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Best Road Trips for Foodies on the East Coast of the United States

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True food fans know that exploring new flavors and tastes often goes hand-in-hand with experiencing new places and traveling.

One of the best ways to pack tons of new foods into a single trip is by taking a road trip with multiple stops.

Set out on a journey to new flavors with an East Coast road trip.

Check out the best road trips for foodies on the East Coast and discover destinations—and cuisines—you wouldn’t want to miss.

Portland, Maine

Portland Maine seafood shop is a great stop for foodies on an East Coast road trip
Seafood in Portland, Maine is top-notch. Taken by T. Jarrand via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

You may have heard tales about Maine lobster, but you haven’t truly experienced it until you’ve had a Maine lobster tail at a Portland clambake. A clambake involves steaming different types of shellfish, Maine potatoes, and an egg over many tiers of seaweed. The egg was originally added to see if the dish was ready—if the egg cooked over hard, the dish was ready to be eaten.

Take a trip up to Portland, Maine, to discover the bold, traditional seafood flavors for yourself. On your road trip, make sure to fill up your gas tank every chance you get—gas stations may be few and far between at some points along the road to Maine.

Related Read: How Your Diet Affects Different Parts of Your Body

Raleigh, North Carolina

A bit off the beaten path food-wise, Raleigh has a ton of rich cuisines to try out. It still boasts an East Coast vibe, but Raleigh adds in a flare of Southern tastes. Home to many comfort foods, Raleigh offers some of the best twists on the American staples.

Try the homecooked classic mac and cheese, check out some small BBQ stands around the city, and enjoy the unique flavor of the South meets East Coast. Raleigh is known for its rough roads, so be sure to brush up on the best tire shops in Raleigh in case you get a flat in one of North Carolina’s infamous potholes.

Related Read: Six of the Best Vacations for Foodies in the World

Boston, Massachusetts

Head on over to Boston, Massachusetts, for a big bowl of “chowdah,” as the locals pronounce it. Boston is known for its unique New England-style clam chowder brimming with milk, potatoes, and clams and thickened with oyster crackers. This thick soup is sure to warm your stomach—and your heart. Accentuate the truly unique flavor of a bowl of Boston clam chowder with an accompanying lobster roll.

Whether you side with those who believe the lobster should be soaked in butter or soaked in mayonnaise, try both out and decide for yourself. On your road trip to Boston, be careful to pay close attention to your navigation system—Boston is known for its excessive traffic and difficult-to-navigate roadways.

Related Read: The Best Women-Owned Restaurants in New York City

Brookfield, Connecticut

Along the road less traveled, head on out to Brookfield, Connecticut, a charming little suburb of New York City. It’s filled with delicious, traditional Connecticut foods.

Try out the famous clam pie while you’re in town. A delicious pizza with crispy thin crust and traditional Italian seasonings, this pie has an East Coast twist. Topped with plenty of cheese and clams, this pizza is sure to impress your taste buds.

While you’re in Brookfield, watch out for those aggressive city drivers and bumper-to-bumper rush hours. Try to plan your driving times around peak commute hours to save yourself a headache on your adventure.

Related Read: 5 Best Vacation Destinations for Vegans From Toronto to Tel Aviv

5 Best Vacation Destinations for Vegans From Toronto to Tel Aviv

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Finding great places to eat while on the road is challenging no matter what your diet is, but for vegans, it often turns into an ordeal.

Does your destination have vegan-friendly shops or restaurants, or will you have to pack your own food for the trip? Fortunately, there are some excellent vacation spots that offer a warm and delicious welcome for vegan travelers.

vegan toast sandwiches found in the best vacation destinations for vegans
Taken by E. Olsson via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Here are five of the best vacation destinations for vegans:

1. Toronto

This gorgeous Canadian city sparkles with life, culture, and experiences. Home to Veg Food Fest—North America’s largest vegetarian food festival—Toronto has plenty to offer when it comes to vegan eateries. Take your pick of any of the excellent all-vegan cafés and restaurants that dot the city. Make sure you stop by Vegandale, a block in the Parkdale neighborhood that’s filled to the brim with vegan establishments, including popular brewery Doomie’s, which boasts classic comfort food and delicious craft beers.

