing director, just over ten years ago. Gibbs will depart at the end of this year. The imprint was known for its opulent design that won many international awards. CEO Gabrielle Coyne said the changing retail environment is to blame for Lantern's demise. "The prevailing market conditions mean there is no longer the retail footprint there once was to support the number of illustrated books in our future 2016 and 2017 programme," she said.

The publisher was also embroiled in controversy over author Belle Gibson's cookbook, The Whole Pantry. Earlier this year, details about Gibson falsifying her illness emerged, causing the publisher to pull the book. Lantern's demise signals the "end of the golden era" for cookbook publishers. 

Attention budding cookbook authors

kitchen tools

If you are a cookbook lover, chances are you have considered writing your own cookbook. Maybe your friends suggested it or you came up with an idea for a spectacular layout while struggling to cook from a poorly designed book. But even though many of us have likely toyed with the idea, we have shrugged it off because it requires resources beyond our reach.

That's where Page Street Publishing comes in. The company has joined forces with cookbook author Kimberly Yorio to create a contest in which the grand prize is a contract to write a cookbook for Page Street. The campaign is the brainchild of Page Street's publisher and editor-in-chief Will Kiester. "I am an optimist," said Kiester. "I believe that hidden in great kitchens across the nation are people whose cooking is so good that it should be collected, curated and presented."

If you think you've got what it takes, there is a long list of requirements: You must put together a proposal that includes: a description of the cookbook, an explanation of how the book will distinguish itself from others, your biography, a table of contents, a list of 15 different recipes, and details about the marketing power you'll bring via social media and other platforms. The deadline to enter is August 1, so there's no time to waste if you are interested in entering. 

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