The Salt

The SaltThe Salt

What's On Your Plate

Vigorón served at El Gordito in Granada, Nicaragua. The combination of soft, starchy yucca; salty, rough pork cracklings; and tangy, cool slaw made with cabbage, onions, tomato, mimbre fruit (also known as mimbro), chile and vinegar offers a distinct interplay of textures and flavors. Julie Schwietert Collazo for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Julie Schwietert Collazo for NPR

"Honey cake is considered the fruitcake of the kosher kitchen," jokes cookbook author Marcy Goldman. "The same resistance people may have to fruitcake, a lot of people have about honey cake." With her recipe — now the go-to recipe for thousands of families — Goldman modernizes this sweet taste of the past. Deena Prichep for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Deena Prichep for NPR

Make mine a venti: An example of a drinking vessel from the Grasshopper Pueblo archaeological site in central Arizona. Researchers tested shards of similar vessels found at various sites in the American Southwest and found evidence that people in the region were drinking caffeinated cacao and yaupon holly drinks 1,000 years back. Courtesy Patricia Crown hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Patricia Crown

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At Rukab's Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Ramallah, servers can stretch some flavors over a foot. Emily Harris/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Harris/NPR

Kumu (sp. Parupeneus porphyreus). The Whitesaddle Goatfish has a special place in Hawaiian culture. In ancient Hawaii, the fish were used in offerings to the gods. Courtesy of Derek Yoshinori Wada hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Derek Yoshinori Wada

Baguettes on sale at the Edgar Quinet market in Paris. Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr

Mark Weborg, a fourth-generation fisherman in Door County, Wis. Amanda Vinicky/WUIS hide caption

itoggle caption Amanda Vinicky/WUIS
Emily Bogle/NPR

This dish — mussels smoked in pine needles and pine ash butter — was inspired by a 1605 recipe that the explorer Samuel de Champlain made for his men while traveling through Canada. It's one of many historically inspired items on the menu at the Toronto restaurant Boralia. Courtesy of Nick Merzetti hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Nick Merzetti

Le louche refers to the transformation that happens when water is added to absinthe, turning the liquor from a deep green to a milky, iridescent shade. At left, a classic pour. At right, an absinthe glass fitted with a brouilleur, a device that holds the ice and lets water slowly drip down. Courtesy of Scott MacDonald hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Scott MacDonald

Joseph Severn's portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley. The radical 19th century poet practiced the politics of the plate. For Shelley and other liberals of his day, keeping sugar out of tea was a political statement against slavery. Joseph Severn/Wikimedia hide caption

itoggle caption Joseph Severn/Wikimedia

An illustration from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, published in 1897. Between the 1860s and 1920, when Prohibition went into effect, American bartending came into its own. Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr

At Anise, a bar in Beirut, Lebanon, beloved local herbs like za'atar, sage and rosemary are making their way into cocktails. "We want to do something fresh in our cocktails," says co-owner Marwan Matar. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

Iced tea made from local berries is served with melon and squares of sweet sticky rice topped with fruits and nuts. The nuns eat these sweets on head-shaving day, to replenish their energy. Ari Shapiro/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ari Shapiro/NPR
Jennifer Fortner/Courtesy of Pineapple Whip

The Arc de Triomphe is visible behind a McDonald's restaurant on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France. The nation is now McDonald's second-biggest market, but one historic neighborhood known as "the belly of Paris" has pledged to keep it out. Alastair Miller/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alastair Miller/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Beyond the fruit-sweetened stuff: Around the world, cooks turn to yogurt for a huge variety of culinary delights. From left: cast-iron chicken marinated in a yogurt-spice blend and topped with the Middle Eastern grain freekeh; a Persian cold yogurt soup; shitake frittata with labneh, kale and shallots. From Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule Ellen Silverman/Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hide caption

itoggle caption Ellen Silverman/Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt