The history of the chili pepper

chili peppers

Matthew Wills wrote a great piece on the long, wonderful history of the chili pepper. Straight off the bat, we get educated on something most people associate with chilis—hotness:

Not all chilis are hot. Some are mildly sweet, others comfortably warming. Used in widely different cuisines on every continent, chilis originated in the Western Hemisphere. “Chili” itself comes from a Nahuatl word.

But I prefer the hot ones. In small quantities, not super hot, and preferably in flake form. I also enjoy videos of people eating chilis such as AyyOnline and this classic.

Oh, and for anyone who wonders why water doesn’t help when you’ve eaten a chili: it’s because the water spreads the capsaicin (the alkaline chemical that produces the burning sensation) across your mouth. Therefore you need an acid to neutralise it; drinks like milk (which contains lactic acid) and any citrus juice will help.

Related: Hellboy Right Hand of Doom hot sauce, the world’s hottest gummy bear and Gabrielle Union eating hot wings on Hot Ones.

Burger King rebrand is simple, nostalgic, and effective

You may have heard about Burger King’s recent rebrand, their first in over 20 years. Older customers may also think the “new” logo looks the same as the logo used between 1994–1999.

It’s fundamentally similar but there are noticeable differences and I’m sure a designer could explain why they’re significant. But a rebrand is more than a different logo.

But my favourite part? This ingenious monogram.

It’s a B and a K and it looks like a condensed version of the fuller logo, in the style of a burger (or as Jason Kottke called it, “The Slider”).

The Flame brand font family was designed by Colophon Foundry in bold, regular and sans, reminiscent of Cooper Black and Raphael Abreu, global head of design for Burger King’s parent company, told It’s Nice That he “wanted a font that make people want to take a bite out of it.”

“We are also very playful and bold in how we use the new font. There is a variable version where we stretch and compress it and create expressive and impactful illustrations with it.”

Unfortunately, I swore off ever eating from Burger King 20 years ago this year after a bad experience and, well, I’m not going to change that. But I still love The Slider.

Hungarian cuisine: 5 delicious dishes & recipes

Our article on Hungarian chess master Paul Charles Dozsa has been quite popular (although we now know the man from the meme was actually Cecil George Edwards). But regardless, it got me thinking—what are the best dishes in Hungarian cuisine?

In this list, I’ll be looking at 5 recipes and dishes from Hungary.

1. Goulash (gulyás)

Let’s get goulash out of the way. In the realms of Hungarian cuisine, this dish is the one everyone thinks of. The name originates from gulyás, a word for “herdsmen”. It still means that but it also takes the meaning of the actual stew. There’s also gulyásleves which is a thinner soup than goulash.

Most modern recipes include tomatoes but they were nowhere to be seen in the original recipes. Meats in goulash recipes include lamb, pork, beef, and veal and a wide variety of vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots and peppers. To quote my friend, Tom: “Goulash in a bread basket is also beautiful.”

Beef Goulash - Hungarian Beef Goulash Recipe - Paprika Beef Stew

2. Chicken paprikash (paprikás csirke/csirkepaprikás)

I love to season my meat with paprika (keep your mind out of the gutter, please) and so do the Hungarians. They love the paprika peppers and spice so much, they have two museums dedicated to them. For chicken paprikash, the meat is cooked in a roux containing paprika, then simmered in a sauce for around 40 minutes.

Fun fact: Jonathan Harker ate chicken paprikash while he travelled to Dracula’s castle in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. (And in case you didn’t know, Transylvania was part of the Hungarian Empire until the 20th century.)

3. Pörkölt

It’s another meat stew. Pörkölt is similar to goulash in that it contains meat (boneless), paprika, and vegetables. But the main difference between pörkölt and goulash is the latter has more gravy and the meats can contain bones.

The most popular variant of this Hungarian dish contains beef and onion as detailed in this Daring Gourmet recipe. Pork is another popular choice, served with nokedli like the one in the Where Is My Spoon recipe.

4. Sour cherry soup (meggyleves)

Let me preface this by saying: I hate cherries. So the idea of a cold sour cherry soup is hell for me. But not for the Hungarian population so my opinion is invalid here.

Meggyleves is made with sour cherries (which come in 2 variants: Morello cherries and Amarelle cherries). It’s traditionally served as a dinner course, either as a starter, main soup or a dessert and it works best served during the summer.

