All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

Why Swiss Cheese Has Fewer Holes Than It Used To

by in News, June 9th, 2015

Swiss CheeseHoley Swiss cheese? These days, not so much. If you’ve been wondering why your Swiss cheese — your Emmentaler or Appenzeller — has fewer of its iconic “eyes,” agricultural researchers in Switzerland have finally brought you your answer: Blame cleanliness.

As far back as 1917, scientists were considering the holes in Swiss cheese and concluding that they were formed by bacteria that produced carbon dioxide, according to Agroscope, the Swiss government’s agricultural research institute. Researchers didn’t know much, however, about what the bacteria were and how they got there in the first place.

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Bank Cafes May Boost Your Mood — If Not Your Balance

by in News, June 8th, 2015

CafeBanks, traditionally, are all about the bucks. You go there to make a deposit, make a withdrawal or deal with some other money-related business. Most of the time, you’re just dropping in for a quick transaction at the ATM. Now, though, you may be as likely to stop in to visit your local banker as you do your favorite barista.

Yep, increasingly, banks are getting into the coffee game. Capital One, for instance, has opened Capital One 360 Cafés, which it insists are “not your average coffeehouse,” in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, St. Cloud, Minn., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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New Eight-Hour Bourbon Is Not for the Old Fashioned

by in Drinks, News, June 6th, 2015

New Eight-Hour Bourbon Is Not for the Old FashionedKentucky bourbon is all the rage these days. You’d think that would be nothing but good news for distillers — but they’re finding it difficult to keep up with demand.

Because bourbon is generally given years to age in wooden barrels, even if makers were to ramp up production now, the new supply wouldn’t be available for a long time to come.

Aging in charred white oak barrels is considered essential to bourbon’s taste and hue. The liquor’s process of expansion and contraction over time, as seasons and temperatures change, imparts richness and complexity. Some whiskey experts cite five to 10 years of aging as the sweet spot for better bourbons, depending on how it has been aged.

You can’t rush flavor, the thinking has always gone. But wait … can you?

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Homemade LEGO-Shaped Gummies Are Snackable and Stackable

by in News, June 4th, 2015

Homemade LEGO-Shaped Gummies Are Snackable and StackableKids like LEGOs — and they like gummies. So do many adults. If you’re looking for something to make with the kids this summer, consider these LEGO-brick-shaped gummy candies from YouTuber Grant Thompson, who posts videos under the handle The King of Random.

Thompson writes that his homemade LEGO gummies can be made in “massive” quantities and are both “snack-able” and “stackable.” His method — which you can watch play out in the above video — is derived from an Instructable posted by SFHandyman, but Thompson says he toyed with the recipe in order to tailor the texture and flavor to his taste.

“I’ve kept experimenting off and on for the last four years, using my kids and wife for feedback,” he explains. “They gobble them up no matter what variations I use, but I’ve finally settled on 1/2 cup of very cold water, 1/4 cup of corn syrup, 2 packets of unflavored gelatin and 1 pack of Jell-O.”

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Millennials Are Big on Cocktails and Wine, but Beer Not So Much

by in Drinks, News, June 3rd, 2015

Millennials Are Big on Cocktails and Wine, but Beer Not So MuchCare for a cocktail? Perhaps a glass of wine? Way to drink like a millennial!

Millennials are increasingly turning to wine and spirits and turning their backs on beer, Business Insider reports, citing a Morgan Stanley industry analysis.

Between 2012 and 2015 alone, those who said beer was their “favorite alcoholic beverage” declined from 29 percent to 26.8 percent overall — and from 33 percent to 27.4 percent among millennials, according to Morgan Stanley’s research.

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Do You Drink Coffee Right When You Wake Up? Maybe You Should Wait

by in News, June 2nd, 2015

CoffeeMost of us probably try to suck down our first cup of joe as soon after we wake up as possible. But a new video by AsapSscience parses the research and reveals that the best time to give your body its first caffeine boost of the day is actually not when you first wake up, but about an hour later.

Why? It has to do with our circadian rhythm, the built-in biological clock that, among other things, regulates the release of cortisol, a hormone related to alertness. Cortisol levels peak around 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., AsapScience notes, as part of our natural waking process. And if we drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages during this peak cortisol production phase, the caffeine is less effective. Plus, we build up a greater tolerance to it over time, meaning we have to drink more and more for the same pick-me-up.

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Your Summer Gin and Tonic, Suitable for Scooping

by in News, May 30th, 2015

Jude's Ice CreamThere are those who consider the perfect summer refresher to be a nice, cool gin and tonic — and then there are those who would argue that it’s a big dish of ice cream.

A new product is uniquely positioned to end the debate and bring those disparate groups together: gin and tonic ice cream.

A result of a collaboration between two U.K. companies, London distillery Sipsmith and Hampshire-based Jude’s ice cream, the limited-edition summer offering combines Sipsmith London Dry Gin’s botanical elements, including juniper berries, citrus peel, licorice root and ground almonds, with tonic water and a hint of lemon, to evoke the flavor of your bartender’s best G&T, the Telegraph reports.

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Science Knows Why You Crave Bloody Marys on Airplanes

by in Drinks, News, May 27th, 2015

Science Knows Why You Crave Bloody Marys on AirplanesThat craving for tomato juice or a Bloody Mary that comes over you in airplanes, as perhaps nowhere else? Blame the roar of the engines.

Cornell University food scientists say airplane noise, which tends to hover around 85 decibels, can affect travelers’ taste buds — suppressing their taste for sweet stuff and boosting the taste of umami-rich foods like tomato juice.

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Show Up for Your Reservation at This Hong Kong Hot Spot, or You Will Pay — a Lot

by in News, Restaurants, May 24th, 2015

Show Up for Your Reservation at This Hong Kong Hot Spot, or You Will Pay — a LotLots of diners do it: make an advance reservation to eat at a well-regarded restaurant and then, when the date rolls around, opt not to go. Maybe they decide to eat somewhere else. Maybe they have multiple reservations, figuring they’ll go where they feel when the moment hits. Maybe something unavoidable comes up. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to cancel.

But if you make a reservation at the Hong Kong restaurant Sushi Shikon, a three-Michelin-star establishment, you’ll probably want to show up to eat there. If you cancel on the day of your reservation, try to change the date, don’t show up, show up with someone missing from your party or arrive more than an hour late, the restaurant will charge you 3,500 Hong Kong dollars ($452). Even if you give the restaurant a little notice, but cancel less than 72 hours of your seating time, Sushi Shikon will charge you HK $1,250 ($161). In fact, even if you wait just 24 hours from the time you confirm your reservation to cancel, but do so more than 72 hours before your seating time, you’ll still owe a fee of HK $500 ($65), although, according to the South China Morning Post, you are allowed to change the date of your reservation without penalty within that time frame.

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98 Flawless Cubes of Food Will Soothe Your Perfectionist Soul

by in News, May 22nd, 2015

98 Flawless Cubes of Food Will Soothe Your Perfectionist SoulThe kiwi seems clear enough. And the pomegranate and the papaya are unmistakable. Unless, of course, I’m mistaken.

I have hunch those are peppers. And … cabbage, is that you? Mushroom? Cauliflower? Corn? Watermelon? And what kind of fish is that? Or, wait, is that even fish?

Food may never have looked at once so exposed and so elemental as it does in “Cubes,” an image created by Amsterdam-based visual artists Lernert & Sander (full names: Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug) and commissioned by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant for a food-themed photography special feature. (You can buy a C-print or a poster on the artists’ website.)

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