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

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

Challah, borscht and a bialy are among the items listed in The 100 Most Jewish Foods. Noah Fecks/The 100 Most Jewish Foods hide caption

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Noah Fecks/The 100 Most Jewish Foods

Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil/Courtesy of Edible Archives hide caption

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Salam Olattayil/Courtesy of Edible Archives

After starting a brewery in Seoul, Booth Brewery co-founders Heeyoon Kim (left) and Sunghoo Yang moved their operations to California to make Korean beer and ship it back. Courtesy of The Booth Brewing Co. hide caption

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Courtesy of The Booth Brewing Co.

Cherokee Nation Cultural Biologist Feather Smith-Trevino holds an unripe Georgia Candy Roaster Squash at an educational garden in Tahlequah, Okla., where traditional native plants are grown. Courtesy of the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank hide caption

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Courtesy of the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank

Sebastiano Ridolfi tries on the costume of Papà del Gnoco, or "Gnocchi Dad," the Santa-esque figure who's the symbol of the gnocchi-themed pre-Lent celebration in Verona, Italy. Although Ridolfi didn't win the election to be Papà del Gnoco, he was received warmly by the crowd and remains committed to challenging traditions. Andrea Di Martino hide caption

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Andrea Di Martino

A satire of women's social discourse in the Queen Anne period depicts six women taking tea in a parlor, with figures on the left signifying hidden emotions and power struggles behind a genteel facade. Circa 1710. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At Colonial Williamsburg's garden and nursery, which is open to guests, staff grow items that would have been found in gentry pleasure gardens: herbs, flowers and seasonal greens. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation hide caption

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Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Bassam Ghraoui, who ran Syria's most famous chocolate factory, left for Hungary when war consumed his home country. He successfully rebuilt his business in Budapest. The company still uses ingredients from Syria. Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

A Syrian Chocolatier's Legend Lives On In Europe — But Stays Close To Its Roots

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The key to making the quintessential biscuit of the American South, like these from Callie's Charleston Biscuits Bakery in Charleston, S.C., is more about technique than a specific flour, some bakers say. Brett Flashnick/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Brett Flashnick/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Sriraja Panich is the brand name of one of two Sriracha sauces created by Saowanit Trikityanukul's family. The family sold the brand to Thaitheparos, Thailand's leading sauce company, in the 1980s. The brand has struggled to gain a foothold in the U.S., where the Huy Fong Rooster brand of Sriracha, created by Vietnamese-American David Tran, reigns supreme. Michael Sullivan/for NPR hide caption

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Michael Sullivan/for NPR

In Home Of Original Sriracha Sauce, Thais Say Rooster Brand Is Nothing To Crow About

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Beloved in eastern Asia, especially Japan, persimmons get little respect in the United States, where many tree owners don't bother harvesting their crop. Alastair Bland/for NPR hide caption

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Alastair Bland/for NPR

This granary weevil has set up shop inside a kernel. Even without wings, these stealthy stowaways — with the help of humans — have managed to infest grains all over the world for thousands of years. Biophoto Associates/Getty Images/Science Source hide caption

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Biophoto Associates/Getty Images/Science Source

Artist Stephanie Shih remembers making pork-filled dumplings with her family and started her art project by sculpting six of them out of porcelain. She's now made 600. Courtesy of Robert Bredvad hide caption

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Courtesy of Robert Bredvad

Nepal native Indra Sunuwar's vegetarian chow mein is a favorite order of regular customers to the café. Sunuwar arrived in Memphis with her family as a child refugee. Global Café hide caption

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Global Café