Random fact: Turkey produced 187,941 tonnes of sour cherries in 2012, compared to Hungary’s 53,425 tonnes.

5. Spätzle (nokedli)

Spätzle, or nokedli, is a type of pasta made with fresh eggs, bread flour, and salt. The geographic origin of spätzle is unknown, leading to many nations claiming it as theirs.

The pasta is best known as a German delicacy but Hungarians love it and serve it with soup or you could have it with cherries in kirschspätzle.

Honourable mentions

You should also try:

  • Palacsinta (a thin crêpe-like variety of pancake)
  • Halászlé (a hot, spicy paprika-based fish soup)
  • Főzelék (a thick Hungarian vegetable stew or soup)
  • Dobosh (a Hungarian sponge cake)
  • Lángos (a deep fried flatbread although my friend Tom recommends to have it at a restaurant rather than a takeaway)

Hungarian cookbooks to buy

Enjoyed all the food? Want to nose dive into the world of Hungarian cuisine? Check out the list of books below and experience Hungary without leaving the comfort of your sofa. Well, you’ll have to make the short journey from there to the kitchen but someone’s got to do it.

How to make a smashburger (by J. Kenji López-Alt)

The late night smashburger

I’ve given way too much money to Five Guys this year. I tried my hand at making one and, while it wasn’t the same, it was tasty nonetheless. The basic premise is the same for most modern burger outlets:

  • 2 flattened beef patties
  • Cheese slices in between
  • An assortment of fillings (my faves are pickles, ketchup, and mustard)

American chef J. Kenji López-Alt made a video in March demonstrating his way of making a “late night smashed cheeseburger” in the style of a smashburger, as popularised by the fast food chain Smashburger.

My mouth watered throughout the video so stream it below and let us know what you’d have in your smashburger.

Late Night Smashed Cheeseburger

Beef related: Burger King’s rebrand and Salt Bae: the king of steaks.

How to brew Chinese tea correctly

How to brew Chinese tea right

Forget everything you know about brewing Chinese tea as Goldthread has the inside scoop.

In their video, they look at the “right” way to brew Chinese tea, including the ceremonial process known as gongfu cha:

Gongfu means skill, and cha means tea. It’s a form of Chinese tea service that dates back to the 14th century in Fujian. It places emphasis on the tea’s taste, temperature, and quality.

The ceremony of gongfu cha is a far cry from the American TikToker who made tea in a microwave with a truckload of sugar and milk. If there was a spectrum of tea making, China and the US would be on either side.

Stream the video below.

How to Brew Chinese Tea the Right Way

Tea related: Is tea the new wine?

Bon Appetit but with more POCs and the racism isn't addressed

You may remember our piece on the racist unravelling of Bon Appetit. Well, Jack Saint returned with highlights of his stream dissecting the return of Bon Appetit. Tl;dr: it’s been gutted, filled with more POCs in front of the camera, they barely addressed what happened, and when they did, it was like putting on a plaster on a gangrene wound.

That said, Jack goes in depth and the rawness of it having been live worked well alongside the plastic, corporate feel of the Bon Appetit reboot which didn’t work for me at all. Chris Morocco’s segment was particularly nauseating and those meatballs aren’t meatballs as far as I’m concerned. It’s nice to see more Black and Brown chefs being able to make dishes meaningful to them and discuss the stories behind them but it feels like too little to late (and that’s at no fault to the POCs making the food).

Stream the highlights below and you’ll see what I mean.

So Bon Appetit Started Uploading Again... | Stream Highlights

TMK Creamery makes vodka from milk

Cowcohol vodka

The classic White Russian cocktail comprises of vodka, a coffee liqueur and cream, served with ice. If you don’t have cream, milk will do. But what if you could make the vodka out of milk too? That’s where TMK Creamery comes in.

Todd Koch is the owner of TMK Creamery and his idea of making vodka from milk came after reading about Dr. Paul Hughes—an Assistant Professor of Distilled Spirits at Oregon State University— who had tested whether a way to ferment whey into a neutral spirits base solution that was “both environmentally sustainable and cost-effective for small creameries”.

Large, corporate-owned creameries can afford the expensive equipment that converts whey into profitable products such as protein powder. But at his family-owned, 20-cow farmstand creamery, Koch and his wife simply fed their whey into the fields through a nutrient management system. Rather than continue to bury the byproduct, Koch decided to ferment as a means of profitably upcycling the whey while bringing visibility to his animals. He teamed up with Dr. Hughes and a nearby distiller to manufacture the creamery’s newest product: a clear, vodka-like liquor they call “Cowcohol.”

