Japan’s Gorgeous, Precarious Fishing Poles
While Japanese master craftsmen command up to $100,000 for turning bamboo into a fishing pole, aspiring younger makers can barely find anyone to take them on as apprentices. And this isn’t the only time-honored Japanese craft at the brink of extinction. How could this happen in a country that, for centuries, has served as a model of hand-made perfection?
Story and photography by YUKARI IWATANI KANE
The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master
Gelato, it turns out, is a very different creature from ice cream. And there is a reason that the best gelato tastes so creamy yet still light, so balanced, so indescribably perfect. The secret—according to master gelatieri Andrea Soban of Valenza, Italy—involves patience, exceptional ingredients, and a fine-tuned knowledge of food chemistry.
Story and photography by ERLA ZWINGLE
How Far Can Beer Science Go?
Where else would you expect to find a band of techno-scientific beer geeks except in the industrial side of San Francisco, Ground Zero for start-ups? Join our fermentation correspondent as she travels to the outer edges of beer flavors with the boys of Method Beer.
By GRACE RUBENSTEIN
An Artisanal Tour of Michoacán — with 18 Towns Devoted to Ancient Crafts
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to find the indigenous artists outside of Pátzcuaro without a guide. We went with Jaime Hernández Balderas, from animecha tours, email@example.com. He is a native of Pátzcuaro, knowledgeable about the history and crafts, and speaks excellent English. Expect to pay about 2000 pesos a day for a guide ($120). Local…
Real Shaving: a Gift Guide
If you’re curious about the offerings beyond (or before) today’s over-priced, plasticized, landfill clogging shaving gear, we’ve got you covered. A collector of traditional shaving tools, and a prolific writer on the topic, offers a primer—and some very wise buying tips. Male readers in particular, beware: It is very easy to get hooked on this stuff.
By MICHAEL HAM
The Dreams of National Kale Day
Dr. Drew Ramsey, one of the founders of “National Kale Day,” now observed annually in October, has watched the media attention to Ernie Hubbard’s findings with some amusement. To him, the whole idea of a nation eating kale in dangerous excess is absurd. Even today, after all of kale’s trendiness, “The average American eats 2…
Thallium, the Cursed Element
Back in 1978, John Emsley, a British chemistry professor and science writer, summed up the case against thallium, a heavy metal that is one of chemistry’s basic elements, for The New Scientist. “If ever an element was cursed at birth, that element was thallium,” he wrote. The mystery writer Agatha Christie also knew a thing…
The King of Cake
Nono Colussi learned his trade in a bakery that has been in continuous operation since 1720. He is now a master of a culinary art that is nearly extinct: making mouth-wateringly light cake out of naturally yeasted dough.
By OWEN EDWARDS
The Vegetable Detective, Take Two
A California biologist found toxic levels of heavy metals in kale, got slammed for it on the internet, and then found evidence that at least one of the toxins could be even more troublesome than he had thought.
Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG