La Belle Limonadiere, hand coloured etching (1816). Lemonade was ubiquitous in mid-17th century Paris. Where the limonadiers went, piles of spent lemon peels followed. As rats nibbled on the peels, they killed off plague-infected fleas, Tom Nealon argues in his new book. Courtesy of The British Library Board/The Overlook Press hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of The British Library Board/The Overlook Press

From happy Neolithic-era accident to inspiration for student protests to tabletop staple, butter has had quite the ride over the past 10,000 years. A new book tells the story. Lew Rovertson/Getty Images/StockFood hide caption

toggle caption
Lew Rovertson/Getty Images/StockFood

Freda DeKnight was Ebony's first food editor and author of a best-selling African-American cookbook in the 1940s. Her recipes presented a vision of black America that was often invisible in mainstream media. Sierra Nicole Rhoden/Chicago Tribune hide caption

toggle caption
Sierra Nicole Rhoden/Chicago Tribune

A still from Budweiser's Super Bowl ad tells the story of one of Budweiser's founders. Budweiser via YouTube/ Screenshot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Budweiser via YouTube/ Screenshot by NPR

Marie-Antoine Carême began his hardscrabble life in Paris during the French Revolution, but eventually his penchant for design and his baking talent brought him fame and fortune. Wikipedia hide caption

toggle caption
Wikipedia

In the 1970s, Mr. Coffee became iconic, an American byword for drip brewing. By Christmas 1977, department stores were selling more than 40,000 Mr. Coffees a day. Credit for some of that success goes to the machine's longtime pitchman, former New York Yankee Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, seen here in a television commercial from 1978. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Richard Drew/AP

Japanese Chemist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda is credited with discovering MSG — one of the eight ingredients Lohman explores in her book. Peter Van Hyning hide caption

toggle caption
Peter Van Hyning

How Just 8 Flavors Have Defined American Cuisine

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502172541/506177609" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cowboy Cake is an example of American baking deliciousness born of hard times. When cowboys moved out West, they didn't bring hens with them. Instead of eggs, they "made do by cooking down raisins into a thick syrup that magically moistens and leavens the cake without eggs and with very little fat," says Anne Byrn, author of American Cake. Mitch Mandel hide caption

toggle caption
Mitch Mandel

Sir Thomas Lipton in 1909. Lipton was already a self-made millionaire before he ever entered the tea trade. But by figuring out how to lower the retail cost of tea and standardize his product "direct from the tea gardens," he became much, much richer. Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption
Library of Congress

Mary Cittoni, Joanne Cittoni Gonzalez and Clemente Cittoni work together, making malfatti in the kitchen of Val's Liquor in Napa. Lisa Morehouse/KQED hide caption

toggle caption
Lisa Morehouse/KQED

Malfatti, The Dumpling That Became A Napa Valley Legend

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494569112/497256717" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Michael Twitty wants credit given to the enslaved African-Americans who were part of Southern cuisine's creation. Here he is in period costume at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia estate. Erika Beras for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Erika Beras for NPR

This Historian Wants You To Know The Real Story Of Southern Food

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496104487/496196066" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Workers unload bananas in New Orleans. Bananas Foster, one of New Orleans' favorite desserts, is a lasting legacy of an oft-forgotten chapter in the city's history: the banana trade, which spawned banana republics. Arnold Genthe/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption
Arnold Genthe/Library of Congress

"You can't have the modern American restaurant without Delmonico's," explains Yale historian Paul Freedman. The restaurant opened in 1837, setting the bar very high for fine dining. Above, a dinner in honor of an admiral held at Delmonico's in 1906. Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption
Library of Congress

Food For Thought: 10 Restaurants That Shaped America

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494262209/494914770" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tour guide Ron Craig points to a photo in Jack Daniel's old office at the whiskey maker's distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. The photo, taken in the 1890s, shows Jack Daniel (wearing a black-banded white hat and a gray goatee), seated next to an African-American man. He and a second African-American man (top left) are believed to be sons of Nearis Green, who may have helped teach Daniel his trade. Blake Farmer/Nashville Public Radio hide caption

toggle caption
Blake Farmer/Nashville Public Radio

Jack Daniel's Heralds A Slave's Role In Its Origin Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493980358/494128009" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Oil down, Grenada's national dish, is a melting pot of its cultural history. This hearty stew is made of local veggies, salted meat and aromatic spices. It's a dish prepared cookout-style at social gatherings, where everyone brings something to put into the pot. Scott Neuman for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Neuman for NPR

The coffee cabinet is a Rhode Island staple. It's an ice cream beverage dating back to the World War II era. The ingredient list is pretty simple: It's just coffee syrup, ice cream and milk. John Bender/Rhode Island Public Radio hide caption

toggle caption
John Bender/Rhode Island Public Radio

What's In That Coffee Cabinet? A Delicious Taste Of Rhode Island History

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492278535/492727672" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A colorful selection of gelato flavors for sale at a shop in Florence, Italy. Robert Alexander/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Hot Enough For You? Cool Off With A Brief History Of Frozen Treats

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490386948/490386949" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Rich Harlan prepares Coney hot dogs at his restaurant, Red Hots Coney Island, in Detroit. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Coney: The Hot Dog That Fueled Detroit's Middle-Class Dreams

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484985728/485740649" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript