The SaltThe Salt

What's On Your Plate

Waiting in line for an exhibit at the Chipotle Cultivate Festival on factory farming. Festivalgoers had to visit four such exhibits to get a free burrito. Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

A group of British researchers has a hunch that once ancient humans learned to cook, starchy foods like root vegetables or grasses could have given them a calorie bump that fueled the evolution of the human brain. Scott Sherrill-Mix/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Sherrill-Mix/Flickr

Support NPR

Support NPR

NPR Shop

Support The Programs You Love

© NPR

Chef Leah Chase, 92, here in the kitchen of Dooky Chase, had no qualms about rebuilding the restaurant her father-in-law opened in 1941 in New Orleans' Treme neighborhood. Debbie Elliott/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Debbie Elliott/NPR

Communal meals are woven into our DNA. But eating alone is no longer a social taboo. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Galdakao Mayor Ibon Uribe (left) and volunteer Javier Goikoetxea pose in front of the Solidarity Fridge, Spain's first communal refrigerator, shared by citizens in Galdakao, a city outside Bilbao. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lauren Frayer for NPR

Penn State grad student Carley Miller holds up a bumblebee she collected from the wildflower patch on Penn State University's research farm near State College, Pa. Researchers are testing how planting "pollinator strips" of wildflowers near farm fields could help support wild bee populations. Courtesy of Lou Blouin hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Lou Blouin

In 16th century Italy, the nobility began decorating their tables with "triumphs" made entirely from folded napkins. The art form had pretty much died out by the time artist Joan Sallas began studying centuries-old illustrations and taught himself how to re-create them. Photo from The Beauty of the Fold: A Conversation With Joan Sallas. Courtesy of Charlotte Birnbaum/Sternberg Press hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Charlotte Birnbaum/Sternberg Press

It took astronauts 33 days to grow enough red romaine lettuce to make a small salad. NASA hide caption

itoggle caption NASA

AeroFarms grows greens under intense LED grow lights, while their roots are bathed in a nutrient-rich mist. Courtesy of AeroFarms hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of AeroFarms

Laws in Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and North Carolina have also made it illegal for activists to smuggle cameras into industrial animal operations. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Yaupon growing in the wild in east Texas. This evergreen holly was once valuable to Native American tribes in the Southeastern U.S., which made a brew from its caffeinated leaves. Murray Carpenter for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Murray Carpenter for NPR

Not only did the family trade their urban life for one in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and trees, but they also earn $300,000 a year. Ari Shapiro/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ari Shapiro/NPR

Ready, set, fly! The ball bearings glued to this bumblebee's legs simulate the weight and placement of pollen loads. The tag on the insect's back is a lightweight sensor, designed to track its movements in flight. Courtesy of Andrew Mountcastle hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Andrew Mountcastle

Olive oil gets filtered in an oil mill in a Portuguese oil farm near Evora. Rick Mattes says that if an olive oil's concentration of fatty acid rises above 3.3 percent, it's no longer considered edible. And it'll be brimming with oleogustus. Francisco Seco/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Francisco Seco/AP

Mineral supplements, ape-style: A female chimp called Kana eats clay in the Budongo Forest of Uganda. A.Schel/Budongo Conservation Field Station/Animal Ecology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands hide caption

itoggle caption A.Schel/Budongo Conservation Field Station/Animal Ecology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Lake herring roe at the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, Minn. Some workers at the market call it "Lake Superior Gold." Derek Montgomery for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Derek Montgomery for NPR