2. New York City

There’s something for everyone in a city as diverse as New York. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you won’t have to look far for a vegan place with that exact dish. Eating raw, gluten-free, or farm-to-table? There are various restaurant options to satisfy every dietary need. From doughnuts to hearty breakfast platters, atmospheric restaurants to cupcake stands, there’s no end to the unique and delicious vegan establishments you can find in the Big Apple.

Related Read: The Best Women-Owned Restaurants in New York City

3. London

The United Kingdom’s vegan community has blossomed over the last couple of years. As a city overflowing with diversity and culture, London is home to countless different eateries. Try vegan takes on Mexican dishes and curry houses. You can also stop by Ms. Cupcake, London’s 100 percent vegan bakery. Of course, it’s not a trip to England without fish and chips—get your fix at the Coach & Horses, the first vegan pub in the city.

Related Read: 6 of the Best Places to Find Street Food Around the World

4. Denver

Colorado prides itself on providing excellent food and drink, including its top-tier vegan restaurants—and its capital city is no exception. Denver delivers with fresh and delicious meals made through sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

From comfort food at Watercourse—Denver’s original vegan restaurant—to the delicious, fresh ingredients you can find at Nooch Vegan Market, you’ll feel right at home in Colorado’s Mile High City. While you’re there, check out the slew of craft breweries and—of course—the stunning mountain view.

5. Tel Aviv

If you’re looking at the best vacation destinations for vegans, Tel Aviv needs to be at the top of your list. This gorgeous city, located on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, is known as the world’s vegan capital. Israel is home to a massive vegan population, and it shows in Tel Aviv.

No matter where you are in the city, you’re never far from traditional Middle Eastern meals, such as falafels and shawarma. However, Tel Aviv’s vegan scene goes beyond the food. From Israel’s massive vegan population to the city’s culture of sustainability and green living, Tel Aviv is a fantastic bucket-list destination for every vegan enthusiast.

Related Read: Six of the Best Vacations for Foodies in the World

9 Different Types of Kitchen Knives to Know for Every Cooking Occasion

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To the average person, all knives may seem pretty much the same.

However, a true chef usually has a whole collection of knives for different purposes. If you’re an aspiring chef or just interested in cooking more, this list of the different types of kitchen knives will help you decide what to add to your arsenal.

different types of kitchen knives to use for different types of cooking and cutting
Taken by R. McCullough via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Chef’s Knife

A multipurpose knife good for cutting meat and chopping vegetables, the chef’s knife is an essential for anyone who prepares food. Its blade curves at the tip, allowing you to use it in a rocking motion. You can also find chef’s knives in various lengths to fit your grip and preference.

Related Read: The Best Women-Owned Restaurants in New York City

Santoku Knife

The santoku knife is a Japanese version of a general-use knife. It doesn’t have a curved edge, and it’s also thinner, making it sharper than a chef’s knife. You can cut meat, vegetables, and fish in thinner slices with this knife, and some people prefer its precision enough to replace their chef’s knives with it.

Utility Knife

Another knife you can use in a variety of situations, the utility knife is usually smaller than a chef’s knife (four to seven inches long as opposed to six to twelve). It’s often used to cut vegetables and fruit as well as to slice tough ingredients such as bagels. Unlike a chef’s knife, a utility knife can have a straight or serrated edge.

Related Read: 6 Most Healthy Seeds to Add to Your Smoothie

Paring Knife

Distinguished by their pointy ends, a paring knife is even shorter than a utility knife. You can use it for precise, delicate work such as peeling, mincing, and deseeding. However, this type of knife isn’t ideal for cutting large pieces of meat.

Cleaver

A wide, rectangular blade and thick, heavy design make cleavers instantly recognizable. They can chop cooked and raw meat; bones; and thick vegetables, including squash and pumpkins. The cleaver is probably the knife you associate with butchers.