Cowcohol. Genius.

But, according to Atlas Obscura, Koch isn’t the only “cowcohol” distiller in the world.

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura and check out how they make vodka from tulips in the Netherlands.

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Despite the inedible qualities of Homer’s moon waffles, they never failed to make hungry. So I was thrilled when I found Binging with Babish had attempted to make them—the “official” way and the Babish way.

For those unaware of Homer Simpson’s “Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles”, they appeared in the episode “Homer the Heretic” (S4E03) when Homer skips church and discovers the freedom of a Sunday morning. On one Sunday morning, he makes some waffles with the following ingredients:

  • 1 waffle iron (which will be ruined by the end)
  • 1 bag of waffle batter
  • 1 bag of caramel cubes
  • 1 bottle of liquid smoke
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 wooden skewer

When Babish tried it, it didn’t turn out so well for his tastebuds or his waffle iron (RIP). But he did make a Babish variant which looked significantly better.

Stream it below and check out the recipe on the Binging with Babish website.

Binging with Babish: Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Babish related: The $5 milkshake from Pulp Fiction

The $5 milkshake from Pulp Fiction

Of all the things I remember from Pulp Fiction, the $5 shake that Mia Wallace ordered isn’t one of them. But you can’t spell insignificant without significant and Binging with Babish tried to recreate it.

The issue was getting the total cost of the ingredients up to $5 and making it taste that way and in true Babish style, he pushed the boat out with multiple variations of increasing costs.

The final attempt was decadence beyond the realms of human decency but, hey, it sounded like it tasted good. I wonder how Babish would do with an expensive Boston Cooler.

Stream the video below.

Binging with Babish: $5 Shake from Pulp Fiction

Related: Homer Simpson’s Moon Waffles, the safety of milk, and how to make MooMoo Milk.

Salt Bae: the King of Steaks

Salt Bae

I always thought Salt Bae was an overrated gimmick thing but I’ve watched this compilation and I’m more of a fan and incredibly hungry.

Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gökçe, is a Turkish butcher, chef, and owner of Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses. In 2017, his famous Ottoman Steak video went viral and he became known as Salt Bae, due to the way he sprinkled salt on his meat.

His unorthodox style of cutting and cooking meat is almost mesmerising, if not poor kitchen etiquette. But it’s all for the ‘Gram and he’s served for the likes of David Beckham, Karim Benzema, and even posed with Fidel Castro before he died.

But amongst the salt sprinkling and weird meat slicing, are his steak houses any good? No said critics of his New York branch describing it as “overpriced”, “Public Rip-off No. 1”, “mundane” and the hamburgers “overcooked”. But rich people aren’t known for good taste and, given Salt Bae’s penchant for entertainment, that’s probably why they frequent his establishments.

Backhanded compliments aside, stream the video below, and if you get wasted at Nusr-Et, make some İşkembe Çorbası, an authentic Turkish hangover cure.

Is milk a healthy drink or a poison?

A glass of milk

Who knew milk could cause such a stir? With the UK leaving the EU, a US-UK trade deal could see cow’s milk contain an undesirable ingredient: more pus.

US rules allow milk to have nearly double the level of somatic cells – white blood cells that fight bacterial infection – that the UK allows. In practice, this means more pus in our milk, and more infections going untreated in cows. Much US milk would be deemed unfit for human consumption in Britain.

With this in mind, Kurzgesagt produced a video entitled “Milk. White Poison or Healthy Drink?” for its channel:

Over the last decade, milk has become a bit controversial. Some people say it’s a necessary and nutritious food, vital for healthy bones, but others say it can cause cancer and lead to an early death. So who is right? And why are we drinking it anyway?

But it’s not just cow’s milk that has its share of controversy. Oatly, the popular oat milk brand, has been in the news after selling its stake to Blackstone, a private equity firm accused of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon. It’s also linked to President Trump.

There are also environmental issues with other cow’s milk alternatives such as almond milk. According to Pete Hemingway from Sustainable Restaurant Association, it takes over 6,000 litres of water to produce a litre of almond milk. Not exactly eco-friendly. If someone in your family is suffering, it better to ask your doctor is diverticulitis hereditary.

We still have pea milk, moose milk and donkey milk, I suppose.

Milk. White Poison or Healthy Drink?

