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Bored by holiday cookbook roundups, I came across this review of research into why people eat spicier food in hot climates. The hypothesis? It's an adaptation to increased risk of foodborne illness in those regions. The researchers examined 33,750 recipes from 70 national and regional cuisines containing 93 different spices. Conclusion? There's definitely a correlation, but preventing foodborne illness doesn't appear to be the cause. Maybe it’s because spicy-hot food helps cool you down when temps climb, or because spices help preserve food, or because spices grow better in hotter regions? Not according to the data. Nonetheless, the American South occupies a position that is virtually identical to Lebanon and Iran on the climate/spiciness spectrum. Curious, indeed.
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Every year, the International Association of Culinary Professionals recognizes excellence in cookbooks and other food media with its prestigious culinary awards. I was lucky to attend this year's award ceremony in Brooklyn, where Rick Martinez's book Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico, won both Book of the Year and best International Cookbook. Other winners include Reem Assil's Arabiyya, which won in the Chefs And Restaurants category, and Kristen Miglore's Food52 Simply Genius, in the General category. Check the full list of cookbook winners at the link here. Congrats all!
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So many cookbooks are published in the fall that insiders call this month "CookbookTober." Just in time for holiday shopping, cookbook pro Paula Forbes shares a comprehensive roundup of Fall cookbook releases. Here also are this season's cookbook best-of lists from Eater, Food & Wine, Forbes (no relation to Paula Forbes), Simply Recipes, and Tasting Table. Happy cooking!
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Smoked desserts? They may seem novel but go back centuries in royal Thai cuisine. Tian op, a U-shaped scented candle is typically lit on both ends, placed over the dessert and covered to trap the smoke. Aromas include frankincense, mace, sandalwood, and vanillin, a key scent in woodsmoke. Modern Thai chefs are branching out by infusing tian op smoke into Western-style cookies, cakes, pastries and other desserts. Curious? Pick up a tian op candle and start experimenting!
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It takes loads of calories to race a bicycle 2,115 miles over 3 weeks and 30 grueling mountain climbs. What do these competitive athletes eat? Owen Blandy, chef for the EF-Education/EasyPost team, shares an inside look at the fresh meals he feeds pro cyclists every day, including the planning, prep, cooking, and 16-hour days required to meet their caloric needs from a tiny food truck with a modest cooktop, small oven, and limited pantry space.