Related Read: 8 Weird Facts About Food You Might Not Know

Boning Knife

Boning knives separate raw meat from bones. They’re also useful for butterflying meat. Typically, they have narrow, pointy blades, which can be stiffer for meat or more flexible for fish and poultry. Chefs often use the stiffer versions because they generally offer greater precision.

Slicing Knife

The end of a slicing knife can be rounded or pointy, but its purpose remains the same: to slice cooked meat. You can also use one to slice fruit and vegetables. The neatness that the slicing knife offers is great for good presentation.

Related Read: 4 Tips for How to Grow Your Own Food for Fresh, Sustainable Produce

Bread Knife

The bread knife has a rounded end and a serrated edge. It can cut through bread, cake, and other soft foods without squishing them down and deforming their shape. The serration also allows them to break through the initial hardness of bread crusts.

Kitchen Shears

Sometimes, one blade just isn’t enough. That’s where kitchen shears come in. These scissors are made for the kitchen, and they make it easy for you to cut vegetables, poultry, and small herbs. They also free you from the annoyance of the untearable plastic packages that some ingredients come in.

Related Read: 5+ Super Easy, Super Helpful Organization Tips for Your Kitchen

Well, that’s all on our list of important types of kitchen knives to know. Got any questions, comments, or other kitchen knife types we should add to our list? Let us know in the comment section below, and thanks for reading!

5+ Super Easy, Super Helpful Organization Tips for Your Kitchen

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Any kitchen can be a place of chaos if you aren’t prepared for it. Whether it’s for your kitchen at home or at a restaurant, it’s essential that you’re organized, so the time-sensitive work is efficient.

Super Helpful Organization Tips for Your Kitchen
Taken by E. Castrejon via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Here are some helpful organization tips for your kitchen, so cooking doesn’t become too stressful.

Label Shelves

The best thing you can do for yourself is to label as much as you can in a kitchen. This doesn’t mean having tacky labels on cabinets, but you might want to consider labeling shelves with the items that are supposed to be on there. This allows people who are not as familiar with your kitchen to place items in the correct spot. Labeling shelves is a common inventory technique for many restaurants that will also help you easily go figure out what items you need. 

Create Designated Spots for Items

In addition to organizing shelves, you should also have a designated spot for all your kitchen tools and utensils. This means having a specific spot for spices, machinery, cups, utensils, plates, containers, pots, and pans. This will make your work in the kitchen far more efficient when you know where the items that you need are. Try to ensure that the space you place these items in is appropriate, too. For instance, reserve the bigger cabinets for machinery and containers.

Use Drawer Organizers

Another great method you can use is a drawer organizer. This is essential for keeping all your utensils in place instead of simply piling them in a drawer.  A drawer organizer can also be used for the various cutting knives you own. Never underestimate how useful a drawer organizer is for your kitchen’s sense of order.

Clean Out Your Refrigerator and Freezer

The best way to stay on top of your own personal inventory and avoid any spoiled food is to regularly go through and clean out your refrigerator and freezer. This is also an effective method for reorganizing the shelves in your kitchen and placing items where they should go.

Utilize Containers

Many containers tend to take up ample space when they’re stored. They can often be awkward and bulky. This is why you should take advantage of food storage containers. This way, you can stack containers if you do need more space instead of dividing up where items are stored.

Use Hooks

For frequently used items, consider using hooks. Not only does this make items like a spatula easily accessible, it also means fewer items you have to stuff in drawers. Use your kitchen’s walls to your advantage by putting up hooks for utensils. It’s one of the best ways to utilize your limited space.

Have Cleaning Supplies Easily Accessible

Our last helpful organization tip for your kitchen also has to do with keeping items easily accessible, more specifically with your cleaning supplies. Keeping a kitchen clean is one of the highest priorities you should have a rack for clean towels, paper towels, a spot for soap, and more.

The Best Women-Owned Restaurants in New York City

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New York City is a hub of creativity, culture, and cuisine, and finding the time to experience it all can be tricky. Luckily, plenty of wonderful restaurants in NYC combine all three elements to provide a unique dining experience you won’t soon forget.