Hellboy Right Hand of Doom Hot Sauce

Hellboy Right Hand of Doom Hot Sauce

Fancy a taste of hell? Then you should try Hellboy Right Hand of Doom hot sauce from Pepper Explosion.

According to the site, the hot sauce was officially licenced for the 2019 remake of Hellboy and sizzles at 6.66 million Scoville Heat Units. This is thanks to a demonic blend of Trinidad Scorpion Butch T peppers and red Habanero peppers.

However, Right Hand of Doom is not cheap, coming in at $17.98. But if you’ve got the money burning a wallet, use it to buy some sauce that can burn a hole in your stomach lining.

For more hot sauce extravagance, check out Gabrielle Union on Hot Ones, the world’s hottest gummy bear, and the funniest chili pepper challenge I’ve ever seen.

Mountain Dew Cheesecake

Mountain Dew Cheesecake

It was a sad day when they nerfed Mountain Dew in the UK because of the sugar tax. When my cousin introduced it to me in 2003, I’d never tasted anything so sugary, watery, or green in my life. But thanks to Tastemade and James Lamprey, there’s a new way to add the sugar back in the form of a Mountain Dew cheesecake.

Tastemade’s version comes in a rectangle and uses a “Mountain Dew Glaze” containing 1 cup of Mountain Dew and a tablespoon of powdered gelatine but James Lamprey’s version involves no baking and uses a Mountain Dew syrup (1 cup of Mountain Dew with a helluva lot of sugar and corn syrup).

These recipes are not for the faint of heart (literally). If you want something lighter, try a banana bread bottom cheesecake instead.

Mountain Dew Cheesecake | How to Make Mtn Dew Cheesecake
Nothing Was The Same After This MOUNTAIN DEW CHEESECAKE Recipe!

How to make MooMoo Milk from Pokémon

MooMoo milk

Miltank remains my most hated Pokémon. Fans of the game will know exactly why and which Miltank I mean—Whitney’s Miltank. But the one thing it has going for it is MooMoo Milk.

In-game, MooMoo Milk restores a Pokémon by 100 HP but IRL, it’s not officially a thing so there are a plethora of recipes for it. I settled for this recipe and bottle tutorial (because MooMoo Milk is a brand in the Pokémon world).

MooMoo Milk recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of agave (1 tablespoon if you want it sweeter) or 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Mix together serve

If you don’t want to make the bottle, you can skip to 9:08 for the milk recipe. It might not help you defeat Whitney’s Miltank but it’ll be damn tasty. Now I’m wondering how MooMoo Cheese would taste so I can add it to the growing Cultrface cheese collection.

EASY Pokemon MooMoo Milk Bottle DIY + Recipe (collab with iloveanimewebshow)

Pea milk is apparently a thing

pea milk

I’ve written about dairy products made from donkey milk and moose milk I’m going a little left field with this one. I introduce to you: pea milk.

Last May, Sainsbury’s started stocking pea milk and the benefits are pretty good:

  • 8x more protein than almond milk
  • 40% less sugar than cow’s milk
  • 2x more calcium than cow’s milk
  • Dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free
  • High in fibre
  • Low in saturated fat
  • It takes 100x less water to farm than almonds and 25x less water to farm than dairy

At first glance, you’re probably thinking pea milk is green and comes from garden peas. But in fact, pea milk is made from yellow split peas and it’s creamy in colour.

While any plant-based milk alternative has its environmental and moral advantages, it’s important to adjust your diet to reflect any potential loss of nutrients from cow’s milk if your pea milk isn’t fortified.

If you are going plant-based, however, she [Dr Hazel Wallace] says there’s one thing you should always consider when choosing a product: “Plant milk doesn’t offer us all of the nutrients that cow’s milk does, so for people who are vegan or can’t consume dairy because they’re lactose intolerant, it’s really important that we encourage them to check the labels for fortification. Plant-based milks are not required to be fortified, but they should be,” she says.

Fortification is the process in which vitamins and minerals are added to the base product. The Mighty Society’s pea milk, for example, has been fortified with calcium, Vitamin D and B12, but this doesn’t mean to say that all pea milk products will be.

But we’re missing an all-important question: how does pea milk taste? The folks at Cooking Light tried some in 2018 and uploaded the experience on YouTube.

Stream it below and if you’ve had pea milk or you’re looking to try it, let us know how it is in the comments.

Taste Test, Pea Milk | Cooking Light