The Drink of Viking Warlords Could Help Fight Disease

The post-antibiotic future sounds terrifying, but here’s one upside you didn’t imagine: swilling Viking crunk juice to stay alive. New research suggests that mead, the vitality drink of gods and berserkers alike, was a potent medicine in ancient times. And with science, we can make it even better.

Source: The Drink of Viking Warlords Could Help Fight Disease

It’s a little jarring to see this fallacy repeated by a scientist in the article. Basically, infant mortality was rampant in the pre-modern world. People had a lot of kids, and hoped a few might survive to adulthood. But if you made it to your teenage years, you had a chance of enjoying nearly the same degree of longevity we do these days.

There was more war and a much greater chance of animal attack, but you could expect to have better cardio vascular health than most modern people and until recently, unless you were rich you could expect to finish life with most of your teeth, because you would most likely never taste sugar.

You could still die by fever, injury, infection and so on and for a lot of things like that, that are trivial maladies to us today, once you started down that road, the prognosis was grim. But it wasn’t like “wow, you’re thirty years old, what’s the secret of your longevity ?” It would be more like “Wow, three of your six siblings survived childhood, your family is good stock”.

Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.

Ponder the Physics of Chocolate Fountains During Your New Year’s Revels

New Year’s revelers will be heading out to all kinds of parties tonight, and chances are a good percentage will be tempted by the presence of a chocolate fountain—just a teensy bit of indulgence before those resolutions kick in. Perhaps those with a scientific bent could find themselves pondering, just for a moment, the complicated physics involved in all that chocolaty goodness.

Source: Ponder the Physics of Chocolate Fountains During Your New Year’s Revels

I’m going to the wrong parties… 😦

Make This Digestive Tonic to Relieve the Pain of Holiday Overeating

Mint, ginger, fennel, and cayenne are known for their digestive properties. Turn this into a spritzer by using club soda instead of water.

Source: Overeater’s Tonic

Never tried anything remotely like this, nor do I know anyone who has used something like it beyond napping.  If necessary, I just take Tums antacid for heartburn…

Make the Year’s Trendiest Condiment With Two Basic Ingredients

Admit it, you thought this was going to be about pumpkin spice… That article can be found here 😉

Hot honey can be made 3 months ahead. Keep chilled.

Source: Hot Honey

It turns out that to make the stuff, all you really need is honey, chiles, and 90 minutes of time. But it’s missing one important detail:

  • Use fresh chilies, as dried will not impart the heat and flavor as well.

You can also make hotter stuff using habenero.

This DIY Bourbon Concoction Will Soothe Your Scratchy Throat

It seems like winter colds strike with a vengeance right now, at the end of the season. In my household we drink literally gallons of ginger and honey tea during the cold months. Fresh ginger tea is delicious, and it wards off colds pretty well. But when I was felled last week by a particularly nasty cough, I had to turn to something stronger.

Source: Recipe: Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups

In Ireland, it’s called a “hot whiskey”, but undiluted with boiling water.   In Canada/US, it’s known as “hot toddy” (or “hot totty”).

Or you can try the Greek way:

  • true Greek yogurt, with thyme honey, and cinnamon
  • Longly boiled black tea, with thyme honey, lots of fresh lemon juice and a shot of whisky if you like it.

You can add ginger to any of these, but I recommend reading about the vitamin K content in ginger first.

Five Crazy Ways Humans Have Preserved Their Bodies Throughout History

Nobody can cheat death, but for thousands of years, humans have tried to elude decomposition. Whether we’re saving our bodies for the afterlife or time traveling to a better future, peoples throughout history have gone to astounding lengths to preserve their mortal remains.

Here are five fascinating ways human corpses have defied the natural process of decay.

Source: Five Crazy Ways Humans Have Preserved Their Bodies Throughout History

Girolamo Segato (Do not Google this guy’s other work if you aren’t fond of dead babies. Yuck.) was an Italian anatomist in around 1800, he discovered a method of artificial petrifaction.  According to a contemporary of his American surgeon Valentine Mott, Segato “had discovered a chemical process by which he could actually petrify, in very short time, every animal substance, preserving permanently, and with minute accuracy, its form and internal texture, and in such a state of stony hardness that it could be sawed into slabs and elegantly polished!”

Segato, fearing that his methods would be stolen, destroyed all his notes about how he achieved this feat before dying unexpectedly at 44.  He took his secrets with him.  Despite many tests on the petrified remains, may of which are housed in the Museum of the Department of Anatomy in Florence, modern science has no idea how he did it.

Why Some Honey Tastes Like Cat Pee

Walk into a high-end health food store these days, and you’re bound to find a shelf of pricey specialty honeys purporting to tickle your tastebuds with distinctive flavors. But isn’t it all just one big marketing ploy? Do they really taste that much different from standard honey? The science says yes.

Source: Why Some Honey Tastes Like Cat Pee

Sometimes, I’m envious of those who can taste more than I do.  Not this time… 😉

Make Granola from Anything You Have On Hand With This Ratio

Memorize this technique, and you’ll never buy granola again.

Source: Granola Is Better and Easier to Make Without a Recipe

Having trouble finding cost effective rolled oats?  Look for Quaker Rolled Oats in the cereal aisle.

Bonus: If you are making granola and you want big chunks, pack all your ingredients tightly together on a baking sheet (I find it easier on a lipped baking sheet but plain should work fine). Once the granola is baked and cooled, you can break it into chunks.

Stop Peeling Your Root Vegetables

I have a confession that would make my culinary school instructor (a mildly terrifying Frenchman from Corsica whom we called “Chef X”) get red in the face, shout, and pelt me with potatoes: I don’t always peel my vegetables. In fact, I rarely do. Carrots? Yeah, right. Beets? Absolutely not. Potatoes? I would never! Squash? Well, depending on the variety, I don’t even peel those babies, either. Not only is it much easier to skip that step, but the skin is where all the good stuff—i.e. fiber—is at.

Source: Nope, You Don’t Have to Peel Carrots, Beets, or Even Squash

If you’re concerned about pesticides, then you should peel your veggies.  But you’ll ingest the pesticides anyways – root vegetables would have absorbed them as part of growing and would have very little on the surface.  Given that synthetic pesticides are safer to consume than organic ones by virtue of being designed as such…you really have nothing to worry about.