April 18, 2013 Alcohol has bolstered many writing sessions throughout history — not just as a drink but as an ink. For most of the last millennia, writers, artists and kings alike relied on an ink that commonly included wine. Now some people are trying to bring this tradition back.
January 3, 2013 In France, a team of scientists says that a piece of cloth dipped that was reputedly dipped in the blood of Louis XVI is genuine. The monarch was executed 220 years ago this month, during the French Revolution.
December 20, 2012 Many modern day liqueurs, like Campari and Pimm's, started off as 19th century medicinal tonics made to cure an array of ailments, including malaria. So if you're sipping a French aperitif or an absinth cocktail this holiday season, chances are you're also imbibing a bit of malaria history.
December 4, 2012 Many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil, to honor a holiday miracle. But some Jews also eat dishes like blintzes and kugels that are made with cheese. How did cheese make it onto the menu? The story starts with a beautiful widow.
November 20, 2012 No one really wants to think about what goes down the drain when you flush. But sometimes, you've got to look to see what your bowels are telling you about your health. Doctors have been decoding our pee and poo since medieval times. They've even developed handy visual guides.
September 16, 2012 Processed wild rice dominates grocery store shelves, but around the Great Lakes, Native Americans still harvest it the same way their ancestors did centuries ago. This weekend, the Wild Rice Festival in Rosemont, Minn., celebrates the tradition.
September 12, 2012 It's an insult that some Republicans repeat with glee, but complaints that NPR reporters have themselves indulged in referring to the 'Democrat Party' have so far proven to be untrue. Fortunately, your ombudsman is not a political reporter, or FDR would be turning in his grave.
September 2, 2012 Historians and museum curators have chosen 50 objects that tell the long history of New York City; to an anthropologist's eye, they've done a superb job of emphasizing the importance of material culture in human life.
August 23, 2012 For the past century, the Forest Service has been sending photographers out to the same 13 points in Bitterroot National Forest in Montana every decade or so. The resulting photo series shows just how dynamic our forests really are.
July 17, 2012 Unlike Europe, U.S. states aren't likely to find themselves bailing one another out. Two economists find the reasons in two centuries of history.
July 2, 2012 George Washington refused to accept a salary for leading the Continental Army. But he did file an amazing expense report.
April 26, 2012 What was a farmer with Mediterranean roots doing in Sweden 5,000 years ago? Bringing farming north to the hunter-gatherers, according to new DNA research.
April 18, 2012 A greedy king who seized food was a key driver of the Magna Carta. That 13th-century document was a key inspiration for the American Revolution 500 years later. But at the time, the barons who negotiated the deal weren't concerned with the rights of starving peasants — these 1 percenters wanted to protect their own power and property.