You pay little attention to the systems of your body — circulatory, digestive, pulmonary — unless something goes wrong. These automatic systems ordinarily go about their business, like unseen clockwork, while you think about a vexing problem at work, drink your morning cup of coffee, walk up and down stairs, and head out to your… Continue reading The Black Death Undermined Feudalism. What Does COVID-19 Mean for Capitalism?
In many ways the human race hit the skids when we stopped throwing spears and gathering berries. Once we started planting seeds and harvesting the produce, we grew shorter, fatter, sicker, and considerably more overworked. An alien visiting from another planet during that critical transition period to a more settled existence might easily have thought… Continue reading Menu for a Hot Planet
It wasn’t particularly easy to find vegetarian cooking in Hungary when I was there in 1990. This was the land of goulash and chicken paprikas, after all. And forget about organic produce. In those days, even in the United States, organic agriculture and organic products were a decidedly niche market. When the International Federation of… Continue reading Eating Healthy in Hungary
I took a break from interviews when I was in Prague to go with my wife on an excursion to Marianske Lazne in the western part of the Czech Republic. This is the famous Marienbad, the spa that attracted celebrities from all over Europe in the 19th century –Goethe, Chopin, Edison, Wagner – to take… Continue reading Making the Best Food in the Czech Republic
The GDR Museum in Berlin is actually two museums in one. And these two parts, both devoted to everyday life in the German Democratic Republic, subtly contradict one another. That might not have been the intention of the museum founders. But this tension actually captures the ambiguities of East Germany and the ambivalence that many… Continue reading Eating History