A history of your favorite morning beverage

A close-up of roasted coffee beans.
A close-up of roasted coffee beans.
Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

Modern coffee is one of the most varied yet fundamental parts of daily life. From Caffe Vanilla Frappuccinos from Starbucks to black Nestle instant, coffee is routine for many, if not most, working people. In fact, it’s more surprising to hear that someone explicitly doesn’t drink coffee than it is to learn they do; when meeting someone new, we assume they drink coffee until proven otherwise.

I’m sure we’re all used to the complaints provided by people regarding the modern costs of coffee. To them, coffee is something on which money is not to be wasted, as it isn’t worth more than a buck or two. These complaints are usually quite indiscriminate between the different ways one can consume coffee: a latte is a cup of drip is a cold brew, and it all costs too much. I would like to make the case, however, that coffee is actually undervalued in our incredibly instant-gratification society. …


Give a little, take a little, and expand your culinary horizons.

Takeout Indian food is scattered on a wooden table.
Takeout Indian food is scattered on a wooden table.
Indian cuisine is one of the easiest to share. Image courtesy of author.

“Now, that was fantastic,” the man said, pointing across the table to his daughter’s meal, “She definitely had the winner tonight.” Seeing families sample one another’s individually-ordered entrees always puts a smile on my face. Perhaps it is something about the comfortability that must be shared to either ask or offer a taste. Or maybe it shows a group of people who clearly care about pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones in food, exploring as much as possible on one dinner table. …


Making your kitchen fancy and less wasteful.

Multiple bottles if multicolored oils and vinegars.
Multiple bottles if multicolored oils and vinegars.
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

I remember the first time I had it — the sherry vinaigrette from a restaurant in Cambridge — and I was in love. The zesty tang, paired with an emulsified texture that clings perfectly to lettuce, led me to (previously unheard-of) salad seconds. Nowadays, my cabinet is full of vinegars, and I get excited by gifts of specialty olive oils. Salads are a staple of my lunches, helping me pretend that my diet is very healthy.

Much of this salad-love emerged during quarantine. With all the days blending together and the passage of time perpetually blurred, many of us are faced with the question, “Am I hungry or am I bored?” …


Please, please don’t write Wikipedia articles in a language you don’t know.

The flag of Scotland waves against a blue sky.
The flag of Scotland waves against a blue sky.
Image by M W from Pixabay

If you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, you’d sadly be wrong: it was revealed in late August that a huge portion of the Scots Wikipedia was entirely fabricated by an American teenager with no knowledge of the language outside of a Scots-English dictionary. …


Food waste is an issue, but not an insurmountable one.

A pile of food scraps, including banana peels, onion skin, and eggshells.
A pile of food scraps, including banana peels, onion skin, and eggshells.
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

“Waste not, want not.” Nearly everyone has a memory of a parent scolding them with this line, or something related. Despite being trained from a young age to avoid waste, researchers speculate that as much as 40% of all food in the United States is wasted, from household garbage to commercial kitchen trimmings. Food waste is a massive problem in the United States, as it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution. Additionally, many households spend hundreds of dollars per month purchasing meals that will only find their way into the weekly refrigerator cleanout. …


On being a recent graduate in 2020

A collage of many job-hunting website logos, including Monster, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
A collage of many job-hunting website logos, including Monster, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
Logos haunting my nightmares

If another person wishes me good luck on my job search, I’m going to lose it. Something about the phrase really grinds my gears. I want to be hired for my skills, not by luck, I think, I don’t need luck. Yet, my months of job searching keep steering me to the inevitable conclusion that so much of this game is luck. It’s not that I don’t need it; I don’t want to need it.

Like many (many, many, many) people, I just graduated from college this spring. Like many people, I relocated to the big city to chase a childhood dream of being sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Like many people, I am tragically unemployed and spending hours every day on every job listing website you can name. Like many people, I am collecting unemployment to make ends meet. …

About

Leah Butz

I like food, language, and sustainability.

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