Manhattan has some of the best women-owned restaurants in New York City
Taken by M. Catanese via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Below are some of the best women-owned restaurants in New York City to add some flavor to your next trip to the Big Apple.

west~bourne

137 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012 • WebsiteGoogle Maps

west~bourne takes its name from owner and founder Camilla Marcus, a Los Angeles native who’s bringing West Coast cuisine and community to the Big Apple. west~bourne places a big emphasis on community and neighborhood hospitality, two elements Marcus strives to impart through her vegetarian menu.

west~bourne’s menu focuses on wholesome dishes that cater to your wildest cravings. Featuring a wide selection of dishes, from a vegetarian Reuben sandwich to a sweet and scrumptious Malibu waffle, the menu offers something for everyone. Marcus proudly promotes community through all aspects of her restaurant, donating a portion of all restaurants sales to a local nonprofit organization that provides hospitality training for young adults in the area.

west~bourne periodically hires participants from this program, further cementing a stable and caring connection with the community as a whole.

Dirt Candy

86 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 • WebsiteGoogle Maps

Don’t let the name dissuade you. Dirt Candy is absolutely one of the best women-owned restaurants in New York City. Chef, owner, and James Beard Award nominee Amanda Cohen established Dirt Candy as one of the first restaurants in New York featuring a vegetable-forward menu. Unlike some other restaurants, however, Dirt Candy features no à la carte dining options. Instead, this restaurant presents two different tasting menus, each offering several courses of vegetable-forward fare.

The menus change depending on which items are currently in season, so you can always rest assured that you’ll get a fresh and delicious meal. Though Cohen is constantly creating new dishes, a few fan favorites have become staples at the restaurant. Past notable dishes have included brussels sprout tacos, pumpkin pad thai, and a savory, mouth-watering tomato cake.

mŏkbar

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 • WebsiteGoogle Maps

Chef and owner Esther Choi brings traditional Korean cuisine to the Big Apple through her restaurant mŏkbar. With locations in Brooklyn and Chelsea, mŏkbar seeks to provide healthy, high-quality dishes with a traditional Korean flair. The menu at mŏkbar constantly changes to accommodate the freshest seasonal produce.

Ingredients are purchased from Korean markets in Flushing or the Union Square Greenmarket and transported immediately to the restaurant to be made into a variety of delicious dishes. mŏkbar utilizes traditional Korean cooking techniques to produce their fare, such as a “mother broth,” which is used as a base for the majority of the ramen dishes. A team of powerful women, each with Korean roots and a long history of culinary experience, operates mŏkbar.

Choi, along with her sister and managing partner Jennifer, strive to “broaden New Yorkers’ understanding and appreciation of Korean culture through [their] food.” They have certainly achieved this feat, not only through their mouth watering dishes, but also through the reverence for Korean culture they’ve created in their restaurant.

By the way, have you ever wondered why is New York City called the Big Apple? Check out that link from our sister site Dauntless Jaunter to find out!

4 Tips for How to Grow Your Own Food for Fresh, Sustainable Produce

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Growing food in your own backyard has many benefits. When you grow your own food, your produce is fresher, you know exactly where it came from and how it was grown, and you can even sell or give away the excess harvest.

Growing produce is also easier than a lot of people think. You don’t need a massive amount of space or an experienced green thumb to provide yourself with your own homegrown ingredients.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, check out these tips for growing your own food.

Make Use of Limited Space

There are plenty of ways to grow fruits and vegetables with limited space. If you don’t have yard space, you can grow certain fruits and vegetables in containers on a porch or balcony. Plenty of plants can thrive indoors as well. For example, an herb garden can sit near the window, taking up minimal space. You can also get clever with your garden layout. Use hanging baskets to grow strawberries, peas, or cherry tomatoes. A plant shelf and other vertical gardening methods are also efficient ways to grow a lot in a little space.

