The Salt What's On Your Plate

Semlor served at FIKA in New York City. "The interest [in semlor] is huge," says Lena Khoury, the Swedish cafe chain's director of strategy and communications. Courtesy of FIKA hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of FIKA

Students sample the results of their labors in Yvonne Ruperti's pastry class at the Culinary Institute of America's Singapore branch. Carole Zimmer hide caption

itoggle caption Carole Zimmer

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The annual Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in February 2008. In the Cajun country tradition, revelers go house to house, collecting ingredients for gumbo from local families. Here, the host tosses a live chicken from a rooftop for the participants to catch — which can be tricky, considering the festivities often begin with early-morning drinking. Carol Guzy/Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Carol Guzy/Washington Post/Getty Images

Bob Belcher, titular hero of Bob's Burgers, bites into one of his creations. Each episode features daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names. The burgers were born in the show writers' imagination and brought to life in Cole Bowden's kitchen. Fox/via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Fox/via Getty Images

A sampling of dishes served at United Noshes dinner parties. From left: feta-stuffed peppers from Greece; noodles in cold broth from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (better known as North Korea); mojitos from Cuba; grilled quail with chili-ginger marinade from Congo. Courtesy of Laura Hadden hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Laura Hadden

A box of five Cadbury Creme Eggs in London. The confectioner's decision to change the chocolate used to make the outer shell has left many in the U.K. in "shellshock." Anthony Devlin/PA Photos/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Anthony Devlin/PA Photos/Landov

A still-trim Elvis Presley enjoys a sandwich in 1958. His love of fatty foods hadn't caught up to him yet. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The classic Spanish roscón is an aromatic, citrus-infused brioche topped by sugar, flaked almonds and candied fruits – arranged like the jewels on a king's crown. It's ubiquitous on Spanish tables on Three Kings Day, Jan. 6. James Badcock for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption James Badcock for NPR

Abebe, the owner of Abyssinia, a popular Ethiopian eatery in Nairobi, Kenya, shows some of the foods permitted during the pre-Christmas fast. Orthodox Ethiopians typically eat just one vegan meal per day for 40 days before the Christmas feast on Jan. 7. Gregory Warner/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Gregory Warner/NPR

This copper engraving from approximately 1700 depicts the condition of the English prisoners at the hands of the Dutch. In the 1660s, Cornell University's Eric Tagliacozzo says, the conflict and competition for the spice trade came to a head. "The Dutch decapitated a number of English merchants who were also in the Spice Islands trying to profit from the trade." WikiCommons hide caption

itoggle caption WikiCommons

Pepperpot, a traditional Guyanese Christmas dish, is basically a stew of aromatics and tough meat parts like shanks, trotters and tails that benefit from a long cooking. Courtesy of Cynthia Nelson Photography hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Cynthia Nelson Photography

Australian Christmas today is characterized by gastronomic eclecticism. Many of us have abandoned the old British customs — except for the rich and alcoholic Christmas pudding. Edward Shaw/iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption Edward Shaw/iStockphoto

The rellenong manok at La Cocina de Tita Moning, a restaurant in Manila. Chef Suzette Montinola uses a traditional recipe from the 1930s that belonged to her grandmother. Aurora Almendral for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Aurora Almendral for NPR

Megan Walhood loves the unique toasty potato flavor of lefse. "There's something so comforting about soft, starchy things," she says. Deena Prichep for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Deena Prichep for NPR

The author, Dr. Gavin Francis, arrived at Halley base on Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of the Antarctic midsummer, when 24-hour sunlight illuminates the vast swathes of empty ice. Courtesy of Gavin Francis hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Gavin Francis