Compleat Housewife frontispiece

What Amateur Cookbooks Reveal About History

Remember those spiral-bound cookbooks from your church group or your mom’s favorite charity? Those amateur recipe collections are history books, too.
Mario hat Odysseus

Super Mario, Homer’s Odyssey, and the Meaning of Marriage

Nintendo's Mario and Homer's Odysseus have more in common than you might think.
Lydia Pinkham products

Was Lydia E. Pinkham the Queen of Quackery?

She developed an immensely popular, if questionably effective, herbal remedy for “female complaints.” Pioneer in alternative medicine or...?
Star Trek: Discovery

What Star Trek: Discovery Can Tell Us About Tech and Social Progress

What makes Star Trek essential for any contemporary tech user is its role in helping us understand our relationship to technology.
French bread

Pioneers Were America’s Original Artisanal Bakers

Why were cowboys and pioneers so obsessed with their baked goods? A look at the birth of sourdough culture (har har) in the United States.
Bigfoot signage

How Consumerism Created Bigfoot

People have long told stories about wildmen, creatures who straddled the line between human and animal. But Bigfoot himself first appeared in the 1950s.
potato chips

The Story of the Invention of the Potato Chip Is a Myth

Everyone knows the potato chip was invented in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1853. Except it wasn’t.
9/11 memorial, New York

The Shrines of September 11th

In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, impromptu shrines appeared.
Sirius

What Are the Dog Days of Summer?

The "dog days of summer" are attributed to the rise of Sirius, the Dog Star, but research into the lore suggests another dog entirely.
Cubes of red jello on white background

How Jell-O Wobbled Its Way to Pop Culture Greatness

Jell-O reveals volumes about things that obsess, upset, and fuel Americans.