Plant Seasonally

Everyone knows spring and summer are prime gardening seasons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plant any other time of the year. Do some research on foods that grow in the fall, winter, or early spring as well as what you need to take care of them. When spring and summer do come along, pace yourself throughout the season so that you’re always planting your seeds at the right time. Planting seasonally also means you’ll eat seasonally. Fruits and vegetables will be ready in their prime seasons, and you’ll reap the benefits of a natural, balanced diet.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Growing your own food should be as rewarding as it is sustainable. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Once you’re comfortable with what you have, try your hand at larger or pickier plants. If you have the space, a fruit tree is an investment that can completely transform your garden. If your old setup just isn’t working for you anymore, then it may be time to rearrange the backyard to accommodate some new ideas. You can also branch out to other food sources such as eggs, milk, or butter. While you can’t technically “grow” them, chickens are popular backyard pets, and their eggs are far more nutritious and delicious than their store-bought counterparts. 

Get the Family Involved

When it comes to putting homegrown food on the table, everyone should have the chance to get involved. This is why one of the best tips for growing your own food is to not do it alone. Your family members don’t need perfect green thumbs to help you cultivate a successful garden. Start them out with baby steps such as watering plants or feeding animals. If they show an interest, welcome them to learn and help more. This is also a great way to spend quality time as a family or teach your kids something new.

How to Take Your Baking to the Next Level in 3 Easy Ways

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Baking is so much fun.

Not only do you end up with tasty treats at the end of the process, but it’s also an excellent way to express your personality. As fun as baking is, however, it can get a little dull after some time.

Follow this resourceful guide on how to take your baking to the next level to spice things up if you find yourself making the same vanilla cupcake over and over again. You’ll impress people with your skills, and they’ll eagerly anticipate what you do next.

muffins baking in oven to take baking to the next level
Taken by T. Grote via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Try Out New Recipes

If you’re wondering how to take your baking to the next level, start by trying out new recipes. Don’t make the same basic chocolate cake every time you get in a baking mood. Research inventive baking recipes online, or join different baking groups on social media sites to get fellow baking-enthusiasts’ opinions.

Also, don’t get discouraged if your new recipes turn out poorly the first few attempts. Never be too hard on yourself, and try to remember that not every baker started off as a pro in the kitchen. Be patient and take every botched cookie as a learning opportunity. Soon enough, you’ll find the perfect imaginative recipe that people just can’t get enough of.

Enhance Your Decorations

Anyone looking to step up their baking skills should consider enhancing their decorations. Decorating is half of the fun of baking after all. Moreover, the better your desserts look, the more people will want to eat them. Don’t just slap chocolate frosting on a cupcake and call it a day. Instead, get as creative as you can when it comes to decorations.

Pipe cute little flowers on your cupcake for an added touch of beauty. It’d also be interesting to experiment with fondant and see what you can make. Finally, your taste testers will love it if you decorate using edible gold or silver. Edible metals enhance the look of any treat, and they can make confections look so much more sophisticated.

Add Inventive Ingredients

You can elevate your baking skills by adding inventive ingredients to simple recipes. Although it’s smart to try new recipes, that doesn’t mean you need to scrap the basics entirely. You can do so many simple things to enhance even the most basic desserts. For example, add a splash of bourbon into your German chocolate cake.

This will provide a nice kick, and it’s the perfect addition to a classic favorite. Try some unusual pairings as well. Adding chips to a soft dessert is a good idea because the crunch provides an excellent contrast to delicate desserts. Bacon is another ingredient that can improve the flavor of your favorite treats. Don’t be afraid to experiment—you may end up creating a masterpiece.

Follow these steps if you’re wondering how to take your baking to the next level. You get easily bored if you make the same sweets repeatedly. Mix things up and try out some new recipes. People will be dying to see what you make every time you’re in the kitchen. After all, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

6 Most Healthy Seeds to Add to Your Smoothie

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Thanks to their dominant fruity flavors, smoothies are great options for picky eaters. You can blend a variety of healthy ingredients into them without significantly altering their taste.

