Food History & Culture : The Salt Here's where culture and history intersect. Here's where you'll find food's back story and the role it is playing in shaping our present and future.
The Salt

The Salt

What's On Your Plate

Food History & Culture

Illustration from a 19th-century edition of Robinson Crusoe, a novel by Daniel Defoe first published in 1719. It relates the story of Robinson Crusoe, stranded on an island for 28 years and his subsequent fight for survival. Out of desperation, he became a master of innovation, especially at preparing meals. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images hide caption

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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hector Osorno is the Kraft Heinz Ketchup Master, whose job it is to make sure around 70% of the ketchup sold in America tastes the way it should. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Meet The Man Who Guards America's Ketchup

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Jasmine Cho's cookie portrait of Afong Moy, who is often cited as the first Chinese woman to step foot in the United States. Beginning in the 1830s, Moy was put on display before crowds as a curiosity. Jasmine Cho hide caption

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Jasmine Cho

This toad-shaped sandwich bar called the Toed In, near Los Angeles in 1939, allowed you to grab a bite to eat while your car got serviced. There's a lot of wordplay going on here: the toad-shaped building, the "towing in" of the car, and the stepping or "toeing" in for a snack. Good job, punsters! Ullstein Bild/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images hide caption

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Ullstein Bild/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

We may think of salads as leafy and green, but the Watergate salad is only the latter. A combination of pistachio pudding mix, canned pineapple, whipped cream and chopped nuts, the salad is the shade of a Shamrock Shake ... sort of a minty chartreuse. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Watergate Salad: A Fluffy Green Bite Of Washington, D.C.'s Past

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Spanish matador Alberto Lopez Simon makes a pass on a bull at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullring in Madrid. The restaurant Casa Toribio, located just down the street, keeps the meat from from bulls killed in bullfighting on its menu all year long. Alberto Simon/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Alberto Simon/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese steakhouses often serve a creamy orange-pink sauce alongside a steaming meal. The popularity and intrigue around the sauce led one teppanyaki restaurant owner, Terry Ho, to start bottling it in bulk under the name Yum Yum Sauce. Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

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Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Some of the space food that was scheduled to be carried on the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission included (from left to right): chicken and vegetables, beef hash, and beef and gravy. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive hide caption

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Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

In less than 100 years, thousands upon thousands of diamondback terrapins had succumbed to the American appetite, depleting the species. Jesse D. Eriksen/Getty Images hide caption

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Jesse D. Eriksen/Getty Images
Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public Radio

Medalla Light, Puerto Rico's Beer Of Choice, Is A Hit In Connecticut

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Chef Jay Fai wears a wool cap and safety goggles to ward off the heat from the charcoal fires in the alley where she cooks all of the restaurant's meals. She is such a perfectionist that she doesn't let anyone on her staff do the cooking. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

Meet The 74-Year-Old Queen Of Bangkok Street Food Who Netted A Michelin Star

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Regina Mark, co-owner of Mee Sum Restaurant in Fall River, Mass., holds a chow mein sandwich, which the restaurant has served for more than 50 years. Sarah Mizes-Tan/WCAI hide caption

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Sarah Mizes-Tan/WCAI

How The Chow Mein Sandwich Claimed A Small Slice Of New England History

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A bowl of tsampa flour pictured with other dishes in a typical Tibetan lunch. Counterclockwise from left: potatoes in turmeric and cumin; liangfen; mung bean jelly and spring onions with cilantro, triple-fried in red chili pepper; and black tea. To make pa, the tsampa would be mixed with butter, tea, salt and sometimes Tibetan cheese. Courtesy of Tsering Shakya hide caption

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Courtesy of Tsering Shakya

A handful of young upstarts are changing Naples' traditional pizza-making habits, bolstered by a new flour called Nuvola (Italian for "cloud"), developed by Italian miller Caputo. Courtesy of Carlo Sammarco hide caption

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Courtesy of Carlo Sammarco

Quilp, the epitome of evil in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, seen here with Little Nell, is a dwarf with the head of a giant and a "few discolored fangs" for teeth. But his most grotesque trait is his trick of drinking "boiling tea without winking" and eating "hard eggs, shell and all." Culture Club/Getty Images hide caption

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Culture Club/Getty Images

Beer archaeologist Travis Rupp inspects his latest "Ale of Antiquity," George Washington Porter, surrounded by the oak barrels it fermented in at Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colo. Dustin Hall/The Brewtography Project hide caption

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Dustin Hall/The Brewtography Project

Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird/Getty Images hide caption

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Pinkybird/Getty Images

Robert Melovidov, a tribal council member, holds up fur seal meat that he's preparing to cook in his home on St. Paul Island. Nathaniel Herz/Alaska Public Media hide caption

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Nathaniel Herz/Alaska Public Media

A woman shopping in the 1970s picks up a bag of Snyder's pretzels. Today, Hanover remains a center of snack food manufacturing, even as the food industry changes around it. Courtesy of Snyder's of Hanover hide caption

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Courtesy of Snyder's of Hanover

A bowl of creamy cheese grits. Food writer Erin Byers Murray hopes that exploring the story of grits will help spur more discussion about how food shapes our culture, as humble ingredients are elevated into expensive dishes even as we come to terms with long-lost, or ignored, origin stories that deserve recognition. Lauri Patterson/Getty Images hide caption

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Lauri Patterson/Getty Images