In addition to sneaking some leafy greens into your morning smoothie, consider adding seeds as well. Seeds are loaded with many different vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and minerals that are necessary for a plant to grow as well as incredibly beneficial for humans. If you’re interested in packing your smoothie with even more nutrients, consider some of these healthy seeds to add to your smoothie.

smoothie with healthy seeds inside
Taken by K15photos via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Hemp seeds

Shelled hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, have a subtle, nutty taste. Packed with nutrients, hemp seeds are composed of plant proteins, fiber, potassium, a variety of essential fatty acids, and all nine essential amino acids. As a result of their incredibly nutritious makeup, consuming hemp seeds has a variety of health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, enhanced digestion, and reduced inflammation.

Flaxseed

It may not be very tasty on its own, but you’ll barely notice the slightly oily taste of ground flaxseed when you blend it into your smoothie—especially if you include berries, which will help mask the taste. Flaxseed is a great source of antioxidants, fiber, lignans, and healthy fat. Consuming this nutritious seed has been linked to decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Chia seeds

Perhaps the most popular seed that people currently add to their smoothies is the chia seed. Don’t be fooled by their small size; these little seeds can have a huge positive impact on one’s health. Loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium, chia seeds are known to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Cashews

Most people think that cashews are nuts, but they’re actually seeds. Cashews are low in fat and high in copper, fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamins E and B, and protein. Adding cashews to your smoothie can improve your heart, blood, and eye health as well as boost your immune system.

Pumpkin seeds

If you buy them raw and unsalted, pumpkin seeds make great additions to post-workout smoothies. Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of iron, vitamin E, and magnesium, which help maintain muscle and restore nutrients lost during exercise. In addition, they’re high in antioxidants, which help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Even if you didn’t just hit the gym, pumpkin seeds have numerous health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers, improving bone and heart health, and protecting against Type 2 Diabetes.

Almonds

Many people enjoy snacking on almonds on their own, but they’re also delicious when you add them into smoothies. Almonds are plentiful sources of protein, fiber, vitamin E, calcium, and potassium. Their health benefits include lowered blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as reduced blood pressure. Almonds are especially delicious when you blend them with bananas, strawberries, and a nut milk as a liquid base. To avoid the crunchy texture that almonds can add to your smoothie, consider soaking them before blending them in.

8 Weird Facts About Food You Might Not Know

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Most of the time, we buy our food without too much thought. We fill up our grocery bags with our favorite ingredients without ever wondering where they came from and what else they can do. The world of food is full of so many fun facts and secrets to learn.

lots of vegetables veggies for diet
Taken by D. Gold via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Here are eight weird facts about food you might not know:

Scientists can make diamonds from peanut butter

Diamonds form when highly organized carbon is subjected to extreme pressure and high temperatures. This happened naturally in the Earth’s crust billions of years ago, which is why real diamonds are so expensive. Because peanut butter is so rich in carbon, scientists can recreate these extreme conditions to turn it into diamonds.

White chocolate isn’t chocolate

The name of this sweet treat is misleading. White chocolate does contain cocoa butter, but it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids. Instead, it’s made of sugar, milk products, vanilla, and lecithin. Because cocoa nibs are responsible for real chocolate’s distinctive flavor, their absence in white chocolate means it’s actually categorized as candy.

Berries bounce

We all know to gently squeeze a fruit in the grocery store to see if it’s ripe, but have you ever bounced it? One of the best weird facts about food items is that cranberries bounce like rubber balls when they’re ripe. Believe it or not, farmers and consumers use this as a legitimate test to check if a cranberry is ready to eat.

Honey never expires

When honey bees make honey, they gather nectar and use enzymes in their body to break down the nectar and reduce the water content. As a result of this process, natural honey has extremely low moisture levels—meaning it never expires. In fact, archaeologists have found pots of honey that are thousands of years old yet still perfectly edible.

Strawberries aren’t berries

It’s no secret that tomatoes are technically a fruit. However, another weird fact about food you might not know is that strawberries aren’t really berries. Technically speaking, berries are fleshy fruits that come from a single ovary. By this definition, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries don’t count. Next time you have berries on your shopping list, you might look at watermelons, bananas, or pumpkins instead.

Grocery store bananas are clones

Bananas, like many other fruits, have a ton of varieties around the world. However, the ones you buy at the grocery store are all clones of just one type—the Cavendish. This banana variety doesn’t have seeds, and it lasts longer than other varieties, making it a popular purchase. Unfortunately, the lack of seeds means that farmers have to clone the Cavendish banana in order to grow it.

Black pepper was once a luxury item

You’ll rarely find a dining table without salt and pepper shakers. Despite how common it is now, black pepper was once an extravagant spice. It was so expensive in the Middle Ages that people used it to pay their rent and taxes.

Sandwiches were invented by a card player

As the story goes, a man named John Montagu—the Earl of Sandwich—invented this modern-day staple. An avid card player, the Earl wanted a meal that didn’t disrupt his card games. He (or more likely his servants) created the handy and delectable sandwich to eat at the card table.

If you’re a foodie, check out our post on the best foodie vacations.

7 Stress-Relieving Tips for Planning a Holiday Dinner Minus the Anxiety

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The holiday season turns into a stressful affair for a lot of people, whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or another winter holiday.

For some people, meal planning is quite easy—but for others, hosting and planning a stress-free holiday meal seems quite unattainable. If you’re tired of the stress, follow these tips for planning a holiday dinner so that you can reap the rewards of a happy family stuffed with scrumptious cuisine.

setting the table early is one of the best tips for planning a holiday dinner without stress
Taken by H. Busing via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Here are 7 top tips for planning a holiday dinner without stress:

1. Plan Your Menu

First things first—create a menu! Make sure you put items that you can reasonably accomplish and that you’ll find at least some joy in creating on the list. Don’t fill the menu out too much—it will just add stress and take away from the joy of the season.

2. Make a To-Do List

One of the best ways to stay organized is to make a to-do list. Instead of wasting time trying to remember all the tasks you need to do, make it easier on yourself with a list—or several. You should have a grocery store list as well as separate lists for each time of day. As extensive as this sounds, to-do lists will keep you much more organized and stress-free. These lists are important not only for the day of the dinner, but also in the days leading up to the dinner.

3. Create a Schedule

Just as important as to-do lists are schedules. The day of the dinner, do your best to stick to a schedule—but don’t panic if you can’t stick to it perfectly. Recognize that perfection isn’t possible and that you can only do what you can do. It’s especially important to keep that in mind when you’re creating the schedule: don’t overbook or overload yourself with too many tasks. Delegate tasks if you can, and if you can’t, then lessen the load by—for instance—only serving two appetizers instead of four.

4. Allow Time for Organization

Another way to help yourself stay stress-free and organized is simply to make time for organization. If you devote 15 minutes each day leading up to the dinner for cleaning, meal prepping, and decorating, you’ll find the day of the dinner much more manageable. Taking the time to organize your kitchen will also help—figure out what dishes and utensils you’ll need to make your meal, and try to clear space when the day comes.

5. Set the Table the Night Before

When it comes to the dining room, a lot of people stress about creating the most aesthetically pleasing dining space. As nice as that is, you don’t need to stress too much about going over-the-top. Keep it simple, and leave room for people to converse. In addition, set the table the night before so that you don’t have to stress about not having enough time to do it properly.

6. Only Choose Desserts You Can Make Ahead

When it comes to desserts, you have two options. Either have a potluck-style dessert table so that you can get all the best desserts without having to make them yourself, or only choose desserts that you can make the night before. For example, you can make Thanksgiving pies the night before or even two days in advance. Latkes can be refrigerated for up to eight hours, and you can also make Christmas cookies ahead of time. Plan those times into your schedule, and that stress will fall right off your back.

7. Have Containers for Leftovers on Hand

One of the most stressful aspects of holiday dinners is all the leftovers you have to make room for afterwards. This year, solve that problem by having leftover containers on hand for your guests. Whether you use inexpensive Tupperware containers or custom boxes, there are plenty of ways to hand off some of those leftovers to guests instead of squeezing them into your fridge.